Ever since the Giants clinched the division I have wanted to take a look at which was the better team — the 2010 Giants or the Giants we’ve been watching in 2012. Here is my best, most objective look at which team was best at each position (2012 stats from after Friday’s game).
2010: Buster Posey, Bengie Molina and Eli Whiteside
.281/ .335/ .439, 5.3 fWAR
2012: Buster Posey and Hector Sanchez
.314/ .373/ .495, 8.0 fWAR
The 2012 version of Posey has been superior. Instead of just being in the conversation for rookie of the year he is in the conversation for MVP. To top things off, Sanchez has been better than what Molina was in 2010.
2010: Aubrey Huff and Co.
.292/ .366/ .490 , 6.3 fWAR
2012: Brandon Belt and Co.
.252/ .338/ .395, 1.8 fWAR
Huff was an MVP candidate for the Giants while Belt has just been above average. 2010 has the lead here.
2010: Freddy Sanchez
.273/ .329/ .366, 2.4 fWAR
2012: Marco Scuatro, Ryan Theriot and Emmanuel Burriss
.286/ .325/ .347, 0.7 fWAR
The negative contributions of Burriss make this look like a laugher, but in just 251 PA Scuatro has been as good or better than Sanchez ever was with the Giants, maybe even better.
2010: Pablo Sandoval, Juan Uribe and Co.
.266/ .322/ .403, 1.8 fWAR
2012: Pablo Sandoval and Joaquin Arias
.297/ .337/ .432, 5.1 fWAR
2010 Sandoval was not very good. 2012 Sandoval has been hurt by injuries, but he has been better. The backups helping out the 2012 team have been much better (thank you Arias) that the missed time hasn’t been much of an issue.
2010: Juan Uribe, Edgar Renteria and Co.
.255/ .316/ .415, 4.6 fWAR
2012: Brandon Crawford and Joaquin Arias
.258/ .305/ .366, 3.2 fWAR
Uribe and Renteria were actually not a bad combination at shortstop, as hard as that might be to believe. This season, Crawford and Arias have done a good job but they haven’t quite lived up to the production of the Renteria/Uribe combo. Crawford has been a nice surprise but the 2012 guys haven’t lived up to the promise of the 2010 guys and that isn’t even counting Renteria’s amazing home run off of Cliff Lee. Maybe the playoffs will change my mind, but that was the second-best at-bat of 2010 behind Travis Ishikawa’s walk against Craig Kimbrel in Game 3 of the NLDS.
2010: Pat Burrell and Co.
.264/ .354/ .464, 2.9 fWAR
2012: Melky Cabrera, Gregor Blanco and Co.
.281/ .349/ .408, 6.3 fWAR
Most of the 2012 value comes from Cabrera, who isn’t going to be on the postseason roster. The majority of the 2010 value comes from Burrell, who is one of my favorite short-term Giants of all time. I am not sure what that means, but Burrell was awesome and I will never forget his contribution to the Giants. Maybe one day I will look back fondly on Blanco.
2010: Andres Torres
.251/ .318/ .434, 6.9 fWAR
2012: Angel Pagan
.289/ .339/ .441, 4.3 fWAR
Torres was out-of-his-mind good, Pagan has been good. It’s hard to compare but I am certainly happy that Pagan has been able to be a spark plug for the Giants and has played a passable defensive centerfield compared to what was done by Torres before him. He hasn’t made me forget about Torres, but all those triples sure don’t hurt.
2010: Nate Schierholtz, Guillen and Ross
.256/ .324/ .427, 1.2 fWAR
2012: Nate Schierholtz, Gregor Blanco and Hunter Pence
.232/ .310/ .353, 2.6 fWAR
Schierholtz has been the best defensive right fielder to ever patrol right field at AT&T Park, unfortunately he never hit enough to get the full-time starting job. This season he was replaced by Pence, who hasn’t hit great but he has at least been adequate.
2010: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Jonathan Sanchez and Barry Zito
3.54 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 13.1 fWAR
2012: Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito
3.74 ERA, 3.81 FIP, 12.6 fWAR
The Giants’ starting pitching was the strength of the 2010 team, carrying them to the World Series. This year’s team was supposed to be built on pitching, but it hasn’t been the strength of the team like in years past.
In 2010, Lincecum was the undisputed ace of the staff and proved it in Game 1 versus the Braves as well as Game 5 against the Rangers. This season he is among the worst pitchers in baseball, yet the Giants will give him a shot in the postseason because of what he has done before.
That might not be fair, but Lincecum still has stuff that can’t be denied — his K-rate is still among the best in the league. His walk rate leaves something to be desired, but his raw stuff is still the envy of pitching prospects everywhere. He may not be the best in the league, but he is still better than 99.99% of the world.
2010: Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, Ramon Ramirez, Santiago Casilla and Guillermo Mota
2.99 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 5.3 fWAR
2012: Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, Guillermo Mota, Jose Mijares and George Kontos
3.55 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 2.5 fWAR
The difference between the 2010 and the 2012 — at least in terms of pitching — is depth. The 2010 Giants had depth to spare in the pitching department, while the 2012 team has essentially the same guys … without one big arm. Wilson matters, but I don’t think that he matters nearly as matter as many think. Looking at the Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), this team is right on the heels of the 2010 team that took home the trophy. To top it off, Bochy is more willing to mix and match to get things right.
Cumulative Fangraphs Numbers
2010 Giants hitting (fWAR): 32.5
2010 Giants pitching (fWAR): 18.4
2010 Giants fielding (UZR): 60.7
2012 Giants hitting (fWAR): 28.8
2012 Giants pitching (fWAR): 15.4
2012 Giants fielding (UZR): 0.0
One thing to note: based on Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), the 2010 Giants were the best defensive team in Major League Baseball. In 2012, they started out so badly that they’re going to finish the year right in the middle of the pack. We’ll just have to wait and see if defense becomes an issue this October.
Overall, the 2010 Giants might have been a little bit better based on the strength of that team’s pitching staff, but I think that the 2012 offense could hold their own with the 2010 team.