Now before I start this, I want to make it known, I am not a Giants fan one bit, actually growing up in the Bay Area in California made me somewhat of a hater on the fans of the Giants, seeing the bandwagoning (no its not a word, but it will be in this instance) that took place during the span of 2010-2015. But before this offseason started, a lot of people were circling names like Taijuan Walker, Garrett Richards and Martin Perez for their dark horse free agent steal, but the name I gravitated towards, was Cincinnati Reds free agent Anthony DeSclafani. Between 2015 to 2019, DeSclafani was a rising pitcher on a non competitive Reds team, averaging a 4.04 ERA between those four seasons, and a breakout season in 2016, posting a 3.28 ERA and 130 ERA+.
2020 was a down season for the RHP, as he threw 33.2 innings, posting a 7.22 ERA and a 6.10 FIP, so no obvious signs that it was a season that was the biproduct of bad luck. DeSclafani has always been a pitcher with a large repertoire, as he throws a 4 seam, sinker, curve, slider and changeup, and has usually spaced out their usage throughout the game, without falling into too many patterns. But this was the main issue I saw from DeSclafani’s 2020 season, he began to throw his fastball less, his curveball less, and his slider more. This resulted in most of his starts, hitters expecting three pitches instead of five, which makes the at bat that much more comfortable. And because of this, DeSclafani saw his strike out numbers drop into the bottom 9th percentile in the Majors last season, and his walk rate rise to 10.1 percent, because he was attempting to be perfect with his slider and four seam/sinker combination, instead of incorporating his curveball, that hitters in 2019 managed only a .281 XSLG (expected slugging percentage based on the likelihood of a ball becoming extra bases).
DeSclafani reminds me a good deal about the Giants free agent pick up last season in Kevin Gausman, who saw his career turn around after a disappointing run with Baltimore in his earlier stages of his career. And I have a strange hunch that the Giants pitching coach and staff will help DeSclafani discover the 2016 version of himself once again. And I’m putting my money down he will be a success in San Francisco and be selected to the 2021 All-Star game in Atlanta (if it happens).