SF Giants: Giving the Players their Final Letter Grades

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 19: Manager Gabe Kapler #19 signals the bullpen to make a pitching change against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the seventh inning at RingCentral Coliseum on September 19, 2020 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 19: Manager Gabe Kapler #19 signals the bullpen to make a pitching change against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the seventh inning at RingCentral Coliseum on September 19, 2020 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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SF Giants
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 22: Tony Watson #56 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on September 22, 2020, in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The Relievers

Tony Watson: A-

The Giants bullpen carried on an unusually high number of left-handed arms, and Tony Watson was one of the better options.

The funky-style reliever posted a 2.50 ERA (4.36 FIP) with 15 strikeouts and three walks across 18 innings. Watson relies on a deceptive delivery to disrupt the timing of opposing hitters, and it has worked for years.

Eventually, he will not be able to get opposing hitters out as effectively as he has. That has not happened yet, and he strung together a nice season.

The 35-year-old was often used in high-leverage spots and excelled. In fact, he only gave up an earned run in three of his 21 appearances. As a pending free agent, the SF Giants may have seen the last of Watson as they do not seem inclined to spend heavily on free-agent relievers.

Tyler Rogers: C

After a solid rookie campaign in 2019 where Tyler Rogers posted a 1.02 ERA in 17 appearances, the Giants had expectations that he would become a high-leverage arm in 2020.

However, he struggled to the tune of 4.50 ERA (3.26 FIP) with 27 strikeouts and six walks in 28 innings. That said, much of the damage was done at the beginning of the season. Rogers yielded 14 runs all season with nine of those runs hitting his ERA in July.

After July, the 29-year-old recorded a 1.88 ERA in his final 24 appearances, so he got much better as the season wore on.

To his credit, he did well at keeping hitters off balance. The right-handed reliever induced a groundball in 55.3 percent of his batted ball events and recorded a 2.47 GB/FB ratio. These are solid numbers, and exactly what Rogers needs to do to be successful at the major league level.

Interestingly, the Peay State University product led all of baseball with 29 appearances. I do think he was overused, especially considering how few reliable right-handed relievers the Giants bullpen had. That is not a knock on Kapler’s bullpen management, but rather it is an indication of the restraints he had to work with.

Wandy Peralta: B-

When the season began, Wandy Peralta quickly hit a rough patch, and many SF Giants fans were not looking forward to his appearances.

However, he settled down and finished the season on a positive note.

On the year, the 29-year-old produced a solid 3.29 ERA (4.22 FIP) with 25 strikeouts in 27.1 innings. However, in September, he pitched to a 0.71 ERA in nine games.

Peralta flashes a mid-90’s fastball and pairs it with a good slider and changeup while inducing ground balls in 45.9 percent of his batted ball events. On top of this, he has a 12.7 percent swinging-strike rate.

Peralta does a lot of things well on the mound, especially from the left side. He has the potential to become a higher-leverage reliever, but he needs to be more consistent.

Caleb Baragar: C+

Surprisingly, Caleb Baragar made the club out of camp and performed well as a rookie. The 26-year-old only had eight innings of work at Triple-A before getting promoted to the big club and sticking on the roster.

In 22.1 innings, the left-handed hurler posted a 4.03 ERA (4.04 FIP) with 19 strikeouts and only five walks. To his credit, Baragar was stingy with allowing baserunners as he allowed less than one baserunner per inning.

Similar to many other relievers, the Indiana University product got better as the season wore on as he yielded zero runs in his final 8.1 innings.

Sam Selman: B-

Sam Selman was added as a minor league free agent before the 2019 season, and this is looking to be a shrewd addition.

Selman strung together a strong season that included a 3.72 ERA (3.86 FIP) with a 28 percent strikeout rate as well as an 11.1 percent swinging-strike rate. The 29-year-old has no problem getting opposing hitters to swing-and-miss while flashing a low-90’s fastball and a devastating slider.

Opposing hitters posted a meager .174 batting average against Selman’s slider. This pitch is one of the few true out pitches in the SF Giants bullpen.

He has the potential to become a closer and continues to show growth since he originally signed with San Francisco.

Jarlin Garcia: B+

Jarlin Garcia, surprisingly, was placed on waivers by the Miami Marlins before the 2020 season, and that was to the Giants benefit. I say surprisingly because he pitched to an acceptable 4.29 ERA in three seasons with the Marlins.

Garcia only yielded one earned run in 18.1 frames with 14 strikeouts and seven walks with a 3.14 FIP. While his 0.49 ERA looks great on the surface, the Giants never felt comfortable enough to use him as a closer.

He did demonstrate okay command with a 3.4 K/9, but I think San Francisco felt that his command was not ideal for high-leverage situations when mixed with his less-than-stellar 19.2 percent strikeout rate.

That said, he exceeded any expectations that the SF Giants could have had from a waiver claim. He was exceptional at preventing runs and is under contract for the next several seasons.

Shaun Anderson: B

I may sound like a broken record at this point, but Shaun Anderson is yet another pitcher who got better as the season wore on.

In 18 appearances, the right-handed reliever posted a 3.52 ERA (5.73 FIP) with 18 strikeouts and 12 walks. Despite the high walk total, he was difficult to barrel up as he allowed only 10 hits.

Anderson emerged as one of the few reliable, right-handed relievers. Out of the bullpen, the University of Florida product flashed a mid-90’s fastball with a good changeup and slider.

Opposing hitters only had a .108 batting average against Anderson’s slider, whereas no one got a hit off of his changeup.

He has the stuff and the mound presence to become a high-leverage arm but needs to command his arsenal better. That said, he finished the season on a high note with five scoreless innings down the stretch in September.

Sam Coonrod: D-

Admittedly, Sam Coonrod was just 0.1 innings shy of reaching the 15-inning threshold I originally set for consideration, but I decided to make an exception. Coonrod has some of the best stuff in the bullpen, but he did not command it in 2020.

On the year, he produced a 9.82 ERA (4.76 FIP) with 15 strikeouts, seven walks, and 17 hits in 14.2 innings. He allowed way too many baserunners to be an effective reliever, and it showed in his surface-level results.

Coonrod flashes a high-90’s fastball with a bevy of other pitches to keep opposing hitters honest, but it did not come together this season.

After posting a 3.58 ERA in 2019, there was hope that he would become a quality reliever in 2020. That did not happen, and this year was a disaster for the former fifth-round pick.

Of the relievers who are under contract for next season, Coonrod is one of the few who really needs to make a good impression in Spring Training.

The 2020 season is now in the books. What grades would you give to each of the Giants players?