Stat line: 74 appearances, 70.1 IP, 56 H, 20 BB, 56 K, 1.08 WHIP, 3.47 FIP, 2.69 ERA
I think the best way to describe Sam Dyson is this: When I started this article, I opened up a Google Doc. I checked Dyson’s stats on Baseball Reference, and inputted them into the doc. I placed my hands on the keyboard, armed in the ready position, and stared at the screen of my computer.
And stared. And stared a little more.
I drank a cup of coffee. Checked Twitter a dozen times. Drank a glass of water.
25 minutes passed by as I searched both brain and screen, trying to think of something interesting to say about a man who appeared in nearly half of the Giants games.
Here’s what I finally arrived at:
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Role on the 2018 team
Dyson was far from the Giants best pitcher, but he was good, and most importantly, he was there. He was rewarded for beating the odds in two genetic races: redheadedness, and professional athleticism, and, in turn, he led Giants pitchers in appearances.
His role varied, with many of his innings coming in low-leverage situations, and many coming in high-leverage situations. With Mark Melancon injured, Hunter Strickland joining the UFC, and Bruce Bochy not quite understanding what he had in Will Smith and Tony Watson, Dyson even spent a chunk of time as the closer.
He was hardly overpowering, as he struck out just 7.2 batters per nine innings. But after a disastrous 2017 which saw him accumulate a WHIP of 1.77, the 1.08 mark he put up in 2018 represented a glorious beacon of semi-stress free pitching.
Dyson was that guy who you felt comfortable with when you needed the 6th or 7th inning of a close game taken care of, or the 10th or 11th in one of those dreaded four-hour games. You didn’t really want him pitching with the game on the line, but if the team was forced into it, you felt oddly at ease. He was a very good Plan B and Plan C.
In a season where the Giants underperformed in nearly every category, the bullpen managed to provide value, glorious value. It came because of people like Dyson, who were above average when you expected the opposite.
He was a strength, and he was part of a unit that was a strength. If you’ve been reading all these season reviews, you know that you can’t say that about many players.
Role on the 2019 team
In order for Dyson to have a role on the 2019 team, he will have to be on the 2019 team. MLB Trade Rumors projects Dyson’s arbitration figure at $5.4 million, which is a rather hefty fine for a middle-of-the-bullpen reliever. The Giants new decision makers may decide that a team spending obscene amounts of money in the relentless search for 70 wins probably doesn’t need to spend the cost of a studio apartment near the ballpark on a 7th-inning reliever.
Then again, Dyson was worth 1.3 rWAR in 2018, a figure that certainly justifies the price tag. It would probably behoove the Giants to take a page out of their Bay Area brothers in green and yellow and keep Dyson around if for no other reason than to flip him for a farmhand or two come July.
In which case Dyson’s role will be exactly what it was this past season: Pitch a lot of innings, and keep things calm and collected for Tony Watson, Will Smith, and Mark Melancon.