Over at the mothership, I completed a year-long project that took me as long as any solo Internet project I've ever worked on. I reassigned every player in baseball to their very first team. David Ortiz to the Mariners. Anthony Rizzo to the Red Sox. Eugenio Velez to the Blue Jays. I've had this idea for years and chipped away at it until I couldn't go back.
The Cubs have a dreadful pitching staff. The Brewers have an awesome lineup. The Braves might be the highest-priced fake team in the exercise, and the Rangers had 15 starting pitchers for five spots. You can learn a lot from this.
And the Giants were basically the Giants, give or take.
Oh, there were some differences. For one, the Giants still haven't produced a lot of outfielders, so we have to get creative and put Brandon Belt in left field to make room for, ha ha, ahem, Pablo Sandoval. The Giants used to produce fringe pitchers all the time, like Brian Burres, Clay Hensley, Matt Palmer, and Pat Misch, and they would have filled out an older version of the bullpen. Now, not so much. We had to politely ask Tim Lincecum to pitch in relief because there just weren't enough arms.
Don't make us get Brian Wilson on the phone.
Ha ha, it's an old phone that we don't see a lot of anymore! That's why it's funny. Sure brings me back.
But aside from some of those differences, the Giants are pretty much still the Giants. Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Matt Duffy, Joe Panik, and Buster Posey are still in the lineup. Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner are still in the rotation, and Chris Heston adds some familiarity, too. Really, the biggest changes are swapping out Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija for Francisco Liriano and Zack Wheeler (cheaper, at least), and Hunter Pence for Sandoval (ack!). Those swaps probably wouldn't make this year's team that much different from a wins and losses perspective.
Consider where the Giants would have been in an exercise like this several years ago, then. We don't have to guess! This is from 2007, when Todd Linden was in the process of breaking our heart:
So another first-round (supplemental) pick down the tubes. Let's revisit the list of Best Position Players Drafted or Developed since Matt Williams (1986 Draft):
C - Doug Mirabelli
1B - Damon Minor
2B - Deivi Cruz
SS - Royce Clayton
3B - Bill Mueller
LF - Marvin Benard
CF - Chris Singleton
RF - Armando Rios
The Giants had Cain and Lincecum, sure, but that lineup is something. It sure is something. Hooo boy. Also, consider that some of those players had retired by that 2007 post, so the real homegrown lineup would have been much worse. If you take the best season from each one of those player's careers, it still would have been worse than any team in baseball this year, I'll guess.
The moral of the story? Click on the links I give you so that I stay employed, please. Share them on Facebook and lie about how interesting they are. But the other moral of the story is that the Giants have a pretty, pretty special homegrown lineup.
You knew that already, but it probably doesn't hurt to read it again. And again and again and again.