Welcome back to bullpen trust power rankings, where we power rank the current members of the Giants bullpen by how much we trust them when they come into a game. Think of the lowest ranking as “Oh man, the Giants are playing a series at Coors Field,” and the highest ranking as “I am going to watch my 2010 World Series DVDs because I know that things turn out well and that gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.”
(Dereck Rodriguez is not included because for the moment, I am assuming he is a starter. Or injured! But probably a starter)
9. Cory Gearrin (Last ranked: 6)
This has been ... not a great year for Cory Gearrin. He’s not getting ground balls like he used to, he’s giving up homers like some sort of modern day Jeff Samardzija, he’s allowing tons of inherited runners to score, and he’s allowing even more of his own runners to score. He’s reasonably effective against righties, but left-handed hitters destroy him. Lefties are enjoying a slash line of .400/.500/.743 against Gearrin, and if you want a comp for that, the comp is 2003 Barry Bonds. Cory Gearrin turns every left-handed hitter he faces into 2003 Barry Bonds.
That deserves bigger letters. Let’s try a pull quote:
Oh yeah, much better.
I feel better now.
Better is the word to describe how I feel.
8. Tyler Beede (Last ranked: Not ranked)
This ranking is not about Tyler Beede. This ranking is about Cory Gearrin.
7. Pierce Johnson (Last ranked: 4)
Pierce Johnson is still a perfectly serviceable guy to come into a 9-1 game and throw two innings. But any other kind of game — like, say, a 5-3 game against the Cubs on Sunday Night Baseball, as one hypothetical example — and you’re asking for trouble. Good news, Giants! Trouble showed up because you asked for it. Trouble is very considerate.
6. Ty Blach (Last ranked: Not ranked)
Apparently Ty Blach’s in the bullpen now? Okay, sure, I definitely have an idea of what to think about that.
5. Sam Dyson (Last ranked: 5)
Dyson was at number 5 last time too, but this is a much improved 5. He’s been legitimately good for the last month, rocking a 1.54 ERA and 2.34 FIP in May. I’m still a little wary of him — he was terrible for the Rangers last year and not especially good for the Giants, and that leaves a scar — but on the whole, his presence in the bullpen has been a plus this year.
4. Hunter Strickland (Last ranked: 3)
Strickland hasn’t had an especially strong May, but that’s not why he’s here instead of a spot or two higher. He’s here because he’s the closer, and unless you’re the kind of closer who saves 38 out of 39 tries for several years in a row, fans are gonna get nervous when you come in. Strickland isn’t quite at that level yet, but he’s still a good reliever.
(watches him in the ninth inning of last night’s game)
I feel extremely comfortable with this ranking and the rationale behind it.
3. Reyes Moronta (Last ranked: 2)
On the one hand, Moronta was excellent again in May, just like he was in April. On the other hand, every single reliever the Giants develop post-2010 should be viewed as a terrifying calamity waiting to happen. Ideally, you will maintain this position for the entire time he’s with the team, never be proven right, and then when he leaves as a free agent you can mutter, “They shouldn’t have let him go.” After a long line of guys from the farm system who didn’t perform (and also Derek Law, who had one great season and hasn’t been the same since), I am convinced that this is the best possible outcome.
Also, that walk rate sure isn’t ideal.
2. Tony Watson (Last ranked: 1)
He pitched well in May without getting great results. But his whole body of work this year lines up nicely with the perception when he comes into the game that everything’s gonna be fine for the next inning or so.
1. Will Smith (Last ranked: Not ranked)
Smith has been fantastic since coming off the DL, and so the Curse of the Number One Spot falls to him. The two striking differences between this year and the rest of his career are his very low walk rate and his 0.0% home run rate. Now, it’s possible that second one won’t last all year — if this blurb doesn’t curse him immediately, then he will certainly be cursed the first time it’s mentioned on a broadcast that he hasn’t given up any homers yet this year — but you really couldn’t imagine a stronger return from injury for Smith, and you know the rest of the men in black and orange appreciate it.
Sorry. I had to do one at some point.