Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Turning over a roster, Part II

Catcher Buster Posey and reliever Sergio Romo are
two holdovers from the 2010 World Series champs.
Last week, I posted this nugget about how few players remain on the Detroit Tigers roster from their 2006 team, the most recent Detroit team to reach the World Series.

The San Francisco Giants, of course, won the Series in 2010. Just two seasons later, the lineup is almost unrecognizable.

The 2010 Giants — that was a weird championship club. The October lineup was a rookie superstar-in-the-making (Buster Posey) surrounded by a hideously out-of-shape Pedro Sandoval (having the worst season of his career, he got just three at-bats in the World Series) and a collection of discarded veterans: Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, Edgar Renteria, Aaron Rowand ...

Posey, Sandoval and Huff -- that's all that remains of the 2010 Giants for position players. (Huff's 2010 is so bizarre -- a strong year surrounded by evidence of incompetence.) Most of the rest of the regulars are either out of baseball or, like Huff, relegated to reserve roles and soon to be out of the game.

The pitching staff is another matter. Four of the five starters for the 2010 Giants are still there (only Jonathan Sanchez is gone); the order of priority has changed sharply, but Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito each made at least 32 starts. Much of the bullpen remains, although the 2010 closer, Brian Wilson, is sidelined by Tommy John surgery.

This year's Giants team feels more organic, more capable of long-term success, than the 2010 team did. This year's Giants have just two regular position players age 30 or higher (second baseman Marco Scutaro and center fielder Angel Pagan), and four of the eight are 25 or younger.

General manager Brian Sabean takes a lot of heat for the sabermetric community for his chronic unwillingness to give young players a chance. This team appears to belie that history.

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