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Bullpen trust rankings, July 2019 edition

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Who do we trust in the bullpen? (The guys who’ve been here all year) Who do we not trust? (The guys who are on their way to Sacramento as you’re reading this)

San Francisco Giants v Colorado Rockies - Game Two
I can’t lead with a picture of Will Smith every month. That would get old.
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

It’s the beginning of August so like we do every month, it’s time to rank who we trust and who we don’t in the bullpen. But things are different! Sam Dyson is gone. Mark Melancon is gone. Drew Pomeranz, who was never ranked here because he was in the Giants bullpen for such a short time, is gone. They were all good trades — hear all about them in the newest McCovey Chroncast — but they do mean a change in the middle innings for the Giants.

These rankings apply to the bullpen as it stands at 8:30 AM on August 2. Should the construction of the bullpen change between 8:30 and the time that you read this, well, it’ll be a day that ends in Y.

8. Andrew Suarez (Last ranked: Not ranked)

It’s neck and neck between Suarez and Dereck Rodriguez for who’s had the rougher time with the constant roster moves. They’ve both been up and down between Sacramento and San Francisco multiple times this year, and they’ve both regressed pretty significantly this year. Now, the roster shuffle isn’t why their performances have been poor — both started out the year without much flux and started poorly — but it sure hasn’t helped when it comes to finding a groove, fixing what’s wrong, and becoming contributors again.

7. Jandel Gustave (Last ranked: Not ranked)

The good: Gustave pitched two scoreless innings yesterday in Philadelphia, and he throws very hard.

The bad: Gustave’s been very bad in AAA this year. He has a 6.10 ERA for the River Cats, and he’s come by it by giving up lots of walks and dingers. It’s unlikely he’ll have more 2-inning scoreless stints in the majors, but also, it’s unlikely that he’ll even be in the majors for much longer, considering that he pitched two innings yesterday and so therefore the team will send him down because in 2019, that’s just what the Giants do.

6. Sam Selman (Last ranked: Not ranked)

Selman is the opposite of Gustave: he wasn’t great yesterday, giving up a homer and a walk in his inning of work, but he’s been phenomenal for Sacramento this year, so he gets some benefit of the doubt.

If you would like to read more about Sam Selman, hey, what do you know, I talked to him earlier this year and you can read all about it.

5. Trevor Gott (Last ranked: 6)

After a post-IL lull, Gott has found himself since the All-Star Break, with a 2.35 ERA and 1.65 FIP in the second half. He has been excellent.

The reason he is ranked below Sam Coonrod is that Sam Coonrod is a shiny new toy and I like shiny new toys.

4. Sam Coonrod (Last ranked: Not ranked)

Oh, this is not going to age well. Coonrod, like Gustave, wasn’t all that good in AAA this year, but he’s looked so dominant in his current stint in the majors — remember his 13th inning against the Cubs? — that I can’t help but put him here. When Sam Coonrod isn’t in a game, all the other players are asking, “Where’s Coonrod?”

And yet his results this year by ERA have significantly outpaced his performance by FIP, so you know regression is coming. But on the other hand: did you see him cut through Baez-Bryant-Rizzo like they were nothing? Oh boy, was that impressive.

3. Tony Watson (Last ranked: 3)

Tony Watson, the less heralded lefty who everyone thought the Giants would trade at the deadline before they turned out to be semi-contending, spent most of the season overperforming. In the first half, he had a 3.38 ERA to go along with a 4.49 FIP. He didn’t jump out to the impressive start he had in 2018, but took a while to get going.

And now he’s going, and he looks just like he did last year. He’s calmly getting people out, he’s not giving up a ton of fly balls, and he’s avoiding homers. This is what Watson looks like when he’s right: he gets people out without you even noticing he came into the game.

2. Reyes Moronta (Last ranked: 2)

On the other end of the spectrum, you always notice when Reyes Moronta comes into a game. But other than during his lackluster May, it’s been for good reasons. That continued in July, with Moronta striking out more guys than he had since April, and walking less than at any point this season. It wasn’t his best month, which is an incredibly high bar, but it was an excellent one, and that was a big part of the team’s success.

1. Will Smith (Last ranked: 1)

Unlike almost everyone on this list outside of Suarez, Smith has had his roughest patch of the season over the last couple of weeks. But considering how good his first half was, Smith had plenty of room to hiccup while still remaining the best and most trusted reliever on the team. Smith is so good that not trading him was a sign that the Giants haven’t given up on the season, so a couple blown saves and a nerve-wracking one in San Diego won’t change anyone’s attitude about him. Dude’s good, dude’s been good, and we can expect dude to remain good.