3 SF Giants Futures Bets to Consider
2. Kevin Gausman NL Cy Young (+7500)
Implied Probability: 1.32%
Kevin Gausman may not have received any Cy Young votes in 2020, but the Giants’ ace heading into 2020 might have had a stronger case for the award than many realize. While he ultimately finished one out short of qualifying as a league leader, Gausman would have easily eclipsed the threshold had the Giants not eased all of their starters early last season. Among qualified starters, Gausman would have had the fifth-best strikeout rate (32.2%), xFIP (3.06), and SIERA (3.24) in the National League. Those numbers are especially impressive from a pitcher whose odds to win the NL Cy Young this year require just a $10 bet for a potential $750 payout.
For most of Gausman’s career, he’s been limited by a one-sided repertoire. While his 4-seam fastball has always had good velocity, it’s usually played as an average big-league offering. With only one pitch (his split-finger) consistently generating elite results, he’s always struggled to work deep into games. However, over the past couple of seasons, Gausman has begun integrated a more traditional changeup into his arsenal. Last season opponents hit just .136 against it.
Gausman’s slider has functioned as his third-best pitch for most of his career. While it has consistently generated a whiff-rate of about 30%, opponents have also teed off on the pitch, posting a slugging percentage over .500. If a more traditional changeup emerges as a legitimate secondary offering, Gausman could more consistently save his slider for strikeout situations. An arsenal with a plus splitter, above-average changeup, average slider, and average fastball positions him for far better success the second and third times through opponents’ orders.
If Gausman can build on his 2020 success this season, he’ll have another big factor working in his favor. Many of the biggest Cy Young contenders in the National League are in the San Diego Padres or Los Angeles Dodgers’ rotations. While their best starters will be competing for the limelight on their own team, Gausman will be the undeniable ace in San Francisco, barring a Johnny Cueto renaissance. That extra attention could be the final difference-maker to put him over the top.