Andres Torres and Brian Wilson (#8 Seeds)
Torres was a non roster invitee in 2010 who didn’t get his first hit until game seven of the season. Hitting .136 through the first ten games and ultimately being a vital bat atop the order and winning the Willie Mac Award was just another unlikely hero of the 2010 Giants.With both left and right field in constant flux, center field was taken care of with Torres.
Wilson dominated at the back of the bullpen, closing out the regular season, NLCS and World Series with game ending strikeouts. For as big as Renteria’s home run was, Wilson’s strikeout of Nelson Cruz to end the World Series might be bigger. That, combined with his rally playoff beard and torturous outings, he was exactly who should have closing for this team at that time.
Angel Pagan and Javier Lopez (#7 Seeds)
Pagan came to the Giants in a trade for Torres, so needless to say fans were sad to see Torres go. Pagan at his best, was even better, and upgraded the Giants lineup. He had some of the biggest hits and plays in center field in the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds and helped lead the 2012 Giants to the World Series. And who could forget the best inside the park home run walk off in Giants history?
Lopez was the best left handed specialist the Giants have ever had. His ability to shut down the best left handed bats in some of the most potent lineups was special to watch. He sent Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Josh Hamilton, Prince Fielder and more back to their dugouts shaking their heads. He became as essential part of the core four relievers who helped the Giants win all three championships. Hard not to love Lopez at his best, making left handed hitters look terrible.
Santiago Casilla and Jeremy Affeldt (#6 Seeds)
Speaking of the core four, the other members of that group are the next pitchers in this bracket. Casilla was as versatile as any of them, pitching well against both left and right handers, pitching multiple innings and eventually moving to closer. In a era of specialization, he was as versatile as they come. It seemed everyone ignored Casilla’s value to the era. But, just looking at his dominance in the post season, it is clear he was a huge factor in the three rings they all wear.
Affeldt had some of the best numbers in playoff and World Series history, as only Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera had more scoreless innings pitched. You could argue that he was the greatest pitcher in Giants history during that run. His 26 innings of scoreless relief as a Giant will go down as one of the most impressive numbers of the era.
Sergio Romo and Ryan Vogelsong (#5 Seeds)
Romo always dominated against right handed pitching, but in 2012, he was asked to take over the closer role. He accepted it and took the challenge head on. His dominance throughout the 2012 run had it’s moments, from his long battle with Jay Bruce in the clinching game in the NLDS to the strikeout heard round the world of triple crown winner Miguel Cabrera to win the World Series.
Vogelsong seemed like more of a folk hero than a pitcher. He came back to the Giants in 2011 after pitching in Japan for years. He became an All-Star that year, and in 2012, became an integral part of the rotation. He did it again in 2014, having never lost a game in the post season for the Giants.
All the grit and determination Vogelsong seemed to summon on every pitch shined brightest when the lights were shining. Even when he gave up hits, he seemed to strand them all, many of whom were in scoring position. The Giants were certainly “Vogelstrong” when Ryan pitched in October.