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Nine Chatham A’s alums appear on MLB Postseason rosters as the highly-anticipated 2017 playoffs get started Tuesday night with the AL Wild Card Game in New York between the host Yankees and the Minnesota Twins. Let’s meet the nine men who passed through Chatham on their way to October baseball, representing six of the ten teams in the MLB Postseason:
The Diamondbacks couldn’t catch the red hot Dodgers in the NL West, but won the right to host the National League Wild Card Game against the division rival Colorado Rockies on Wednesday, October 4 at 8 p.m. The winner gets the first crack at the Dodgers, who brought home MLB’s best record this season. The D’Backs have split playing time at catcher this season, but should turn to an A’s alum for their winner-take-all opener against the Rockies.
C Chris Iannetta (Chatham 2002, University of North Carolina)
The 34-year-old Iannetta started 70 games behind the plate for the Diamondbacks this season, hitting .254 with 17 home runs—just one off his career high of 18 HR in 2008. Iannetta hit .305 in 59 at-bats in September, earning him playing time in the Postseason.
The Cubs seek to defend their 2017 World Series crown after winning the National League Central Division for the second straight year, again led by a former Chatham Angler. Chicago is the three seed in the NL playoffs, and will face the second seed Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series beginning on Friday, October 6th, in D.C.
3B Kris Bryant (Chatham 2011, University of San Diego)
Bryant remains one of the most popular players in baseball after his third Major League season, hitting in the middle of the Cubs’ lineup. Bryant slugged 29 home runs and 73 RBI this season, and posted career bests in batting average (.295) and on-base percentage (.409). Bryant hit .308 with 3 HR and 8 RBI in Chicago’s 2016 championship run, and is tasked with leading the Cubbies bats back to glory in search of a repeat.
The Indians boast three former Chatham A’s, the most of any big league club, all three of which return from last year’s team that lost Game 7 of the World Series to the Chicago Cubs. Thanks to a historic 22-game winning streak late in the season, Cleveland is the top seed in this year’s American League playoffs, and will face the winner of the Yankees vs. Twins Wild Card Game in the AL Division Series, beginning Thursday, October 5th at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
C Yan Gomes (Chatham 2008, Barry University in Miami Shores, FL)
The 2014 Silver Slugger winner started 96 games behind the plate for Cleveland this season, and will split time behind the plate with Roberto Perez in the postseason.
LHP Andrew Miller (Chatham 2004-05, University of North Carolina)
Miller was the star of the Indians’ run to the World Series in 2016, pitching in all scenarios for the American League champions. He picked up right where he left off in 2017, recording a career best 1.44 ERA in 62 2/3 innings over 57 relief appearances. Perhaps the most dominant relief pitcher on baseball, Miller holds a unique role in the Tribe bullpen as a high leverage southpaw.
RHP Bryan Shaw (Chatham 2007, Long Beach State University)
Shaw made 79 appearances out of Cleveland’s bullpen in 2017 as the primary set-up man for closer Cody Allen, delivering a 3.52 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP in 76 2/3 innings this season. Like Miller, Shaw made double digit appearances in the Indians’ 2016 playoff run, and will be counted on again in crunch time by manager Terry Francona.
The Astros won the American League West Division by a wide margin and nearly took home the best record in the AL, which ultimately went to the Indians. Houston settles for the number two seed in the AL Postseason, drawing an ALDS matchup with the three seed Boston Red Sox, beginning Thursday afternoon at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Though 2013 Angler J.D. Davis did not make the playoff roster after a successful rookie year, one former Chatham pitcher should factor in to the Astros’ postseason rotation.
RHP Collin McHugh (Chatham 2007, Berry College in Berry, GA)
McHugh could serve as the number three of four starter in the stacked Houston rotation, behind two of baseball’s best pitchers in Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel. McHugh returned from injury and made his season debut on July 22, and posted a smooth 3.55 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 12 starts and 63 1/3 innings pitched. If McHugh takes the mound in the ALDS, it would be at Fenway Park in Boston on either Sunday, October 8 or Monday, October 9.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers posted a 104-58 record, the most wins for any club since the 2005 St. Louis Cardinals won 105. Though a rough two weeks in August prevented them from challenging for the best regular season record in MLB history, this Dodgers’ team is one of the most impressive groups in the Wild Card era. LA is the top seed in the NL playoffs, and will face the winner of the Arizona vs. Colorado Wild Card Game starting on Friday, October 6 at Dodger Stadium. The oldest active A’s alum in the Majors is a key figure in the Dodgers’ rotation.
LHP Rich Hill (Chatham 2000-01, University of Michigan)
Hill won 12 games for the Dodgers this season, posting a 3.32 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 25 starts, with 166 strikeouts in 135 2/3 innings. The Boston native is a key player in the Dodgers’ stacked starting rotation, behind Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Hill’s most memorable start of the season came August 23rd in Pittsburgh, when he missed a perfect game by two outs and pitched nine no-hit innings against the Pirates. The game ultimately went into extra innings with no score, and Hill allowed a walk-off home run to Josh Harrison that broke up the no-hitter and handed the Dodgers a loss. Hill looks to carry his very consistent regular season performances over the to the Postseason, where his Dodgers are considered the favorites by many to win it all.
New York Yankees
The “Baby Bombers” slugged their way to a Wild Card berth in 2017, hosting the Minnesota Twins in the AL Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, October 3 at 8 p.m. After seeing the rival Boston Red Sox clinch the AL East on the penultimate day of the regular season, the Yankees will look for a Wild Card win to advance to the ALDS, where they would meet the top-seeded Cleveland Indians. Two A’s alums don the Yankee pinstripes this Postseason; a mid-season pickup at the hot corner and one of many fireballers out of Joe Girardi’s bullpen.
3B Todd Frazier (Chatham 2005-06, Rutgers University)
The Chicago White Sox traded Frazier to New York on July 19, and the veteran immediately took hold of the Yankees’ third base position. Though he hit just .222 in 61 games after the trade, Frazier collected 11 home runs and 32 RBI in that span, posting an above average .788 OPS (on-base plus slugging %) after his move to the Bronx. Frazier and the young Yankee bats will look to keep the thumbs down movement alive through October.
RHP Adam Warren (Chatham 2008, University of North Carolina)
Part of the Yankees’ hard-throwing bullpen, Warren posted his best ERA as a big leaguer in 2017, finishing with a 2.35 ERA over 46 relief appearances. That ERA is supported by a microscopic 0.87 WHIP and a .173 opponents’ batting average. Look for Warren and the Yankees’ electric bullpen to play a big role in the Wild Card Game and beyond if New York can make a run.