June is drawing to a close, so it’s time to look at who we trust in the bullpen and who’s this month’s Gearrin. There were a couple guys on last month’s list who aren’t around anymore, and apologies to all the Pablo Sandoval superfans for overlooking him, but since it’s been a couple months now, he probably doesn’t count as a reliever anymore, other than in our hearts.
On to the rankings!
8. Pierce Johnson (Last ranked: 7)
Ty Blach is the long man in the bullpen, so I’m not 100% sure what Johnson’s role here is. Maybe he’s just a designated warm body until Johnny Cueto comes back and needs a 40-man spot? He doesn’t strike people out, he walks too many, his ERA is high even with an extremely low BABIP, and he doesn’t get a lot of ground balls. His strand rate is low but, all the same, I’m not sure what he does well or why he’s on this team. He doesn’t even have any history of past major league success, unlike, say...
7. Cory Gearrin (Last ranked: 8)
Last Friday, Gearrin pitched for the first time in 10 days. Here’s Kerry Crowley also saying that, but he’s a beat writer, so he’s authoritative:
Cory Gearrin will pitch for the first time in 10 days.— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) June 23, 2018
Gearrin hasn’t pitched since then. But the good news for him is this: since Gearrin hasn’t given up a run in almost 3 weeks (3 appearances!), he gets to move all the way up to number 7.
6. Mark Melancon (Last ranked: Not ranked)
Melancon struck out 5 guys in his first two innings this year, and it was easy to think the Giants were getting the elite closer they signed before 2017. Since then, he’s been a bit more up and down. He’s not a bad guy to have in a bullpen right now, and it is pretty likely that he’ll get stronger as the year goes on, but for now, it’s hard to not want more out of him.
5. Ty Blach (Last ranked: 6)
Since getting put into the bullpen, Blach has an ERA of (checks Fangraphs) less than 2?
4. A door (Last ranked: Not ranked)
It defeated Hunter Strickland in single combat, so it is now the new closer. I don’t make the rules.
4. Sam Dyson (Last ranked: 5)
He’d been so good before Strickland got hurt. He really had. Dyson had a rough April, but until yesterday, since the start of May, Dyson’s ERA was 2.63, his FIP was 2.64, and even his xFIP was only up at 2.91. But right now, he’s given up 5 earned runs in his last 4.2 innings and there’s no way you feel good when he comes in to close a game. Dyson’s season numbers are still totally respectable — the ground ball rate is lower than it’s ever been in his career, though it’s still fantastic — but right now, he’s not where he needs to be.
Did I personally cause his blown save yesterday by ranking him third in a previous version of this article that I then hastily rewrote this morning? Wow, what a question. How delightful it is to ask questions.
3. Reyes Moronta (Last ranked: 3)
There is a battle raging here. The battle is between He’s Been A Really Good Pitcher and Never Trust A Reliever Who Walks Guys. Because, man, he’s been really good this year. But on the other hand, he walks way too many guys. It’s impossible to feel confident in a reliever who walks people all willy-nilly, even if that reliever makes a habit of working through the walks like Moronta does.
YOU: I know he walks guys, but is it really that many?
ME: In 5 of his 6 seasons with the Giants, Jonathan Sanchez had a lower BB% than Moronta has now.
YOU: I am completely convinced by that fact.
2. Tony Watson (Last ranked: 2)
I’ve been considering it for a while, and I’m pretty sure that Tony Watson is probably better than both Josh Osich and Steven Okert.
1. Will Smith (Last ranked: 1)
Here’s the tiebreaker that put Smith ahead of Watson, when they’ve both been spectacular: It’s surprising when Will Smith gives up a hit. He’s given up 10 hits in 23 innings this year, which is a pretty good way to cement yourself as King Of The Bullpen. Smith has been everything you could have wanted since coming back at the beginning of May. Am I saying that the Giants should sign him to a thousand year contract so he’ll stick around forever? No, but there are worse fates than living in the Willennium.