SF Giants applying index fund strategy with recent waiver claims to improve the bullpen

Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates
Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

It is no secret that the SF Giants bullpen has been a weak spot as they have posted a 4.20 ERA as a unit, which ranks as the 10th-worst mark in baseball. They are looking to bolster the bullpen through waiver claims as they have added their third pitcher in the last week in lefty reliever Aaron Fletcher.

SF Giants applying index fund strategy with recent waiver claims to improve the bullpen

What is an index fund? It is an investment fund that consists of fractional shares that make up an entire index. In essence, an index fund is a little bit of everything within an index.

The Giants are using that strategy by adding a little bit of everyone who is available right now. It is a strategy that can, no pun intended, pay dividends. In a way, it is how they acquired Jarlin García after aggressively churning the waiver wire or signed Dominic Leone after handing out a bunch of minor league deals prior to the 2021 season.

Eventually one of these deals is going to hit. The Giants will likely address the bullpen at the trade deadline, but in the meantime, they have added a few pitchers who give them a little extra roster flexibility.

Aaron Fletcher is the newest addition as he was claimed off of waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Fletcher came over to Pittsburgh from the Seattle Mariners organization in spring training, so the Giants are only about two degrees of separation away from another trade with Seattle.

The 26-year-old pitcher was originally drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 14th round of the 2018 draft out of the University of Houston in Houston, Texas. He worked as a starter in college, but he has transitioned to the bullpen for the most part since becoming a pro.

Across four minor league seasons, Fletcher has registered a 2.56 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 9.0 K/9, and a 4.10 SO/W ratio. He also gets a healthy amount of ground balls as he has induced a ground ball in well over 50 percent of batted ball events at nearly every minor league stop.

In a brief sample, the lefty has struggled mightily against major league hitters. Fletcher has allowed 20 earned runs on 15 strikeouts against 12 walks in 19.2 innings in parts of three seasons with the Mariners and Pirates.

To make room on the 40-man roster, José Álvarez was transferred over to the 60-day injury list with elbow soreness. He was placed on the injured list on July 5, so he is not eligible to be activated until the first week of September at the earliest.

In the meantime, the Giants have Yunior Marté and Mauricio Llovera trying to carve out a role in the 2022 bullpen. However, they have a few new options available including Fletcher.