Ranking the Most Dominant Players of the 2012 MLB Postseason
There has been plenty of excitement already through the 2012 MLB postseason, and the World Series hasn’t even started yet.
Most of the excitement has been because of how great some of those playing have performed, no matter what series.
There are players who have put themselves far ahead of the competition, having dominated opponents, whether it be on the mound or at the plate.
We’ve seen players hit home runs in big spots, pitchers close out high-pressure games and aces shine when it’s most important.
Take a look at who the most dominant players this postseason have been, and put your rankings in the comments section below.
*Note: This list includes players whose teams have already been eliminated from World Series contention.
10. Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds
Brandon Phillips may not have been able to get his team further than the NLDS, but he certainly did his best.
In five postseason games, Phillips went 9-for-24 (.375) with four extra-base hits and seven RBI.
Phillips’ best performance came in Game 1 against the San Francisco Giants, when he collected three hits—including a home run—and drove in three runs. He had at least one hit in each of the five NLDS games and drove in at least one run in four of them.
9. Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds
Homer Bailey may have only started in one postseason game this year, but he certainly made it count.
Bailey tossed seven innings of one-run baseball against the Giants in Game 3 of the NLDS.
He had an early lead to work with but ended up giving up a sacrifice fly to Angel Pagan in the third inning to tie the game. The game would go into extra innings with the Giants eventually winning, but Bailey was nearly untouchable.
Bailey ended up striking out 10 of the 24 batters he faced.
8. Bronson Arroyo, Cincinnati Reds
Similar to Bailey, his teammate Bronson Arroyo had only one postseason start but was also incredible in it.
Arroyo didn’t allow a run in seven innings of work while giving up just one hit and striking out four.
Arroyo’s numbers may not seem impressive, but if you watched him work the Giants batters, you’d know what I’m talking about.
He retired the first 14 batters he faced and never looked back after giving up a single to Brandon Belt. He probably could’ve pitched a little longer, only having thrown 91 pitches when being lifted.
7. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals
Ryan Zimmerman was a force for the No. 1-seeded Washington Nationals but couldn’t help them get past the reigning World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Zimmerman went 8-for-21 (.381) in five games this postseason with two home runs and four RBI.
It isn’t very tough to see which game was Zimmerman’s best (although he did homer in separate games); it’s clearly the decisive Game 5 in which he went 2-for-5 with a double, home run, two RBI and two runs scored in a losing effort.
6. David Freese, St. Louis Cardinals
David Freese is well on his way to replicating his unbelievable postseason from last year when the Cardinals won the World Series. He’s played a ton—eight games so far—and has gone 9-for-29 (.310) with four extra-base hits, one being a home run.
Freese has a hit in all but two games this postseason (his first against the Atlanta Braves and his most recent against the Giants in Game 2 of the NLCS). To say that he’s been consistently good this postseason is an understatement.
Time will tell if he can top his 2011 heroics.
5. CC Sabathia, New York Yankees
CC Sabathia is one of the few reasons why the New York Yankees are in the ALCS, because virtually every other player on the roster is in a slump or injured.
Sabathia has stepped up in a big way both times he’s taken the mound for the Bronx Bombers.
In Game 1 of the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles, Sabathia went 8.2 innings strong while allowing just two runs and striking out seven.
Then in Game 5 he pitched one of the best games of his career, tossing a complete game while allowing one run and striking out nine.
In both starts combined, he’s 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA in 17.2 innings of work with 16 strikeouts.
4. Doug Fister, Detroit Tigers
Doug Fister has turned into one of the better postseason pitchers in baseball, along with a couple other Detroit Tigers pitchers.
Although he isn’t the ace of the staff, Fister still has the ability to pitch in big games and get the job done while making it look relatively easy.
Fister started Game 2 of the ALDS against the Oakland A’s, allowing two earned runs in seven innings of work in a 5-4 victory. He struck out eight A’s while only walking two to give Detroit a 2-0 series lead.
Fister then pitched a gem in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Yankees, throwing 6.1 shutout innings while striking out five.
He will receive at least one more start in the playoffs, which could cement his postseason greatness.
3. Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants
Ryan Vogelsong has done a fantastic job of not letting opponents get on base or cross the plate during this postseason.
He’s come up huge in big spots for the Giants, and they need him to since former ace Tim Lincecum has been pitching out of the bullpen during the playoffs.
Vogelsong has become one of the great pitchers in baseball. This postseason hasn’t been a fluke.
He threw five innings in the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds while allowing just one run on three hits and striking out five. Then with his team down 1-0 in the series to the Cardinals in the NLCS, Vogelsong came through in a must-win situation. He pitched seven innings while allowing one run on four hits and striking out four.
In 12 innings of work this postseason, Vogelsong has allowed two runs on seven hits and struck out nine.
2. Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals
Carlos Beltran has been a major bargain for the St. Louis Cardinals. Their investment has looked great this postseason, as Beltran has become the hardest player to sit down.
In eight playoff games this year, Beltran is hitting an outstanding .414 (12-for-29) with eight extra-base hits. He’s hit three home runs, driven in six runs, drawn six walks and scored seven runs.
The only game where Beltran went hitless was in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals. Other than that, he’s been incredible, getting hit after hit against some of the best pitchers in baseball.
He’s had multiple-hit games four times and went 3-for-3 with two doubles in Game 5 of the NLDS. He also produced a two-homer game against the Nationals in Game 2, leading the Cardinals to a 12-4 victory.
Beltran is the main reason the Cardinals are in the NLCS and why they could repeat as World Series champions.
1. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
Justin Verlander is hands down the best pitcher in baseball, especially during the postseason.
These days, he barely allows anyone to reach base. Hitters are lucky to hit the ball out of the infield when facing him. He is one of the true aces in Major League Baseball, and the Tigers are very lucky to have him.
Verlander tossed seven innings of one-run baseball against the A’s in Game 1 of the ALDS, striking out 11.
In his next outing, pitching against Oakland again in the decisive Game 5, he struck out another 11 batters but threw a complete-game shutout this time around.
Against the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS, Verlander allowed just one run in 8.1 innings, bringing him to 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA and 25 strikeouts in these playoffs.
If that isn’t straight dominance, I’m not sure what is.