Postseason Players Missing a Ring in 2019

Not every player is fortunate enough to be on a team that wins a World Series. In the last few years, Adrián Beltré and Joe Mauer retired after distinguished careers without a championship, and it shouldn’t lessen what they accomplished. On the other side of the coin, Carlos Beltrán closed out his career with a championship in Houston, the icing on the cake and the cherry on top of a career that was already great. As we head into this year’s Division Series, there are a handful of players who have had very good careers without winning a title. Choosing a playoff team to root for can be difficult if your preferred squad isn’t participating; cheering for a player who deserves to be on a championship team seems as good a reason as any
to pick sides this October.

We’ll start with the position players. Here are the highest WAR totals for position players without a championship in the postseason:

Position Players Without a Ring
Name Team Age 2019 WAR Career PA Career WAR
Russell Martin Dodgers 36 1.2 6648 55.2
Josh Donaldson Braves 33 4.9 4476 41.4
Giancarlo Stanton Yankees 29 0.4 4897 39.3
Paul Goldschmidt Cardinals 31 2.9 5390 39.2
Ryan Zimmerman Nationals 34 0.1 7129 38.2
Nelson Cruz Twins 38 4.3 6939 37.5
Freddie Freeman Braves 29 4 5703 34.6
Edwin Encarnación Yankees 36 2.5 7945 34
Anthony Rendon Nationals 29 7 3927 32.7
Howie Kendrick Nationals 35 2.9 6321 31.3
Nick Markakis Braves 35 0.4 9180 29.2
Asdrúbal Cabrera Nationals 33 1.9 6836 27.5
Justin Turner Dodgers 34 3.4 3827 26
Brian Dozier Nationals 32 1.7 4884 24
Michael Brantley Astros 32 4.2 5120 23.8
Marcell Ozuna Cardinals 28 2.6 3861 20.3
Tyler Flowers Braves 33 2.1 2696 20.1

There aren’t any sure-fire Hall of Famers in this group, and there probably isn’t even a Carlos Beltrán type. Russell Martin will certainly merit some Hall of Fame consideration and his WAR total is well out in front of every other player. Giancarlo Stanton ranks third on this list and he still hasn’t played his age-30 season. Nelson Cruz has been incredibly close to a title before, while a group of Nationals have been on good teams, but never won. Josh Donaldson won an MVP in 2015; this will be his seventh playoff appearance with four different teams in the last eight years, but he has yet to play in the World Series. If we were to rearrange this list by plate appearances and include a few more players with under 20 WAR, it would look like this:

Position Players Without a Ring
Name Team Age 2019 WAR Career PA Career WAR
Nick Markakis Braves 35 0.4 9180 29.2
Edwin Encarnación Yankees 36 2.5 7945 34
Ryan Zimmerman Nationals 34 0.1 7129 38.2
Nelson Cruz Twins 38 4.3 6939 37.5
Asdrúbal Cabrera Nationals 33 1.9 6836 27.5
Russell Martin Dodgers 36 1.2 6648 55.2
Howie Kendrick Nationals 35 2.9 6321 31.3
Freddie Freeman Braves 29 4 5703 34.6
Kurt Suzuki Nationals 35 0.6 5628 10
Paul Goldschmidt Cardinals 31 2.9 5390 39.2
Gerardo Parra Nationals 32 -0.2 5183 9.4
Michael Brantley Astros 32 4.2 5120 23.8
Giancarlo Stanton Yankees 29 0.4 4897 39.3
Brian Dozier Nationals 32 1.7 4884 24
Josh Donaldson Braves 33 4.9 4476 41.4
DJ LeMahieu Yankees 30 5.4 4454 16.5
Matt Wieters Cardinals 33 -0.3 4387 17.4
Matt Joyce Braves 34 1.2 4138 17.1
Anthony Rendon Nationals 29 7 3927 32.7
Marcell Ozuna Cardinals 28 2.6 3861 20.3
Justin Turner Dodgers 34 3.4 3827 26
Tyler Flowers Braves 33 2.1 2696 20.1
Orange= Not in previous table

If you’re wondering how Nick Markakis has accumulated 2355 career hits, part of it is playing a whole lot of games. He’s made the playoffs with the Orioles and Braves, but never been that close to a title. Edwin Encarnación has played on winning teams in Toronto and Cleveland, but this is probably his best shot at a title. Ryan Zimmerman hasn’t contributed much this season, but got a crucial hit in Tuesday’s eighth inning rally and has been an important part of the Nationals franchise since he was drafted in the first round back in 2005.

While there might not be a ton of big names on the position player side, there are a few likely future Hall of Famers on the pitching side still chasing a ring:

Pitchers Without a Ring
Name Team Age 2019 WAR G IP WAR
Clayton Kershaw Dodgers 31 3.4 347 2274.2 64.5
Zack Greinke Astros 35 5.4 488 2872 60.5
Max Scherzer Nationals 34 6.5 365 2290 58.8
Stephen Strasburg Nationals 30 5.7 239 1438.2 36.7
Aníbal Sánchez Nationals 35 2.5 339 1895.1 31.3
Gerrit Cole Astros 28 7.4 192 1195 28.8
Patrick Corbin Nationals 29 4.8 205 1147.2 20.4
Kenley Jansen Dodgers 31 1.2 605 611.2 18.8
Masahiro Tanaka Yankees 30 3.3 164 1006.1 18.1
James Paxton Yankees 30 3.5 131 733 17.1
Homer Bailey Athletics 33 2.9 243 1393.2 16.4
Rich Hill Dodgers 39 0.9 284 937.1 16
Wade Miley Astros 32 2 249 1403.2 15.4
Hyun-Jin Ryu Dodgers 32 4.8 126 740.1 15.1

Unlike the position player list, almost everyone above is still a positive contributor this season. The only players below two wins are Kenley Jansen and Rich Hill. We’ve got two, and possibly three, Hall of Famers topping the list above. Kershaw and the Dodgers’ troubles in the postseason are well known, as the club has come so close the last few years. His former teammate Zack Greinke is looking for his title with Houston, as is Gerrit Cole. Max Scherzer has multiple Cy Young awards but no title. The entire Nationals playoff rotation is in the top seven, here. Two years ago, Justin Verlander ranked highly on this list before he helped the Astros and himself win a title for the first time. Jansen is the only reliever on this list, but if we look at all players with at least 400 games or 1,000 innings, we see a few more:

Pitchers Without a Ring
Name Team Age 2019 WAR G IP WAR
Fernando Rodney Nationals 42 0.4 951 933 8.6
Joakim Soria Athletics 35 0.9 710 703.1 14.7
Jerry Blevins Braves 35 0 609 495.1 3.9
Kenley Jansen Dodgers 31 1.2 605 611.2 18.8
Darren O’Day Braves 36 0.1 585 560.1 8.4
Zack Greinke Astros 35 5.4 488 2872 60.5
Jake Diekman Athletics 32 1 441 374 5.1
Adam Ottavino Yankees 33 1.3 439 479.1 6.7
Max Scherzer Nationals 34 6.5 365 2290 58.8
Clayton Kershaw Dodgers 31 3.4 347 2274.2 64.5
Aníbal Sánchez Nationals 35 2.5 339 1895.1 31.3
Rich Hill Dodgers 39 0.9 284 937.1 16
Wade Miley Astros 32 2 249 1403.2 15.4
Homer Bailey Athletics 33 2.9 243 1393.2 16.4
Stephen Strasburg Nationals 30 5.7 239 1438.2 36.7
Julio Teheran Braves 28 1.6 229 1360 13.7
Tanner Roark Athletics 32 2 213 1100.1 14.7
Patrick Corbin Nationals 29 4.8 205 1147.2 20.4
Kyle Gibson Twins 31 2.6 193 1087 13
Gerrit Cole Astros 28 7.4 192 1195 28.8
Jake Odorizzi Twins 29 4.3 191 1028.2 13.7
Masahiro Tanaka Yankees 30 3.3 164 1006.1 18.1
James Paxton Yankees 30 3.5 131 733 17.1
Hyun-Jin Ryu Dodgers 32 4.8 126 740.1 15.1
Orange= Not on previous list

Brett Cecil could technically be on this list, but he hasn’t played this season. Fernando Rodney is still going, while a handful of mid-30s relievers are all trying to achieve postseason success. Adam Ottavino was on the Cardinals in 2010 and was in the organization in 2011, but spent the entire season in the minors.

There’s no one right way to watch baseball or cheer for particular players or teams, but if seeing team accomplishments line up with great careers matters to you, you might consider pulling for the Dodgers, Nationals, and Astros. They all feature great pitchers with long careers still looking for a ring.

We hoped you liked reading Postseason Players Missing a Ring in 2019 by Craig Edwards!

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Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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stever20
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stever20

kind of crazy that Ryu is within 0.9 WAR right now of Hil.

And yeah, think we have 3 HOF pitchers looking for first ring. Greinke is quickly closing in on the HOF. And Strasburg is quickly closing in on getting in the HOF conversation- for all the thought that he’s been a disappointment, his career numbers to this point are pretty solid.

olethros
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olethros

Kershaw, Greinke, and Scherzer are all Cooperstown bound, and probably would be if they never threw another pitch. Strasburg has a way to go, and probably ends up in the Rick Reuschel/Frank Tanana tier of not quites.

stever20
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stever20

Strasburg puts together 4 more years like this and he’s up to:
174 wins
2699 k’s
50.1 JAWS

then would need 1-2 more decent years and I think he’d be really close. Some hardware for him would go a LONG way.

(oh and if it’s 5 years)
192 wins
2960 k’s
54.7 JAWS(in top 60, and ahead of current Max Scherzer)

He’s definitely gotten himself into the conversation.

sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

About the “never threw another pitch” part of that statement: Kershaw, absolutely yes. Greinke and Scherzer, I’d guess not, but they’re both also still really good pitchers so I’m thinking the hypothetical is potentially irrelevant.

stever20
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Member
stever20

Scherzer is I think an almost certain. In Jaws- Only 44 HOF starters are ahead of him. 21 are behind him.

And Greinke is actually ahead of not only Scherzer, but Kershaw….