After going 29-31 in 2020, the Giants just missed out on the expanded playoffs. The Giants rotation must find a way to make up the loss of Drew Smyly, especially being in the competitive NL West. However, if the Giants pitchers can exceed expectations anything can happen. Here is the projected rotation for the 2021 San Francisco Giants.
1.) Kevin Gausman
Ever since the Braves traded Gausman to the Reds in 2019, Gausman has been a very good pitcher. With the Giants in 2020, Gausman was one of the most underrated pitchers in the MLB. He was able to strike out a lot of batters while keeping his walks per nine below 2.5.
Looking forward to 2021, Gausman should have a great season. One of the main reasons is the return of Buster Posey. After opting out of the 2020 season, Posey’s return should be key for Gausman in taking the next step of being an elite pitcher. After a season with a very respectable 1.106 WHIP and 3.09 FIP, being the ace with the return of Posey sets Gausman up to have a breakout season.
2.) Alex Wood
Alex Wood is looking to have a bounce-back season in his new role with the Giants. Moreover his season with the Dodgers last year was not one to remember. Furthermore, Wood had trouble with his control walking 4.3 batters per nine innings and allowing 12.1 hits per nine innings. He had an inconsistent role with the Dodgers only starting two games in his nine appearances.
Now with a confirmed starting role with the Giants, Wood is in a much more reliable situation. Wood said that he’s excited to be with the Giants because he gets to play with Posey rather than pitch to him. Knowing that he has a safe job, expect Wood to have a much more consistent season with the Giants and to be similar to how he used to be with the Dodgers.
3.) Johnny Cueto
Johnny Cueto may very well be the X factor for the Giants in the 2021 season. Cueto was one of the best pitchers of the 2010s but most people would agree that his best days are behind him. Cueto has consistently been a pitcher that limits the number of hits he gives up, leading the NL in H/9 in 2014. However, 2020 was not a very good season for Cueto. He had a 5.40 ERA and a WHIP of 1.374. Not terrible, but in the tough NL West, those numbers must improve to compete with the Dodgers and Padres.
In 2021, Cueto should have a better season with the return of Buster Posey. Posey’s value should help Cueto regain his confidence and help him get back to how he was earlier in the decade.
Anthony DeSclafani joins Johnny Cueto and Kevin Gausman as former Reds on the Giants pitching staff. DeSclafani is looking to have a bounce back year after an abysmal 2020. Last season with Cincinnati, he had a 1.693 WHIP with a 7.22 ERA. The Giants have had a history with pitchers exceeding expectations in their first season, as was seen with Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyly last season.
The Giants signed DeSclafani for $6 million this offseason. Seeing how the Giants did with budget contracts last offseason, the Giants believe DeSclafani will bounce back from last season and be a solid addition towards the end of the rotation.
5.) Aaron Sanchez
The Giants are making a similar move with Aaron Sanchez that they made with Anthony DeSclafani this offseason. With the way they increased the value of Smyly and Gausman in 2020, they are looking to do the same with Sanchez. The last few years, Sanchez has struggled to find the success that he had in 2016 with the Blue Jays.
Sanchez did not play last season as a result of shoulder surgery. After three straight seasons with WHIPs above 1.5, the Giants believe they can get Sanchez close to his 2016 form as he is only 28 years old. The Giants can get great value in their fifth spot if the move works out how the way they think it will.
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