FanPost

The 2021 Homegrown San Francisco Giants Roster

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

(ESPN 30 for 30 Voice): What if I told you that MLB's winningest team in 2021 would have been more valuable if it hadn't made a single trade or free agent signing?

As the Giants complete another MLB draft (and hold the best record in baseball), it's worth noting that the 39 players currently on MLB 40-man rosters who were drafted or originally signed by San Francisco accrued 28 fWAR (Fangraphs' version of wins above replacement) during the first half, while the 46 players currently on the actual 40-man Giants roster were worth 27.6 fWAR.

If we compare to other "restored" rosters, the homegrown Giants would rank #2 in fWAR, behind the Astros with 36.0. However, the Astros collected this value in part by having 67 players on current 40-man rosters. The actual Giants only rank fourth in fWAR behind the White Sox, Dodgers, and Astros, so both the overall number and rank improve.

Also, the homegrown roster would carry a total average annual value of $113.5 million, far less than the $158.4 million for the current team. So you would get more value while paying less.

This is by no means stating that a hypothetical homegrown team would have been better than (or even equal to) the actual 2021 roster. It's also not meant to discourage player movement, as a real argument could be made that the Giants wouldn't have won the World Series in 2012 and 2014 with Charlie Culberson and Heath Hembree instead of Marco Scutaro and Jake Peavy (the players they were traded for), respectively.

But it should serve as a tip of the hat to the talent evaluation skills of the previous front office. Here's what the 2021 Giants roster could have looked like in a world without free agency and trades, with 28 players listed (a full roster and one reserve pitcher and position player each).

Position Players

Lineup (create your own batting order)

Pos. Bats Name 2021 Age 2021 PA 2021 wRC+ 2021 fWAR
C R Buster Posey*+ 34 233 164 3.1
1B L Brandon Belt+ 33 201 140 1.2
2B R Christian Arroyo 26 163 106 1.1
3B R Matt Duffy+ 30 106 109 0.6
SS L Brandon Crawford* 34 302 147 3.4
LF B Bryan Reynolds* 26 364 146 3.0
CF L Steven Duggar 27 186 131 1.8
RF R Adam Duvall 32 290 108 1.1

Bench

Pos. Bats Name 2021 Age 2021 PA 2021 wRC+ 2021 fWAR
C R Aramís García 28 88 47 -0.2
IF R Charlie Culberson 32 175 89 0.7
IF L Joe Panik 30 150 74 -0.2
IF B Pablo Sandoval 34 77 97 0.1
OF B Ehire Adrianza 31 146 108 0.2
OF R Austin Slater 28 199 94 0.6

* 2021 All-Star

+ Currently on Injured List

The Highlights: Reynolds didn't ever play in San Francisco, but he's having a solid career since being traded to the Pirates for Andrew McCutchen. Duvall is leading the league in RBI in Miami, and Arroyo has justified his first round draft selection so far in Boston. Adrianza always lived in the shadow of Crawford with the Giants, but he's been a productive player for five seasons since leaving San Francisco.

The Red Flags: García and Panik are below replacement level, and most of these players have been injury prone in 2021 (thus the low number of plate appearances). Depth is a key strength of the actual 2021 squad, but homegrown position player depth in the minors is lacking.

This collection of talent would include three 2021 All-Stars, nine league average or above hitters, and an excellent mix of left-handed and right-handed bats for platoon options.

While one of these 14 players (likely Slater because he has minor league options) could serve as a first call-up, with three players currently on the IL, the Giants would have to turn to Joey Bart, Lucius Fox, or Johneshwy Fargas for further relief. They might even need to spend the 40th roster spot on a player like Chris Shaw.

Pitchers

Rotation

Pos. Throws Name 2021 Age 2021 IP 2021 ERA- 2021 fWAR
SP R Zack Wheeler* 31 119.2 56 4.5
SP R Luis Castillo 28 102.2 112 1.6
SP L Madison Bumgarner+ 31 59.2 140 0.7
SP R Logan Webb 24 52.0 93 1.1
SP R Jonathan Loaisiga+ 26 47.0 49 1.6

Bullpen

Pos. Throws Name 2021 Age 2021 IP 2021 ERA- 2021 fWAR
CL R Tyler Rogers 30 43.0 37 0.6
SU R Sergio Romo 38 32.0 102 0.5
SU R Chris Stratton 30 46.2 72 0.4
MID L Caleb Baragar 27 18.1 13 0.2
MID R Phil Bickford 25 22.1 72 0.3
MID R Kyle Crick 28 23.1 116 0.0
MID R Heath Hembree 32 30.0 116 0.1
MID L Josh Osich 32 10.1 21 0.1
LR R Derek Law 30 15.0 96 0.0

* 2021 All-Star

+ Currently on Injured List

The Highlights: As good of a season as Kevin Gausman is having, Wheeler is outperforming him in peripheral stats (and thus value) in Philadelphia. Loaisiga is having a huge season for the Yankees, although he's no longer a starting pitcher. Several old friends (Hembree, Law, Osich) were not on 40-man rosters to start the year (hence the low inning totals), but all have performed well since being called up.

The Red Flags: Bumgarner and Castillo have had disappointing seasons, which further highlights the starting rotation's lack of depth (especially compared with the actual 2021 team). Loaisiga started games in the Bronx as recently as 2020, but his stats would likely regress as a full-time starter.

Bickford would probably be the first call-up to keep two lefties in the bullpen, which features a ton of names long forgotten by many Giants fans. This bullpen could rival the actual 2021 version, and injury reinforcements Conner Menez and Steven Okert are both above average so far this season.

Summary

When conducting this exercise three years ago, a restored roster would have lost nearly two fWAR from a team that wasn't good to begin with. Now the Giants have the best record in baseball, but restoring the homegrown players would actually add fWAR.

It's a good time to cheer for the orange and black, and kudos to Brian Sabean, Dick Tidrow, and company for identifying and developing so much talent while the new regime receives all the credit for building a winning ballclub in 2021.

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