The bullpen! They’ve been mostly fine over the last several days, and proud we are of all of them. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t rank them for our amusement. This is the Internet, people. Lists are what we do.
Who do we trust? Who do we not trust? The answer to that second one should be me, because Santiago Casilla horrifically blew a save after I ranked him quite highly in the last edition of this in May, but we’re talking about the Giants bullpen here and not me, so no one needs your sass.
1. Derek Law (Last ranked: 3)
I guess? Don’t get me wrong – Law has been very good lately, and very good this year. Now, he doesn’t seem like an untouchable master of the relief pitching arts, which is really what you’d prefer from your most trusted reliever on the team, but he’s been excellent and he has very good stuff and hopefully I’m not cursing him by putting him here.
2. Hunter Strickland (LR: 4)
The home run bug bit Strickland pretty hard in July, which just served to confirm all the things that everyone decided about him when he was pitching in the 2014 postseason with a literal month of big league service time. But that shouldn’t continue, and assuming it doesn’t, which is a lot to ask of you, I know, and so I’ll understand if you think this an egregious overranking, Strickland should be one of the better relievers on the team.
3. Sergio Romo (LR: NR)
His first six appearances coming off the DL were outstanding. Then, against the Reds, he gave up two homers in one inning. “You’re just like the rest of them,” we said, tears in our eyes, unconsciously shaking our heads in disapproval. “You’re just like the rest of them.”
4. Javier Lopez (LR: 7)
Javy hasn’t walked a batter or given up a run in the month of July. The world is back to how we expect it to be. I see no reason that this won’t continue forever.
5. George Kontos (LR: 5)
Kontos has quietly been pretty dang good in July. He has, really, been pretty dang good in every month this year but May, with monthly FIPs of 2.79, 7.73, 3.06, and 2.02, and ERAs either around those values or much lower. I absolutely didn’t expect that before I looked at the stats. Good on you, George. Sorry I don’t give you enough credit.
6. Santiago Casilla (LR: 1) (lol)
He fucking balked off.
7. Josh Osich (LR: 6)
Fangraphs has his FIP at 6.07 right now, and even if you’re a bit of a skeptic about what exactly that’s measuring, it’s terrifying. And it’s easy to see where it comes from too. In his last appearance, against the Yankees on Saturday, Osich pitched a fantastic ninth inning, getting three groundouts. Then, when he came out for the 10th, he walked the first two batters before being removed for Santiago Casilla. Walking the first two batters of the tenth inning should count as a run against your record, even if the run doesn’t score in the game, just on damn principle.
Even just used as a LOOGY, Osich walks too many people. His strikeout rate there is fine, and he’s gotten great results, but he walks too many, and that’s without taking into account righties, against whom he’s been disastrous this year. Righties are hitting .340/.474/.674 against Osich in 2016. If the Giants are looking for a new Affeldt who can get both righties and lefties out, they might need to keep looking.
8. Albert Suarez (LR: 4)
It’s not that Suarez hasn’t done better than anyone could expect him to do coming into the year. He has! He hadn’t pitched above AA before this year, and now he’s in the majors, doing an entirely passable imitation of a major leaguer. But, even as good as the Red Sox are on offense, if you give up 5 runs to them in 3 innings, that’s gonna cause some worries. And add into that, in his previous appearance in San Diego, Suarez walked 3 in less than 2 innings, and you have someone who is not unlikely to give up some runs. Can he eat innings? Sure, and there’s some value in that. Will those innings be good? Not necessarily.