San Francisco Giants: Predicting the team’s best pitcher in 2020

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

2. Johnny Cueto

Speaking of veteran workhorses, we present Johnny Cueto. The 34-year-old is hoping to bounce back from a series of injuries over the past few seasons. Cueto was an ace-caliber starter from his debut in 2008 until the 2016 season.

In fact, he still holds a career average of 3.35 ERA. His best season came in 2014 when he was able to post 20 wins, a sparkling 2.25 ERA, and a league-high 242 strikeouts. He also posted similar counting stats during his first year with the Giants in 2016.

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However, a series of injuries culminating with Tommy John surgery in 2018, have plagued the former All-Star. He was able briefly return to action in 2019 when he pitched 16 innings with a 5.06 ERA.

Despite the age and injury concerns, Cueto appears to be healthy for the first time in several years. He may be past the point in his career where a sub-2.50 ERA is in the cards. However, there is certainly reason for optimism moving forward.

Cueto, like Samardzija, is projected for a season with around 10 wins. A 4.00+ ERA, and strikeouts totals in the 100 to 130 range. If he is able to recapture any of the stuff that made him an ace in the mid-2010s, he could easily be the best pitcher on the Giants.