TDG’S Triple Play: San Francisco Giants!
The Triple Play is back for a fourth season! This regular feature is broken down by writer Phil Barrington. He joined by a rotating panel of some of the best Dynasty Baseball writers in the business. If you’re new to the Triple Play, this series breaks down an arm, a bat, and a prospect within each organization for your reading pleasure!
Logan Webb, Age: 24, Position: SP
Analysis by: Phil Barrington
While Logan Webb is the name in the title, we are going to look at the three Giants starters that are carrying them to a playoff birth along with Webb, Kevin Gausman and Anthony DeScalfani. Back in Spring Training, no one would have bet on those three anchoring a playoff team. As this is a dynasty website, and there are more posts on all three out there, I want to look at how they will be valued heading into this off-season and 2022, and what you should do if you have them on your Dynasty team.
I polled my fellow writers here at the Dynasty Guru on which of the three they want on their Dynasty league teams for the 2022 season and beyond, and Logan Webb was the winner. Of course, recency bias plays a part, since if you have Logan Webb on your team right now, hopefully the playoffs or a roto-league championship await. Webb has been straight fire in recent weeks, racking up strikeouts and quality starts against good teams. Webb is in the running for best pitching free agent add this season; in NFBC leagues he was drafted as the 186th pitcher off the board; pick number 188 was his closest competition, Carlos Rodon, again proving that stud pitchers can be found that late in drafts or on the wavier wire early in the season.
Tangled Webbs we weave
A fourth-round pick from way back 2014, Webb spent four seasons until he made it to Double-A, but in 2019 quickly rose through the system. Webb had a rough go of his first two big league seasons, pitching to an ERA north of five in 2019 and 2020. Though he only pitched seven innings at Triple-A and 72 at Double-A before his big-league debut, so patience was required. After a rough April, Webb is truly in a groove, just when the Giants need him.
With an ERA of 2.56, a WHIP of 1.09 and FIP of 2.90, Webb has truly outdone every projection for him going into the season. In nine starts since July 21st, Webb has a 1.60 ERA, 2.67 FIP while giving up only 10 earned runs in 56.1 innings, with a 9.75 K/9 and only 1.92 BB/9. While some more strikeouts would make him a true fantasy ace, it is hard to argue with that stat line as being anything but boss. A shoulder injury led to a missed start earlier this season and a DL stint in June, which is concerning, since, you know, his arm is connected to his shoulder and that is the money maker.
How do they know I have Gaus?
Gausman, and has the pedigree (fourth overall pick way back in 2012) and is the highest rated of the three, currently number six overall pitcher on the Razzball player rater. Though lately Gausman has not been as dominant as he was at the beginning of the season, he is more a victim of his own success. In his last 11 games he has given up exactly three runs twice, and six runs (to the Pirates) once. Those other eight games he has given up less than two runs. In his first 12 games of the season, he had one game where he gave up more than one run.
It is possible Gausman may just be running out of gas, as he has thrown 157 innings so far this season, after only 59.2 in 2020, and 102.1 in 2019. Expecting more than 175 innings out of any pitcher after the shorted 2020 is too much to ask. Gausman has looked like an ace most of the season, after a stellar 2020 there is little reason to believe that he cannot continue to be a fantasy ace, or at least high end #2, for the foreseeable future. Gausman is a free agent after the season, and leaving the pitchers park in San Francisco is risky, especially if he winds up in a tough division like the AL East. There was a thought that an awkward landing while covering first base on August 27th might lead to a DL stint, but fear not, Gausman made his next start, striking out seven Brewers in five innings.
Descalfani is no slouch either, and is currently the 25th rated pitcher on the Razzball player rater, producing a 3.24 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and a 3.82 FIP thus far in 2021. Looking back at his history, this season is very similar to his 2016 season in Cincinnati, where in 123 innings (after an oblique injury delayed his season until June) he pitched to a 3.28 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and a 3.96 FIP. A sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow took away his 2017 season and he returned in 2018 with a substandard season. Again, injuries have curtailed him recently but he has returned to the lineup as of this writing. Among Gausman and Webb, Descalfani has the lowest K/9 rate of the three and while no one is taking him over Webb or Gausman, there is still value to be had and he has shown he can pitch well in San Francisco.
For dynasty purposes, Descalfani will cost the least, and if his current managers are not happy with the injuries, he may be able to be acquired for a draft pick or a less regarded prospect. Descalfani, like Gausman, is a free agent after the season. As Descalfani will command a lower salary than Gausman, there is a greater likelihood Descalfani remains in the Bay Area, and thus staying on a good team in a pitcher’s park.
In our most recent Dynasty top 500 from July, Gausman checked in at 51st overall, Descalfani at 344 and Webb at 448 (Give our guys a bit of a mulligan on that one, the list came out July 14th and Webb didn’t start dominating until the 16th). Needless to say, Webb is much more popular now and combine his age with his recent success and it would be no surprise to see him in the top 150 next time around. While Gausman has the higher upside for strikeouts compared to Webb, Webb has youth on his side. All three pitchers are worth kicking the tires on once we hit the Dynasty off-season, and if the manager of Webb in your league believes in selling high, he would well be worth pursuing.
Buster Posey, Age: 34, Position: C
Analysis by: Bob Osgood
Pass The Courvoisier
Selecting a San Francisco Giants hitter for the Triple Play series this year is not an easy task. Individually, very few of their age thirty-something players jump off the page, but the sum of all parts has made for a fascinating season. As I comb through late-night (or early morning) box scores, I so often check the scoring plays to see that the Giants got their runs with seemingly double-digit singles in the same inning. With two players who have barely eclipsed the 20 home run mark (Belt and Yastrzemski) and two players who have barely passed the 10 steal mark (Slater and Crawford), the 88-50 Giants are an incredible story. They have two hitters with a Fangraphs WAR of 4.0, good for the top-25 in MLB, both of whom are 34-years-old. Brandon Crawford and the return to greatness name I wanted to discuss today, Buster Posey.
Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See
Posey, who opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic after adopting twin babies, had been scuffling for the previous two seasons at the plate by his standards. In 2018-2019, Posey played in 219 games, and while his .270/.340/.375 slash line and defense, of course, was certainly worthy of a starting MLB job, the 12 HRs with 79 RBI and 90 Runs over two seasons combined left something to be desired for fantasy owners. In March redrafts, Posey’s NFBC ADP was #243 on average, the 13th catcher off the board. In a year where only eight catchers have even generated $2 or more on the Razzball Player Rater, Posey has returned $8 in value, fourth behind Sal Perez, Will Smith, and J.T. Realmuto, who were the first three catchers off the board in 2021 drafts, by ADP.
Posey may have a career-high strikeout rate of 19.9% but he has done so while also outputting a career-high walk rate of 12.8%, which is in the top-10% of the league, and an enormous jump from his 7.6% walk rate in 2019, which makes him a force in OBP leagues (.395). Posey does not, and will not, qualify for the batting title because very few catchers get to 502 plate appearances anymore. However, if you drop the Minimum plate appearances down to 350, Posey’s OBP is surpassed by only Juan Soto, Bryce Harper, and Vladimir Guerrero in all of baseball! His .352 BABIP may inflate his average a bit, but with an expected average according to Statcast of .281 (with a true BA of .306), that will play any season.
Gimme Some More
With Joey Bart waiting in the wings and holding up his end of the bargain at Triple-A this year, sporting a .304/.364/.502 slash line with 10 HR in 56 games, Buster Posey doesn’t appear to be ready to give up the throne just yet. A universal DH could very well allow both Posey and Bart to get at-bats next year while keeping each of their catcher legs fresh. Posey may not have Exit Velocity numbers that jump off the page but whatever kind of excellent game prep that they are doing in the Bay Area this summer is doing wonders for him, with a 90th percentile Chase Rate, a massive jump from the 53rd percentile in 2019. His expected wOBA is in the top-13% and even his expected Slugging Percentage is in the top 20% in the league. He’s getting around on fastballs, hitting .333 with a .502 SLG%. It will be interesting to see if a long grind of a season after a year off, which could include a deep postseason run, will affect Posey as he enters his age-35 season in 2022. However, with a universal DH next year, and this newfound appeal in OBP leagues, Posey could be a sneaky cheap and reliable buy in dynasty leagues at an unreliable position this offseason.
Jairo Pomares, Age: 21, Position: OF, Level: A+
Analysis by: Ken Balderston
I don’t know how the Giants are so continually overlooked. They’ve been at or near the top of the toughest division in the NL for months, they get production from everywhere, and have quietly built one of the best and deepest minor league systems in baseball. They might be… Giants. Let’s take an in-depth look at a prospect who was on the radar, but has quietly blown up into a legitimate top 100 prospect.
Can’t Keep Johnny Down
No, Jairo doesn’t translate to Johnny in English, it means ‘enlightened’ in Hebrew. On one hand, he didn’t get promoted to the majors as a 21-year-old, but on the other Jairo did manage to get promoted from A ball to High A, after hitting a ridiculous .372 with 14 home runs and a .321 ISO in San Jose. In High A Eugene, Pomares has come back down to earth from his .372 batting average but is still managing to hit .284 with 4 HR, .537 SLG, and .253 ISO. The approach doesn’t lead to many walks, only 16 in 266 at-bats this season, but also only 74 strikeouts. Basically, there’s a lot of contacts, and that’s the kind of thing you want to see from a guy with this kind of talent.
Man, It’s So Loud In Here
Pomares is a large-bodied 6’1: 185 lb outfielder, with an upright stance and a quiet but fluid swing from the left side. There’s still projection there too, even though he’s 21, I don’t believe he’s fully grown, and by the time he’s 24 we might see another 15-20 lbs of muscle. The tools here are very loud, with well above average power that can clear fences easily from left-center to the right field foul pole. As you might have guessed from the stats, the hit tool is also above average, consistently making hard contact in all parts of the zone. There is one very quiet tool to Jairo’s game, he’s not Sal Fasano fast, but don’t expect him to steal bags in the majors.
Don’t Let’s Start
I’m not going to sugarcoat a prospect, it’s not all roses and rainbows here. Pomares has fantastic tools and fantastic stats, but in A ball he faced right-handed pitchers 185 times, and only 29 times against lefties. His triple slash is a respectable .296/.355/.370 against lefties, but I can’t for the life of me understand why the Giants are platooning a 20-year-old kid in A ball. Maybe one reason is all the 14 home runs he hit in A ball all came off of righties. The moderate success against lefties is encouraging though, maybe it’s a rotation thing, or they want to build Jairo’s confidence, but it is noticeable something to keep an eye on as Pomares moves up the ladder. With each level, the breaking balls and control will get a little sharper and can expose even previously unidentified platoon concerns.
The End of the Tour
Well, he’s good… at least against righties. There’s big-league power in his bat and an above-average or maybe even plus hit tool to Pomares profile. I think the main takeaway from the platoon concerns, is Jairo is hitting lefties well, despite the team not allowing him to face them regularly. The main takeaway here is the Giants have another impressive prospect, who seems for whatever reason to be flying under the radar. Heck, I’d even check your waiver wire and see if he’s available right now.
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