SF Giants Opening Day bullpen in 2023:
LR: Sean Hjelle
MR: Kervin Castro
MR: Camilo Doval
MR: Caleb Baragar
MR: Tyler Rogers
SU: Gregory Santos
SU: Jake McGee
CL: Sam Long
The Giants handed out a three-year deal to Jake McGee this past offseason, but already in his mid-30s with a long injury history, they hope to have other options in the back-of-the-bullpen by 2023. With that said, Zaidi is unlikely to be interested in paying a premium for a closer through free agency. If the team is going to make significant upgrades to their bullpen, it’s probably going to come from the system.
Kervin Castro, Caleb Baragar, Gregory Santos, and Sam Long were all developed as starting pitchers. Baragar found a role in the Giants pen last season upon a move to the bullpen, and the organization has decided to do the same with Castro and Santos. While neither of them are currently on the roster, they are two of the best reliever prospects in the system.
Sam Long was a sensation at spring training and will get a chance to start, but it’s far more likely that he soon follows with a move to relief of his own. Of all the prospects, Long has shown the best combination of stuff and command. There’s a case for Santos, Castro, or prospect Camilo Doval to pitch their way into the closer role, but I lean towards Long for now.
Hjelle has looked like a future fourth starter since the Giants drafted him in 2018. At 7’0” tall, the righty has a unique profile that could give him an even higher ceiling than his average pitching arsenal suggests. However, Zaidi and his front office have prioritized starting pitchers that can dominate opponents in short bursts over starters that can work deeper into games by limiting contact. On the flip side, they’ve been far more open to unique soft-throwing relievers. Many would project Hjelle in the back of the rotation with Beede or Corry in the pen, but I believe the Giants could move in the opposite direction, deploying Hjelle as a long-reliever.
By 2023, SF Giants fans hope to see their favorite team back in championship contention. Prospects like Joey Bart and Marco Luciano will play a pivotal part in reaching that level of play, but the front office under Farhan Zaidi will have to acquire premium talent. Players like Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, and Jose Abreu could all play major roles in San Francisco’s next dynasty.