Brian Sabean’s drafting and construction of pitching depth in the organization has set manager Bruce Bochy up to be a very lucky man.
His biggest decision at the culmination of spring training? To decide on who gets the fifth spot in the rotation.
The two most likely contestants to win that spot have been narrowed down to free-agent acquisition Todd Wellemeyer and homegrown pitching prospect Kevin Pucetas.
Both candidates have been the best two Giants pitchers this spring, and have combined for 19 innings pitched and a minuscule three earned runs allowed—an ERA of 0.92.
Their performance has been unreal, but the decision will be a tough one.
As I said in this debate on who will win the fifth spot in the rotation, I believe that Wellemeyer will get it, mainly because of his experience. The Giants do have one of the youngest pitching staffs in the league, so he would be the balance at the back-end of it.
He’s 2-0 with an ERA of 1.20 and is having the best spring of his career. He also has experience in long relief, and should he falter, he can easily be moved there.
Pucetas, meanwhile, has a record identical to Wellemeyer's with a mind-boggling 0.64 ERA. He has also shown great control of his pitches, walking only two batters in 14 innings. For a player who has never pitched in the majors before, control always seems to be an issue, but not for him.
Neither of these pitchers are strikeout pitchers—they rely on getting ground balls and utilizing the defense to make plays. With the Giants already having three strikeout pitchers in the rotation, this could be a welcome relief because pitchers like Wellemeyer and Pucetas rely on contact.
No matter what happens, the Giants cannot go wrong in giving the job to either of these two.
Madison Bumgarner has struggled of late, and being that he is still very young, he could use a season in Triple-A.
But there is the question of what will happen to Pucetas if Wellemeyer gets the job. We all know that if Pucetas were to get it, Wellemeyer would just move to the bullpen, but not necessarily the other way around.
Should he get it, do the Giants put Pucetas in the bullpen to get him major league experience, or do they send him down to the minors so he can start on a regular basis?
Personally, I would have to send him down because there would be no sense in hindering his development by giving him irregular innings in relief. Let him throw for a few months down there, and by June, if the status quo is alright, then he would have to wait until September.
As I said previously, this is a problem that major league teams love to have.