The SF Giants starting rotation could get a jolt in 2023 if one of its key pitchers is able to rediscover his 2021 form. Veteran starter Anthony DeSclafani is looking to prove that his injured-plagued 2022 season is behind him and the early returns are promising.
Veteran SF Giants starter having strong camp after injury-riddled 2022 campaign
DeSclafani hit the injured list near the end of the 2021 season with ankle discomfort. That discomfort carried over into last season as he was limited to just five starts before undergoing season-ending ankle surgery.
He did not look anything like the pitcher who posted a 3.17 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 1.098 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, and a 3.62 SO/W ratio in 31 outings for San Francisco in 2021. The Giants rewarded DeSclafani with a three-year, $36 million deal in free agency, but the first year of that deal was a lost season due to injury.
The eight-year veteran struggled to the tune of a 6.63 ERA while his four-seam fastball and sinker regressed to the prior year. Both of those pitchers hovered around 92 MPH in 2022 after sitting comfortably at 94 MPH in the prior year.
DeSclafani came into camp with a bit of an unknown role. The Giants added Ross Stripling and Sean Manaea in the offseason, giving them six, experienced starting pitchers on the roster. After missing most of last season, it seemed like that the Giants would try to manage DeSclafani's workload by having him fill multiple roles on the pitching staff. That could still be the case.
However, it is tough to ignore that the right-handed pitcher has looked better than just about every other Giants pitcher in camp. Spring training stats can be misleading and often do not carry much weight, but his fastball velocity appears to have ticked back up to his 2021 levels.
In two official Cactus League outings, DeSclafani has completed 5.2 scoreless frames with eight strikeouts against only one walk. This does not include a three-inning outing against Team USA where he held a lineup consisting of Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Mike Trout, and Mookie Betts scoreless.
On paper, the Giants have a pretty solid 1-2-3 with Logan Webb, Alex Cobb, and Stripling. They need some quality innings from the back end of the rotation and DeSclafani could slot into that role. We do not yet know how many starts the veteran hurler will be able to make, but at the very least, he looks good so far in camp.