The Giants inked free agent Todd Wellemeyer to a minor league contract this winter and told him he’d have a legitimate shot at making the team as a fifth starter or long reliever.
Despite the promises, we considered Wellemeyer a longshot to make the team when he signed. But he has shot out of the gate this spring with a 1.20 ERA over five spring appearances and is out-pitching Madison Bumgarner, his 20-year-old competition for the final spot in San Francisco’s rotation. Bumgarner doesn’t have any experience above the Double-A level and has served up far too many runs in Cactus League play this spring while showing an inability to strike batters out.
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle believes Wellemeyer will indeed open the season as the Giants’ No. 5 starter and gathered this nugget from manager Bruce Bochy after the 31-year-old right-hander rattled off five scoreless innings Saturday against the Reds:
“He threw great,” Bochy said. “He attacked the zone and had command of
everything, and he threw strike one. He was on top of his game. He’s
thrown the ball well all spring.”
We can’t say for sure if the success will continue into the regular season. In fact, we’d rather bet against it. Wellemeyer owns a poor 4.74 career ERA and 1.51 WHIP, and went 7-10 last season with a 5.89 ERA and 1.77 WHIP in 28 appearances (21 starts) for the Cardinals.