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  1. Well put.

    I do hope when you redo org rankings, you reflect back on what you wrote here and really incorporate the lessons learned.
    There are only so many times something can be dismissed as luck before the model needs to change.

    Comment by mettle — October 29, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

  2. You left out mentioning DH-extraordinaire, Ryan Theriot!

    Seriously, though, this article was really good. So much of what we expect to happen in the postseason is based on teams’ star power but so little recognition is given to teams’ depth. We reason that depth is overrated in the playoffs because of the frequency of off-days and that the cream will ultimately rise to the top.

    The bottom line is that Verlander — though he’s the best pitcher in baseball — only got 1 start in the World Series and any pitcher can stink in any 1 start. Out of the Tigers’ 34 innings, Verlander threw 5 or 6. The Giants were rewarded for their depth and I’m glad that you wrote this and brought attention to it.

    Comment by chuckb — October 29, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

  3. It also just ‘feels right’ that a team with 94 wins in the regular season beat the one that snuck in with 88 wins in a weak division. The same depth that made them steady and resilient in the postseason (so many comebacks! so many win-or-go-home games!) was what made them a deserving division champ too.

    (Though really, out of all the AL, having the Giants matched up against the Tigers was better than matched against the charmed (O’s), overachieving (A’s) or old (Yanks). This one, even though a sweep, still feels like the Giants really earned it.)

    Anyway. I’d hope that people can use this analysis of the depth of the Giants to counterbalance some of the usual winter meeting hype about having to get a big name, for all the reasons you lay out here. A bad day or two from Verlander, a team figuring out how to pitch to / around the Fielder/Cabrera tandem, and suddenly the Tigers are pretty lackluster. The Angels spent a boatload on premium talent and watched the playoffs from their couches. The Dodgers bought part of the Red Sox late in the season and couldn’t catch up to the Giants.

    A well-rounded roster is better than building around one or two guys in the rotation and one or two guys in the lineup. Which is something I’m sure people will completely forget in about 4 to 6 weeks when the Winter Meetings come around and everyone is begging their team to go be big spenders and make blockbuster trades…

    Comment by Guest — October 29, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

  4. I appreciate this post. Thank you!

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — October 29, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

  5. we also probably underrated the (negative) value of having a complete moron at the helm for the Tigers.

    Comment by Dudley — October 29, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  6. It doesn’t happen all the time but when collaboration works it is a truly beautiful thing.

    Comment by celtic1888 — October 29, 2012 @ 1:26 pm

  7. The depth that$118 mill/yr (8th most) can buy is a fairly starry depth. Yes, it is behind the Tigers $132 (5th), but I am not sure I believe that depth had more to do with their victory in a 4 game series than the $118m.

    Comment by Gus — October 29, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

  8. I think you meant the Giants 7-24 were valuable. I don’t think Guillermo Mota played a very valuable role in the Giants march to a championship.

    Comment by Jamie — October 29, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

  9. Do you think maybe in the back of Verlander’s mind was Cliff Lee? Was there a bit of a relief that he did not have to face Pablo again.

    I know Verlander is a big time pitcher with a ton of confidence but the Giants hung 2 losses in 2010 on his Texas counterpart who was billed as bulletproof, too.

    Comment by celtic1888 — October 29, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

  10. So what we’re really saying here is that Brian Sabean is the GM of the year – for how he used his resources effectively to build depth into a team that has a couple of stars but couldn’t win by expecting the 3-run homer every night.

    Pitching and defense – Sabean and his team found it through intelligent drafting and savvy FA signings. Big contracts have weighed this team down in the past but it appears they’re on the other side of the rainbow now. They have cost-controlled players at key positions (Posey, Belt, Crawford) and more on the way to fill spots where there are needs (Gary Brown, Joe Panik). There are going to be tough decisions in the next couple of years (Lincecum? An aging outfield? Starting pitching to replace Zito & Vogelsong?) but the young core of this team has performed, and performed well. The Giants front office should be applauded for doing so many things right..

    Comment by fergie348 — October 29, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

  11. One name is noticeably missing from this article…: Bruce Bochy

    It isn’t enough to have the best roster of hitters or starters or relievers, they have to be MANAGED to optimize whatever talents they have. Bochy did a masterful job of weaving personnel into situations where they could be successful, and juggling the egos to make it work.

    Comment by ToddCommish — October 29, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

  12. As a guy who sat through the debacle that was games 3-5 of the Reds-Giants series, I say congratulations to the Giants. Maybe eventually people will see that getting a couple stars is not team building. Getting stars will always be important, but avoiding scrubs continues to be underrated. I know the Reds would have been much better with some small upgrades at key positions. Yes, I mean you Drew Stubbs!!!!!!!!

    Comment by bkgeneral — October 29, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  13. No insult to the Giants as they are a truly great team. However, this post goes to the heart of my question. Is this the “worst” core to win multiple championships in a long time? I guess Posey could be the next Bench but with Lincecum’s struggles, you wouldn’t really call him an “Ace” for both runs while his bullpen work was fantastic.

    Again…Congrats to the Giants. They earned this.

    Comment by Los — October 29, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  14. Dave Cameron mans up and owns his mistake. Huzzah.

    Its related to depth in a way, the Giants have unsurpassed stability in their front office. Sabean and Tidrow are the two most joined at the hip mustaches in MLB. I have had my criticisms of Sabean over the years, but the man gets nitpicked to death. He has built a team around pitching, defense and speed, and he deserves all the credit for it. Sabean paid lip service to getting faster, more athletic for a number of years, this year he finally broke through on that promise. He has a team built for that park. I’ve never seen a better defensive team in the french vanilla. They are truly amazing this year, and I look forward to some stat analysis of that defense.

    The Giants coaching staff is also quite experienced, and stable. Raggs gets most the credit, but Mark Gardner has been there for a long time as well. The stability of the bullpen, something Sabean definitely paid top dollar to retain, has turned out to be a huge strength. Having 3 left handed pitchers to come carve up the late innings is a serious weapon, once you get to playoff baseball. Being able to work around the injury to Brian Wilson, who was amazing in the 2010 run, was a big strength, and Gardner needs some love in there somewhere.

    But the thing the Giants have done better than anybody in baseball is the reclamation project. Andres Torres, Ryan Vogelsong, Blanco and Arias. Giving those guys a second shot at the majors has really turned out to be a big strength. You won’t find stars, although Vogelsong sure did pitch like a star, but you will find useful ballplayers. And when Sabean avoids the older proven vet for mid market money, he is pretty effective. He definitely needs tons more credit on the internet. Last, about them defensive metrics – the Giants have a proprietary system. If they are true to form, Sabean will not be giving anything but the most ho hum PR reveal of what they are actually doing. But it might just be cutting edge on the Sabermetrics front, which is supreme irony coming from the most old school of old school front offices.

    Anyways, thanks for the article. I think Giants fans just want to celebrate their team without getting sneered at with terms like Pixie Dust, or Luck, or what not. They fought hard for this championship, and they earned it fair and square.

    Comment by Shankbone — October 29, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

  15. Los, it’s not the worst core if you consider that the core is their starting pitching. Positionally, it isn’t even the same core.

    Great article and the only thing I would take exception to is second-guessing the importance of a team’s top 3/4 starters when you get to the post season. Frankly, that’s exactly why the Giants won the World Series in 2010 – they had the best trio of starters in the playoffs. Those same 3 (Lincecum, Baumgarner & Cain) played pivotal, albeit different, roles in 2012. While the Giants starters all had ups & downs in 2012 (especially Lincecum), they all possessed the same talent they brought to the playoffs in 2010 and the put it together when it mattered most. I’d still argue that the Giants exceptional starting pitching is what earned them another champagne shower in 2012.

    Comment by Jeff — October 29, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

  16. To paraphrase the Beasties, in Theri-eri-ot… Theriot, y’all!

    Comment by Bigmouth — October 29, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

  17. I think this just means any team that makes it to the playoffs can win it all. Play this series ten more times, and I bet Cabrera hits 3 homeruns a lot, and Verlander throws one hit shutouts a lot. I think you’re right that the Giants are better than we thought because of their depth, but I don’t think we can make any conclusions about roster strategy from it.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — October 29, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

  18. Somewhere, David B. Fleming is smiling right now.

    Comment by Kai — October 29, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

  19. Two straight titles in years with Buster Posey. Not bad for the most worstest awfulest stupidest GM ever

    Comment by A — October 29, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

  20. The Giants may have a high payroll, but the majority of the players who actually helped the team win the World Series are product of the farm system, trades, or minor league free agents. Posey, Sandoval, Bumgarner, Lincecum and Cain were all draft, as well as Belt and Crawford. Scutaro and Pence were acquired in trades for drafted players. Pagan was acquired for a minor league FA and fungible reliever. Blanco and Vogelsong were minor league free agents. The major league free agent signings on the Giants payroll are Aubrey Huff, Aaron Rowand, Freddy Sanchez, and Barry Zito. Those four account for $40+ million, but, aside from Zito this postseason, very little production. The players the Giants spent their money on have fairly little to do with the World Series. You could have built a similar team through the draft and savvy work with trades and cheap FAs for ~$70 million.

    Comment by Jaack — October 29, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

  21. How rare was it to bring a full 5-man rotation into the playoffs? I don’t mean the Texas/St. Louis setup where relievers were freely shifted between the rotation and relief staff, but five actual starters?

    Comment by Petruchio — October 29, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

  22. I don’t think it’s entirely fair to call the A’s overachievers and the O’s charmed. I still maintain the exact same thing that this article posits, that depth is hugely important and if the ALDS were 7 games instead of 5 we would’ve seen an epic bay bridge series.

    Single tear.

    Comment by degolas — October 29, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  23. You could have built a similar team through the draft and savvy work with trades and cheap FAs for ~$70 million.

    But they didn’t. They have a payroll that allowed them to overcome $40+ million to ‘ Aubrey Huff, Aaron Rowand, Freddy Sanchez, and Barry Zito’.

    So, theoretically they could have done something that they didn’t do.

    Comment by Anon — October 29, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

  24. “They picked up Melky Cabrera for a song.”

    I don’t recall anyone saying this when the trade was made. http://is.gd/eSkIQL.

    Comment by Steve — October 29, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

  25. The Cards had Carpenter, Garcia, Jackson, and Lohse as starters last year. Westbrook pitched from the pen but is in no way someone who ‘freely shifted’ roles.

    Comment by Anon — October 29, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

  26. From my biased point of view, the most amazing part of 2010 and 2012 is that an entirely different cast led to the championship in each year, either because they were not on the team in one of the years or because they were ineffective.

    Our 3 best starting pitchers in 2010 were Lincecum, Cain, and Bumgarner, and their performances were probably the three worst in 2012 (although Lincecum was awesome out of the pen). Vogelsong was not on the team in 2010 and Zito was not on the postseason roster in 2010.

    The only position players from 2010 still on the roster in 2012 were Posey, Sandoval, and Huff. Sandoval was benched in 2010 so he didn’t contribute that year, and Huff was benched in 2012. Posey, really, was the only player on the entire team to contribute both years, and that’s really because he had two timely home runs this year in Game 5 of the NLDS and Game 4 of the WS, because overall, he did not hit well.

    In 2010, the bullpen was led by Brian Wilson and Javier Lopez. In 2012, they were injured and demoted to 2nd lefty reliever. 2012′s bullpen stars were Romo and Affeldt, who were demoted to the back of the bullpen in 2010 (Romo gave up a home run to Hinske in Game 3 against the Braves and was not trusted much afterwards; Affeldt pitched some essential scoreless innings when Sanchez was knocked out in Game 6 against the Phillies but the fact that he was even tasked with this shows that he was one of the long men in that postseason).

    Does Sabean have a history littered with horrible contracts for past-their-prime veterans like Zito, Rowand, and Huff? Sure. But the fact that he was able to build a very different team in 2010 and have them win the championship was very impressive.

    Comment by Giants Fan — October 29, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

  27. There is a mercurial, chemical quality to this Giants team that is fundamentally similar to the 2010 version. I felt it with the 02 Dbags, late 90s Yanks (obligatory Braves fan scowl) and the Terry Pendleton Braves of 20 years gone. Baseball doesn’t seem like a team sport when compared to football and the rest, and that’s fine — its mano a mano repetitions are part of what makes it differently fascinating than every other American sport. There is so much inefficiency still to be found in baseball that I don’t think we’ll see the Belichickan team-first approach any time soon (assuming facts not in evidence), but that doesn’t mean that baseball teams can’t or don’t synthesize into far more than the sum of their numbers.

    These Giants have been a curiously likable team for a few years now. That might not count for much if you’re the Royals or some other cellar-rat, but the qualities which have made them so appealing to the external view seem facilitate some internal harmony as well. And, alchemically, into wins.

    Comment by Tomrigid — October 29, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

  28. Huh? You talking about Leyland or Dombrowski or the owner?

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — October 29, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

  29. I agree with eminor. The Giants won 6 straight elimination games against worthy opponents to make the World Series. That means that the odds were 98% that we would be having a discussion about how the Xs triumphed because of star power, great managing, etc. – take your pick. Congratulations to the Giants, but I don’t any roster strategies to be derived from their success.

    I personally like Washington’s strategy – be absolutely horrible for 2 years so that you can draft one of the best rookie pitchers and one of the best rookie position players of the decade – yeah, that’s repeatable.

    Comment by daniel — October 29, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

  30. I wasn’t arguing that the Giants could have. My argument is that turning this into a have/have not narrative is incorrect. Their wealth helped them overcome those contracts, yes, but its not the primary reason they won the World Series, which Gus was implying.

    I really dislike it when people make it seem like its impossible for a poorer team to contend, when it obviously isn’t.

    Comment by Jaack — October 29, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

  31. Ugh, another tired “the postseason is a crapshoot” comment.

    Comment by Guest — October 29, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

  32. LOL,…… “In retrospect, that looks like our version of the Barry Zito contract, and there’s no use in defending it.”

    Even in their mea culpas, fangraphs can’t resist the dig.

    Comment by Peter — October 29, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

  33. Detroit had 2 ways at winning the Series.
    -Cabrera and Fielder hitting HRs at very high leverage times
    -13-15 Strikeout games from each starter in their rotation with each starter going past the 8th inning

    Once those plans did not work out they were out of options.

    They could not manufacture a run in a close game, they could not rely on multiple high leverage innings from their BP, they could not count on defense to help them out on balls put into play.

    The Giants had multiple ways of scoring runs, had a lockdown BP to protect a lead and keep them in the game, could rely on a stolen base when needed and any ball put in play had a chance of getting caught by an exceptional defense.

    Comment by celtic1888 — October 29, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

  34. I’m somewhat surprised (not really) that the logic you use to develop the rationale for the Giants sweep post hoc wasn’t more prevalent prior to the Series as opposed to when looking in the rear view mirror. Have any of you at “The Graph” thought to send Kieth Law a get well card for having his party line surgically extract ?

    Comment by channelclemente — October 29, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

  35. Nice thoughtful piece with good analysis. Thanks!

    However, I have to take exception to your near-dismissal of Zito. He had a turnaround year, won 15 games including his final 7 decisions, and got stronger at the end. In the NLCS, all he did was save the Giants’ season with the performance of his life in St. Louis, and then he somehow topped that by outpitching Justin Verlander in Game 1 of the World Series–AND getting an RBI single off him!

    The Giants’ players consider him a hero and were (per Chris Haft) chanting “BAR-RY! BAR-RY!” in the clubhouse when the trophy was brought in. I think he actually would have been an extremely worthy Comeback Player of the Year candidate (no disrespect to the deserving winner, Buster Posey).

    Comment by Lefty — October 29, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

  36. Hindsight Fallacy, of course.

    Comment by Peter — October 29, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

  37. Then wait for your most of team to put career numbers and then shutdown your most dominant SP

    Great strategy

    Comment by celtic1888 — October 29, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

  38. Do reasonable people still read Keith Law?

    Comment by Peter — October 29, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  39. Yes, Bochy’s name seems to be absent in many of the articles that I’m reading.

    I consider the benching of MadBum in the NLCS a critical managerial decision and likely a move that many managers would not make. There are other examples — pulling Zito after getting only 8 outs in potential elimination game 4 of the NLDS. Super scrub Theriot getting the DH start and scoring what proved to be the game winning run. Bochy’s use of the bullpen throughout the postseason was sublime as he mixed and matched to near perfection. The Bochy list could go on, especially if 2010 is included (ie benching Zito & relegating Sandoval to forgotten man status).

    As an impartial baseball fan who did not cheer for any of the postseason teams, I often disagreed with Bochy’s decision making but have to give props when they are due.

    Congrats to the Giants organization and their fans.

    Comment by Rogue — October 29, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

  40. Not to digress too much but to add to what Lefty just said, the entire dynamic of the fans when Zito was scheduled to start with the Giants down 3-1 in the series was something to behold. Despite years & years of apathy surrounding Zito and not much confidence going into that game, the fans rallied around him in sort of a “we’ve-got-nothing-to-lose” whimsical manner. If you’re on Twitter, the whole #RallyZito thing was as much light-hearted comedic relief as anything. Everyone wanted Zito to pitch the game of his life and nobody was upset it was him taking the mound, because so few thought the Giants had a legitimate shot to win three straight. And now here we are with the victory being the key to the whole thing. Nice job, Barry. Way to stick in there, take a beating and come away with this great feeling!

    Comment by Jeff — October 29, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

  41. Right but Jhonny Peralta could get hits in big spots too. Or freakin’ Andy Dirks. Can Marco Scutaro really do anything that those guys can’t? No — maybe he’s a little better player on average, but they’re all capable of the same range of performances.

    It’s not unlikely that Verlander and/or Scherzer would go out and dominate their starts against a team full of average players — they did it all year, almost every time out. In fact, they did it all the way up to the final series.

    The Giants deserve to be proud because they won, they actually exectued and triumphed. But it’s not like the Tigers were just clobbered because of a talent gap. They have a bunhc of guys that usually produce that didn’t. They easily could have won in four instead of losing in four. As could really any above average team. in that situation.

    Guest – What does it mean to be a “tired argument” if you’re not showing me why it’s a bad one? The fact that you’ve heard it before doesn’t make it invalid.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — October 29, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

  42. Barry Zito: not completely useless!

    Comment by guest — October 29, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

  43. “Was there a bit of a relief that he did not have to face Pablo again?”

    Was Verlander relieved that he didn’t have to face an above-average hitter because his team was swept in the World Series? I’m gonna go with no.

    Comment by Guest — October 29, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

  44. Celtic – So SFG’s strategy of have literally everyone on the team play well at the same was much more likely to succeed? It worked this time, but I wouldn’t bet on it in any given instance.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — October 29, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

  45. Getting rid of Sanchez was addition by subtraction.

    Comment by celtic1888 — October 29, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

  46. Jaack, in order to build a this kind of roster for $70MM, you have to make every bet correctly. Every signing has to work perfectly. That is very rare. The Giants didn’t make every bet correctly (Zito, Rowand, etc). The $118MM payroll allows them to be able to continue to make bets on players, or sign their own drafted players (Cain). The Giants couldn’t have assembled this team for $70MM, because they already had devoted half that amount to bad contracts.

    Comment by Someone Else — October 29, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

  47. What’s to take exception to? He’s a bad pitcher and has not gotten higher than 2 WAR since 2006.

    Comment by Tony Fernandez — October 29, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  48. So I guess you didn’t sign it?

    Comment by channelclemente — October 29, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  49. We’ll see, this may be a case where past isn’t as predictive of future as some would hope.

    Comment by channelclemente — October 29, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

  50. Just quick background: I read Moneyball while in HS, then bought the BP books, etc. became a “stat head”. As every year passes and I learn more about the game, I am moving farther away from that stats side and going to the scouting side.

    I am not at all a Giants fan but to put them #27 on your list is a complete and utter joke and shows how guys know ZERO. Since 2002, who has done better with their first round picks? They’ve made them all count. You guys realize the scrap heap signings/trades are working because oh,I don’t know…. THEY HAVE GOOD SCOUTS?

    Here is the other part that uninformed people that write for this site do not realize because well, they just look at trades and signings and act like the GM has all the power. The Zito signing was 100% Giants ownership. It was not Sabean at all. I have been extremely critical of Sabean for years but that was not his fault.

    Perhaps Sabean saw with his particular park that LF and CF defense are really important and prioritized that over a hulking, immobile LF. Helps a lot too when you get MVP offense from catcher and above avg at 3B as well.

    The “managers don’t matter” narrative needs to stop too. If you saw this postseason, Bochy was clearly a better manager than Baker/Matheny/Leland. He outmanaged each of them grossly in each series. Particularly Leland in the final series and his job in NLDS Game 4 was brilliant. The Giants roster gave him the chance to use everyone on the roster up and down and fit them into certain roles. Who cares about have 3 LHP in the regular season or a defensive replacement like Arias? But the postseason is a different animal.

    I used to read sites like this all the time and really enjoyed them. I still do enjoy them but don’t put much credence in anything you guys write anymore.

    Comment by Former Moneyballer — October 29, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

  51. The Giants strategy has more ways of success than Detroit did.

    Things they could consistently rely on:
    -Speed
    -Defense
    -Solid BP with Lincecum as a piggy back starter .

    They had a lot of ‘outs’ (in the poker sense).

    They also had a lineup that lacked power but was capable of scratching out runs. The 10th inning was the perfect example of what they have done all season. Little dump hit, perfectly executed sacrifice bunt, good situational hitting to score the run with 1 out. Detroit could not execute a similar play at as high of a success rate as the Giants could.

    Comment by celtic1888 — October 29, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

  52. It is a bad argument because its not explanatory: it applies to basically every team, in every playoff game. As a GM, you can’t build a team around “crapshoot.” Saying the postseason is just SSS, or a fluke, does not provide a way to understanding distinction – the key differences in a particular match up that proved fruitful.

    Comment by Giants Fan — October 29, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  53. Yeah, the Royals scouts thought Sanchez was still good, but he was no longer a viable starter by the time the Giants dumped him.

    Comment by Giants Fan — October 29, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

  54. Is using Theriot as the DH really a smart move, or is it a ballsy one that paid off?

    You don’t laud the craps shooter who puts it all on snake eyes and wins for his skill, you laud his luck.

    Comment by Phrozen — October 29, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

  55. It’s not tired, it’s true.

    Comment by Phrozen — October 29, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

  56. The Giants went 2-5 against the atrocious Marlins. Why is that? Is it, perhaps, short series allow any team to beat any other team given the right circumstances? Or are the Marlins just better than the Giants?

    Comment by Phrozen — October 29, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

  57. How about letting Bumgarner start again in a critical game 2? How many managers would’ve preferred to pitch Vogelsong on short rest, then go to Cain for game 3 on normal rest?

    Comment by Nivra — October 29, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

  58. And of course, Lincecum’s insane conversion to mini-Gossage.

    Comment by Nivra — October 29, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  59. I’m not sure what this year’s performance could be predictive of, other than the same Zito.

    2010 Zito: 4.15 ERA, 4.25 FIP, 4.58 xFIP
    2011 Zito: 5.87 ERA, 5.60 FIP, 4.65 xFIP
    2012 Zito: 4.15 ERA, 4.49 FIP, 4.92 xFIP

    What was different in 2012? More W’s as a result of the 4th highest run support in the National League.

    Comment by Kellin — October 29, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

  60. I would say a young core of Posey, MadBum, Cain, Sandoval, and Lincecum (despite his half season struggle) is pretty damn good to build around.

    I’m sure the lack of coverage the team gets has to do with this perception you have. Before the WS, ESPN just kept going on about Verlander when there was a much more interesting story to be told on the Giants side.

    Comment by Guest — October 29, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

  61. I think there is a strong case here to be made that, with the Giants, some important “intangibles” (value that is difficult to calculate) were at play. If you did a straight WAR total of the Giants, it would miss some key bits that relate to context: Bochy maximizes the lineup and pitching better than almost any Manager; the team is built perfectly for AT&T Park, putting other teams at a big disadvantage; the high team chemistry allows Bochy to mix and match based on performance (e.g. benching Panda in 2010; moving Timmy to bullpen in 2012), with no backlash.

    All these things are difficult to measure quantitatively, but they were enough to make a difference in the playoffs. The fact the Giants often play close, bullpen dependent games, where these difference matter even more is a plus. I’ll take Bochy and that bullpen in a close game in the last few innings any day. If one starts from the assumption that “managers don’t matter” and “baseball is not a team sport,” then of course some important factors might be missed.

    Comment by Giants Fan — October 29, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

  62. Umm, the Giants had plenty of key players slump. Pence has been almost invisible. Posey had the 2 run HR, but before that has been invisible most of the post-season. Belt had a .633 OPS the whole postseason.

    Dave’s point is correct. They had the depth in Blanco, Crawford, and Sandoval to pick up the slumping others and score the necessary runs.

    When Zito bombed against the Reds, Lincecum (depth) picked him up.

    Comment by Nivra — October 29, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  63. Stop acting like the Tigers are this dominant team. They won 88 games in an ugly division. They had a lot of weaknesses and that’s why the got swept.

    Comment by Guest — October 29, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

  64. If they did not have the wealth to overcome those contracts they would not have been able to afford the salaries of the players that did play key roles.

    In MLB there is always a component attributable to finances. Until the financial playing field is level there always will be. The fallacy of parody is pervasive.

    Comment by Pirates Hurdles — October 29, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

  65. A game in May is not the same as a playoff game. Context matters. That is probably where we disagree. Playoff games are managed differently: the pitching is often better, scoring is more a premium, the and bullpen is activated more quickly when a starter falters. All things that this team is built around. But then, I am guessing you would say that “managers don’t matter” and the “playoffs are just SSS”.

    I am not saying this “guarantees” anything – just that playoff baseball is tangibly different than the regular season. Things like strategy, managing and match ups come in to play a lot more in a 5/7 game series than 3 games on the road in May.

    Comment by Giants Fan — October 29, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

  66. You only need to look at the Giants’ history to find a star-studded team that didn’t deliver. The Giants of the 60s had 3 hall of fame hitters and 2 hall of fame pitchers, but they did not deliver one championship. Teams with more depth in pitching and hitting usually did.

    Comment by GiantFaninDodgerLand — October 29, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

  67. Thank you!

    Moneyball was great in the high offense eras. It helped identify fringe players that were high upside and under valued.

    It is still a good system for longterm prospects. Scouting is extremely valuable and was a major factor in the Giants success. Great fielding starts with great positioning.

    Bochy was three moves ahead in his strategy this season above his competition.

    He ripped apart Mattingly during the regular season.
    Baker, did a Baker and let his team play hoping for the best.
    Matheny ran out of ideas when the crash happened after Game 5.
    Leyland….I’m not quite sure what happened there.

    Bochy managed to have a completely fresh bullpen for the WS after 6 elimination games. Their best LOOGY never factored in both WS wins. This is incredible stuff. His single run winning record and beating the Pythagorean projections will be laughed off as SSS but it’s been going on for a very long time and hasn’t trended down

    Comment by celtic1888 — October 29, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

  68. Actually…I live in Pittsburgh and have followed the Giants closely since Bonds left (so 20 years). I am quite familiar with their team and the depth. However, during the live chat for the game last night, they were talking about HOFers in the series. Over/Under is 2.5. No one on the giants is a HOF lock and while I understand that Posey can become that, it is hard to tell at this point.

    I found the NLCS much more interesting from the beginning considering it was a battle of the last two world champions and I was amazed at the lack of coverage so that is not the reason for my post. I am very well informed about the Giants and I thought the Tigers were vastly overrated going into the season so I thought the Giants would win this series.

    Comment by Los — October 29, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

  69. Waaah, somebody said something negative about my team, waaaah.

    Comment by Nick — October 29, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

  70. @Phrozen,

    Regarding Theriot: Yes it’s mostly luck that he scored the championship winning run but when you examine the Giants roster there wasn’t really a legitimate option for DH. I wouldn’t say playing Theriot over Huff, Hector Sanchez or Arias was “ballsy” but more about having very few guys to choose from. I mean, who else really is there to DH on the Giants?

    Anyway, the choice of using Theriot is merely one in a long string of curious and potentially easily second-guessed decisions by Bochy which paid off. Random chance is a big factor in the postseason but there was significant managerial skill involved and that should be acknowledged.

    Comment by Rogue — October 29, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

  71. For starters, the Giants have NO good options at DH. Theriot was put in because he is a contact hitter, and that’s what he did: advanced a guy to second on a hit and run, and managed to bloop in a hit.

    Comment by Giants Fan — October 29, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

  72. No, I won’t argue that managers don’t matter–they certainly do, but the playoffs are a small sample size. They are, plain and simple.

    And I disagree that there’s really that much difference between playoff games and regular season games. There’s some, sure, especially at the World Series, but it’s the same sport. The same rules apply, the best strategy in your hypothetical road game in May is likely to be the best strategy in the World Series. It’s baseball.

    Incidentally, for a team that’s built around AT&T park, they were swept, at home, by those Marlins. That doesn’t mean the Marlins are better suited for that park any more than the Giants’ sweep of Detroit means SF is better suited for Comerica. The fact is, a best-of-seven series is really too short to be authoritative about a baseball team.

    None of which should take anything away from the Giants or their fans. You guys won. Celebrate. Enjoy this moment.

    Comment by Phrozen — October 29, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

  73. The Giants were beaten by their Pythagorean record in 2010…

    Comment by Phrozen — October 29, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

  74. reply to Phrozen:

    With a broken Buster Posey and a bit of a rebuilding-retooling going on from 2010. The offense was bad and fell apart after Posey was out.

    Comment by celtic1888 — October 29, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

  75. @ Phrozen

    Fair enough. And yes, I am enjoying the after glow… perhaps too much.

    I am wondering what the historical offensive/pitching splits are for regular season and playoffs. Intuitively, it seems like pitching gets better (because the teams left are not putting out as many mediocre starters), but I wonder if that is objectively true.

    Comment by Giants Fan — October 29, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

  76. Looks like Phrozen is one of these “sabermetrics true and true” people. It’s pretty easy to use formulas to figure out stuff when scouts and developing players is also a way to win. How about the changes Righetti made with Bumgarner during a bullpen between his horrific NLCS start and brilliant WS start? Can you quantify that?

    The regular season and postseason games are the same argument is hilarious. Do you actually watch the games? Do you think Bochy manages the 9th of game 1 of the WS or Game 4 of the NLDS the same in the regular season?

    The Giants have some pretty damn good scouts and have had some great drafts. Romo was a late round pick. Belt/Crawford weren’t 1st rounders. They signed Sandoval eventhough he had a “bad body”. They got Scutaro for a C-list prospect. Pagan was top 10 in NL in WARP and acquired for a MLFA/middle reliever. That’s a pretty good trade for the 27th-best GM in baseball against the “genius” of Alderson.

    Comment by Former Moneyballer — October 29, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

  77. Considering the Giants superior defensive positioning (fielder positioning adjustments to each batter), I’ve got to agree that something is going on in SF regarding defensive assessment and metrics.

    Comment by Bubba — October 29, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

  78. They’re lucky Scutaro turned into Jesus and Pablo gave them a 3 homer game in the WS. Really though, the post season is complete BS. Such a small sample size, it really is legitimately all luck… at least statistically.

    Comment by Steve — October 29, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

  79. Without his voice cracking :^)

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — October 29, 2012 @ 7:12 pm

  80. Zito contract has already been outed in local press as being championed by Peter Magowan. And Rowand was a similar PR move in my opinion as well. I think that explains why Magowan was pushed out as managing owner while Sabean is still GM.

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — October 29, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

  81. I was merely responding to this:

    His single run winning record and beating the Pythagorean projections will be laughed off as SSS but it’s been going on for a very long time and hasn’t trended down

    Which isn’t exactly backed up by facts. In both 2007 and 2010, the Giants underperformed their Pythagorean record. I have no idea what that means about Bruce Bochy, who, in my opinion, is a fine manager and who deserves credit for his team’s performance.

    Celtic1888, I think you might be confusing 2010 with 2011? The NL RotY was hardly broken, and teams don’t generally win a WS while rebuilding.

    Former Moneyballer, I’m not sure where you’re drawing those assumptions about me from; and I’m not sure that your anecdotes do as much to refute sabrmetric concepts as you seem to think.

    Comment by Phrozen — October 29, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

  82. “the best strategy in your hypothetical road game in May is likely to be the best strategy in the World Series. It’s baseball.”

    Umm… if you really think this you have got to have blinders on.

    Did Lincecum come in to relieve a single game during the regular season even with his monumental struggles?

    Phil Coke pitched two innings 3 times over 66 appearances in the regular season (4.5%). He pitched two innings 3 times over 10 appearances in the 2012 playoffs (30%).

    Oh, and you do realize that the Giants’ teams in May prominently featured Emmanuel Burriss, Aubrey Huff, Conor Gillespie and more in starting positions? Simply put, the Giants team in the playoffs was a very different team. Furthermore, cherry picking their record against one team out of 19 different teams with no a priori reason to prefer that one team is just plain bad statistics?

    Comment by Nivra — October 29, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

  83. There is some luck, but filling a rotation full of pitchers who regularly throw quality starts is a good way of moving beyond luck into strategy and design.

    There are few pitchers who throw a lot of quality starts. The Giants have four starters like that and one, Zito, who has skills that sabers have not been able to measure well yet (his ability to keep his BABIP below league average is undervalued by any metric designed using DIPS as its guide, because there are pitchers in the majors who CAN control their BABIP).

    Detroit also has pitchers who throw a lot of quality starts but the Giants outperformed them.

    People want to denigrate Pablo, but he’s had 20+ homer seasons twice already in his career, and months where he has gone off on pitchers, he ended the season with 4 homers in 44 AB and had 6 homers in 66 AB in the playoffs. He has had 8 homers in 94 AB in a month before, 7 homers in 74 AB in another month, plus many months with 5 homers or more.

    But this season (and last) he was hampered by his hamate bone surgery, which left him powerless for about a month or so (and some players take much longer to regain power), and his hamstring strain, where he showed no power until that 4 in 44 stretch.

    In any case, three homers is a fluke, but that’s true for even the best homerun hitters. His first two homers were a statement against Verlander that helped the team beat a great pitcher.

    Again, in any case, having more pitchers who can throw quality starts than the other team is not luck, it was good scouting and development, and having the smarts to keep them all when everyone and their uncle is telling them that they should trade their pitching for hitting. Who’s looking good now?

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — October 29, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

  84. Almost every significant player on the Giants is under 30. Of course no one is a HOF lock.

    If you do a B-ref search checking “Most Similar By Age,” Posey has 3 HOF’ers in his top10, and MadBum, Timmy, Belt, and Pablo all have 1.

    If you do a super-silly projection, saying that projects to chance of becoming a HOF’er, Posey has a 30% chance, and the other four have 10% each, then you get a 55% chance that at least one of the 5 will become a HOF’er. *shrug* take that for what it’s worth.

    And you’re right. The post does mirror your comment. Perhaps depth overcomes HOF/star power in this case.

    Comment by Nivra — October 29, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

  85. How is this any different than the clowns on ESPN saying, “See! This proves that pitching wins championships!”? Cameron is really susceptible to overrating whatever just happened.

    Comment by Nick — October 29, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

  86. Advance Scouts, maybe? Sabean said one of their advance scouts has seen Detroit play over 60 times this year, and that they rely heavily on those scouting reports.

    60 times for an AL team? That seems like a lot!

    Comment by Nivra — October 29, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

  87. Or, “The NL is superior!”

    Comment by Nick — October 29, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

  88. Zito contract rocked!!! The Giants have won the World Series in two years out of six that they’ve paid Zito!! That means they have a 33% chance to win next year, too!!! And they should definitely be picking up that huge option in 2014! Another 33% chance!

    Comment by Nivra — October 29, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

  89. As my wife said, “Well that was over quickly.”

    She was talking about the Series. Shaddap.

    Comment by KCDaveInLA — October 29, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

  90. @SB; This. This all day.

    Comment by rorschach — October 29, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

  91. I haven’t read through the comments, but I highly doubt anyone thinks the Giants had more “depth” than the Cardinals…so if depth was the reason the Giants won, then why didn’t the Cards win? I mean just on bench alone, technically Craig was a bench player coming into the year with Berkman manning 1B. Without looking it up, I suspect Craig’s WAR alone supplanted the collective total of all Giants bench players…or at least came close. The Cards also had a pretty deep and formidable bullpen and a ton of starters in reserve which the Giants didn’t have…certainly not at AAA with Surkamp injured. And I think the Cards come pretty close to matching the Giants solid top 5 bullpen arms. I just think the Giants were fairly fortunate really. They probably should have lost to both the Reds and Cards. I suspect if Cueto doesn’t go down immediately, we’re not talking about the Giants right now. The Giants rolled out a .194/.266/.339 team slash and 4.11 team ERA against the Reds. How can that not be anything other than luck, really?

    Comment by Byrne — October 29, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

  92. I do think that the “depth” narrative is misleading, because the argument in the article is really that the Giants’ starting lineup had no obvious below-average players. But their bench seems below-average to me. Having to DH Theriot is perfect proof of that. (And I remember that game, perhaps it was against the Reds, when Bochy turned over his whole bench save Sanchez in an inning, pinch-hitting Theriot, Huff, and Arias all in a row, and it produced nothing of value.)

    Comment by Daniel — October 29, 2012 @ 8:12 pm

  93. You did sign it, and have last minute regrets. How sad.

    Comment by channelclemente — October 29, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

  94. Great article about the Giants depth. If ever there was a series where the team and not a single player, should be MVP, it was this one. Many Giants, as noted, did not do well statistically offensively, though it should be noted that their pitching was statistically good. But they contributed at key points that enabled the team to win a particular game. As much as Pablo captured the attention with his 3 homers, it was Hunter Pence who scored the first run in the next three games, plus he drove in a run as well, for insurance. And almost every hitter had a key offensive moment during the World Series, while not really hitting that well overall.

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — October 29, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

  95. I do have one big issue about a statement in this article. It was regarding how how Billy Beane would appreciate how this team was built. Baseball Prospectus examined why Billy Beane’s “style” didn’t work in the playoffs, and what they discovered was that offense don’t mean a thing in the playoffs (apparently it is all random, would be my conclusion), that it is pitching and fielding that matters for driving a team deep into the playoffs.

    Key metrics that they passed along was a pitching staff with high K/9, a shutdown good closer (high WRXL), and a good defensive team (using their proprietary fielding metric). The Giants do have a high K/9 pitching staff (Detroit too), but also had a shutdown closer (I don’t think Coke is even close to qualifying) and good defense (Detroit can’t even claim to have average defense, they are so bad).

    Billy’s teams were lacking those, partly because he had pitchers who did not have high K/9, partly because he didn’t believe that closers are that valuable (he trades them away regularly, thinking he can replace them easily), and partly because his team defenses are rarely the best (from 1999 to 2006, his DRS were rarely above average, and totalled -47 runs over that 8 year period). His defenses are better now, but his K/9 is still around average, for the most part, never among the top and he still trades his closers away. The Giants K/9 has been strong most seasons once they started winning (poor 2012 but did great in playoffs devoting IP to strikeout pitchers), Wilson and Romo have been great shutdown closers, and defense is one thing that Sabean has loved for a long time.

    My research on PQS found that (obviously) pitchers who throw a QS in the playoffs are more likely to win a start than if they didn’t, to a large degree, roughly in the 70-80% range. And as we know, pitchers can be reliable to a certain degree in throwing a QS, and the Giants basically has a rotation that is capable of throwing a QS around 60-65% of the time, which is good for one pitcher, but great when you have a whole rotation like that. They didn’t do so well in the LDS but neither did the Reds. But in the NLCS and WS, the Giants had 8 QS out of 11 games.

    Detroit also got a lot of QS as well, but it was a matter of their pitchers making two or more key mistakes in key points in the game, resulting the Giants getting enough runs to win the game. Despite the sweep, the series was actually very close, they were just not close enough.

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — October 29, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

  96. Except in the clutch. Oh yeah, that’s a myth.

    Comment by channelclemente — October 29, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

  97. Much appreciated Dave Cameron. Thank you.

    Comment by rorschach — October 29, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

  98. Speaking of SSS…

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — October 29, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

  99. Actually, that is true, see BP’s and THT’s research on how teams go deep into the playoffs. Offense had basically zero effect, it was pitching and defense if you want to improve your chances of moving on in the playoffs. If you konw better, more recent research/study, I would love to read them.

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — October 29, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

  100. Good Article. Think playing in the NL and cold weather in the playoffs plays up a team like that’s strengths. Not sure how that roster does in the AL was my first thought but the more I think about it better than I would have said 10 min ago. Offense in the AL isn’t what it use to be and that is a top flight rotation/bullpen, add a DH and the O looks better. Still don’t think they win a division in the AL with that O. Hope this isn’t coming across like Im trying to hate on/take anything away from the G men cause im not. Congrats on the championship they earned it.

    Comment by Bavasisabum — October 29, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

  101. eh, sometimes its just dumb luck. Last year he gave away Wheeler for Beltran and it turned out to be a dud. This year he sends Tommy Joseph for Pence but the bigger deal turns out to be Culberson for Scutaro so who knows. We all think we could micromanage every deal better but the truth is a lot of it is just a random roll of the dice.

    Comment by joe — October 29, 2012 @ 10:24 pm

  102. eh, i might have chosen Arias or Xavier Nady.

    Funny thing is if one of those guys gets a double and scores or drives in a run then maybe we’re all saying what a genius move that was, lol. At some point its kind of silly. Theriot finally gets a hit in the 10th inning, (i think he was 1×4) – if he doesn’t happen to get a hit there and the Giants lose(and then Verlander starts Game 5, etc etc) maybe everyone points to Bochy starting Theriot and he goes back to being a dunce.

    Comment by joe — October 29, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

  103. I don’t think Huff was on the roster, but Nady was and he was 0-5 with 3 K’s. Theriot was 0-2, but Arias was 3-6 with 3 runs scored. So he was pretty good for 6 ABs, but he was also left off of the WS roster so there’s that. If the point was the regular lineup had no below-average players then I disagree with the whole premise. Their lineup was, with the exception of 4 players, completely replacement level. Included in that 4 is performing-way-over-his-head-Scutaro. Even if he is referring to the Giants’ lineup, it’s still nowhere near as deep as St. Louis’ so the article would still make no sense.

    Comment by Byrne — October 29, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

  104. sadly, in baseball, it may be.

    Comment by joe — October 29, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

  105. That is what they supposedly have their statistical analysis teams focus on.

    Comment by crzy_guy — October 29, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

  106. Nivra – apparently that scout is none other than Brian Johnson, yeah that Brian Johnson, who had the double down luck/skill to be involved with the Blanco signing out of the VWL. There was a hint that the other scout was Pat Burrell, yeah not sure if I see the Bat leaving the comforts of the Marina for Dee-twa, but there it is.

    Comment by Shankbone — October 29, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

  107. @phrozen – “enjoy this moment”

    yeah Giant fans are enjoying “this moment” just like they enjoyed 2010 and don’t be too surprised if they are celebrating yet again in the next few years.

    Comment by joe — October 29, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

  108. eh, i kinda hope they give Sanchez another shot if they could get him on waivers or something.

    Comment by joe — October 29, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

  109. idk why but i like this team much less than the 2010 version for some reason. There is no Cody Ross or Burrell or OOOOO-RREEE-BBAAAYY or Renteria and the starting pitching isnt really at the elite level that it was in 2010 where you knew that even though they were the underdogs noone wanted to face them. And all the befuddled looks from Phillies and Rangers batters as they walked back to their dugouts after striking out, priceless. This time all we really got was Verlander saying “Wow!!” after Pablo’s 2nd homerun.

    Comment by joe — October 29, 2012 @ 10:58 pm

  110. Nivra,

    Isn’t cherry-picking exactly what you’re doing by citing the four-game World Series as evidence of the Giants’ eminence? Yeah, they’re a good team. The Marlins are a shitty team. Shitty teams sometimes beat good teams, especially so in short series.

    Comment by Phrozen — October 29, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

  111. It is true, but it seems reasonable to believe one can “weight the dice” to improve the odds somehow. I’m not saying the Giants have the right formula, but it seems reasonable to think that the great dynasties (A’s, Yankees, Reds, etc) certainly had something other than “Win a number of coin flips several years in a row.” That just seems too unlikely.

    Comment by Ken — October 29, 2012 @ 11:01 pm

  112. Beltran was a dud for SF last year? 159 OPS+

    Comment by Chris — October 29, 2012 @ 11:23 pm

  113. Measures like Season ERA, FIP and WAR grossly undervalue a pitcher like Barry Zito. Here’s why: He’s either very good or very bad.

    In 2012, Barry Zito had 17 Quality Starts and 2 more starts where he went 5+ IP while allowing less than 3 runs. In 5 of those starts he allowed 0 runs. His ERA for those 19 starts was 1.99.

    In his other 13 starts he had an ERA of nearly 9!

    Now, that minority of non-QS disproportionately inflated his ERA, FIP and thus suppressed his WAR even though it did not result in any more losses. A loss is a loss and it doesn’t matter if you lose 5-4 or 10-4.

    Ironically, the best measure of Barry Zito’s value to his team this year was his W-L record. In his W’s, he pitched extremely well and was a major contributor to the Win while his losses were blowouts that he was also largely responsible for.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — October 29, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

  114. I’m not going to argue for or against Zito’s quality as a pitcher here. I’m only going to point out that ERA has massive issues, and FIP and xFIP intentionally ignore a very large portion of pitching, inducing weak contact. I think fielding dependent pitching stats have a long way to go, but when you’re pitching in a park that suppresses offense to an above average defense, perhaps they would be a bit more indicative of how well a given pitcher will perform than fielding independent ones.

    Comment by Ken — October 29, 2012 @ 11:38 pm

  115. That’s going to be hard for the Reds to do. As many Giants and Cubs fans know, Dusty lo-o-o-oves his pet scrubs.

    Comment by Bhaakon — October 30, 2012 @ 12:04 am

  116. On the one had, I absolutely agree that Bochy deserves credit. He seems to be really good at putting players in a position to succeed, and he’ probably the best manager around when it comes to grasping the immediacy of postseason play and adjusting his tactics accordingly.

    That being said, a deep bullpen can really make a manager look good, because they never (well, rarely) find themselves in the position of asking a player to pitch beyond his talents. It really makes you look smart when you never have to choose between leaving the struggling starter to twist in the wind in the 4th inning or bringing in your scrubby long man (because your scrubby longman is Tim Lincecum), or have to leave that LOOGY in to face righties in a critical spot because you simply don’t have enough good arms.

    Comment by Bhaakon — October 30, 2012 @ 12:15 am

  117. This is a good article. This is clearly a team that grasps the value of not having holes and picking up extra wins at positions like middle relief, bottom of the order, and back of the rotation that are traditionally punted for savings. That being said, the Giants had a pretty awful bench; it’s an odd juxtaposition.

    Comment by Bhaakon — October 30, 2012 @ 12:18 am

  118. I would like to acknowledge Dave’s humility in this piece. I was a outspoken critic of last season’s org rankings, but I really admire that Fangraphs is humble enough to reevaluate.

    There is a lot to critique about Brian Sabean, but its time to acknowledge his strengths as well. He is proving very adept at shaping a roster to fit that ball park, his amateur and pro scouts are adept at seeing value where others don’t, so that Sabean can acquire it via draft, trade (Pagan, Scutaro) or even NRI (like Blanco & Arias).

    In SF we used to critique him for “spreading the money around,” but when his organizational philosophy works this is the result, and team that is balanced 1-25 that can compete with a top heavy team of stars and scrubs.

    Now for a more controversial and anecdotal observation. I think the Giants competitive advantage may come from something we are not even talking about measuring yet. The intersection between scouting, defensive positioning, and pitching. I watch a lot of Giant’s games on MLB TV, and it seemed every game opposing announcers would comment on how shallow the Giants play in the OF. I think that there may be more to those low BABIP and HR/FB % going on in SF than merely park effects. If there is anything there … I’m sure this community will come up with the answer.

    Comment by Jason — October 30, 2012 @ 12:46 am

  119. Mota’s role was to soak up non leverage innings in a blow out and save the pitching staff. He has done that fine for the past 2+ years and probably would have been fine in that capacity if called upon in the playoffs. Its not sexy, but a strong 1-25 team should have someone like that.

    No Mota is not particularly valuable, but I suspect he would compare favorably to whomever you imagine is the Tiger’s 25th man.

    Comment by Jason — October 30, 2012 @ 12:56 am

  120. This is an interesting point. I never thought about framing roster construction in the negative … avoiding scrubs. The addition by substraction of roster construction.

    Sabean has been adept at the the small upgrade. The additions of Fredie Sanchez and Javier Lopez at the deadline in ’10, and the acquisition of projectable incremental upgrades (Scutaro, Pence, Mijares) this year.

    *obviously the results from Scutaro exceeded all reasonable expectations, but what they were buying was an upgrade over Theriot, and they had ever reason to expect they would get it. Mijares bumping Brad Penny et al from the bullpen was equally huge as Bochy mixed and matched during the stretch run and in the division series.

    Comment by Jason — October 30, 2012 @ 1:05 am

  121. I think the Giants would be happy to answer in the affirmative.

    Or maybe another way to look at it is that the Giants core isnt as deeply steeped in star talent, but has greater breadth. Or perhaps a higher floor across the whole roster so the “core” doesnt stand out relative the the talent surounding it.

    Comment by Jason — October 30, 2012 @ 1:15 am

  122. No need to rub it in … the article is very humble and acknowledges that a reevaluation is in order.

    Comment by Jason — October 30, 2012 @ 1:23 am

  123. This is a good point that Stark mentioned in his pod cast. Besides the SP, the Giants have basically turned over the entire roster since the ’10 WS. Another positive for the front office to be able to sustain their success amid so much roster turnover.

    Comment by Jason — October 30, 2012 @ 1:26 am

  124. When I read the first sentence i thought this would be PED meme. I was pleasantly surprised to read on.

    I think your right, there may be a secret sauce to roster construction that goes beyond just adding up PECOTA projections.

    Comment by Jason — October 30, 2012 @ 1:29 am

  125. I think your being a little to hostile to the stat camp but I myself have made the same journey you are.

    Stats take a lot longer to be predictive of future performance than does direct observation (scouting). So if you scout better and can more accurately project future performance earlier, or identify where stats may be misleading before your competition, you’ll have a competitive advantage.

    Illustrating with an extreme hypothetical. If I took an at bat against Justin Verlander I would surely strike out on 3 pitches. If you looked at a box score, you would not be able to discern anything about my talent level becuase of SSS. But if you scouted any of my swings you would know i was terrible.

    Comment by Jason — October 30, 2012 @ 1:37 am

  126. Fair point. The Giants were clearly the superior team in the WS, but even as a Giants fan I thought it was the NL’s top 4 teams were very even, and it really was a coin flip who emerged with the pennant.

    Comment by Jason — October 30, 2012 @ 1:42 am

  127. I agree in part. I think a hypothetical AL Central Giants team would run away with that division.

    But I don’t think the Giants matched up particularly well with the AL East or AL West. They beat the A’s 4 of 6 I think but that was before the A’s became the A’s … and the rest of the interleague schedule produce uninspiring results for the Giants. They looked particularly futile against the Angels. I remember watching that series and being very skeptical the Giants could win a WS this year.

    Comment by Jason — October 30, 2012 @ 1:47 am

  128. I think you are right. The Giants are perfectly constructed for the NL West, which is really pitcher and small ball heavy. If they were in the AL I am guessing the team would look different. They would probably have to bring in a big DH bat, which I would hate, because the DH is stupid (extremely biased NL fan).

    Comment by Giants Fan — October 30, 2012 @ 2:28 am

  129. @Phrozen:

    No, it is not. Re-read my post. I specified without any a priori reason. When you do that, you are sifting through 19 possible opponents and picking out the outlier. The World Series counts as an a priori reason, and therefore, you don’t suffer from the same statistical effect.

    So, you have to treat the Marlins series as one series out of 19 possible, whereas you treat the World Series as 1 out of 1, or at most, 1 out of 3 playoff series. Very different probability effects.

    Comment by Nivra — October 30, 2012 @ 2:38 am

  130. Given that nearly 20% of World Series have ended in sweeps, obviously something besides flipping coins is happening.

    Comment by Nate — October 30, 2012 @ 2:46 am

  131. The real significance is how bad the Rays effed up with that pick. It’s not like Posey was some reach that lucked out for the Giants. Rays with Posey might have just polished off their third or forth title in a row.

    Then we’d get observational evidence of what happens (to attendance) when an irresistible force (winning the WS) meets an immovable object (the Trop).

    Comment by Nate — October 30, 2012 @ 2:51 am

  132. Bullpen is mostly intact, which after thinking about it, is really unusual. Romo, Affeldt, Lopez, Casilla, and Mota are all double-ringing it.

    Comment by Nate — October 30, 2012 @ 2:55 am

  133. The line I put to my Phillies fan coworker before that game was:
    “You haven’t truly lived until you’ve stood at the edge of the Void with nothing between you and elimination except for a Barry Zito start.”

    Comment by Nate — October 30, 2012 @ 2:59 am

  134. Um, both Arias and Huff were on the WS roster. And I don’t think you know what the meaning of replacement level is. Maybe you meant average?

    Comment by Nate — October 30, 2012 @ 3:05 am

  135. Where did the Giants get all this money, building an absolutely amazing ballpark, and learning to market their team much better than the competition, i.e. the team across the bay.

    It amazes me that everyone was happy to bash the Giants all day for signing overage veterans like Tejata, and they win the world series in 2010 with Renteria playing a pretty big role, and get no credit. They then refine their ability to evaluate veteran talent to bring together an amazing level of depth, and people still want to make excuses.

    The fact is the Giants have great leadership, I’m sorry that this means they are going to be a nightmare for your favorite team for years to come, but instead of belittling their success how about demanding your team take a lesson from their playbook?

    Comment by Soledad — October 30, 2012 @ 7:38 am

  136. How often do you people go around telling people everything they have achieved is due to luck. Of course luck is ever present, but that doesn’t mean we need to go around making it the excuse for everything we don’t like.

    How about just taking everything you can’t explain and chalk it up to a combination of intangibles? This includes everything from luck to the ability to thrive in the high pressure of the World Series. Of course if the Giants make the WS again next year it would be horribly irresponsible to ignore the clutch factor, but they should have been given more credit for this resilience before their second title in 3 years.

    Comment by Soledad — October 30, 2012 @ 8:02 am

  137. The Giants and the Cards went to 7 games and you are saying two teams with equal depth disproves the idea that depth matters when one wins…

    Comment by Soledad — October 30, 2012 @ 8:41 am

  138. The Giants are built to play in the NL West, really? What were they thinking? Come on people there is absolutely no reason to consider how a team would do in another division. And who cares how a team did in interleague? That is far to early in the season to glean any real significance, another reason I am so excited about the new league alignment next year!

    Comment by Soledad — October 30, 2012 @ 8:50 am

  139. If the Tigers had won, that would have “proved” that pitching wins championships, too.

    Comment by rea — October 30, 2012 @ 9:54 am

  140. You’re missing the point entirely. I actually have argued all year that they aren’t that good. The point is that I don’t think the Giants have some magical formula. Both teams are pretty good teams and easily could have won. I bet if they played each other a hundred times, the result would be pretty close to 50/50.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — October 30, 2012 @ 10:08 am

  141. I think Dave’s point was that the Giants had the advantage over the Tigers because they were deeper, not necessarily that they were the deepest team in baseball. As for the Cardinals, they did have a deeper bench and probably just as deep of a bullpen too (a little too right handed maybe, although that didn’t seem to hurt them at any point in the playoffs). Where they were weaker was the starting rotation. That may not have been the case if the Cardinals hadn’t lost Garcia and definitely wouldn’t have been vs. the Reds if (as you point out) they hadn’t have lost Cueto 8 pitches into game 1. Which brings up what really might be the Giants’ trademark and constant between 2010 and 2012: the durability of their starting pitching. If you’re looking for ways that the Giants were lucky both years (because I’m not sure anyone really knows what else counts for keeping starting pitchers healthy in this day and age), it was probably that more than anything.

    Comment by ElJimador — October 30, 2012 @ 10:11 am

  142. First place teams typically win 60-65% of their games, and last place teams typically win 40% of their games. That means the best teams versus the worst teams only have a 2/3 chance to win a given game. The gap is microscopic between two first place teams.

    The game isn’t decided by a coin flip, it’s decided by execution. But on a different set of four days, the Tigers could have executed better, and no one would be surprised. The Giants BEAT the Tigers, and that’s legit, but I’m not buying for a second that the Giants are substantially BETTER THAN the Tigers because they swept them in a series.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — October 30, 2012 @ 10:12 am

  143. What struck me most about Bochy’s decision making this WS was how much he stuck with his core guys and set aside his usual tendency to always seek the platoon advantage in high leverage situations. It kind of goes against Dave’s point about depth but think how striking it is with Bochy’s matchup tendencies that neither Lopez or Mijares ever pitched in this series, that Affeldt was kept in to face Cabrera with 1 on and no one out in the 7th, that Crawford was allowed to hit for himself vs. lefty relievers in very high leverage late inning situations. Think about his AB in game 2 with no score, bases loaded and 1 out. Everyone who follows the Giants expected to see Arias there but Bochy stuck with Crawford. He never PH Nady for Blanco vs. Smyly or Coke. I understand he probably thought Arias and especially Nady might be a rusty considering the Giants hadnt’ seen a LH starting pitcher since the postseason started, and I imagine he wanted to stick with his better defenders too. But SS and LF were both platoons for the Giants the entire way down the stretch. So a lot of people will look back at his use of Lincecum out of the pen as the really inspired decision this postseason but that wasn’t the only way that Bochy managed differently this WS

    Comment by ElJimador — October 30, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  144. Why do you assume it’s luckier to win elimination games than to win any other games in the postseason? However they sequenced their wins and losses they still beat the Reds in 5 and the Cardinals in 7 so I dont’ see why we should presume that luck, random chance or whatever else you want to call it is more in evidence in coming from behind in those series than if they had jumped out 2-0 in both.

    Comment by ElJimador — October 30, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

  145. cc, your first sentence was excellent and to the point.
    Nevertheless, Dave did a very good job of stating and supporting his thesis, but I still disagree.
    The 5-8 batters (Pence,Belt,Blanco,Crawford) are certainly no better than what most teams have at those positions (in the AL, 5-7 plus 9 is probably a better comparison for some teams).
    Their 3rd & 4th starters (Zito,Vogelsong) performed very well in the playoffs but certainly no more than half the teams in the MLB would trade their own 3 and 4 for them.
    Their bench (Sanchez,Huff,Theriot,Arias and ?) is so bad that they couldn’t come up with a DH who was not laughable.
    The top half of their relief staff with Lincecum added was excellent, but they didn’t do well (as might have been expected) when they had to dip into the bottom half.
    No, as cc said, their depth was only good in hindsight, and not even very good with hindsight.

    Comment by Baltar — October 30, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

  146. Yes, Sabean came out ahead on his moves of the last year. Rebuilding his outfield with Cabrera, Pagan and bencher Blanco and adding Scutaro later all worked out extremely well. Several other moves were not so good (the Pence trade and Nagy pickups being the worst), but that’s quibbling.
    But Sabean is not the reason why the Giants were underrated; that was their financial strength. They had one of the highest player payrolls in the MLB and thus could afford huge mistakes such as Zito and Huff and come out well.
    Compare them to the Yankees, Rangers and Angels, not to the A’s, Orioles and Rays.

    Comment by Baltar — October 30, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

  147. When he wasn’t on the DL.

    Comment by Baltar — October 30, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

  148. They also don’t have the Giants financial resources. The Reds have done an outstanding job of assembling a team for not much money that has enough talent that they can even with Dusty Baker managing.

    Comment by Baltar — October 30, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

  149. *even win with*

    Comment by Baltar — October 30, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  150. I was waiting for “clutch” to rear its ugly head. The Giants wins had something to do with having great well-known clutch hitters Renteria in 2010 and Theriot in 2012.

    Comment by Baltar — October 30, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

  151. Oh, please! Every team in baseball has bypassed many, many, many good players in the draft.

    Comment by Baltar — October 30, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

  152. You’re right, Steve. The Giants were almost unanimously ridiculed for trading Sanchez for Cabera on FanGraphs, by writers and commenters. I confess that I thought it was a bad trade, too, though I didn’t think it was ridiculous.

    Comment by Baltar — October 30, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

  153. If you’re going to give Sabean credit for the moves that turned out well, you have to blame him for the lousy ones, too.
    His record is definitely mixed.

    Comment by Baltar — October 30, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

  154. Baltar, please excuse the ‘humor’, but pontificating has it’s price. Perhaps my point is that there is undiscovered territory in prognosticating on a short series such as the playoffs, and cumulative statistics isn’t a good predictive metric in every case.

    Comment by channelclemente — October 30, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

  155. I didn’t say they had equal depth. The Cardinal’s depth was greater IMO.

    Comment by Byrne — October 30, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

  156. I don’t really believe in it intellectually, but I also felt going into the Series that the Giants were almost destined to win it. In every game, I was confident that the Giants would win, even when they were behind.

    Comment by Baltar — October 30, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

  157. I think you’ve introduced a subject that has a lot of fallow ground to be plowed in it. Something to integrate as opposed to simply describe statistical attributes.

    Comment by channelclemente — October 30, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

  158. Precisely, someone has to clean the proverbial toilet by not wasting innings on top bullpen talent.

    Comment by channelclemente — October 30, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

  159. I don’t pretend to be a great scout (and I don’t believe that you anti-stats guys are either), so I have to rely on statistics.
    Also, I don’t come anywhere close to seeing every PA of every game. Stats come in handy there, too.
    I’ll also wager that you see most of your games on TV, where you only see at best half the play. Even in person, I’ll call you liars if you say you were watching the fielder rather than the batter when the ball was hit. You can’t judge fielders when you only see the end of the play.

    Comment by Baltar — October 30, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

  160. Very well said. Especially the reminder about Cueto going down. It is very highly probable that the Reds would have won if that had not happened because it messed up Latos as well (or, more correctly, Baker misused Latos because of Cueto’s injury).

    Comment by Baltar — October 30, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

  161. I didn’t see the research you are talking about, but I do not believe that offense doesn’t matter in playoffs. It certainly did in this season’s playoffs, even though they were low-scoring games in general.

    Comment by Baltar — October 30, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

  162. It is an interesting hypothetical. Have several teams handicapped themselves in the post season by going to the bandbox parks? Have they accentuated playerattributes during the regular season that don’t necessarily pay dividends in the post season.

    Comment by channelclemente — October 30, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

  163. Well lets not forget that the opposite style of roster construction, e.g. the Tigers, also made it too the World Series. In fact, what the Giants tried to do wasn’t that much different than the Tigers, their payrolls were only 2m apart, but the Giants spent most of their money on pitchers.

    There highest paid two position players were Aaron Rowand and Aubrey Huff, both of which were pretty bad signings, along with one pretty bad one on the pitching staff. As Dave said they recovered nicely by getting a lot of better than advertised cheap players to make up the difference, but that isn’t what they were trying to do.

    I think Brian Sabean earned his abysmal Front Office ranking by rolling out Miguel Tejada as his everyday shortstop and Aubrey Huff as an 11m 1b/LF last year. Sure he made up for it this year, and then some, but lets give him full credit for last year too.

    Comment by Kazinski — October 30, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

  164. Forgot to mention 1 other important way that the Giants depth was superior to the Cardinals: no Pete Kozma. And while that may seem snarky to point out, keep in mind that the entire Giants bench (Theriot, Arias, Huff, Nady and Sanchez) combined for fewer postseason PAs and less than half as many innings in the field as Kozma did alone despite the Giants playing one more series. So maybe it’s not really about the strength of the bench in postseason as much as it’s about having enough depth that when you need a replacement to step into a starting role you can have a credible one like Blanco (.349 career OBP and a plus defender) rather than a guy playing out of position at a key defensive spot like Kozma.

    Comment by ElJimador — October 30, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

  165. Well of course I wouldnt be a good scout. I’m an amateur. I’m commenting on the scientific method generally, whether applied to baseball or any other field of study. Direct observation can lead to informed conclusions before statistical analysis would be determinative.

    Comment by baseball man — October 30, 2012 @ 8:11 pm

  166. What makes you think “clutch” is definable. We are talking about thriving in the bright lights of the World Series, and he fact is you have a very limited opportunity to see how people stand up to the pressure of the world series, does that mean the sample is large enough to say for sure these people are clutch? Absolutely not, but it is a reason why the luck theory is absolute crap and you could just as easily chalk it up to lots of intangibles. I’m not going around telling people the Giants are clutch, I am saying as long as you are going to go around saying the Giants are lucky, I am going to pick that theory apart with facts.

    Comment by Soledad — October 30, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

  167. Right, it is your opinion that they have more depth, you don’t have any facts to back that up. So you have to admit that even if you think they are deeper, it is by a very slight amount. Meanwhile this article goes “in depth” to explain a very real discrepancy between the Tiger and the Giants. Is depth the reason why they dominated, of course not, but it is another point of reference for people to consider when they make predictions in the future.

    Comment by Soledad — October 30, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

  168. @Chris – oh Beltran was great, when they were out of the race.

    Comment by anon — October 30, 2012 @ 11:38 pm

  169. mota is kind of joke now though. i dont think he should have even been on the postseason roster.

    Comment by anon — October 30, 2012 @ 11:51 pm

  170. it seems to be lately.

    Comment by anon — October 30, 2012 @ 11:56 pm

  171. i thought all the NL playoff teams (5) were even and being that there were no 100-win Yankees or Red Sox i figured the NL had a good chance to take the series.

    Comment by anon — October 31, 2012 @ 12:00 am

  172. the AL just isn’t that much better anymore. Cardinals prob would have rolled Detroit or any other AL team and if the Reds didnt lose Cueto and had Votto at full strength they might have as well.

    Comment by anon — October 31, 2012 @ 12:07 am

  173. I think in the NL, their bench was not as big of a factor as in the WS, where they had to find a DH in Ryan Theriot, or whoever, which was their biggest weakness.

    Comment by Kevin Yost — October 31, 2012 @ 4:03 am

  174. A few comments:
    Regarding STL’s ‘depth’: I think that was not the case with their starting pitching, due to injuries past and present. Both Wainwright and Carpenter were not likely to go nine strong, given where they were in their respective recoveries from injury–and I wonder if Matheny would even have let them. Garcia was gone, meaning STL had to run Lynn out there for two starts in which he gave them 3.2 IP. IMO, as a Giants fan, I think Matheny should have used Shelby Miller rather than Lynn.
    That STL’s SP was the weak link was evidenced by how much Matheny was forced to use his BP throughout the series.
    Also, regarding the Moneyball As lack of postseason success, I think one component of the Moneyball strategy–drawing walks–depends on facing average pitching at best. In the postseason, the pitching is not average at best.
    Finally, regarding K/9 rates and postseason success, you can look at the boxscores of the postseason games played by the late 90s Yankees teams and you will see that their pitchers (other than perhaps Rivera) were not high strikeout pitchers. I think it was their ability to induce contact–weak contact, in particular–that was key to their success. I’d be interested to see the breaking ball/fast ball ratio for Yankees pitchers in those games. I think the reliance of STL SP on breaking balls in part accounts for their postseason success over the past five or so years–and for the arm trouble that directly impacted this postseason as I mentioned above.

    Comment by mikeiviefan — October 31, 2012 @ 10:49 am

  175. Eminor: You’re arguing against yourself.
    No one has claimed the Giants are substantially better.
    Dave claimed one of the key factors in the Giants win was depth.

    The argument is that if one or two players such as Buster, Pence or Bumgarner slump, others such as Scutaro, Panda, and Zito could pick them up.

    For the Tigers if Cabrera/Fielder/Verlander slump, there’s very little left to pick them up.

    And that’s exactly what we saw.

    Thus, the Giants have more “outs.” You have not addressed this argument at all.

    Comment by Nivra — October 31, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

  176. Sabean was ridiculed for his GMing long before Tejada and Huff. Goes back to Watson for Snow and Matt Williams for Jeff Kent.

    Comment by zenbitz — October 31, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

  177. False. Mota scored all the HGH for the team.

    Comment by Fiveloko — November 1, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

  178. As a Giants fan, this is a truly beautiful question to hear. The fact is, much of the core is so young that we don’t know yet whether it’s the worst.

    Despite an epic debut and then an MVP season, Posey still too delicate to get in celebratory dogpiles. Pity that. So many dogpiles.

    Despite 2 Cy Youngs, Lincecum still finding himself.

    Despite astonishing talent and plate coverage, Panda still out-of-shape (get it, *plate* coverage) (man, I killed that one).

    Despite fantastic regular seasons back-to-back, Bum still needed a nap this postseason.

    Despite outrageous numbers and a dream sequence postseason, Romo may very well be only 11 or 12 years old and soon placed in foster care.

    Despite great gloves and flashes of productions, the Brandons still pretty clueless at the plate.

    So, to answer your question, yeah, we may be the worst core, but we won’t for sure until we win two or three more championships. Call us back in 2017. Thanks for asking, though. It’s a good question.

    Comment by Fiveloko — November 1, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

  179. Look, I’m not anti-stats by any means, but you sound like a total ass when overzealous attachment to them makes you forget what they are actually for: they are a predictive tool to attempt to gauge team and individual performance. If a team or player “overperforms” statistically, that doesn’t mean they got lucky, it’s a failure of the stats to predict the outcome.

    The playoffs may be a small sample size to judge who the best team is, but the season is not. The Giants came in first by a large margin in their division, and then beat three very good teams to win the world series to WIN THE WORLD SERIES. That is what they are playing for. Not best pythagorian record or highest cumulative WAR.

    I don’t think anyone would argue that Sabean is the best or smartest GM in the game, but he has overseen two world champions in three years, and due to his long tenure, there are no contributing players involved in either title that he is not responsible for getting on the team. That is what a GM’s job is: giving his (or theoretically her) team the best chance (yes luck is involved) to win it all. He hasn’t figured out the One True Way to build a World Series team, but it can’t be denied that he has one strategy, and one that has worked extremely successfully lately.

    Comment by station — November 2, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

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