The 2010 Pennant Winners (How They Came to Be)
Using Bill James’s Win Shares, I’ll take a look at how each World Series team was formed. The information can be found at my site The Baseball Gauge. This page compares all of the 2010 teams. The percentages refer to the team’s percentage of Win Shares that came from each category with their rank in parentheses.
Home Grown – 2010 Average: 39.6% of team’s Win Shares
San Francisco: 43.8% (9th in baseball)
Texas: 23.5% (28th in baseball)
The phrase “Home Grown” refers to players who were originally signed or drafted by their current team and have been there ever since. Taking Colby Lewis for example, he was originally drafted by the Rangers, but has also been with a number of other teams (plus Japan) since returning. For this reason, Lewis is not considered a Home Grown player, but instead a “Free Agent Signee”.
SF: Brian Sabean and the Giants have done a fantastic job bringing up pitchers through the draft and their farm system. In fact, their entire playoff 4-man rotation was acquired via the draft (the only other playoff team with at least 3 were the Rays). Add Brian Wilson and Sergio Romo and you’ve got a heck of a Home Grown pitching staff. The list of Home Grown position players, is not as impressive. Of the Giants everyday players, only Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval were Giants Originals.
Tex: The Rangers finished with the 3rd lowest percentage of Home Grown players in all of baseball with just 23.5% of its Win Shares. A quick look at this number may lead someone to think that they did a poor job at building their team, but that is simply not the case. Jon Daniels (as well as John Hart) has done a great job in acquired talent via trades, waivers, and the rule 5 draft. Of the Rangers’ Home Grown players, only C.J. Wilson and Ian Kinsler accumulated more than 10 Win Shares.
Originals – 2010 Average: 262.8 Win Shares
San Francisco: 207.4 Win Shares (26th)
Texas: 279.5 Win Shares (12th)
SF: The Giants are towards the bottom of the league with only 207.4 Win Shares (or 69 wins) coming from “Original Giants”. Once again, it is their position players that are severely lacking with Fred Lewis and Yorvit Torrealba being the only two Original Giants with more than 10 Win Shares that are no longer with the team. The two players that Giants fans will regret not having are Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan, who were traded to the Twins for one year of A.J. Pierzynski.
Tex: Texas has more Win Shares coming from “Original Rangers” (279.5) than they do from their actual 2010 team (270). The 279.5 Win Shares can be hypothetically converted into 93 wins (3 more than their 90) but we all know that it doesn’t exactly work that way. Especially since Mark Teixeira, Carlos Pena, Travis Hafner, Justin Smoak, and Mitch Moreland are all Original Rangers and would not be able to share playing time. Just as with the Gaints, one trade may have Rangers fans kicking themselves over, and that is John Danks and Nick Masset to the White Sox for Brandon McCarthy. They’d probably also like to take back trading away Adrian Gonzalez, but he was not an Original Ranger. On a side note, Ramon Ramirez was originally a Ranger and will be in the Giants postseason bullpen.
Amateur Draft – 2010 Average: 34.2%
San Francisco: 40.1% (7th)
Texas: 24.9 (25th)
SF: The Giants Amateur Draft was briefly discussed above in their Home Grown section. They quite possibly have the best pitching staff acquired via the draft in all of baseball with 3 first rounders in their rotation. Speaking of first rounders, the Giants did not have a first round pick in both ’04 and ’05, but have seemed to have made excellent first picks since then with Lincecum (’06), Bumgarner (’07), and Posey (’08). Only 6 teams in all of baseball can claim to have a higher percentage of players from the Amateur Draft than San Francisco.
Tex: The Rangers have not had the success in the draft as the Giants have had. A number of their first rounders over the past decade have not produced as expected. Since 2004, no draft has netted them more than 37 total Win Shares. On the bright side, the ’07 draft (Hunter, Borbon, Moreland) may end up being a success. The ’08 draft included Justin Smoak who shows a lot of promise despite a sub-par first season.
Trades – 2010 Average: 30.3%
San Francisco: 9.6% (29th)
Texas: 55.5% (2nd)
SF: These two World Series teams seem to be polar opposites in regards to trades. Brian Sabean and the Giants have made very few big trades with just the Liriano/Nathan/Pierzynski deal leaving a lasting negative effect. One very interesting trade came at the beginning of July which sent Bengie Molina to the Rangers for Chris Ray. Molina was traded to allow Buster Posey to go back behind the plate and allow Aubrey Huff to stay at 1B full time. In hindsite, the Giants would probably still make this move even if they knew they’d be facing him in the World Series because it allowed Posey to blossom into a potential ROTY winner. One thing is for sure, Molina will be receiving a World Series ring no matter what happens. Other notable Giants acquired via trade are Freddy Sanchez, Ramon Ramirez, and Javier Lopez.
Tex: Only the Cleveland Indians finished higher in Win Shares pct via trades than Texas. The wheeling and dealing of Jon Daniels is perhaps the biggest reason for the Rangers 2010 success. He has made some trades that he may now regret (Adrian Gonzalez & John Danks), but those can be overlooked when you look at the players he has acquired. The pitching star of the playoffs so far, Cliff Lee was acquired before the deadline and is having one of the best postseasons in history. The Rangers knew they weren’t going to re-sign Teixeira, so they traded him for Feliz and Andrus which is much better than compensation picks if they let him go to free agency. They took a risk by trading a quality arm in Edinson Volquez for a player with a troubled past in Josh Hamilton, but he is now the possible 2010 AL MVP and Volquez is just coming off of a drug suspension and Tommy John surgery. Nelson Cruz was pretty much a throw-in to the Carlos Lee/Francisco Cordero deal and has emerged as one of the top Right Fielders in the game. David Murphy has made a deal for Eric Gagne look very lopsided, and more than 10 years ago, Michael Young was a steal for Esteban Loaiza. The core of the Rangers team was acquired via trade and they would be a much different team otherwise.
Free Agency – 2010 Average: 24.9%
San Francisco: 44.2% (1st)
Texas: 13.9% (27th)
SF: Just as with trades, the Giants and Rangers are completely different in Free Agency. The Giants are at the top of the list in free agent signings while the Rangers are 4th from the bottom. San Francisco has made some free agent singings that they would probably not make if given a second chance (Zito, Rowand, Renteria), but it is the lower dollar signings that have made the most impact. Aubrey Huff signed for 1-year/$3m, Andres Torres signed a minor league contract a year ago and is only making $426k, and Juan Uribe signed for 1-year/$3.25m. Plus, while the Rays pay Pat Burrell $9m this season, the Giants get his services for league minimum. For those who thought the Yankees would be number one in this list, they actually ended up 11th with 26.2% of their Win Shares via free agency.
Tex: Texas went the free agent route a few times, succeeding more times than not. Vladimir Guerrero signed for $5.5m with an option for next season and almost doubled his production from last season. Two Original Rangers, Darren Oliver and Colby Lewis, returned to the team via free agency with 6.3 and 12.4 Win Shares respectively. But the one offseason gamble that did not work out was signing Rich Harden for 1-year/$6.5m with an option for next season.
Each roster contains one player who was selected off of waivers. Texas selected Darren O’Day from the Mets in April of ’09 while the Giants grabbed NLCS MVP Cody Ross from the Marlins just a week before the postseason roster deadline.
In summary, while each club took very different routes in forming their rosters, they only finished with a difference of 2 wins. Both teams made moves that can be viewed as mistakes, but a Pennant and possibly a World Series title can make them easily forgettable.