Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now




Spare the Grizzlies

Posted on January 31, 2015 by Peter Getty
Fresno Grizzlies

Fresno Grizzlies

The offseason is an important time for a baseball team. The winter is when a team’s farm system gets more attention than usual. For the Giants, that usually means there’s going to be some derision for their feeder teams. But is the Giants farm system really that bad?

Golden Gate Sports ran an article that puts the Giants farm system into better perspective. It’s easy to disregard the Fresno Grizzlies, our AAA team, which was 13 games behind last season – and hasn’t fared much better for years. The trouble is, this ‘ineffective’ farm system has produced some of the most valuable players of the Giants roster over the last 10 years!

Next time you hear a fan complaining about the Giant’s farm teams, remind them about the players who came up through that very system, leading to three World Series wins over five years.

Madison Bumgarner and Pablo Sandoval, both essential pieces of this year’s championship, were drafted by the Giants. Matt cain and Tim Lincecum, vital to the 2010 and 2012 teams, were too. And what would we have done without Travis Ishikawa’s World Series home run in 2014? Or Brian Wilson’s 2010 strikeout of Nelson Cruz? All these players played on farm teams for San Fran.

In fact, 13 of 25 players on this year’s World Series roster were drafted by San Fran. Two others had only ever pitched for the Giants. Similar numbers were true for 2012 and 2010. According to calculations made by Golden Gate Sports, a full 68% of the Giant’s full 40-man roster officially called San Francisco their first professional home.

This all points to the whole point of a farm system. I’d argue that they don’t exist to win minor league championships, but first and foremost to groom players for an eventual place on the major league team. After all, in the AAA’s Pacific Coast League, where the Grizzlie’s placed last in 2014, Reno had the best record. Reno is the feeder team for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who ranked last in the National League West, and dead last in the entire league.

So, which farm system is really working out?

Peter Getty’s love of sports began at the age of nine. Baseball first caught his attention when, growing up, he played catch with his dad, Gordon Peter Getty, the former CEO of Getty Oil.  During his youth, Peter participated in all the usual team sports–baseball, basketball, soccer and football. After coming to the realization that he was “awful” at all of them, he decided to be content with being a major sports fan by writing about them. Based in San Francisco, Peter stays current on all the Northern California teams, and has an excellent understanding of all professional sports. In addition to his posts on Sports Then and Now, you can also check out his own blog.


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