In a season full of surprises, the SF Giants had the best bullpen in baseball as it registered a 2.99 ERA in 2021. Most of that unit is set to return next season, and they could be positioned to improve upon that mark if Camilo Doval and Kervin Castro take the next step.
Projecting the 2022 SF Giants bullpen
Currently, the only two key arms who will not be returning are hard-throwing righty Jay Jackson and veteran lefty Tony Watson. Jackson was traded to the Atlanta Braves earlier in the offseason, whereas Watson is a free agent.
The Giants could bring back the 11-year veteran as his quirky delivery is an excellent fit in a bullpen that offers a variety of different looks. Outside of these two pitchers, the Giants will see plenty of familiar faces. This projection looks at pitchers who are currently on the 40-man roster while considering that the bullpen only has eight open slots.
Giants managed Gabe Kapler is not necessarily committed to the idea of having only one closer but he does not employee a closer-by-committee either. He typically sticks with one closer, but he is not afraid to deviate from that plan.
In terms of high-leverage arms, Kapler will have a trio of arms at his disposal including Camilo Doval, Jake McGee, and Tyler Rogers. If all goes according to plan, Doval will get the majority of the save situations in the ninth inning.
However, Kapler could play the matchups for McGee and Rogers in the eighth inning depending on the situation. Rogers is better at inducing ground balls, posting a 57.6 percent ground ball rate in 2021, due in part to his submarine-style delivery.
On the other hand, McGee brings a lot of late-inning experience with a fastball-heavy approach that he commands well in the strike zone. Incredibly, the lefty used his fastball 94.9 percent of the time while recording 8.7 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 2021. Opposing hitters know what is coming, but they struggle to do any damage against McGee's fastball.
Nevertheless, the ninth inning will go to Doval. The hard-throwing righty can reach triple digits on his fastball that he pairs with a biting slider. Doval did not allow an earned run in his final 15 appearances of the season in a stretch that opened a lot of eyes.