It's time to look back at how awful our predictions were before the season started. Yeah, you. You too. Don't pretend you didn't make awful projections. You stunk it up with the rest of us.
The easiest way to set the tone for this series is with Aubrey Huff, who was terrible. Just awful. Just one season removed from the best season from a Giants first baseman since Will Clark, Huff had the worst full season by a Giants first baseman since Enos Cabell thirty years ago. There was just no middle ground, was there?
The middle ground is what most of us predicted, actually. Here's a link to the projection thread earlier this year, and here's what I was hoping for:
Reasonable enough. Was he going to continue to be a fringe MVP candidate? Nope. Was he still going to be useful? Oh, of course.
This is why I can't get too angry with Sabean with how the season turned out. Other than Orlando Cabrera. Which I will never, ever let go. Because I'm a petty man. But the roster construction to start the season didn't bother me in the slightest. Huff was overpaid, certainly, but he was supposed to be okay. Good, even.
Instead, he was the least valuable player on the team, if not the league. His hitting was way below what teams need from a first baseman, and his presence caused the Giants to screw around with their best prospect. And the worst part was that he was merely bad without runners on, but he really ratcheted up the ol' suck-o-meter with runners on base. It was uncanny.
I don't believe that we can tell the difference between clutch hitters and unclutch hitters, but danged if that belief wasn't tested by watching Huff for a full season.
With each one of these, I was thinking about putting a subheading at the end that read "The Lesson," in which I'd impart some faux wisdom about the follies of projecting certain players. Starting the first one with Huff, though, made me realize that there aren't any lessons here. Aubrey Huff was good until he wasn't. They Giants gambled that the wasn't wouldn't come until later. I, for one, believed that too. The wasn't was right now. Dang.
Maybe there's a lesson to be learned with Huff's conditioning or lack thereof. Maybe the even/odd thing he does isn't a fluke, but rather something that happens because he feels like he can coast in the offseason following a productive year. I have no idea. The quotes from the postmortem press conference indicated that the Giants felt it could have been a concern.
What I do know is that Huff was wretched this year, and that it completely and totally caught me off guard. In retrospect, maybe it shouldn't have. But it's worth looking back at what we all thought then, so we're fair in our assessment of how the team was built.
Well, we don't have to be fair all the time. Like remember that Orlando Cabrera deal? Totally ruins all the good that was done by drafting Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, for example. Stuff like that.