SF Giants Spring Training: 6 Competitions to Watch

SF Giants outfielder Jaylin Davis swings. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SF Giants outfielder Jaylin Davis swings. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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SF Giants, Sam Selman
SF Giants’ left-handed reliever Sam Selman pitches against the Texas Rangers on August 1, 2020. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

SF Giants Spring Training Competition:
Closer: Jake McGee, Sam Selman, Reyes Moronta, Tyler Rogers

Favorite: Jake McGee
Biggest Competition: Sam Selman, Tyler Rogers
Longshot: Reyes Moronta

This competition will not determine who ends up on the Opening Day roster, but it might be the most important to fans. In his first season as manager, Kapler utilized a revolving door of arms to get the final three outs. At times it worked wonders, but at the beginning and end of the season, fans were left watching the back of the bullpen fail to turns late-game leads into victories.

I expect Kapler to find a middle ground this year. The extreme revolving door is probably a thing of the past, but I would not be surprised if a pair of relievers rotate through save opportunities. Offseason acquisition Jake McGee is coming off an undeniably dominant performance last season, something Kapler did not have in 2020. Reyes Moronta is the only other reliever with a similar track-record of effectiveness. Of course, he’s coming off shoulder surgery and already struggled with command before his injury.

Tyler Rogers was quietly quite solid last year in San Francisco as well. As unorthodox as Rogers is, he’s appeared in 46 MLB games over the past two years. In that sample, he’s completed 45.2 innings of work, allowed only two home runs, walked nine batters, struck out 43, posted a 3.15 ERA with a FIP (2.81), xFIP (3.34), and xERA (2.82) that suggest he’s been a borderline elite reliever.

Of this group, Sam Selman has the weakest resume. However, as effective as Tony Watson and Jarlin García were in 2020, peripherals and batted-ball data consistently favored Selman as the most effective southpaw in the Giants’ pen. That shouldn’t be the case this season with McGee in the mix, but Selman’s soft stuff and reliance on his unique slider could be a useful change of pace from McGee’s power pitching.