Inbox: What will SF's rotation look like in 2020?

Beat reporter Maria Guardado answers fans' questions

September 16th, 2019

With the resurgence of , return of and potential re-signing of and the crop of MLB-ready or close-to MLB-ready back-end-of-rotation starters of , and Sean Hjelle, do you see the starting rotation as at least stable, if not a potential strength, going into next season and beyond?
-- Andrew B., Portland, Ore.

That’s definitely the best-case scenario for the Giants, but I think the outlook will become far more uncertain if Bumgarner departs as a free agent this offseason. Bumgarner and Samardzija have served as the pillars of the 2019 rotation, and it would be difficult to replace the 30-year-old left-hander’s consistency and competitiveness in the rotation if he were to sign elsewhere.

Cueto’s first two starts coming off Tommy John surgery have been very encouraging, so if he’s healthy and effective next year, the Giants should have at least one other veteran starter to anchor their staff alongside Samardzija.

Acquiring rotation depth -- whether it’s re-signing Bumgarner or pursuing other free-agent starters -- should be a priority for the Giants this offseason, as questions persist about some of the younger arms in the organization. , and Webb have been inconsistent, and Hjelle has yet to pitch above Double-A Pensacola. Anderson delivered some promising starts after debuting in May, but the Giants will have to decide if he’s better served pitching out of the rotation or the bullpen moving forward.

Which September callup has impressed you the most so far?
-- Vincent Y., Oakland, Calif.

already seems to be establishing himself as a significant infield piece with his baseball intellect and right-handed pop, but it’s been great to see come up and enjoy success out of the bullpen after spending seven seasons grinding in the Minors. Rogers is proving that his stuff and his submarine delivery can play here, and he’s helped fill the void at the back-end of the bullpen left by the season-ending injuries to , and .

It’s hard to believe the Giants waited so long to give Rogers a look, but he’s making the most of the opportunity right now.

Though Jaylin Davis isn't a Top 30 prospect, his Triple-A numbers are the loudest in the system (albeit in a very small sample size). Can we get a scouting report on him? Do the Giants think his success will translate at the Major League level?
-- Austin H., Blaine, Minn.

A 24th-round Draft pick of the Twins in 2015, Davis has always been able to hit for power, but he really took off this season after making some adjustments during Spring Training that enabled him to use his bottom half more effectively to drive the ball better. Davis slugged 35 homers in the Minors, including 10 over 27 games with Triple-A Sacramento, before receiving his first big league promotion last month. While Davis has flashed his speed with the Giants, his power has yet to translate. Young players have a tendency to press at the plate when they first arrive, so I wouldn’t worry too much about his 3-for-21 start. The sample size isn’t big enough to render a verdict on Davis, but he should receive more playing time with the Giants once he recovers from the bruised left wrist he suffered on a hit-by-pitch last week.

What is the future of Moronta in terms of his bullpen role?
-- Gabriel V., Brentwood. Calif.

Moronta has been a key workhorse in the bullpen for the last two seasons, but he is expected to be sidelined for nine to 11 months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The procedure went better than expected, as the capsule in the joint did not need to be repaired, but Moronta is not expected to pitch again until at least next August.

The recovery from shoulder surgery can be more daunting for pitchers than Tommy John surgery, but if Moronta can follow the path of Dodgers left-handers Hyun-Jin Ryu and Julio Urias and make a successful return from the labrum repair, he could slot back into a late-inning role for the Giants’ bullpen in late 2020.