SF Giants set front end of the rotation in stone after announcing first three starters

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

On Friday, SF Giants manager Bob Melvin went on the Murph and Markus show on KNBR to discuss a number of topics, including the starting rotation. He confirmed that the starting rotation would open with Logan Webb, Kyle Harrison, and Jordan Hicks.

SF Giants set front end of the rotation in stone after announcing first three starters

For Webb, it will mark his third straight Opening Day start. An honor he has certainly deserved. He continues to climb up the franchise leaderboard in this category as he is set to be tied with John Montefusco, Mike Krukow, John Burkett, and Liván Hernández.

Juan Marichal holds the franchise record with 10 Opening Day starts. At this rate, Webb could reach Time Lincecum (4) and Madison Bumgarner (5) within the next few seasons.

Melvin's confirmation of the first three starters was not necessarily a surprise. However, the back end of the Opening Day rotation still remains a mystery. Mason Black, Landen Roupp, Keaton Winn, and Daulton Jefferies are still in the mix.

Perhaps, Winn has the inside track given that he is already occupying a spot on the 40-man roster. He was slowed be some elbow discomfort to start the spring, but he has since made two Cactus League appearances and should have one more start before the season begins. The question will be how much length he can give in his first start, but the Giants would be happy with four or five innings.

Of course, the rotation will receive a huge boost once Blake Snell has built up enough arm strength. Snell had been pitching in bullpens and simulated games before signing with the Giants, but he will still need a couple of exhibition starts to be ready.

In the meantime, the rotation will be anchored by Webb, Harrison and Hicks. Webb is coming off of a stellar season in which he posted a 3.25 ERA in 32 starts while finishing in second in the NL Cy Young voting.

Harrison and Hicks are more unknowns to some degree. Harrison is regarded as one of the best pitching prospects in baseball and will get an extended look to prove he can stay. The lefty prospect has a 4.26 ERA with 17 strikeouts against 8 walks in 12.2 innings this spring. Overall, his numbers have been encouraging except for his final Cactus League outing where he yielded four earned runs in 3.1 innings on Saturday.

On the other hand, the Giants are experimenting with Hicks as a starter. He had been a reliever for much of his pro career, but he worked mostly out of the rotation in the lower minors. There are a couple of questions he needs to answer to prove he can stick in the rotation, but he has had a quality camp thus far.