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Who was the best nondescript left-handed pitcher from the 2019 churn?

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The Giants sure did use a lot of left-handed pitchers. Are any of them good enough to keep around in 2020?

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stat Lines

Fernando Abad: 21 games, 13 IP, 4.15 ERA, 4.52 FIP, 6.2 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, -0.1 fWAR
Travis Bergen: 21 games, 19.2 IP, 5.49 ERA, 5.55 FIP, 8.2 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, -0.2 fWAR
Ty Blach: 2 games, 6.1 IP, 14.21 ERA, 8.27 FIP, 4.3 K/9, 5.7 BB/9, -0.2 fWAR
Williams Jerez: 6 games, 2.70 ERA, 6.66 FIP, 5.4 K/9, 8.1 BB/9, -0.1 fWAR
Conner Menez: 8 games, 17 IP, 5.29 ERA, 5.80 FIP, 11.6 K/9, 6.4 BB/9, -0.2 fWAR
Wandy Peralta: 8 games, 5.2 IP, 3.18 ERA, 4.27 FIP, 7.9 K/9, 1.6 BB/9, 0.0 fWAR
Sam Selman: 10 games, 10.1 IP, 4.35 ERA, 6.12 FIP, 8.7 K/9, 5.2 BB/9, -0.2 fWAR
Andy Suarez: 21 games, 32.2 IP, 5.79 ERA, 5.58 FIP, 6.9 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, -0.4 fWAR

The Giants tied an NL record by using 64 players in a single season and 1/8 of them were these completely forgettable, slightly regrettable left-handed relievers.

Left-handed pitching has been the only consistent weapon against a lineup like the Dodgers’, so it makes sense that the Giants would continue to stockpile them while being run by the guy who used to run the Dodgers. It was also important to try to make up for the diminished performance of Tony Watson, the negative contributions of Derek Holland and Drew Pomeranz (until both were moved to the bullpen and then traded), and the overall lack of depth on the 40-man roster.

None of these guys wound up really doing anything that could supplant incumbents or veterans and that’s okay. It’s going to happen when you churn through 64 players, a good batch of them being discards from other (mostly bad) organizations.

Roles on the 2019 team

Most of these guys were penciled in as middle relievers who could potentially help in late-inning, high-leverage situations depending on how well the Giants coached them up. Fernando Abad seemed closest to filling in for the injured Tony Watson.

Menez and Suarez were possible starters (with Blach once again occupying a long relief or emergency starter role) who didn’t quite work out, but then didn’t really excite after being demoted to relief roles, either.

Travis Bergen was the most anticipated name in the bunch. The Rule 5 pick had incredible minor league strikeout numbers and the thinking was that the Giants were bad enough that they could keep him at the very back of the bullpen for the season and not have to give him back to the Blue Jays because of a roster crunch. That didn’t happen.

The Giants had very modest expectations for these arms and none of them managed to pop. That doesn’t mean they’re all doomed, career-wise, but it’s safe to say that with a full 40-man roster at the moment that none of these guys are safe.

Roles on the 2020 team

The best of this bunch was Wandy Peralta, whom the Giants claimed a week into September. At the time, I wrote:

The 28-year old lefty has posted a 5.00 ERA in 151.1 major league innings and just a 7.1 K/9, but before you go rolling your eyes, consider this: he’s a lefty who throws a 95 mph fastball.

He averaged nearly 96 mph with it while throwing for the Giants with above average horizontal movement. For the entire season, batters were averaging just 85.7 mph of exit velocity on contact, despite a 35% hard hit rate (league average: 34.5%). But consider this: in 2018, he had a hard hit rate of 28.8% and 31.5% the year before. The jump in rate could very well be attributed to the “modified” baseball and the below average exit velocity could signify that his stuff is very good at missing bats and inducing weak contact.

That’s a crucial part of a reliever’s arsenal. You don’t want a Madison Bumgarner-type in the bullpen (misses bats and limits contact, but when there’s contact it’s some of the hardest in the league) because one bad inning can create a 3-run deficit with the snap of a finger. Peralta has demonstrated some utility in a small sampling with the Giants and via Statcast data, so, at the very least, he could be that back of the bullpen lefty reliever guy who either opens or comes in during the sixth inning.

Conner Menez figures to get another opportunity to spot start, but I fear my beloved Andy Suarez won’t get the same chance. A pitcher doesn’t need to have a lights-out strikeout rate to be effective (see Shaun Anderson, Mike Fiers, Ivan Nova, Jeff Samardzija, Dakota Hudson), but he does need stuff. Suarez shows some promise with his slider and curveball, but that might make him best suited for a back of the bullpen relief role. But in a Suarez-Peralta matchup, Andy comes up short by way of fastball mph.

How many Farhans were these guys?

They get credit for being on the team and having major league options, but none of them did enough to distinguish themselves in an on-field performance or SABR way.