When the San Francisco Giants claimed reliever Trevor Gott off of waivers, they could not have envisioned him becoming a key contributor in the bullpen. However, he is quietly having a nice season and rising up the bullpen hierarchy.
It was not a slam dunk that Trevor Gott would even make the San Francisco Giants roster out of spring training after he was claimed off waivers from the Washington Nationals on Feb. 13.
However, he forced the team’s hand by pitching 11.2 scoreless innings with 13 strikeouts in the Cactus League.
For much of his career, Gott had struggled with his command, walking nearly four batters per nine innings prior to this season. He also yielded far too many hits, allowing 79 knocks in 75.2 innings from 2015 to 2018.
Despite this underwhelming stats, the 26-year-old has always had the stuff to succeed out of a major league bullpen. The right-hander’s repertoire includes an electric fastball, a curveball, and an infrequently used changeup. His fastball sits close to 95 mph and has enough movement to avoid loud and consistent contact.
On a side note, any pitcher who can get Nolan Arenado out is good in my book.
At times this season, Gott’s command has wavered, but he has been a far more consistent option out of the bullpen since joining the Giants.
In 44 appearances, he has posted a 3.56 ERA in 48 innings of work, backing that with a 2.97 FIP that suggests his ERA is actually a bit inflated due to some bad luck.
He’s also tallied 51 strikeouts against just 15 walks for a far more palatable 2.8 BB/9 walk rate. Additionally, he has yielded only 31 hits on the year, which all adds up to an excellent 0.96 WHIP that shows he has been extremely stingy with allowing baserunners.
It would seem that Gott’s quietly effective season has not gone unnoticed. Manager Bruce Bochy has begun to use him in more high-leverage situations.
Against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night, Bochy turned to Gott in the eighth inning to protect a 5-0 lead. He pitched a scoreless frame while striking out two and walking one.
That might not look like a high-leverage inning on the surface given the five-run lead, but context is important. The San Francisco Giants had lost four consecutive games going into Thursday, so maintaining that lead and walking away with a win was extremely important in terms of not losing any more ground in the wild-card standings.
His overall usage has also increased since multiple relievers were moved at the trade deadline. An increase in usage is usually a good indicator of Bochy’s confidence in a reliever, as he tends to lean heavily on his more effective arms.
Overall, this has been a nice season for Gott. He has given the Giants more than what they could have ever expected when they claimed him off of waivers. On the flip side, the Nationals could use about three more Trevor Gotts.
Chalk up the waiver claim of Trevor Gott as another shrewd move by team president Farhan Zaidi, and with team control through the 2023 season, it’s a move that could pay dividends for the San Francisco Giants for a long time.