5 SF Giants ZIPS Takeaways:
Positive: Kevin Gausman
Last offseason, ZIPS was all-in on Kevin Gausman, projecting his next five seasons as better than Madison Bumgarner’s. After Bumgarner signed a five-year, $80 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Gausman had to settle for a one-year, $9 million prove-it deal with the Giants that seemed absurd. A year later, it looks pretty prescient.
ZIPS is once again betting on Gausman to be a strong option. With that said, it’s not a believer in his ability to be an ace or two starter. Instead, he’s projected to hold a 3.93 ERA (3.61 FIP) and produce 2.5 WAR. It may not be what the Giants will need to be competitive right now, but if they can find some depth or a top-end arm elsewhere, he’s an obvious foundation piece in a strong rotation.
Over his career, Gausman has been a solid mid-rotation arm. In 985.1 career innings, he’s held opponents to a 4.26 ERA (4.06 FIP) and posted a 3.16 strikeout-to-walk ratio. If it were not for an abysmal 2019 season, when he posted a 5.72 ERA, he probably would have received a sizable long-term deal last offseason. Of course, after his bounceback 2020, rather than pursuing a longer-term deal on the open market, Gausman accepted a qualifying offer with the Giants to return on a one-year, $18.9 million deal.
If ZIPS once again projects Gausman’s season well, he will enter free agency next season with a strong nine-year resume. None of his years have been as dominant as some scouts expected when he was the fourth overall pick by the Baltimore Orioles in 2012, but in seven of the nine seasons he’s been a solid mid-rotation arm and that should finally get him his first sizable long-term deal.