Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday 5: Top 5 Former Durham Bulls in the League Championship Series

I had five minutes this afternoon while I was eating my lunch to gaze at the rosters of the team's left in the two League Championship Series.  I had planned on writing up a Friday Five post this afternoon when I got home from work, which I am still doing, but decided to change my topic.  The original one was pretty good, but I can get to that next week.  For the time being I am going to tackle what I found on the rosters of this year's LCS participants: former Durham Bulls players.

What else can I say about my favorite Minor League team that has not been said over the few years that I have written on my blog.  Their parent team is not even in the playoffs, we have been seem a wild card round, a division series round, and their are still players from past Bulls team's still vying for a World Series ring.  As Bulls fans we see the "Building Champions" motto around the park and can see the evidence on the field every year come playoff time when we get to watch some of our former favorites take the big stage in October.  Here are five former Bulls players to watch as the League Championship Series start this weekend:

5. Dioner Navarro- Toronto Blue Jays - C

The Blue Jays backup catcher appeared for the Bulls during the 2010 season splitting the year between the International League and the Rays.  In 43 games with the Bulls the backstop had a slash line of .284/.387/.390.  The is Dioner's second season with the Blue Jays.  Last year he appeared in 139 games for the Jays, but settled into the backup role behind Russell Martin for the 2015 season.  This is his third trip to the MLB postseason.  Navarro also appeared on the 2008 Rays American League Champions team and the 2012 Cincinnati Reds.  

4. Jason Hammel- Chicago Cubs - P

The Cubs starting pitcher appeared for the Durham Bulls during the 2005, 2006, and 2007 seasons.  He even tossed a combined no-hitter for the Bulls.  Hammel's has also been a solid starting pitcher throughout his 10 year career in the Majors.  This is his second go around with the Cubs after being traded to the A's in between stints for some shortstop prospect named Addison Russell.  Hammel's made one start during the National League Division Series against the Cardinals, but did not factor in the decision.  This is Hammel's fourth appearance in the playoffs.  He also appeared for the 2009 Colorado Rockies, 2010 Orioles, and the 2014 Oakland A's.

3. Ben Zobrist- Kansas City Royals - 2B

The Royals seem content with player Zo at second, but it's nice to see the super utility player back in the playoffs.  Zobrist played for the Bulls during the 2006, 2007, and 2008 seasons.  He played all the infield positions for the Bulls, except for 1B, and did his usual job of getting on base posting a .415 rate in his three Triple A appearances.  He started off the year with the A's after the Rays traded him this offseason.  The A's traded Zobrist to the first place Royals in the middle of the season.  This is Zobrist's fifth appearance in the playoffs.  He made four appearances with the Rays in 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2013.

2. Wade Davis- Kansas City Royals - P

Way back in 2008 and 2009 Wade Davis appeared for the Durham Bulls as a starting pitcher.  He was a top prospect for the Rays, but found a home in the bullpen starting during the 2012 season.  A year later he was involved in the Wil Myers trade and found himself starting again for the Royals.  Luckily the team moved him back to the pen where the hard throwing righty has had an impressive two year run.  Davis ended the season as the closer for the Royals and has been lights out for the team so far in the playoffs.  So far, with 4 innings pitched, he has 5 strikeouts and allowed only a single hit.  This is Wade's fourth appearance in the postseason.  He also made the playoffs with the 2010 and 2011 Rays and the 2014 Royals.

1. David Price- Toronto Blue Jays -P

Price was one of the best prospects in baseball when he rolled through Durham during the 2008 and 2009 seasons.  It was cool to see him in Durham to start the 2009 season considering he helped the Rays advance to the World Series during the 2008 postseason.  The Rays traded the talented starter to the Tigers last year, who then turned around and traded him to the Blue Jays this year.  The 2015 Postseason marks his sixth trip to the playoffs.  He made four appearances with the Rays and one with the Tigers.  He has not had the same results in the Postseason as he has had in the regular season, but I am hoping he can turn it around this year for the Jays.


  1. I remember how accommodating all of them were on signing autographs in Durham. I got a sweet spot signed OMLB by Price as well as a photo! I have several items signed by Davis and Navarro as well!

    1. Surprised that Price signed on the sweet spot. A lot of those high end, high draft picks are side panel only. I bet that ball looks nice!

  2. Great post. Might need to borrow the idea and apply it to the San Jose Giants... although not sure how many of those guys are actually playing in the post season. Maybe I'll create my Top 5 favorite San Jose Giants.

    1. I actually had thought about making an all postseason team with former Durham Bulls players. The Rays let so many free agents walk and trade so many high salaried players it makes posts like this easy. Not sure how well it would work with other teams, but I look forward to reading a post like this on the San Jose Giants.