The San Francisco Giants are the 2010 World Series Champions, and they won in impressive fashion. They went 11-4 in the postseason, handling teams easily even while maintaining the identity of an underdog. While hindsight is 20/20, perhaps they shouldn’t have been underdogs – this team really was one of the best in baseball all year.
In total team WAR, the Giants ranked 4th at +47.4 wins. Our replacement level is set at about 48.5 wins, so that number makes the Giants something like a team that deserved to win 95 games this year. They had more total team WAR than the Rangers, Yankees, or Phillies, and the roster they brought into October was the best version of any they had put together all year.
If they had started the year with Buster Posey at catcher, Pat Burrell and Cody Ross on the team, and Madison Bumgarner in the rotation, they would have almost certainly finished better than their final 92-70 record. That was a ~95 or so win team that ran over the Braves, Phillies, and Rangers.
While a few of the guys on the team were discards from other organizations who the Giants picked up on the cheap, those guys surrounded a core of extremely good players: Posey, Tim Lincecum, and Brian Wilson are all among the best in the game at what they do. Getting career years from role players like Andres Torres and Aubrey Huff certainly was a huge part of why the Giants won, but those guys were more exception than rule. By and large, the Giants collected a bunch of quality role players who did their jobs well and didn’t prevent the legitimate stars on the team from carrying them to a championship.
Were the Giants the best team in baseball? I don’t know, but they were certainly in the discussion, and they made a pretty strong case the last couple of months of the season. Brian Sabean should be proud of his guys for playing well in October, but he should also be proud of his staff for putting together a roster that could contend. The Giants may have been underdogs, but only because we didn’t give them enough credit in the first place. They were a championship caliber team, and they proved it on the field.
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