SF Giants option struggling reliever to Triple-A

San Francisco Giants v Atlanta Braves
San Francisco Giants v Atlanta Braves / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

This has been a tough season for SF Giants reliever Zack Littell. After posting strong results in 2021, the 26-year-old reliever has struggled to replicate that performance this year.

SF Giants option struggling reliever to Triple-A

Prior to Friday's game, the Giants optioned Littell to Triple-A with Yunior Marté taking his place, per the team's transaction log.

San Francisco originally signed the right-handed reliever to a minor league pact before the 2021 season. He was quickly promoted to the active roster where he registered a 2.92 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 1.13 WHIP, 9.2 K/9, and a 2.63 SO/W ratio across 61.2 frames for the Giants last year.

Littell was rarely used as a late-innings arm, but was effective as a middle reliever for a bullpen that led baseball with a 2.99 ERA last season. The results have not been there for Littell as well as for the bullpen in general.

anHe has posted a 4.97 ERA, 4.96 FIP, 1.17 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, and a 8.33 SO/W ratio in 25 appearances with the Giants in 2022. The strikeout numbers have declined compared to last year, but he has attacked the strike zone consistently as he has a 0.9 BB/9 ratio in 2022.

The five-year veteran has struggled to keep the been in the ballpark as he has yielded seven home runs across 29 frames. Preventing the long ball will be a tough task in Triple-A as the Pacific Coast League usually favors the hitter.

If the bullpen is going to make a turnaround this year, they will need Littell's effectiveness to return. For now, he will work out of the River Cats' bullpen.

Yunior Marté will take his spot on the active roster. The Giants quietly added the former Kansas City Royals product to the 40-man roster in the offseason following his first season in the Giants organization where he tallied a 3.49 ERA in 43 appearances with Sacramento.

The righty returned to Sacramento to start the season and he has posted similarly strong results including a 3.57 ERA with 25 strikeouts against six walks in 17.2 innings in Triple-A.

The Giants did promote Marté to the major league club earlier in the year where he allowed eight earned runs in 9.1 innings with the Giants. He will get another chance to carve out a role in the bullpen but he clearly opened some eyes with his performance in Triple-A.