Predicting the San Francisco Giants’ rotation in 2022


Let’s be realistic. At the start of the season, hardly anyone had predicted that the 2021 San Francisco Giants would end with 107 wins and the NL West crown. Even the most optimistic fans could not have seen such an impressive campaign arrive. The lineup was a mix of franchise stalwarts and oddball veterans. Apart from a few veterans, the reliever box was almost entirely new faces with little experience in the big leagues. The rotation was packed with strong fourth or fifth starters, but no aces. By all accounts, this team should not have known success. And yet, everything clicked.

In the roster, many veterans have either turned back time or erupted unexpectedly. Buster posey, Brandon belt and Brandon crawford looked ten years younger. Darin Ruf, Wilmer Flores and LaMonte Wade all prospered as often used utility men. Kris bryant performed well after a mid-season trade. Each piece in the range came together in a way that energized every other piece.

In the enclosure, countless faces exceeded expectations. Jake McGee developed into a closer dominant. Tony watson continued his success in San Francisco. All Tyler rogers, Jarlin Garcia, Jose allvarez, Zack Littell, Camilo Doval and Caleb Baragar has had some incredible seasons and has become one of the majors’ best enclosures.

However, the starting rotation could have been the brightest point of all. Each of the top four starters made at least 26 starts during the year, with Johnny Cueto make 21 starts as the fifth starter. Durability of the spin was key, as every starter showed the potential to treat any night. Keeping them there every chance was imperative, and the results speak for themselves.

Kevin Gausman signed a one-year contract with the Giants for the 2020 season and has played well over 12 games. He returned for the 2021 season and became the ace of the rotation. Gausman has totaled 14 wins and a 2.81 ERA out of 33 starts this year, not missing any starts in the process. High expectations had always been on the fourth overall pick in the 2010 draft since signing with Baltimore. Gausman had been glamorous on occasion but never set it up for a full season before the 2021 campaign.

Anthony DeSclafani had shown flashes of potential during a five-year race in Cincinnati, but after a nightmarish 2020 season, he landed in San Francisco. How did he respond? With 13 wins and an ERA of 3.17 out of 31 starts. DeSclafani also finished with two full shutouts, doubling the amount he had ever recorded in the previous six seasons.

Logan webb had been an interesting prospect in the Giants’ system for a few years, but hadn’t been able to translate minor league success into majors. Webb secured a rotation spot after spring practice and finished with 11 wins and a 3.03 ERA in 27 games (26 starts). Even more impressive, Webb smothered the Los Angeles Dodgers’ powerful deserved single-run offense while striking out 17 batters in 14.2 innings through the 2021 NLDS. While the Dodgers won the series, the Webb’s heroic efforts made the whole show.

Like DeSclafani, Alex Wood endured a grueling 2020 season that saw him sign with the Giants in the offseason. As a proven veteran, Wood needed to soak up the heats at the end of the rotation for San Francisco. Wood finished with 10 wins and a 3.83 ERA over 26 starts, respectable numbers for a fourth starter.

Entering the 14th season of a solid career, Cueto had seen his numbers decline in recent seasons. Relegated to fifth in the rotation, Cueto rebounded for seven wins and a 4.08 ERA in 22 games (21 starts). These numbers are not obvious, but they are much better than Cueto’s combined ERA of 5.23 in the 2019 and 2020 campaigns.

The problem with signing one-year contracts for veterans is that they all expire at the same time. Only Webb is under contract for the 2022 season. Cueto has a club option for the 2022 season, but even with a rebound campaign, a $ 5 million buyout looks more likely. And with Gausman, DeSclafani and Wood stringing together successful campaigns, each is ready for a lucrative contract this offseason.

Luckily for the Giants, this year’s free agent class is ripe for pitching. Gausman himself is a headliner of the class, but shares the top spots with known rivals Max Scherzer and Clayton kershaw. Other notable names include Robbie ray, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Rodon and Eduardo Rodriguez. Another advantage for San Francisco is their current financial situation. By the start of the season, the Giants had positioned themselves with many small one-year contracts, leaving plenty of room for payroll expansion. Now that they’ve had a very successful campaign, the payroll figures are opening up dramatically. San Francisco appears to be a competitive landing spot for several top free agent targets in the next offseason.

That being said, are there any free agents we can safely prevent from coming to San Francisco? Never say never, but Kershaw seems like a safe bet to stick with the Dodgers. Stroman has expressed his opinion on his wish to stay with the Mets, so we’ll take him out of the race here. Everyone mentioned will be a fair game.

That being said, I think the San Francisco Giants’ rotation in 2022 will look like this; Kevin Gausman, Robbie Ray, Logan Webb, Michael pineda, and Alex Wood. With Gausman finding his first sustained success in San Francisco, it seems fair that the Giants open their wallets and offer him a handsome paycheck. The idea of ​​Scherzer leaving the ship for San Francisco sounds tempting, but the seemingly high AAV it will take to sign him could scare the Giants off. Ray earned a solid salary himself after an excellent campaign with the Blue Jays, and the Giants could pair him with Gausman for a massive one-two.

Webb is under contract until after the 2026 season and he could then slip into the role of ace, but for now he’s an effective thirst. Pineda is a dark horse pick, but he’s just finished a quietly efficient run in Minnesota, and a two- to three-year contract for him isn’t unreasonable. It would be nice to find DeSclafani again, but his likely price combined with the other names in this hypothetical rotation will likely prevent him from returning. Wood’s effective season is lost in the reshuffle with all the big names in the market, returning to San Francisco as an effective veteran might be his best course of action.

The San Francisco Giants are in a desirable position. Entering an offseason with momentum, an open wallet and an ocean of talented starting pitchers. The sky is the limit for the Giants, and succeeding this offseason is the first step in following up on success. The Padres will be looking to bounce back and the Dodgers are still a threat, but with this proposed rotation and a few other moves the Giants are set to compete for another NL West crown.


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