Giants: Who will replace All-Star Will Smith in the closer’s role?
The unexpected internal option: Shaun Anderson
Could Shaun Anderson be the answer?
On the surface, the rookie had an inflated ERA (5.44) and WHIP (1.55), and he wasn’t particularly good at missing bats with just 6.6 K/9 in his 96 innings of work.
However, he looked like a different pitcher upon moving to the bullpen after spending the bulk of the season in the starting rotation.
In four appearances from Sept. 5 to Sept. 13, his first action as a short reliever and not as a long reliever, Anderson was lights out.
After pitching scoreless innings on the road against the St. Louis Cardinals (Sept. 5) and Los Angeles Dodgers (Sept. 7), he as tasked with extinguishing the Pittsburgh Pirates eighth-inning rally on Sept. 10.
With four runs already home in the eighth inning and the Giants lead trimmed to 5-4, he recorded the final out of the eighth and then finished things out with just one walk allowed in the ninth en route to his first MLB save.
Three days later, Anderson was given another ninth-inning assignment, this time in a 1-0 game against the Miami Marlins. He allowed one hit, but induced the double play and then recorded a strikeout for his second save.
His stat line during that four-game span: 4.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, .077 BAA
Maybe, just maybe, there’s something there.
On a rebuilding team with little to lose, why not throw Anderson into the closer’s role a few times in spring training to see if he might be the answer.
If the results are anything like Giants fans saw in early September, the job could be his.