SF Giants: Trio of Pitchers Making All Star Case
By Jeff Young
The All-Star game is right around the corner, and a trio of SF Giants hurlers are making compelling cases to represent the National League in Colorado in July.
SF Giants: Trio of Pitchers Making All-Star Cases
Perhaps, the most surprising part of the Giants’ 28-167 start is how strongly the starting rotation has performed. The rotation has posted a 2.56 ERA, which is the best mark in baseball by a fair margin.
San Francisco’s starters have done well to control the strike zone as their 3.57 SO/W ratio is the eighth-best ratio in baseball.
With that being said, their success lies in avoiding good contact. As a unit, Giants’ starters have induced a ground ball in 50.5 percent of all batted ball events. Not surprisingly, since they are consistently preventing hitters from generating loft on their swings, the starters have allowed 0.60 HR/9 as well, which is the second-best rate in baseball.
In a lot of ways, the Giants rotation has been the best in baseball and they are doing it by limiting free passes and getting hitters to hit the ball into a strong infield defense that includes Evan Longoria and Brandon Crawford, both of whom have three Gold Gloves apiece.
The effectiveness of the rotation is beginning to warrant national attention and that could bode well for a few Giants pitchers. Notably, Kevin Gausman and Anthony DeSclafani in the rotation and Tyler Rogers in the bullpen.
Gausman and DeSclafani have been two of the best starters in the National League:
- Gausman: 1.66 ERA, 2.48 FIP, .804 WHIP, 10.1 K/9, 4.79 SO/W, 2.6 WAR across 59.2 innings.
- DeSclafani: 2.03 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 0.919 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 3.69 SO/W, 1.9 WAR across 53.1 innings.
In terms of ERA among qualified pitchers, Gausman and DeSclafani come in at third and seventh, respectively. Only Brandon Woodruff of the Milwaukee Brewers has a higher WAR (2.8) than Gausman among pitchers.
Since joining the SF Giants, Gausman has certainly cemented himself as the ace of the rotation. Similarly, DeSclafani is in his first season with San Francisco and he has quietly produced like a top-of-the-rotation arm as well.
Interestingly, both pitchers are effectively generating outs in different ways. Gausman racks up high strikeout totals, whereas DeSclafani induces a lot of ground outs. Both have done well to limit free passes, which appears to be a key trait of this rotation.
The stats that Gausman and DeSclafani are putting up make it an easy case for the National League All-Star team. Even if either one struggles in the next few starts, their numbers should still be good enough to be recognized as an all-star.
On the other hand, Tyler Rogers has been one of the best arms out of the bullpen:
- Rogers: 0.70 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 0.818 WHIP, 2.60 SO/W, 1.2 WAR across 25.2 innings.
No reliever in baseball has been called upon as frequently as Rogers, who has already made 25 appearances. There is value in a reliever being as effective as Rogers has while being able to handle such as a heavy workload.
Unliked Gausman and DeSclafani, the submarine-style reliever does not rely on premium velocity to generate outs. In fact, his fastball velocity sits comfortably in the low-80’s, but it is how the pitch is delivered is what makes Rogers so effective.
His unique arm angle and the rise he gets on his fastball make it tough for hitters to get the ball in the air. As a result, he gets a lot of ground balls (68.8 percent) for a solid infield defense.
Plus, he is beginning to solidify his role as the team’s closer and recording saves is the type of counting stat that gets relievers noticed for All-Star games. Nevertheless, teams can never have enough funky bullpen arms and Rogers has been one of the best relievers in the National League thus far.
The All-Star game does not take place until the middle of July, but three SF Giants pitchers have made compelling cases nearly two months into the season. If their performances hold, then all three should represent the Giants in Colorado. Alex Wood is deserving of the recognition as well, so the Giants could add one more to the mix.