Congratulations San Francisco Giants
Not only did the Giants win their first World Series title for the city of San Francisco, but they did so in style. No one gave the Giants credit during the season, and yet here they are celebrating and planning their parade.
When you look at the Giants it is easy to see why they were overlooked as a potential World Series Champion, and that reason is their offense, or lack of one. In the 4 big team categories; runs, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, the Giants never finished higher than 13th in the league. And taking one look at their lineup you can see why. One of their top free agent signings, Mark DeRosa posted a .537 OPS in the first month and a half before being injured and missing the rest of the year. And their biggest free agent bat in recent memory, Aaron Rowand, has become a HUGE hole in the lineup and is now just used as a ‘situational’ player (he only gets that role because he makes $13 million a year). Even one of their promising young players Pablo Sandoval had a huge regression this year.
As for what went right for the Giants offense, two names really stand out above all others, Buster Posey and Aubrey Huff. Huff along with DeRosa were this team’s major free agent signings this season. And while DeRosa got injured and disappointed, Huff went on to have one of the best seasons of his career. Huff who had primarily been DH’ing in recent years, also had a strong bounce back year defensively as well. And not just as a first basemen, but as an outfielder as well. Huff was immensely valuable, and an absolute steal of a free agent signing (unfortunately it was only a 1-year deal so they will need to open their checkbook up if they want to keep him). Posey on the other hand was one of the top young players in baseball, but it appeared as though the Giants refused to acknowledge him. Even going so far to resign and start Bengie Molina this season. Luckily they came to their senses and traded Molina (to the Rangers ironically) to clear the way for Posey. Posey answered in a huge way, and appears to be one of the best players in baseball going forward. The Giants also benefited by some shrewd (and thrifty) mid-season acquisitions. San Francisco brought in Pat Burrell, Jose Guillen, Mike Fontenot and Cody Ross during this season without giving up any major talent or a ton of money. While it was a mixed result, with Burrell being by far the best of those additions (until Ross killed Phillies pitching in the postseason), they all helped the Giants reach the point of winning the series.
Now while their hitting was always their weak point, San Francisco fared a bit better in the pitching department. The Giants finished first in team ERA, 3rd in quality starts, 4th in WHIP and 1st in batting average against. They had a pitching rotation that featured 4 solid-great starters ranging from Barry Zito (he may be overpriced, but he pitched decently this year) to Tim Lincecum (not as dominate as the past two years, but still an ace). In between the Giants got great seasons from Jonathan Sanchez and Matt Cain. Their rotation was further strengthened with the addition of 21 year-old Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner followed up on his strong regular season, with a very good postseason, and is a big part as to the Giants success this year. When San Francisco did need to rely on their bullpen, they new they had a very quality unit to fall back on. Closer Brian Wilson dominated this year, and the patchwork unit in front of him turned out to be one of the leagues best.
There is no doubt that the Giants proved the old adage that pitching wins championships, but you have to give the Giants credit for what they did on offense. They overcame the collapse or injuries of a number of key players, and found a way to get enough offense to win the N.L. West on the last day of the season. This is a great win for the organization and the city of San Francisco, who have been waiting for this day for quite a while (since ’58). Congratulations on a great season and postseason San Francisco, and for overcoming adversity to win the title!