The San Francisco Giants have been a franchise known for great pitching and have won multiple World Series' in the past decade, but after a disappointing 2015, this staff has a totally different complexion.
I don't care about his 3.44 ERA last season with the defending World Series Champion Kansas City Royals. Johnny Cueto had a rocky season at best after being an elite pitcher with the Cincinnati Reds. Cueto's one high point was a pivotal pitching performance in the World Series and that's what he'll be remembered for.
For the season, Cueto was a disappointing 11-13 and my guess is that Cueto is thinking that the National League is a safer league to pitch in than the hard hitting American League.
Look for Cueto to have a major bounce back season on a team in the Giants that are much better than the Reds. We could see him possibly return to elite status even though he's considered the number 2 pitcher on the Giants staff as this is Madison Bumgarner's team.
Speaking of Bumgarner, he had a stellar 2015, possessing an 18-9 mark with a 2.93 ERA and an amazing 1.94 ERA at home. Bumgarner is a player that will provide the Giants with a ton of innings and should once again average over a strikeout per inning. In a rough 2015, Bumgarner was San Francisco's shining star and they'll need a repeat performance as they attempt to get past the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Another Former National Leaguer
The Giants have a solid #3 starter in right hander, Jeff Samardzija. At one point in his career, Samardzija was simply unhittable with the Chicago Cubs, but the Cubbies couldn't score a run for him. He would lose a lot of 1-0 games. Then, Samardzija went to the American League where he found out it wasn't so easy and now he's back where he feels comfortable.
Samardzija had a rocky 2015 with an 11-13 record and a 4.96 ERA. He couldn't pitch at home (5.33 ERA) and against the American League. I remember him giving up 10 runs in the first inning of a game and thinking that this wasn't the same dominant pitcher that fans knew as the ace of the Chicago Cubs staff.
At this point, we don't know what we'll see from Samardzija, but it should be an improvement from last season. This is a good spot with less pressure on him.
No Let Up
Closing out the Giants starting rotation are veteran Jake Peavy (8-6, 3.58 in limited action) and Matt Cain. Cain also had limited starts and an atrocious season, but I think if he get's an entire season under his belt, we'll see a pitcher closer to the career 3.47 ERA that he possess. There's only room for improvement from a season that he would like to forget.
This is a pitching staff with a lot of question marks due to the inconsistency, but the upside is rather high and if we see that, the Giants should win the National League West Division.