Our next name on the San Francisco Giants season reviews is right-handed reliever Tyler Rogers.
29 games, 28 innings, 31 hits, 6 walks, 4 hit by pitch, 2 home runs, 27 strikeouts, 1.321 WHIP
4.50 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 0.2 rWAR, 0.5 fWAR
Status throughout the season
Rogers was on the active roster from Opening Day through the season’s end.
Ask 10 Giants fans how they felt about Rogers this season, and you’ll likely get 10 different answers, ranging from overwhelmingly positive to overwhelmingly negative. That tends to happen with pitchers who dramatically over or underperform their FIP. Rogers’ FIP was a full 1.24 points below his ERA, suggesting that he was a good pitcher with highly mediocre results. That’s a bit polarizing.
I kept looking at the 3.26 FIP (and the 3.64 xFIP, which is obviously not as good, but still pretty decent) and thinking that Rogers was having a quite fine year. But when a pitcher takes the mound every other day, and allows a run every other inning, over the course of entire season, it starts to wear on you (even though, as you’ll soon see, the runs weren’t allocated evenly like that).
It gets a little bit harder to remind yourself that it’s luck and variance causing the ERA spike, rather than ability. It’s kind of like when you get 20 bad hands in a row in a game of poker; deep down you know it’s just the odds, and it’s not predictive, but it’s hard to actually internalize that it’s not a meaningful trend.
That wasn’t helped by the fact that Rogers is not an overpowering pitcher. His strikeout rates were fine, but he’s not exactly a strikeout pitcher. You knew that if he was going to get out of an inning, the ball was going to be put in play first, and perhaps I’m scarred from the last few years of the Giants having a miserable defense, but that always felt like giving the opponent too much of an opportunity. It always felt like Rogers needed to avoid bad luck to find success, whereas many relievers can remove luck from the equation by simply eliminating contact.
Still, you can’t ignore that he was mostly good. His walk rate was quite low, and he had 4.5 strikeouts for every walk issued. He allowed just six extra-base hits all year long, and was highly durable — he led the league in appearances. He also had two disastrous appearances to start the year before he found his footing, then ended the season with just 5 earned runs in 24 appearances and 24 innings. That’s quite meaningful if you’re looking forward.
Ultimately, he was not the closer that some people pegged him for, but he was a valuable part of the bullpen, and one of the most entertaining players on the Giants roster.
Role in 2021
Rogers seems destined for the same role in 2021 that he had in 2020. He’ll pitch primarily in the seventh and eighth innings, rarely for more than an inning at a time, and often appearing multiple times in a single series.
Quite good, unless you think he was quite bad, unless you think he was average.
How would you grade Tyler Rogers’ season?
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