San Francisco Giants: Tyler Rogers making case to be Opening Day closer

San Francisco Giants (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
San Francisco Giants (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco Giants still don’t have a clear plan for their closer role. But right-hander Tyler Rogers is making a strong case to win the job.

The San Francisco Giants have numerous position battles to watch this spring, but perhaps none more interesting than the bullpen battle. And one player making waves early on is right-hander Tyler Rogers.

Rogers toiled around in the Giants’ minor-league system for a number of years before making his MLB debut last August. The submarine hurler would waste no time making an excellent first impression pitching a scoreless inning of relief in the same night he was recalled.

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From there, things would only get better as Rogers would finish 2019 with a 1.02 ERA allowing just two earned runs in 17.2 innings pitched. It was an incredibly encouraging showing, but admittedly in a very limited sample size.

But going into 2020, the new Giants coaching staff has evidently warmed up to the longtime minor-leaguer with manager Gabe Kapler even stating earlier last month that Rogers was “going to be an important part of [the Giants’] bullpen.”

And given his performance thus far this spring, the new staff has to be happy with the results.

Rogers has pitched in four games this spring and hasn’t allowed a run. He has five strikeouts in 3.1 innings pitched and has only surrendered a single hit with no walks allowed.

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With the Giants’ closer position wide open at the moment, Rogers is making quite the case to be awarded the job.

Veteran Tony Watson was projected to be the leading candidate to fulfill the role that Will Smith held down exceptionally last season. But Watson has been dealing with a shoulder injury and is yet to play this spring.

Now, Watson is still expected to be ready for Opening Day, but his absence could open the door for another player to step up. And there’s no reason why that player shouldn’t be Rogers.

Others such as Shaun Anderson, Trevor Gott, and Sam Coonrod have been considered for the role, but the three have combined for an abysmal 13.50 ERA allowing 16 runs in 10.2 innings pitched.

Each of the three has an ERA north of 6.00 while Rogers is yet to allow a run. Out of every pitcher who has thrown this spring and has a chance at the closer job, Rogers has to be the preferred option.

Now, the Giants have insisted that they are open to using a closer by committee approach to begin the season. But you’d better believe that Rogers would be one of the primary pitchers in that committee.

Perhaps Watson is still the Giants’ preferred choice. But Rogers has made his presence felt and put together a strong case to be the team’s Opening Day closer.

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And it might be a role he earns before long.