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Two Giants newcomers turned heads of Kapler, Harris during spring training


© Matt Kartozian | 2020 Mar 5


Baseball’s return is not yet in sight, but Giants fans have something to look forward to when it does according to manager Gabe Kapler and general manager Scott Harris.

Both members of the Giants brass hopped on KNBR over the past few days and had praise for two new faces who impressed during spring training — Drew Smyly and Kevin Gausman — both of which are expected to be part of the Giants rotation whenever the season resumes.

“I think we all got excited about Kevin Gausman,” Kapler told Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks. “The split, the improved breaking ball.”

Here’s what Kapler is talking about:

“Drew Smyly’s arm looked great,” Kapler continued. “This is a guy who really started to get stronger and stronger as the season went on last year in Philadelphia when I managed over there. And he looked great then, but he looked better now. The ball just really was carrying through the zone.

“His ability to put his slider at the backfoot of a right-handed hitter, the ability to drop a curveball in for a strike, all of those things are reason for excitement when we get back to baseball.”

Gausman, 29, and Smyly, 30, were both acquired on one-year deals by the Giants this offseason. Both players have shown promising flashes throughout their careers, but are both also coming off down seasons.

Harris echoed Kapler’s sentiments when he joined Murph & Mac on Thursday, and also made the fairly shocking statement about the club’s rotation.

“We were really impressed by the way our rotation responded,” Harris said. “We expected the rotation to be one of the strongest elements of our team and players like Drew Smyly and Kevin Gausman were definitely sharp during spring training. They were also very open minded to adding new pitches, attacking hitters in new ways and we were really encouraged by the path that they were on, we thought it was going to really translate into performance.

I think we all got excited about Kevin Gausman. The split, the improved breaking ball.

“Drew Smyly’s arm looked great,” Kapler said. “This is a guy who really started to get stronger and stronger as the season went on last year in Philadelphia when I managed over there. And he looked great then, but he looked better now. The ball just really was carrying through the zone.

“His ability to put his slider at the backfoot of a right-handed hitter, the ability to drop a curveball in for a strike, all of those things are reason for excitement when we get back to baseball.”

Smyly and Gausman are expected to join Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and whoever wins the battle for the fifth starter position in the rotation.

Listen below.

 

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