Pittsburgh Pirates: Two Potential San Francisco Giants Trade Targets

The Pirates could add another starting pitcher via the trade market from the Giants.

Sep 3, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Keaton Winn (67) throws
Sep 3, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Keaton Winn (67) throws / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
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Keaton Winn

Keaton Winn was the Giants’ fifth-round pick in 2018. The right-hander steadily worked his way up the Giants’ system and made the Majors last year. After proving himself in a few bullpen outings as a long reliever, Winn was moved to the starting rotation and continued to pitch relatively well.

Winn’s first look in the big leagues had its ups and downs. His 4.68 ERA, 92.4 MPH exit velocity, and 48% hard-hit rate aren’t good. He also only struck out 20.3% of the batters he faced. But there are several reasons why he could be significantly better in 2024.

Winn had a sub-5% walk rate, clocking in at 4.8%. His 1.28 HR/9 was about league average, and a 58% ground ball rate would be among the best pitchers in the league if he kept it up over a whole season. Winn may not have been good at limiting hard-hit batted balls in this short Major League stint, but his 17.2% HR/FB ratio points to some flyball luck. The right-hander had a 3.89 xFIP, 3.72 SIERA, as well as an 89 DRA-, compared to an ERA- of 111.

The reason his surface numbers looked so bad was because of his final game of the year. In 5.1 innings, he allowed six earned six earned runs and three home runs. This game alone shot his ERA up from 3.89, which nearly matches his underlying statistics, to above 4.60. This game would have been drowned out in a larger sample size that isn’t only 42.1 innings.

Winn was one of the best pitchers in the PCL, working to a 4.81 ERA, 4.69 FIP, and 1.59 WHIP through 58 innings of work. Among the pitchers in the PCL with 12+ games started, Winn ranked 13th in ERA but 4th in FIP and first in xFIP at 4.58. Winn had a 25.1% strikeout rate, which ranked 8th, while his 1.09 HR/9 was the 13th best. With a 9.9% walk rate, he was one of only 19 PCL starters with a BB% under 10%.

Keep in mind, this is the PCL, where the league average ERA is 5.70, and batters hit .272/.369/.450, which is about what Andrew McCutchen, Carl Yastrzemski, and Dwight Evans’ career slash lines are. He also had to contend with the automatic ball-strike system, so while his numbers on the surface may not look great, the league-average batter hit like some borderline Hall of Fame players.

The righty throws hard, as his four-seam fastball averages out at 96 MPH. Winn doesn’t throw with a lot of spin, with 2277 RPM on average, but with 94% active spin, he makes the most out of it. His primary pitch is his upper-80s splitter. This pitch was very effective, holding opponents to a wOBA of just .271. His sinker, another mid-90s offering, also held opponents to a sub-.300 wOBA. Winn only threw his slider against right-handed batters, however.