Giants, this time...and of all things, credit to Brian Sabean.
The Giants are good (so far) this year, of course, because of the pitching, and Sabean deserves a lot of credit for that. But oddly enough, that's not what I'm talking about today.
OK, it's fairly obvious that Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval are going to be the two best drafted (or signed) & developed player, outside of pitchers, in the Sabean era. I know, I know...not even 100 PAs yet for Posey, but the competition is so awful that it's as close to a lock as these things get. Odds that Buster Posey has a better career than Pedro Feliz? Really, it isn't certain, and knock on wood and all that, but he could be a terrible disappointment and still do that. And Sandoval has already had a better career than anyone else that started his career in the Giants system since Sabean took over. Yes, that's pathetic, but it's pathetic about the past, not the present.
Second, however, is that Sabean finally has started grabbing "free" hitting talent. Start with Juan Uribe, who was dirt cheap last year when no one wanted him, and still inexpensive this year. And then add Andres Torres, a total scrap-heap player, a failed prospect who washed out of five organizations -- one of them twice -- before Sabean snagged him. Top it off with Pat Burrell, a former (minor) star released by a contender after 500 awful PAs. Granted, all of them could turn pumpkin tomorrow. However, Torres has already given the Giants about as much as any other similar player has done during the Sabean era. As I've complained for years, this is highly unusual: normal teams trawl those waters all the time, and while it's rare to strike real lucky as the Red Sox did with David Ortiz, there are lots and lots of teams that get something what Russ Branyan di for Seattle last year, or what the Rays have done with Carlos Pena (and yes, I'm a little obsessed with the free 1B talent that Sabean has passed on).
It's just almost impossible to build a team if you only try to stock your lineup with proven major league veterans purchased at full cost. Even if you're incredibly good at picking them, some will get old on you rapidly, and very few will turn out to be bargains. You don't need to use drafted & developed homegrowns, but you can't expect to build a team without them, and without the Torres types, and without the Uribe types, and without ready-for-the-majors foreign players, and without hot prospect you get in dumping trades. You can make it without some of these, but not without all of them, not unless you have the guy with the cape, anyway.
So, it took him more than a decade, but kudos to Brian Sabean for finally expanding his horizons a bit. Oh, and not bad with the pitchers, too.