What if the SF Giants round out the starting rotation with an internal candidate?
2. Sammy Long
There were moments in the 2021 season where is looked like the Giants had found a hidden gem in Sammy Long. Prior to last season, the left-handed hurler had never pitched above Single-A, but he was moved aggressively up the minor league circuit after signing a minor-league deal with the Giants last offseason.
He pitched across three Giants affiliates in 2021 including a lone appearance with San Jose to begin the season. Long reached Triple-A by the end of May as the Giants continued to be impressed with his development.
Despite the lack of experience in the upper minors, the lefty mowed down minor-league hitters. In 16 appearances, including seven starts, Long generated a 2.34 ERA, 0.992 WHIP, 11.7 K/9, and a stout 4.23 SO/W ratio in the minors.
He was promoted to the Giants for a start against the Texas Rangers in June, collecting seven strikeouts while allowing just one earned run on one hit. It was a promising debut for the 26-year-old pitcher, but he struggled to maintain consistency as the season progressed.
In total, he registered a 5.53 ERA, 4.23 FIP, 1.27 WHIP, 8.4 K/9, and a good 2.53 SO/W ratio in 40.2 innings with the Giants in 2021. His surface-level stats were not necessarily strong enough to be considered for a rotation spot in 2022 but he did flash an above-average curve ball.
He used the curve ball 34.2 percent of the time while holding opposing hitters to a .220 batting average with 19 strikeouts against it.
The Giants can be patient with Long as he has two minor-league options remaining. He will likely continue to get much-needed minor-league seasoning. However, there is still considerable buzz within the Giants organization about the southpaw.
This is purely my opinion, but it feels like the Giants internally view Long as having higher upside than Tyler Beede or Sean Hjelle. The left-handed hurler may not make the roster out of camp, but his progress will be monitored closely in case of an injury or regression from the starting rotation.