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Where the 2014 Giants came from

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Their mothers, stupid. But a majority of them are homegrown players, too.

Jason Miller

A complete list of the homegrown Giants who appeared in the 2002 World Series:

  • Russ Ortiz
  • Aaron Fultz
  • Pedro Feliz

Wait, Ortiz was on that team? I don't remember that. But the story checks out on Baseball-Reference.com, so he must have snuck in there, somewhere.

Out of all the drafts from the previous decade, all of the international free-agent signing scrums, the Giants got a starter, a lefty reliever, and a bat off the bench to help their World Series run. All of them have "z"s in their name, too. That probably means something.

If you're feeling generous, you can give them credit for Rich Aurilia (drafted by the Rangers) or Barry Bonds (drafted by the Giants out of high school, didn't sign). You should also note that players like Livan Hernandez, J.T. Snow, Jason Schmidt, et cetera, were acquired for prospects from the farm. So it's not like the minors were a total dust bowl.

Those three players up there, though, comprised the cavalry from the minor leagues in the 2002 World Series. The next season was similar, swapping Jerome Williams in for Ortiz.

Giants fans, for a long time, were used to mercenaries. They became the de facto homegrown heroes. Jeff Kent played on the Indians? Weird. Barry Bonds was on the Pirates, of all teams? Seems like I would remember that. After a certain amount of time, their hazy origin stories were forgotten. They melted right in.

This Giants era is different, so different. To highlight just how different, let's break down where all the players on the likely 25-man roster came from:

Homegrown (13)

Madison Bumgarner
Ryan Vogelsong*
Tim Lincecum
Sergio Romo
Buster Posey
Andrew Susac
Brandon Belt
Brandon Crawford
Joe Panik
Matt Duffy
Pablo Sandoval
Travis Ishikawa*
Juan Perez

Oh, fine, put Vogelsong and Ishikawa on the free-agency pile if you want to be a stickler. For me, it was like they were in suspended animation the whole time, just in case the Giants needed to call on them again. Still, more than half of this roster was drafted by the Giants (or signed as an amateur, in Sandoval's case.)

You can break it down even further:

First round
Bumgarner
Lincecum
Posey
Panik

Second through fifth
Susac
Belt
Crawford
Vogelsong

Sixth through 50th
Romo (28th)
Duffy (18th)
Ishikawa (21st)
Perez (13th)

International free agent
Sandoval

The Belt/Crawford picks were franchise-changers in the early rounds. Obviously, the Posey/Bumgarner picks were more crucial, but the Brandons had a higher degree of difficulty. The fourth and fifth rounds have so much noise to filter out. Of the 30 players drafted in the fourth round that Crawford was selected in, just nine made the majors. Only three had more than 150 at-bats or 50 innings pitched. Only five players made it to the majors out of the Belt round, and only one (Louis Coleman) ever got a regular gig doing anything.

Yay, draft.

Free agency (3)

Tim Hudson
Michael Morse
Jeremy Affeldt

These were the free agents who were on a major league roster the previous season, and they were the only ones we cared about as news when they were signed. The Hudson and Affeldt deals were for two years; Morse was for one. Reminder that some of you wanted to sign Shin-Soo Choo last year.

Minor league free agency (5)

Santiago Casilla
Jean Machi
Yusmeiro Petit
Joaquin Arias
Gregor Blanco

That's some good bird-dogging, Giants. Three bullpen contributors, the de facto center fielder, and ... well, Arias was good enough for a couple years. I do wonder where the Giants would have been without Blanco in 2012 to take over for the deceased Melky Cabrera.

Trade (3)

Jake Peavy
Javier Lopez
Hunter Pence

Edwin Escobar would have to go full Liriano in order for the Peavy trade to be questioned by anyone ever again, and even then, I'm not sure if it's possible to complain about that deal. The Giants are in the NLCS, even though they're the worst team in baseball history, give or take. This trade even makes me feel better about the Carlos Beltran trade, in retrospect.

Waivers, Rule 5, and other legal maneuverings (1)

Hunter Strickland

Just keep him away from Bryce Harper for the rest of the playoffs, and we'll be fine.

What's that?

Out of the playoffs, you say? Huh. Okay, then, clearly sailing ahead, Mr. Strickland.

You knew the Giants had a lot of homegrown talent on the roster, in the lineup, on the bench, and in the rotation. When you see it all laid out, though, it's even more impressive. Especially when you compare it to that wacky 2002 team.