Giants prospect Conner Menez will replace left-hander Drew Pomeranz in the rotation tomorrow, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman reports.
Menez, 24, has risen steadily through the Giants system with little fanfare until quite recently. The lefty, who’s said to have “plus-plus extension” (per FanGraphs, though the site didn’t rank him among the club’s top 35 prospects) and a “high [fastball] spin rate” (MLB.com, where he ranks 21st in the system), led all minor-league left-handers with 171 strikeouts last season. He’s leveled up further in ’19, setting down 123 hitters in just 85 innings for Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento.
Pomeranz, who signed a one-year, $1.5MM (plus incentives) pact this offseason, has furthered has rapid descent in San Francisco. In 72 1/3 innings for the club, the 30-year-old’s been torched for a startling 17 homers in the Giants’ massive park while walking 35 in the process. His 4.60 SIERA, reflective of a typically-stellar K rate and unsustainable 21% HR/FB, is optimistic of a rebound, but it’s the second consecutive 6+ ERA campaign for the lefty who was once swapped straight-up for a then-top 20 prospect. Pomeranz’s average fastball velocity and strikeout rate are both career bests, but his once-vaunted curveball his abandoned him: per FanGraphs, the pitch has been among the league’s worst since the start of the ’18 campaign.
The sizzling-hot Giants, winners of 14 of the club’s last 16, will now line up with Menez, Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija, Shaun Anderson, and Tyler Beede in the rotation as the club surges toward the second wild-card spot. It isn’t a mix that inspires much hope, though perhaps the club’s lights-out bullpen – the only NL unit with a sub-4 collective FIP – can safely be counted on to soften the blows. Schulman does note that, per manager Bruce Bochy, the club rotation’s mix “remains fluid” and the Giants will look to rest starters and limit the innings of the three rookies.