The 2017 MLB postseason is here.
Shockingly, it does not include the San Diego Padres. OK, I’m kidding. We all knew this would happen. However, this doesn’t mean Padre fans should turn off their TV’s and wait for spring training to start.
This is a pretty interesting postseason on paper. There are three 100+ win teams (first time since 2003). There are also three teams from the Padres’ own division, the National League West, in the postseason.
Here is a fun look at some ex-Padres in the 2017 playoffs. Also included is my team to root for in this postseason tournament.
Former Padres in the postseason
Drew Pomeranz, SP, Boston Red Sox
Pomeranz was only a Padre for 17 starts in the 2016 season. He was a MLB All-Star that season, as the Padres hosted the 2016 Mid-Summer Classic. He went 8-7 with a 2.47 ERA before being dealt on July 14th. The Padres got Anderson Espinoza in return. For all the flack the Padres got for trading players with an unhealthy record last year, Espinoza just had Tommy John surgery and has an uphill climb to get back to top prospect status. Meanwhile, Pomeranz was one of the Sox’ best pitchers. Go figure.
Pomeranz was the steadiest starting pitcher for the Red Sox this season not named Chris Sale. He earned 17 wins, which is tied for the second-most in baseball. He had a 3.32 ERA and a 137 ERA+ this year. It’s hard to hate Pomeranz. He made an all-star team in a Padres uniform, then was flipped to a team for a top prospect. The Balsley factor was huge for Pomeranz in revitalizing his career.
He is scheduled to start Game 2 in the ALDS for Boston against Houston on Friday. Padre fans will definitely be rooting for the former Friar.
Chase Headley, 3B, New York Yankees
This is tough because I personally refuse to root for anything Yankees. I am still bitter about 1998. Chase Headley has been in the Yankees’ lineup almost all season at third, and sometimes at first base. The Padres drafted Headley in the 2nd round of the 2005 draft. He ended up playing his first eight years in San Diego. He hit 87 home runs for the Friars, which is 8th all-time in franchise history.
His 2012 was, of course, the best season of his career, and one of the best single-seasons in Padres history. He swatted 31 home runs, led the National League with 115 RBI and hit .286. He finished fifth in MVP voting. Even though that year is looking more like an anomaly, he has had a solid career. He tapered off a bit after having a great start to this season, finishing with 12 homers and a .273 average.
Luke Gregerson, RP, Houston Astros
Gregerson has had himself a solid career, even after he left San Diego. He pitched his first five years in the bigs with the Padres. He was a key set-up man for the Friars for a number of years. He had three straight seasons of pitching at least 60 games with an ERA under 3.00 in San Diego. That’s consistency. His 2012 was spectacular. He appeared in 77 games and posted a 2.39 ERA with a fantastic 152 ERA+.
He has appeared in 65 games for Houston this season, his third with the Astros. He struggled a bit to a 4.57 ERA, but remains a steady veteran arm in a good bullpen in Houston. At 33 years old, he may be heading towards the end of his career. This might be one last run for Luke as his contract is up after this season. Friar fans will be rooting for Luke.
Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington Nationals
Yes, I know he never played for the Padres. However, the dude is San Diego through and through. He went to West Hills High School in Santee and then attended San Diego State University, where he played under then head coach Tony Gwynn. He is one of the most gifted pitchers in the game. He earned his third MLB All-Star appearance this season as he finished with 15 wins, a 2.52 ERA and 204 strikeouts. He is on a short list of possible N.L. Cy Young candidates this 2017 season. I am rooting for him to stay healthy and have a solid career. You have to always root for a San Diegan.
Strasburg may get the nod for Game 1 against the Cubs on Friday with Max Scherzer currently ailing.
Alexi Amarista, INF, Colorado Rockies
Amarista is an easy guy to root for. He played five seasons for the Padres from 2012-2015. He hit .233 in 582 games as a Padre. He was a fan-favorite with his infectious smile and versatility. At 5’6″, 160 pounds, the “Little Ninja” played in 96 games this year for Colorado. He hit three homers and batted .238. He played second base, shortstop, and every outfield position this season. He is the ultimate utility guy. He may not see a ton of time in the postseason due to his lack of power, but he could be a late-game insertion or make a key pinch-hit.
Team To Root For: Houston Astros
The Astros lost 111 games in 2013. They have made the playoffs twice since then, with mostly homegrown talent. Houston drafted George Springer and Carlos Correa in the first round in consecutive seasons in 2011 and 2012. The Padres are hoping to model their rebuild after the Astros. The Padres have strong, high-round draft picks in Cal Quantrill, Mackenzie Gore, and Hudston Potts, as well as prospects they have acquired via trade such as Fernando Tatis Jr. and Anderson Espinoza. They also have found success in international signings (much like the Astros did with Jose Altuve).
The Astros start their N.L. Division Series against the Red Sox on Thursday. The Padres hope to be in their position within the next three seasons, or perhaps sooner?