Last off-season, thanks to Twitter follower @RedSox_Stuff, I began putting together a March Madness-style bracket to celebrate all the great players in San Francisco Giants history. I decided to rank players based solely on their contributions to the Giants since their move from New York in 1958. This allowed fans to have much more knowledge of the players being seeded and also allowed for more current players to make the cut. Both of these factors made it a much more popular game.
1. RT for Willie McCovey
8. FAV for @RichAurilia35
— RichAurilia35 (@RichAurilia35) December 27, 2014
Ultimately, there were some close calls where some legendary players of yesteryear faced off against current World Series heroes. This third-round matchup was epic:
2nd Round 2014 #SFGiantsMadness Say Hey Kid Bracket 1. RT for Willie Mays 8. FAV for Madison Bumgarner pic.twitter.com/S5bX5Wq21k
— Candlestick Will (@CandlestickWill) December 26, 2014
The seeding last year was also limited to Wins Above Replacement (WAR) rankings. This worked well for the most part, but short changed players who had tremendous individual seasons in short-lived careers with the team and crippled relief pitchers the most. However, at the end of the tournament last off-season, the Championship did come down to the two greatest Giants of all-time:
Championship Matchup of #SFGiantsMadness is: RT for Willie Mays Fav for @BarryBonds Because of course it is… pic.twitter.com/CXTqns33EM
— Candlestick Will (@CandlestickWill) December 29, 2014
This year, I have added some factors that should make the rankings more true to where players fall in the fans’ eyes.
- Wins Above Replacement
- World Series Rings
- Playoff Seasons
- Most Valuable Player Awards (2)
- Rookie of the Year (2)
- Cy Young Awards (2)
- Willie Mac Award
- All-Star Appearances
- Gold Gloves
- Player of the Month
Ryan Vogelsong has been with the team from 2011-2015 and has earned a 3.7 WAR in that time. He has also been to the playoffs twice, won two World Series rings, and has won the Willie Mac Award and made the All-Star team. That brings his total “value” to 9.7.
Ellis Burks, in his three seasons in San Francisco, earned a WAR of 8.8, with 1 post season appearance and winning the Willie Mac Award as well. His “value” was 10.8.
As fans look back on the careers of several key Giants, it’s important to look at many factors, and because of the success of the recent teams, players on those teams are looked at more favorably. At the same time, there is so much value in what Sabermetrics has done for baseball in giving us a more true value of on field performance.
For whatever flaws may be in the new seeding format I created, one thing is certain. Whether people vote with their heart or their minds, fans get to decide for themselves.