Are the Giants still an organization that develops pitching well?

Joe Robbins

Before you say "Yes", think about the last homegrown pitcher since Bumgarner who did well.

Please note that I ask a question in the following article, but I do not have answers. It's not exactly a rhetorical question because the answers exist, and I would like those answers. What I would like, then, is for you to do my work for me.

The Giants drafted Tyler Beede with the #14 pick in the 2014 draft, and almost every pundit who pundited said some variation of the same thing: He's going to the right organization. He's raw and unrefined, but he's going to the team that knows what to do with that kind of pitcher clay.

My question is this: Are the Giants still that team?

In 2010, the Giants won the World Series.

/waits for studio audience to stop cheering at catchphrase

They did this with four homegrown pitchers in the rotation and two homegrown pitchers in prominent bullpen roles. Three of the starting pitchers were first-round picks, but two of them were drafted as teenagers and introduced to the majors at a ridiculously early age. One of the other starting pitchers was supposed to be a mess of herky-jerky mechanics, and the other one was an ultra-raw pitcher from Ohio Dominican University. That roster really was quite an accomplishment.

Since then, though, here are the pitchers the Giants have promoted from their farm:

  • Eric Surkamp
  • Steve Edlefsen
  • Waldis Joaquin
  • Dan Otero
  • Mike Kickham
  • Jake Dunning
  • Heath Hembree

That's three-plus years of pitcher graduations, and other than Otero, none of them have done anything in the majors. And considering the Giants thought so little of Otero that they let him get away on waivers, I'm not sure how much credit they should get for him. Really, since Bumgarner's debut in 2009, the Giants haven't developed anyone noteworthy.

It's not like you get to take the credit for the Cain/Lincecum/Bumgarner success away just because it happened way back there, though. Also, I'm not sure how many excellent pitchers a team should promote in a four-year span. If the over/under is "one", absence of that one isn't proof of anything.

But one thing to note is their biggest hits were all first-round pitchers, arms with enough potential to make them the most coveted amateur players in the country. The Giants get credit for developing them, but the pitchers also get credit for being themselves. It's not like the Giants are taking players out of Wharbler Community College Tech State and turning them into aces. They're taking prospects with widely agreed upon ace potential and polishing them.

The good news is that Tyler Beede is a consensus first-round pitcher. The last one of those that flopped for the Giants was probably Tim Alderson, and even he was flipped to another team for a player that helped the 2010 Giants win the World Series.

/waits for studio audience to stop cheering at catchphrase

But it's probably time to hold off on the, "Well, the Giants will know what to do with him" until further notice. It's probably not as automatic as we once thought. It's been a while since the last hit, mostly because it's been a while since the Giants had a pick in the first half of the draft. Entering the year, the Giants had enviable minor-league-pitching depth, but none of those pitchers are posting purty stat lines this year, so it's not as if they get extra credit on that front, either. The Cardinals still get credit for sneezing hitters; I'm not sure if the Giants get that same credit for pitchers.

Long post short: Maybe the Giants are still really good at developing pitchers or maybe they aren't or maybe they never really were and got exceptionally lucky. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I'm strangely optimistic about Beede, though. Not because the Giants are the pitcher-whisperers they seem to get credit for, but because my allegiance to a sports team makes me eschew rational thoughts in favor of thoughts that make me feel better about myself and my choice of hobbies and favorite teams. That, and I took the time to watch Beede's 14-strikeout game against Xavier this weekend instead of dwelling on his ugly grind against Stanford.

Beede-breaker_medium

Ah, much better. I don't think he threw one of those against Stanford. The Giants will know what to do with him.

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