SF Giants: Michael Plassmeyer fits front office’s pitching archetype
By Jeff Young
The SF Giants swung a trade on Friday by acquiring pitching prospect Michael Plassmeyer from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Matt Wisler. The Giants designated Wisler for assignment earlier in the week, but they were able to work out a trade prior to his release.
The addition of Wisler did not pay dividends for San Francisco but it was a worthy risk. In a lot of ways, Plassmeyer fits the type of pitcher that the front office targets.
SF Giants: Michael Plassmeyer fits front office’s wish list
Plassmeyer was drafted in the fourth round of the 2018 draft by the Seattle Mariners out of the University of Missouri. Before he could even get comfortable with Seattle, he was shipped to the Rays along with Mike Zunino and Guillermo Heredia in November of 2018.
In three minor league seasons, the left-handed hurler has registered a 2.23 ERA, 1.013 WHIP, and 9.0 K/9 while working primarily as a starter. He began the year pitching for the Rays’ Double-A affiliate and he is making a lateral move with the Giants.
Plassmeyer was known as a command-over-stuff pitcher as a collegiate arm, and those types of hurlers tend to move up the minor league ranks relatively quickly. He has excelled at every level thus far including posting a 3.64 ERA in seven appearances in 2021.
Plassmeyer’s skillset is the type that the Giants front office targets. He does not overpower opposing hitters as his fastball sits in the low-90’s that he pairs with a curveball and a changeup. The changeup is the better of his two secondary offerings.
Despite this, the 24-year-old is a tough at-bat as he releases the ball from a low arm slot (similar to Madison Bumgarner or Conner Menez) and spots his pitches consistently in the strike zone. The latter quality is the one that stands out. As he has proven throughout his pro career, Plassmeyer can generate strikeouts at a healthy rate while limiting the free passes as evidenced by his strong 5.47 SO/W rate.
Since the new front office has taken over, they have targeted pitchers who have swing-and-miss stuff while being able to locate these pitches in the strike zone. Nick Swiney, Kyle Harrison, and Sam Long are a few names that fit this mold. Plassmeyer is the next in line.
The major league team has excelled in this area as they have the seventh-highest (3.24) SO/W ratio in baseball. Furthermore, they have the second-lowest walk (2.71) BB/9 in baseball, so they rarely hand out mistakes. There is a type of pitcher that they seek and it is not necessarily one with a power fastball.
Plassmeyer is the most recent example of this type of pitcher but he will not be the last. The Giants acquire an arm who knows what to do with the ball once he is on the mound and the cost was minimal. For the Giants, no move is too small and this one fits with the type of rotation they are building at the major league level.