Th 2010-14 Giants vs the 2014-15 Mariners
Well, the #1 SP is no issue


No particularly deep planning here.  Just a 10-meter platform, to sprint and sail off into the wild blue of the comments thread, if you've looked at it more closely than Dr. D has...


The 2010 Giants - 92-70, two 'lucky' wins in the NL, a 4-0 sweep over Detroit

Who were their key players?  ... SP's Cain, Linecum, then Bumgarner late, like Paxton; Brian Wilson with the beard and the fans doing the Lincecum/Wilson imitations.  Buster Posey.  

Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell had big years, 135 OPS+ type years.  That would be exactly like Kendrys Morales hitting .300/.400/.500 next year, his best year ever, and the Mariners bringing in Alex Gordon to play LF.

Where did they finish in pitching?  2nd in the NL.

Where did they finish in runs scored?  #8 in the NL, a little below average.  They had a terrible outfield except Burrell.

What would the 2015 M's have to do, to reproduce that season?  (1) Have somebody like Morales pull a miracle, AND (2) bring in a Matt Kemp or Alex Gordon.  ... Granted, this comp assumes that the 2015 M's aren't getting a tone out of their #4-5 SP's or bullpen.  That's quite feasible.


The 2012 Giants - 94 wins, two 'clean' wins over the Braves and Phils, a 4-1 blowout of Texas

Who were their key players?  ... SP's Cain, Bumgarner ... Vogelsong had 2.3 WAR in the 3 slot and the rest of the satff was weak.  

Posey went nuts, with a 171 bat (as a catcher!).  Melky Cabrera at age 27 had a .346 AVG, .390 OBP and a 157 OPS+ in only 113 games, which would be just like Dustin Ackley hitting .350 next year and then sinking back into the mud from there.  But rest of the lineup, the all had UP years together.   

Where did they finish in pitching?  #6 in the NL, based almost totally on their TOR aircraft carriers.  

Where did they finish in runs scored?   #6 in the NL, based on Posey, help from Melky, and a bunch of solid years from no-names.

What would the 2015 M's have to do, to reproduce that season?  (1) Have a soft year pitching, but a big year from a kid, and solid years from a lot of hitters.


The 2014 Giants - 88 wins, and then Madison Bumgarner rips through the world

Who were their key players?  ... SP Bumgarner ... C Posey, with help from 3B Sandoval and RF Pence, who had Kyle Seager-like years.  The Giants had 10x batters who finished with 100 OPS+.

Where did they finish in pitching?  #9 in the NL.  They were a bad pitching staff with a miracle Opening Day starter.  There are SO many playoffs decided this way.  

Where did they finish in runs scored?   #5 in the NL, with three legit bats and everybody else comfortable at the plate.


What would the 2015 M's have to do, to reproduce that season?  (1) Have Felix pull a Tasmanian Devil in October; (2) Get a horrible year from all the other pitchers, (3) Add a legit 90-RBI bat to Seager and Cano, and then (4) get 100 performances from every hitter they got.


Common Ideas

Anything you see in common, with these three World Series winners?  I'll plump for:

  • "Hard RBI" men, up and down the lineup
  • Overwhelming 1-2 starting pitchers
  • Stars & Scrubs, notably based on Posey, giving the Giants fungible lineups (in season and across 5 years)
  • Lineup pyramids that are "wider" than they are "tall"

Other than that, you'll have to tell me :- )

It might be surprising to you that the Giants' pennants are mostly because of 1 or 2 Felix types.  It stopped surprising me quite a ways back, neighbor.


The M's Win the Pennant!  The M's Win the Pennant!

Here's a breathless "slideshow" article that notices the M's are among the top 10 teams next year, in terms of the parade.  They list the reasons they buy in, and the reason they don't.  Cute little read.


Dr D






If we keep the existing roster, minus the Denorfia types here and there, and add an average to good DH, we could really dominate next season. I'll take my chances with Austin, Dustin and Saunders in the outfield, I really will. I see all sorts of upside compared to last season from that trio. Brad Miller at short, with Taylor providing middle infield backup make the infield strong. With Zunino, we are strong up the middle and the corner defenders are good to good glove quality. Just need a couple decent benchies that will produce at replacement level or above. A DH who isn't a black hole will solve just about everything offensively, assuming Jackson can return to mere average.
I see all sorts of upside following an 87 win season. But please, please, please keep Michael Saunders. The kid is ready to step forward and become something really special, He already is, to my mind. It's just been hidden by the injuries and mishandling. Just check out his clutch stats for the past two seasons. The kid know how to make things happen when the game is on the line. He's a ball player. I just wonder why Lloyd has so much trouble seeing it. It took three scotches to insert him in the lineup for heaven's sake.


The "Thumpers" for the Giants were guys who were RHB's or Switchers:  Posey, Morse, and Pence.  Susac will be in this roll next year, too.  
The "Pesky" guys were LHB's:  Belt, Panik, Ishikawa Crawford, Blanco, Pagan (a switch-hitter, when playing, but with a favorable LH split) and Sandoval (switchy, very favorable vR split) 
We've got Zunino.
We need RH thump.
In an era of specialty-use of RP's (never more highlighted than this WS), if you can't threaten to hurt the lefty out of the pen then those hard RBI's late in the game become harder yet.  
Morse in '13 failed because of injuries, Hart in '14 failed because he is terrible right now.  Denorfia came too late and Morales stunk.
Let's get a RHB, or two, in the next couple of weeks, so we can have them for the 1st 120 games, when wins and losses count just as much as they do in the last 40.
Maybe Kivlehan becomes our '15 version of '14's Joe Panik.

GLS's picture

Seems like the template would be more valid if it took into account more winning seasons, and not just the ones that happen to belong to the 2010, 2012, and 2014 Giants. Not that those aren't good teams to model and learn from, but there have been lots of other good teams as well, and if we just look at the Giants, isn't that sort of like cherry picking? Just off the top of my head, the way I would probably approach it is to look at the Top 4 teams each year for the last 10, and based on that try to pick out the commonalities. Maybe I'll look at that more closely this weekend.


... and we'd find there are tons of ways to win.  :- )   James didn't find much in common with his study of dynasties back to the turn of the 20th century.
This was just "for fun" ... since the M's are somewhat similar to the Giants, the interest was in what the M's would need to do, if anything, to come up to the same bar the Giants did.
But yeah.  Next thing on my mind was to do the 1950's Yankees, since they're being discussed at BJOL as a team nobody understands :- )


Last year we mighta been the Royals except for a mini-freezeout of Michael Saunders down the stretch.
Yeah, give us a DH who can knock in runs, and an Austin Jackson who returned to 3 WAR, that would do it right there, wouldn't it?


Provocative post Moe.
In 2010 it was RH Posey, RH Burrell, and a flukish year from LH Aubrey Huff.
In 2012 it was RH Posey, and three Switches:  Melky, Pagan, and Panda at 3B (along with LH Belt).
In 2014 as you noted, it was definitely RH Morse and RH Pence who were hitting along with Posey.
Now I'm wondering about whether there's a tendency (post-bullpen explosion) for teams to fail without an 80-RBI righty.  Without a doubt, the M's LH'ness was a factor in the late frustration.
:: cpoints ::


Here are the '14 playoff teams and the RHB's they had who had more than 70 RBI's.
SF:  Pence and Posey (Sandoval as a switcher, too)
Pitt:  McCutcheon and Walker
Wash: Desmond, Rendon and Werth
St. Louis: Holiday and Piralta
Oak: Donaldson and Cespedes (they crashed after losing his RH presence)
LAA: Trout, Pujols and Kendrick
Balt: Cruz and Jones
KC:  Perez (with Butler at 66)...(KC is a special bullpen driven case, of course)
Seattle had Zunino tops with 60!
Maybe '14 is an outlier year, but it looks like you have to have RH RBI ability to get very far.  Of course, there is a chicken and egg question here.  Perhaps teams that score runs get more RBI opportunities for their RHB's.  But maybe it is the Critical Mass deal, without hard RH RBI guys you don't score enough runs. I like the 2nd offering.
We bet the RH farm on Hart (and to some switchy extent, Smoak) this year.  Then we were way tardy in responding to the failed bet.  Then our responses (Denorfia and Morales) swung like rusty gates. 
Bad stuff.
Let's do better this year.


Probably would.   Those dynasties were the reductio ad absurdum for LH power - playing in Yankee - but the 50's Yanks had Yogi Berra, and Mantle was SW.   The 20's Yanks... was Meusel important or did Ruth/Gehrig create an exception to the general principle?
As we're talking here, it seems more and more likely that the M's -- even if nobody else -- have needed a truly legitimate RH man who can get the "hard RBI."
By the way, Dave Fleming is filling in at Hey Bill.  Today:

Bill, (or Dave) I had always considered 3 or more championships in 5 or less years the minimum for a dynasty.
Asked by: Steve9753
Answered: 10/31/2014

 I think, in this era of 8 or 10 teams getting into the playoffs, winning 3 out of 5 absolutely makes you a dynasty. The Giants are an unusual dynasty: this is never talked about because their home park screws the numbers up, but the Giants have shifted their strengths in mid-stride. The 2010 Giants were a greatpitching team: good starters and an excellent bullpen. Their hitting was was better than people realized, but it wasn't elite. This year's team was different...they still had Bumgarner, but the rest of the rotation has been up-and-down, and the bullpen wasnt excellent. It's their offense that's carried them: they were fifth in the NL in runs scored in 2014, playing in a ballpark that dampens offense. They have no real holes in their lineup, and they had a terrific bench to find pinch-hitters. Most teams that have success try to duplicate that success. The Giants are remarkable, to me, because they haven't done that. They've adjusted.  - Dave


GLS's picture

I'm pretty much the last person so say this, but maybe it just comes down to something we'll never be able to understand analytically, which is the ability of certain GM's like Brian Sabean and Pat Gillick to simply know what works.


The Giants have succeeding in choosing wisely: snatching the Huffs, Burrells, Scuturos, (who am I missing?) in mid season. We snatched Jackson, Denorfia, Morales - heck, throw Hart into the mix. Someone here pointed this about Giant success out a month or so ago, can't remember who, but I bow to you. Anyways, it seems like we shoulda got lucky somewhere in that group as well. We didn't, and we missed out.
I can't tell if the Giant front office is really that much better or luckier in picking them. But, at the risk of being a Johnny one note, broken record here, I think the presence of Pence was key this season, and I really feel we have a similar impact player in Saunders, and maybe Brad Miller. Dirt dogs (remember that Saunders hurt himself slamming into a wall) with serious talent and an ability to impose their will into the game at key moments. Pence got the Giants to the World Series, at a moment that Harper was imposing his will to do the same for the Nats. I look at our team, and I see similar players: Felix for sure. Rodney, in a somewhat fragile way. Ackley seems to know what it is - he's still adjusting to major league realities after being that guy all his life. He's about there. It was good to see the rollover to second be transformed to the shallow fly to left. Zunino - yeah, him too. Seager has saved our bacon in key moments. Did I mention Cano yet? Cano.
I think Miller is readying to bust out as well. But the thing about baseball is, there are 162 games, and players get hurt. I first thought that Jack was being unfair to Michael. But in retrospect, maybe he was sending a signal: you're good, kid. Real good. But you gotta figure out how to stay healthy. And you know what? Only you can really figure it out. We can help, make suggestions, offer plans. But if you don't do it, you won't succeed. You'll be a footnote in a chapter on destiny.

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