Projected SF Giants 2024 Opening Day rotation could be club's youngest in years

2024 San Francisco Giants Spring Training
2024 San Francisco Giants Spring Training / Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/GettyImages

The SF Giants are putting a lot of faith in their young pitchers. In fact, 2023 rookies Tristan Beck and Keaton Winn could round out the final two spots in the rotation, per Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Projected SF Giants 2024 Opening Day rotation could be club's youngest in years

I remember that the 1998 Giants starting rotation featured not one, not two, but three pitchers over the age of 35. This included Mark Gardner (36), Orel Hershiser (39), and Danny Darwin (42). On the other hand, that rotation also included Shawn Estes (25), Kirk Reuter (27), and Russ Ortiz (24).

There was no one in the middle. You either had starters who were really old or really young. It was quite the contrast. Now, Reuter would be considered one of the seasoned veterans if he were placed in this year's rotation.

The Giants are betting on Alex Cobb (hip) and Robbie Ray (Tommy John surgery) to return at some point this season. The Giants have already transferred Ray to the 60-day injured list as he continues to recover. He will be eligible to return in June at the earliest. The Giants hope that Cobb can return a bit sooner than that.

In the meantime, they will rely on their young pitching depth more than they have in years. Logan Webb, who will be entering his age-27 season in 2024, will be the seasoned veteran on the staff.

Jordan Hicks came up as a reliever, but the Giants will be working him out as a starter in an interesting experiment. Similar to Webb, he will be entering his age-27 season.

After that, it gets a bit younger. Kyle Harrison seems firmly entrenched as the third option in the rotation despite the fact that he was just a 21-year-old rookie last season. The lefty pitcher will be followed by Keaton Winn and Tristan Beck who will be entering their age-26 and age-28 seasons, respectively. Yes, Beck will be the oldest from this group in a baseball sense even though he just debuted last season.

According to Pavlovic, both Winn and Beck are the frontrunners to round out the rotation. While they might be the frontrunners, they also might be the only realistic options.

The only other starter on the 40-man roster with major league experience is Sean Hjelle. Hjelle has struggled to the tune of a 6.17 ERA in 23 outings over parts of the past two season. He is very much on the bubble in this competition.

In terms of non-roster invitees, the Giants just do not have a lot of veteran options. In previous years, they usually brought in pitchers with some degree of major league experience, but that is just not the case this year. Rather, they will be relying on a handful of young pitchers headlined by Mason Black and Carson Whisenhunt. Black has experience at Triple-A, so he could push for a rotation spot in camp, but they likely want to give both Winn and Beck an extended look.

So, the Giants will feature a very inexperienced and young rotation when Opening Day rolls around unless they make another addition or two. And, the lineup should include several players under 30 as well such as Jung Hoo Lee, Marco Luciano, Thairo Estrada, and Patrick Bailey.

The young movement has taken a little longer than some fans had hoped, but it feels like it is finally here. There is excitement with that and there will be some growing pains along the way. In a way, this feels a bit like the 2008 season when the Giants committed to a youth movement and that paid dividends in future years.