Over the last three seasons, the San Francisco Giants' greatest strength has undoubtedly been their homegrown starting rotation of Matt Cain, Tim Lincencum and Madison Bumgarner.
However, Giants starters struggled collectively over the final months of the regular season, posting a season-high 4.36 ERA in August followed by a 4.08 ERA in September and October. Even more concerning is the fact that Bumgarner is 0-2 with a 11.25 ERA in two starts, Cain is 1-2 with a 4.67 ERA in three starts and Lincecum, who was omitted from the team’s postseason rotation, is 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA in three appearances headed into Thursday’s Game 4 start.
While the organization doesn’t exactly have an elite pitching prospect ready to contribute next season, it dooes have one intriguing option in right-hander Chris Heston, who may be ready by mid-2013.
The 24-year-old right-hander spent the entire season at Double-A Richmond after a breakout 2011 campaign at High-A. Making 25 starts for the Flying Squirrels, Heston posted a 2.24 ERA, .230 BAA, 1.63 GB/FB, 8.2 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 over 148.2 innings.
With a slightly above-average four-pitch mix, he’s not flashy or overpowering, but understands how to get outs and work deep into games. He doesn’t have the upside of a Cain, Lincecum or Bumgarner, but should be a nice addition to backend of the team’s rotation once he’s ready.