Post Season MVPs versus their past or future teams – Another insane Sully Baseball list

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know that every once in a while an idle thought would enter my cranium and it would evolve into me doing an elaborate list writing entry here.

My entire 800 page Home Grown vs Acquired Series started from the simple question “I wonder if the Red Sox had better luck acquiring players from other teams or developing their own talent.”

I chronicled how my ideas can germinate into a blog post with my “Making of a Blog Post” entry. Well it happened again.

While on the treadmill watching coverage of the Yankees and Rangers courtship of Cliff Lee, I thought “The Yankees are trying to bring in a guy who consistently beat them in October. I wonder how many players have joined a team they beat in the playoffs.”

Later I got more specific. “I wonder how many times a playoff MVP joined the team that he beat.”

Then I thought “I wonder how many playoff MVPs won their award against a team they USED to play for.”

And finally the question “How many players won a playoff MVP and then later played in the post season AGAINST the team that he won the award for?”

This is how my mind works, people.

And I can’t just leave these thoughts hanging.
I have to list them.

And I did.

Post Season MVPs who joined the team they beat

1966 World Series MVP for the Baltimore Orioles against the
Los Angeles Dodgers.
Joined the Dodgers in 1972

1984 ALCS MVP for the Detroit Tigers against the
Kansas City Royals
Joined the Royals in 1991

1988 ALCS MVP for the Oakland Athletics against the
Boston Red Sox
Joined the Red Sox in 1998

1988 NLCS MVP for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the
New York Mets
Joined the Mets in 1999.

1989 ALCS MVP for the Oakland Athletics against the
Toronto Blue Jays
Joined the Blue Jays in 1993

2001 World Series Co-MVP for the Arizona Diamondbacks against the New York Yankees
Joined the Yankees in 2005.

Post Season MVPs who beat
a team they used to play for

1957 World Series MVP for the Milwaukee Braves against the
New York Yankees.
Played for the Yankees in 1950.

1986 NLCS MVP for the Houston Astros against the
New York Mets.
Played for the Mets from 1979-1982

1988 ALCS MVP for the Oakland Athletics against the
Boston Red Sox
Played for the Red Sox from 1978-1984

1990 World Series MVP for the Cincinnati Reds against the Oakland Athletics
Played for the Athletics from 1985-1987

Post Season MVPs who later played against their team in the Post Season

1956 World Series MVP for the
New York Yankees
Pitched in the 1962 World Series for the San Francisco Giants against the Yankees

1973 World Series MVP for the
Oakland A’s
Played in the 1981 ALCS for the New York Yankees against the A’s

I find it interesting that Dennis Eckersley appeared on the list twice.
I am guessing you did too.

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Bad Luck Hamels

There were many story lines to last night’s wild Phillies/Astros opus.

Jimmy Rollins game tying 9th inning homer? Clutch.
Ryan Howard getting called out on a check swing in extra innings? Borderline.
Some umpire named Scott Barry trying to prove to the world how tough he is by tossing Ryan Howard? Bush League.
Roy Oswalt playing left field? Little league.
Roy Oswalt coming to the plate as the potential winning run in the 16th? Nuts.

But here’s something that got lost in the shuffle:
Cole Hamels pitched great AGAIN… and has nothing to show for it.

When I pitched that Felix Hernandez should get serious Cy Young consideration even with a losing record, one of my readers named Ed wrote “A pitcher’s win-loss record must be the silliest stat in baseball.

I don’t 100% agree. The pitchers job is to get the team in position to win the game, Ed has a point when evaluating the recent pitching performance of Cole Hamels.

Hamels began the season with a poor April, a good May and a bad June, prompting the Phillies to deal for Roy Oswalt (and basically admit they f—ed up when dealing Cliff Lee.)

But in July, he posted a 2.16 ERA and nearly averaged 7 innings a start, nearly a strikeout an inning and a 2.86 strikeout to walk ratio.

He’s kept it up in August. Including tonight’s 7 inning, 2 run, 8 strikeout and 1 walk performance, his August numbers include a 3.17 ERA, 6 2/3 innings a start, 42 strikeouts and only 4 walks.

His record over July and August? 1-4.
He is winless since the All Star Break.

He threw 8 innings of 1 hit shutout ball on July 22nd against St. Louis and got a no decision.

He had back to back starts against the Mets recently… one he threw 7 innings, 1 run, 11 strikeouts, no walks… LOSS.

His next start he threw 8 innings, 1 run, 8 strikeouts, 2 walks… LOSS.

He’s been throwing at least like a true #2 and like what most teams would want from their #1 starter. (If he threw like that in Game 3 of the World Series last year, the Phillies would probably be the back to back defending World Champions.)

This is a guy who is pitching lights out and oh yeah… has an NLCS and World Series MVP trophies sitting on his mantle. If he pitches like this in October and goes in the #3 slot behind the two Roys, the Phillies would be so scary that not even Brad Lidge coming out of the bullpen could stop them.

It would be nice if the Phillies could hit for him.
Someone pitching THAT well shouldn’t be tied with ME for second half wins.

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Roy Oswalt’s value could sky rocket

The Astros are the only team without a win this year.
I know it is early but it never looks good to be the last one to get a W. And the Astros are going to have that Musical Chairs feeling again today as they face Roy Halladay.

Now of course the Astros can counter with THEIR Roy… Roy Oswalt. But come on! The Stros are probably going to St Lou on Monday with an 0-6 record.

It’s going to be a long year for Brad Mills. Their team is too old and already breaking down. And even though there is no juggernaut in the division, they are decidedly worse than St. Louis and Milwaukee and don’t have Cincinnati’s youth.

I think they fell into the same trap as the Orioles in the late 1990s and 2000s and more recently the Giants and the Mets stumbled into:

They felt they were still a contender and made moves as if they were only a player away from the post season, when in reality they should have been rebuilding.

That mentality hamstrung the Orioles for a decade, decimated the post Bonds Giants until their pitching developed and turned the Mets into the mess that they are today.

Well, I’m not saying that the Astros are going to be winless this year… but they will certainly be playing golf in October and could use an injection of youth.

I have Baseball America’s preview of the top prospects at each position here.
They list 185 of the best young players in the minors.

3 are with the Astros.

Catcher Jason Castro, who played in double A last year.
Pitcher Jordan Lyles was in Low A last year.
Shortstop Jio Mier played in the lowest rung of the minors last year.

There’s your future!

But there could be a strange domino effect that could help the Astros a little bit.

At the trade deadline, virtually every contending team is looking for pitching… but recently the trend in front offices has been to lock up their top pitchers.

Josh Beckett and Yovani Gallardo were locked up this week. And Tom Verducci covers the other aces like Josh Johnson, CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, John Lackey etc who are now off the market.

So the demand will be high and the supply pretty small.

A healthy Roy Oswalt if traded well would fill in a hole (or 3) for a long while.

Now last year I called for the Astros to trade him… especially when he was flashing some of his ace stuff.

They didn’t. It didn’t make sense then and didn’t make sense now. They could have picked up 2 or 3 building blocks. Instead he started to have back problems and missed 200 innings for the first time in his career.

If he pitches well in the beginning of 2010, then the Astros HAVE to deal him.
There is no excuse.

The Indians have filled up their cupboard with a bunch of solid players for Sabathia and Lee.

The Blue Jays have some good youth for Halladay.

Oswalt isn’t on that level, but he was a 17 game winner as recently as 2008.
This is a guy with 5 top 5 Cy Young finishes and an NLCS MVP on his mantle.

You telling me a contender wouldn’t give up one of the 182 other prospects listed by Baseball America to have someone like that down the stretch?

Houston…. I know it doesn’t seem that long ago that you were in the World Series… but 2005 was 5 years ago!

It’s time to think about the new decade… and an old expensive team breaking down with no prospects in the minor league system is no way to turn the ship around.

Stay healthy Roy… pitch well… and we’ll see you in October with another club

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