Even coming off of a 107-win season and the NL West title, the Giants discovered themselves in a fairly troublesome place coming into this offseason. A beginning rotation price a mixed 16.5 WAR final season — good for fifth highest within the majors — discovered itself susceptible to dropping 4 mainstays who mixed for 610.2 of the 831.1 innings that it logged final season: Kevin Gausman (192 IP), Anthony DeSclafani (167.2), Alex Wood (138.2), and Johnny Cueto (114.2). On Monday, the workforce introduced two of these hurlers again into the fold, putting a three-year, $36 million agreement with DeScalafani and a two-year contract worth more than $10 million annually with Wooden. Inside one hour, the Giants introduced again 40% of their 2021 beginning rotation and solidified a possible weak level.
As with most of their teammates, DeSclafani and Wooden had near-career years in black and orange final season, they usually cashed in with good new contracts earlier than the calendar hit December. The previous got here in at No. 36 on our top 50 free agents list, with Ben Clemens projecting a two-year, $20 million contract and the median FanGraphs reader estimating two years and $19.5 million. Clearly, the Giants needed to go an additional 12 months to get that achieved. Wooden, in the meantime, was unranked on our listing, although Ben famous that he had thought-about slotting him at No. 50, and that the crowdsourced projection had him incomes a three-year, $33 million deal.
Now heading into his age-32 season, DeScalafani posted a 3.17 ERA, 3.62 FIP, and three.0 WAR throughout 167.2 innings. He’s not a flashy pitcher by any means: his 22.5% strikeout charge was solely a tick above his profession common (21.0%) coming into final season, and his 6.2% stroll charge was solely a tick beneath (6.7%). However the Giants made some necessary tweaks to his repertoire that helped him keep away from the lengthy ball, together with a lower in four-seam fastball utilization — 27.1%, a career-low. His slider grew to become each his “major” (35.7% utilization, essentially the most of any pitch) and finest pitch, with a run worth of 11; batters posted a .290 wOBA when placing it in play and whiffed on greater than 32% of swings.
DeSclafani isn’t essentially within the mould of the frontline starter, however that’s not the position he’ll be filling, and the Giants have already got that in 2021 breakout Logan Webb. What he ought to present is precisely what he did final 12 months: high quality innings. Pitching in entrance of a useful Giants’ protection that was price six outs above-average when he was on the hill helped; he actually benefitted from a .265 BABIP. However even when he regresses to what the totally different ERA estimators considered his 2021 efficiency (3.62 FIP, 3.95 xFIP, 3.95 xERA, 4.11 SIERA), he’s nonetheless a invaluable piece to have on the beginning employees.
DeSclafani certified for the ERA title together with his workload, one thing that has solely change into rarer in current seasons. Wooden, alternatively, offered higher-quality innings, simply fewer of them: 138.2 frames, together with a 3.83 ERA, 3.48 FIP, and a couple of.5 WAR. He set a profession excessive in strikeout charge at 26%, and his 6.7% stroll charge narrowly missed besting his profession mark of 6.5. He additionally posted a 51% ground-ball charge, making him one in every of simply 4 pitchers (out of 129) to put up a strikeout charge of a minimum of 25% and a ground-ball charge of a minimum of 50%. The others are the aforementioned Webb, Ranger Suárez, and Lance McCullers Jr.
Wooden’s sinker was by far his finest providing final season, however additional that includes his slider — which he solely added in his 12.2-inning 2020 — helped give hitters a special look than in years previous. For the primary time in 5 years, he really had a high-whiff pitch, with practically 40% of swings towards his slider leading to misses, his highest charge on any providing with a minimum of 100 pitches thrown since his 2016 curveball (41%). Pair that together with his already-excellent sinker (12 runs above common, per Statcast), and that’s how he ended up on that brief listing above. The massive query for 2022 and past for the soon-to-be 31-year-old might be sturdiness, because it has been all through his profession.
Even with DeSclafani and Wooden again, there are nonetheless holes to fill. Gausman led the employees with 4.8 WAR, will earn a significantly bigger contract than both of those two pitchers, and has already drawn curiosity from, amongst others, the Angels, Mariners, and Blue Jays. That’s to not say he can’t return to San Francisco, which presently has a projected $114 million in 2022 payroll up to now. (That’s with out Wooden, whose precise contract has but to be reported.) For now, Webb, DeSclafani, and Wooden would be the prime three within the rotation, with Sammy Long, Tyler Beede, and Joe Palumbo as prospects to see motion as effectively. Provided that lack of depth, it might be stunning to see the Giants go the remainder of the offseason with out signing a minimum of one, if not two, beginning pitchers. Extra arms might be wanted, however heading into Thanksgiving, a minimum of the workforce has taken care of two necessary ones.