San Francisco Giants: Which pitchers have a future in the rotation?

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JUNE 01: Starting pitcher Shaun Anderson #64 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 1, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JUNE 01: Starting pitcher Shaun Anderson #64 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 1, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco Giants 2019 season may be a wash, but the team will be looking to see which players step up and establish themselves as future building blocks.

The San Francisco Giants don’t exactly have a ton of positives to take away from the 2019 season, and it’s not as if that’s expected to change any time soon. Despite a surprising 8-5 start to the month of June, the Giants still sit at just 30-39 — “good” for the second-worst record in the National League.

But it’s times like this where it’s important to be optimists.

It may be difficult at times, but it’s crucial to look at the positive takeaways from the season. On top of that, it’s imperative that the Giants do what they can to find out what they have in their young talent.

Especially with the trade deadline fast approaching, it’s likely that this roster will look vastly different come July and into August than it does now. One of the areas that is almost certain to experience some turnover is the starting rotation.

All signs point to the Giants trading away longtime ace Madison Bumgarner which would leave a vacancy in an already thin part of the roster. However, this vacancy could give the team an interesting opportunity to hold “auditions” for future roles on the team.

In fact, as the season progresses, it may be time to start examining the starting rotation and thinking about who has a future with the team.

In the short-term, we’re likely to see right-hander Johnny Cueto return and — if healthy — he should be the Opening Day starter in 2020. As long as he doesn’t suffer any setbacks, the 33-year-old should be on track to return later this year as he recovers from Tommy John Surgery.

Outside of Cueto, there’s a solid chance Jeff Samardzija is still with the Giants in 2020. He’s under contract through the 2020 season and has a partial no-trade clause which could make it difficult to deal him at the deadline despite his relatively solid season so far.

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But that’s not exactly what we’re here to talk about. It’s highly unlikely that Samardzija is with the team past 2020 and while Cueto is with the team through 2021 (he has a club option for 2022), he isn’t exactly a part of the future.

So that being said, which pitchers currently on the roster could be future members of the San Francisco Giants’ starting rotation?

The first and most obvious choice is right-hander Shaun Anderson who has impressed thus far in 2019. Anderson made his major league debut a little over a month ago and was considered the top pitching prospect in a weak Giants farm system at the time of his arrival in the big leagues.

Through six starts, the 24-year-old hosts a very solid 3.97 ERA and is already tied for second on the team with three quality starts. Anderson has shown good command of his pitches despite a very low strikeout rate.

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His early-career success is a little reminiscent of the stretch of strong outings right-hander Dereck Rodriguez had last season with the Giants. A little too reminiscent.

Prior to this season, Rodriguez looked like the clear-cut favorite to be a promising young building block for the future in the rotation but he’s had a rough sophomore season in the majors. The 27-year-old has struggled with his control as he’s had a very difficult time locating his pitches.

Part of his struggles could be attributed to teams acquiring a more complete scouting report on him which is a fear that the Giants could have for Anderson. There’s still time for Rodriguez to turn things around and perhaps his most recent demotion to the minors and subsequent reinstatement into the bullpen could be enough to get his mind straight.

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Lastly, we could talk about young right-hander Tyler Beede. We’re going to skip out on covering Drew Pomeranz and Derek Holland for obvious reasons.

Beede has struggled the most so far this season having made six appearances (four starts) and amassed a lowly 8.06 ERA. The 26-year-old has flashed brilliance stringing together seven strikeouts in his last outing that lasted just 4.2 innings, but his lack of control and consistency have been early issues.

His best start came on May 30th when he went a career-high six innings and gave up just one run in a game that the Giants went on to win 3-1. There’s still hope for Beede and he’ll likely be given plenty of time to figure things out, but there are obviously concerns that need fixing.

If the rotation doesn’t work out for him, Beede could always find a home in the bullpen as well, as his plus-caliber stuff could translate well to a late-inning gig.

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The remainder of this season should be devoted to figuring out the best roles for him and the other young pitchers on the team. Perhaps the Giants could determine that one or two of these young players deserve a spot in the starting rotation next season.

There’s only one way to find out.