With the addition of right-handed relievers Matt Wisler and Dedniel Núñez, Jeff Young takes inventory on the SF Giants bullpen right now.
Before the SF Giants began the offseason with more questions than answers on the right side of the bullpen. After signing right-handed pitcher Matt Wisler to a big-league contract, drafting young righty Dedniel Núñez in the Rule 5 Draft, and adding a handful of relievers, like Dominic Leone, on minor-league pacts, things are starting to take shape.
With that being said, they still need to add some more reliable right-handed relievers, but the Wisler addition brings some stability, while the others add necessary depth. To put it differently, they are beginning to accumulate a lot of bullpen options. Something the team desperately needed heading into the offseason.
The Giants already had a lot of left-handed options, so there might not be as many spots available as some fans might think when next season begins. Assuming that they carry 13 pitchers, including eight relievers, we can start to put a rough draft of what the 2021 bullpen could look like.
The left side of the bullpen has a little more stability, so it is the easiest side to project:
- Sam Selman: 3.72 ERA, 3.86 FIP, 1.14 WHIP, 23 SO, and 19 BB in 19.1 innings in 2020.
- Wandy Peralta: 3.29 ERA, 4.22 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 25 SO, and 11 BB in 27.1 innings in 2020.
- Jarlin Garcia: 0.49 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 0.98 WHIP, 14 SO and 7 BB in 18,1 innings in 2020.
- Caleb Baragar: 4.03 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 0.98 WHIP, 19 SO, and 5 BB in 22.1 innings in 2020.
Barring any injuries, the names mentioned above will begin next season as the lefties in the bullpen. Baragar would be the least likely to make the team, especially with options remaining. However, he was singled out by Giants manager Gabe Kapler as someone who got better as the season wore on.
All four showed that they have the stuff to work out of a major league bullpen. And, in the case of Selman and Peralta, they showed that they might have the arsenal to handle particular roles (closer in the case of Selman, long-reliever in the case of Peralta).
The right side of the bullpen is a little less certain, but the addition of Wisler and Núñez does give us an idea of what it could look like when the year begins:
- Matt Wisler: 1.07 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 1.15 WHIP, 35 SO, and 14 BB in 25.1 innings in 2020.
- Reyes Moronta (injured in 2020): 2.66 ERA, 3.38 FIP, 1.20 WHIP, 29.8 percent strikeout rate, and a 13.6 percent walk rate in three seasons.
- Dedniel Núñez : 4.47 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 24.6 percent strikeout rate, 7.7 percent walk rate, and 3.20 SO/W rate in three minor league seasons.
- Tyler Rogers: 4.50 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 1.32 WHIP, 27 SO, and 6 BB in 28 innings in 2020.
There is a lot more potential variability from the right side. If an injury flares up with any of the four above, then Shaun Anderson, Camilo Doval, or even Leone could be next in line.
I added Nunez because he has the traits to pitch well enough in the Cactus League to remain on the roster as a Rule 5 pick. His high-spin fastball velocity sits in the high-90’s when working out of the bullpen, and he commands his curveball well in the zone to get swinging strikes.
In the past with Rule 5 picks such as Travis Bergen and Dany Jimenez, we have seen that the Giants are willing to begin the year with them on the roster. However, they have consistently had a short leash with them.
Despite this, I would expect the Giants to continue making additions to the bullpen around the margins. Sure, Liam Hendriks would look great in the Orange and Black, but I do not believe that they will be shopping in that aisle. If they did though, it could go a long way.
A lot can change between now and the start of Spring Training, but the addition of Wisler and Núñez gives the SF Giants a little more clarity from the right side. And, we can begin to project what the bullpen might look like when the season begins. For a team that had some bullpen issues in 2020, have made enough improvements to get better results next year? That remains to be seen.