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Monday, August 30, 2021

How the Giants took a familiar roster and unearthed the best team in baseball

If you’re open to the softer side of analysis, there’s something to be gleaned from that last bit. That is: the importance and power of buy-in.

Certainly, the new regime ushered in by Zaidi and Kapler represents a decisive modernization of an organization that won three world championships under the savvy-but-old-school duo of Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy. If you pull the individual threads that constitute the tapestry of their success this season, many lead back to Zaidi’s ability to identify overlooked talent. Arming those players with the information to maximize their largely untapped potential has led to breakouts for Wade, Darin Ruf, Kevin Gausman and Webb, among others.

“I feel like sometimes guys are kind of taught the same thing. But really, every guy’s different and they do a really good job of telling guys, ‘You’re really good at this, do that,’” says Webb, who has leaned into his sinker to get more ground balls this season. “There’s so many different numbers now.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 30, 2021 at 04:32 PM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Walt Davis Posted: August 30, 2021 at 04:56 PM (#6037224)
The Giants have hit the most HR in the NL; they have given up the 3rd fewest. That's a recipe for success in today's game. They've also walked the 4th most while giving up the fewest.

It's a pitching year in the NL. Per WAApos, the top 3 teams are (surprisingly) StL, Wash and SD who all look like they'll miss the playoffs. The Dodgers and Giants have done well but Milw and Atl are pretty average and Cinci below-average. But Cinci makes up for it with the most WAApit, followed by the other 4 (very) likely playoff teams. WAA still gives a small edge to the Padres over the Reds so maybe the Padres will give us one "slug your way to the playoffs" representative.

In the AL, it's a bit more typical. Hou and Tampa are mainly slugging their way in, the White Sox are balanced, the Yanks are pitching well while Bos and Oak are pretty balanced. The Blue Jays are #2 in WAA, #3 in both WAApit and WAApos, but pretty hopelessly out of the race at this point. Let's hope they can keep it together next year and maybe we'll see a playoffs with neither the Yanks nor Red Sox involved.

EDIT: And the AL still has a 20-game edge over the NL despite a run differential of just +1. That's still entirely the ALE +22 vs the NLE.
   2. . Posted: August 30, 2021 at 05:08 PM (#6037228)
I like how all the smart people said the Giants couldn't possibly be any good again with the contracts of Crawford, Belt, Longoria, Posey, and Cueto still on the books. Dumb people like me said Zaidi's charge should just be to stop complaining and go out and get better players and forget about tanking and all the other bullshit -- and, lo and behold, that's exactly what he did. Meanwhile, the guys under long term contract, many of whom are excellent baseball players, have had nice years.

You should never, ever, ever tank a season particularly in the new expanded playoff age. Proven definitively, yet again.
   3. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: August 30, 2021 at 06:16 PM (#6037260)
But Cinci makes up for it with the most WAApit, followed by the other 4 (very) likely playoff teams.

I do not normally question park factors but the Reds have such an extreme park factor that it skews their pitching versus hitting WARs. Great American Ballpark has a 116 multi-year park factor right now, which incorporates the extreme one-year factor of 119 from last season. I believe that interleague games are thrown out so last year is based on just 40 intradivision games.

Granted the Reds play in a hitter's park and these factors are not just made up but a 116 doesn't pass the smell test. Colorado's multi-year factor is 111. They were last above 116 in 2018, back when GABP was a 102. Somehow the Reds went from a mild to extreme hitters park in just two years.

Wade Miley has had a great year - 2.74 ERA/2.86 RA - but to have 6.3 WAR in just 144 innings doesn't sounds right to me.
   4. mathesond Posted: August 30, 2021 at 06:23 PM (#6037264)
You should never, ever, ever tank a season particularly in the new expanded playoff age. Proven definitively, yet again.


When were the other times?
   5. Tin Angel Posted: August 30, 2021 at 08:05 PM (#6037290)
Dumb people like me said Zaidi's charge should just be to stop complaining and go out and get better players and forget about tanking and all the other bullshit


And the really, really dumb people like you wanted Zaidi fired in his second season running things.

Oh oh, I feel a rant about liberal PC trolls coming on, let's see if he can sustain it in three different threads...
   6. The Mighty Quintana Posted: August 30, 2021 at 08:06 PM (#6037291)
I still don't know how Brandon Crawford can perform at MVP-like levels while having pants so long that they catch on his cleats.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: August 30, 2021 at 08:07 PM (#6037292)
#3: fair point. I think (hope?) that 2020 is given less weight than it normally would be in the park factors. And the one-year factor (which I think is just 2021 at this point but not sure) is still 115/114. You can certainly see some weird effects of park factor on ERA+, OPS+, WAR from time to time and this could be one of those times.

Looks like the PF took a big jump in 2019 and has kept going up. Hard to think what that could be. It depends of course not just on the Reds ballpark but how other parks have changed, am I blanking on any new parks coming on line? The Braves saw a big jump in 2019 too. Coors began a steady drop in 2019 too -- maybe they turned up the humidity or maybe that's just a change due to Cinci going up. I suppose it's possible that the effort to better optimize launch angle has more effect in some parks than others -- maybe it doesn't matter much in Coors or Wrigley (small drop in 2019). I don't know how much PF bounces around year to year but it sure looks like something happened in 2019 that increased the variance in NL PFs.
   8. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 30, 2021 at 08:41 PM (#6037296)
I still don't know how Brandon Crawford can perform at MVP-like levels while having pants so long that they catch on his cleats.

I would not have bet on 34-year-old BC having career highs in OPS+/HR while still playing good defense, but here we are.
The Giants have so many 30+ guys having good years. I've been wondering if the relatively short 2020 season allowed for old bodies to heal up more than usual, meaning we might see a little bump of good old-guy seasons.

(fwiw, the A's are somehow the oldest team in the AL, both batters and pitchers. Giants oldest NL batters by far, third-oldest pitchers)
   9. Rally Posted: August 30, 2021 at 10:09 PM (#6037312)
Its mostly a Giant thing. Of the top 20 position players age 33 or above, 5 are on the Giants. No other team has more than 2.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: August 30, 2021 at 10:29 PM (#6037316)
Strength coach Greg Anderson? Team chemist Victor Conte?
   11. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 31, 2021 at 03:25 AM (#6037343)
Isnt Giant stadium one of the hardest places in the league to hit HRs? How often have the SFG led the league in HRs? Im guessing almost never?
   12. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: August 31, 2021 at 07:06 AM (#6037347)
It's true - those "First place in August" flags fly forever.
   13. Rally Posted: August 31, 2021 at 10:13 AM (#6037372)
2001 Giants did. Helps to have the alltime record holder and a fluke 37 from the shortstop.
   14. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: August 31, 2021 at 12:43 PM (#6037394)
I like the explanation in #8. Giants have been going heavy on veterans for a while, which has kept their floor high (2017 excepted). And their pitching has been excellent this year: of their top-10 in IP, only one guy has a FIP above 4.00
   15. The Duke Posted: August 31, 2021 at 01:07 PM (#6037399)
The Dodgers- Giants battle is epic. It’s so important to win the division. I can’t wait to see how it ends up. This is the battle everyone through the Padres and Dodgers would have.

I’m going to bet the scherzer-Turner deal helps the Dodgers more than the Bryant deal helps the giants, but it’s going to be super close

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