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Sam Dyson should be excellent again, unless he’s a trainwreck, but he’ll probably be excellent

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He’s been effective every year but one that he’s been a reliever. But that one year though...

New York Mets v San Francisco Giants

Sam Dyson’s presence on the roster as an effective reliever is a credit to the Giants. He was a big part of the Rangers’ bullpen in 2015, when they won the AL West, and a legitimately excellent closer in 2016, and yet just two months in to 2017, his season was such a nightmare — and we’re talking a shadowy figure chasing you while you’re naked into your math class where you have a test you didn’t know about and your teacher is a giant spider in clown makeup who makes your teeth fall out — that Texas designated him for assignment.

The Giants claimed Dyson off waivers, worked out a trade with the Rangers, and then got to work. His ERA with Texas that year was 10.80 and his FIP was 9.16; with the Giants, his ERA was 4.03 and his FIP was 4.08. Under the tutelage of Dave Righetti and Mark Gardner, he started down the road to Not Godawfulville. Last year, working with Curt Young and Matt Herges, he passed right on through and headed to Goodtowne — the E at the end is an insufferable affectation that no one likes — sporting a 2.69 ERA and a 3.47 FIP. He turned his career around for the better after having turned it around for the worse, and the Giants are the beneficiaries.

But with someone who has had such a spectacularly poor few months in his recent past, there’s always the possibility that it’ll happen again. It’s not the most likely scenario, but it has to be just sitting there, lurking in the back of your mind. Then add in that, like just about all pitchers with more than a couple years in the league, his velocity is declining. That doesn’t mean he’s bad now or he’ll be bad in the future, but it does mean less margin for error.

Dyson’s peripherals were all solid last year. He posted the second best K% and BB% of his career and his ground ball percentage, while a decline from where it has been in the past, was still an excellent 61.2%, which was sixth in the majors. He did deserve his success last year. He’s likely to have success next year. But there has to be a small part of you that looks at that horrible 2017, which had no warning signs leading up to it, and thinks, “But maybe...”

Also, he sure does love his cross-eyed cat.

Projection

IP: 68
K: 55
BB: 17
Saves: 2
ERA: 2.93
bWAR: 0.9

For all the justifiable worry about Dyson based on 2017, he’s had five full seasons in the majors, and in four of them he’s been excellent. That’s what will happen again. Probably. I hope. Please.

Traded?

Let’s hope so. Dyson has two full seasons left before he hits free agency, so if he performs well this year, he should have plenty of trade value in July. If he has another 2017-type year, then he won’t be worth a lot, but otherwise, he should have enough value for the Giants to get something for him. When Farhan Zaidi was hired, the idea was to modernize the baseball operations department, and there’s nothing more modern than trading away relievers who are having good years before they become relievers having bad years.