SF Giants Biggest Disappointments: Right-Handed Reliever Sam Coonrod
Sam Coonrod quickly became one of the more polarizing players in the SF Giants clubhouse as he became the only Giants player to stand during a communal kneel prior to the National Anthem that took place across baseball.
For years, Coonrod had been on the prospect radar as he excelled in the lower minor league levels. However, he tore his UCL in his pitching elbow and missed substantial development time after needing Tommy John surgery.
Since he has returned, he has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen. At times, it has looked like a spot he could thrive in. As a rookie in 2019, the right-handed hurler posted a 3.58 ERA with a concerningly-high 5.24 FIP in 33 games.
Similar to Logan Webb, it appeared like Coonrod had the mentality to pitch through traffic as he displayed less-than-ideal command.
However, that was not the case in 2020. the 28-year-old struggled to the tune of a 9.82 ERA (4.76 FIP) across 14.2 innings with 15 strikeouts against seven walks. There were brief times this season where it looked like Coonrod might emerge into the closer role, but he hit a rough patch down the stretch and could not recover.
For a pitcher that boasts a fastball that sits in the high-90’s, it is surprising that hitters do not look uncomfortable in their at-bats against him.
Of course, most fans will remember that he blew a save in a key game against the San Diego Padres in the final weekend of the season. If they had closed out that game, the Giants would have squeaked into the playoffs.
Though the fact that the SF Giants fell short was due to many factors, so it would be unfair to place blame all on one person. Regardless, his 2020 season was a disappointment, and it looked like he took a step back in his development.