Ranking the top 3 SF Giants starting pitching targets in terms of fit

Wild Card Series - San Diego Padres v New York Mets - Game Three
Wild Card Series - San Diego Padres v New York Mets - Game Three / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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The SF Giants might have at least one vacancy to fill in the starting rotation if Carlos Rodón signs elsewhere in free agency. While they may not be able to replicate his production, there are a few free-agent starters who fit what the Giants value in a pitcher.

Ranking the top 3 SF Giants starting pitching targets in terms of fit

Recently, we have been ranking the top Giants pitching targets based on certain qualifies like SO/W ratio, ground ball rate, and HR/9 rate. The Giants value these qualities and they are important because teams that generally excel in these areas tend to have better win-loss records than those that do not.

Giants starters ranked fourth in SO/W ratio (3.94), first in ground ball rate (49.1%), and first in HR/9 (0.77) in baseball. Oddly enough, the Giants were the only team among the top 10 in terms of SO/W ratio to not reach the playoffs.

In many cases, some of the better teams in these categories tend to not only reach the playoffs, but finish first in their division as well. The Giants were the exception but the point is, San Francisco has a type when it comes to starting pitchers. They like pitchers who fill up the strike zone, keep the ball on the ground, and prevent home runs at an above-average rate.

Of course, some of the top arms like Carlos Rodón, Justin Verlander, and Jacob deGrom make a lot of sense as well. However, in the case of Verlander and deGrom, they have to pick San Francisco for a lot of reasons including the potential for contending.

That might be a tough sell given that the Giants finished with an 81-81 record and play in a competitive division along with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. Verlander, deGrom, or Rodón would certainly fit what the Giants want and need in a pitcher but the front office is creative and adverse to long-term deals.

That is why they target qualities. They could easily target the best pitchers on the market but that takes a lot in terms of dollars and years. Given this and what the Giants like in a pitcher, there are a few who make a lot of sense as under-the-radar targets.

1. Chriss Bassitt - 3.40 SO/W, 48.8% GB rate, and a 0.94 HR/9 rate

There are only four free-agent starting pitchers (Min. 100 innings) who posted an above-average SO/W (2.89), ground ball rate (42.5%), and HR/9 rate (1.16) in 2022. There was actually five but the fifth, Clayton Kershaw, has already re-signed with the Dodgers in a move that surprised no one.

Chris Bassitt might be might favorite target for a lot of reasons. He is not the best option, but he fits what the Giants like in a pitcher. Plus, he is heading into his age-34 season in 2023, meaning that there is a ceiling in terms of contract length.

For a front office that does not like to hand out long-term deals, Bassitt fits the mold of a pitcher who could be signed to a deal of three or four years. MLB Trade Rumors predicted that he would receive a three-year, $60 million deal this winter.

That is a lot of money to spend on any player but the eight-year veteran is showing no signs of slowing down. He posted a 3.42 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 1.41 WHIP, 8.3 K/9, and a 3.41 SO/W ratio in 30 starts for the New York Mets.

This is the third straight full season that Bassitt has made at least 25 starts, which is a number that would carry value for a Giants rotation that is high in injury risk.

The right-handed hurler strikes out hitters at around a league-average rate, but he does well to keep the ball on the ground and in the ball park. In terms of pitching outcomes, he is probably the most similar to Logan Webb and Alex Cobb on the list.

He likely would not replicate Carlos Rodón's performance, but he would represent a very solid No. 2 or 3 pitcher. Perhaps, the biggest knock on him is the fact that he has a qualifying offer attached to his name. Any team that signs him will lose a draft pick. That could be enough of a deterrent to prevent Bassitt from landing in San Francisco but it is hard to ignore that he does a lot of what the Giants like in a pitcher.