2018 absolutely should’ve yielded a much more impressive result for the Giants. On paper, they were an easy Wild Card contender and potential challenger for the NL West crown. Unfortunately in baseball winners and losers aren’t determined by names, but rather by numbers. And the San Francisco Giants were a bitter disappointment. Their plan to assemble baseball’s best squad from 5 years ago with Bumgarner, Posey, McCutchen, and Longoria on the field proved to be nothing short of salary disaster. It’s easy to justify spending money in baseball if you’re winning games as a result. In the Giants’ case though, splurging on a sub-.500 ball club is just disgusting to watch.
It’s very hard to imagine that the Giants won’t place at or near the bottom of the NL West yet again in 2019. Trade rumors will likely ravage the minds of established veterans if injuries don’t sack them first. The farm system has been uprooted for their last retooling effort and it’s hard to find any real impact prospects in that wasteland. So for predicting a breakout campaign the options are few and far between to say the least. I find it hard to believe in a resurgence from Buster Posey or Evan Longoria. Young outfielders Chris Shaw, Austin Slater, and Sam Duggar will need to learn to avoid striking out a ton if they’re to be deemed contenders here. So there’s really only one suitable option left…
For the second team in a row, I’m looking for a second generation big leaguer to rise to the occasion in 2019. Son of Hall of Fame Catcher, Ivan Rodriguez, Dereck Rodriguez made his much anticipated debut for San Francisco in 2018. He pitched to a solid 2.81 ERA, astonishingly the only starter in baseball’s fourth most expensive rotation to carry a sub-3.00 mark. Rodriguez has good stuff, and while not the fireball hurling strikeout pitcher highly touted in today’s game, his ability to force the ground ball was something special to watch.
Rodriguez isn’t going to jump up to the top of the rotation in 2019, and barring a whirlwind of trades sweeping through the Bay, there’s a strong possibility we see him split some time between the tail end of the rotation and the bullpen this summer. If he can replicate his ability to keep runs off of the board from his rookie campaign, while improving on strikeout pitch as the year progresses, I like the odds of Dereck Rodriguez carving himself a niche as a serviceable second or third in the rotation for years to come.