Giants spring training: Drew Smyly, Kevin Gausman start strong

SF Giants pitcher Drew Smyly. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
SF Giants pitcher Drew Smyly. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images) /

With spring training underway, the San Francisco Giants are banking on Drew Smyly and Kevin Gausman being key members of the 2020 starting rotation.

Spring training is now underway for the San Francisco Giants, and a huge question heading into the season is whether the starting rotation can avoid imploding on itself.

That will depend in large part on how Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyly do filling spots behind incumbent veterans Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto.

While it is obviously way too early to draw and conclusions from one spring training appearance each, both Smyly and Gausman have gotten off to a good start with their new team.

In Smyly’s first start, he allowed one hit and one walk while striking out two in 1.2 scoreless innings. In Gausman’s spring debut, he threw two hitless innings, walking one and striking out one.

Again, it’s very early and a small sample size, but a strong debut is certainly preferable to them getting absolutely shelled their first time out.

After both pitchers struggled for most of last season, the strong debuts are comforting.

Gausman was knocked around quite a bit as a starter with the Atlanta Braves, posting a 6.19 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 16 starts. Once he joined the Cincinnati Reds and they made him a reliever, he really settled into his own, posting a more respectable 4.03 ERA and 1.16 WHIP.

The big question will be whether he can return to form as a starter in 2020.

Smyly finds himself in a similar boat. He was pitiful with the Texas Rangers last season, but was able to turn things around with the Phillies, posting a 4.45 ERA in 12 starts to close out the season.

If the Giants want to have a stable rotation to start the year, Gausman and Smyly are going to be a huge part in that effort. Both guys have a lot to prove and both want to show that they can still be reliable starters in the MLB.

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Let’s hope that their first outings are true indicators of things to come.