The Connie Mack World Series features star-studded amateur lineups annually, but after some reflection and some searching around old programs and online, a look at the last 11 MVP’s of the Series perhaps does the event justice. Remember that these were just the players who had the best week while they were here and were not necessarily the top prospect or even the best player on any team. For instance, in 2003 Danny Payne won the Series MVP award as a member of an East Cobb Yankee team that also included Chris Nelson and Dexter Fowler of the Colorado Rockies. Without further ado, here are the last 11 CMWS MVP’s beginning with 2010’s MVP, Dillon Howard of the Midland Redskins.
2010: Dillon Howard – Midland Redskins
Howard has been mentioned in pre-draft analysis here at the Sombrero before, but after his selection in the second round by Cleveland and his commitment to Arkansas in the fall, he surely lived up to the hype after his MVP performance at the 2010 CMWS. Look for Howard to either sign for close to $2 million (over $1 million above slot value for his spot in the draft) in the next week or so, or attend Arkansas and entrench himself in the Razorbacks’ rotation for the next three years. He’s a stud and is rostered for the 2011 Series, so he likely has the ball in the opening round against Danville in what could prove to be his last amateur start. Cleveland will surely have a team of guys here monitoring that start.
2009 – Deven Marrero – Midland Redskins
Marrero is currently in Cape Cod with the Cotuit Kettleers and is regarded almost unanimously as the top position player there. His career at ASU has been brilliant, and he has the feet, hands, and arm to be an impact SS in the professional ranks. Marrero hit .471 in 2009’s Series, but was perhaps outshined a bit at his own position by Manny Machado of the Florida Legends who was selected third overall in 2010 and is now the premier SS prospect in the Minors today. Marrero nevertheless has posted a career line of .349/.390/.515 at ASU and has been the premier defender in the PAC-10 since he arrived on campus in Tempe.
2008: Buck Farmer – East Cobb Yankees
Farmer signed at Georgia Tech out of high school after winning the CMWS MVP as a rising senior and has been terrific with the Yellow Jackets. In 2011 as a sophomore the righty started 16 games as GTs #2 behind first rounder Jed Bradley. Farmer posted a 2.91 ERA with 106 K’s opposed to 31 BB’s on his way to an 11-3 mark over 108.1 IP. He has a tight slider with a lively changeup that both project as at least 50’s, and his fastball works in the low-90’s with good arm-side run. Farmer has a chance to land inside the first round (probably 25-40) and should not make it to day 2 considering his stuff and history of success in the ACC despite struggling a bit in the cape with Chatham this summer.
2007: Eric Hosmer – Midland Redskins
Eric Hosmer played in the CMWS as a member of the Florida Legends as a sophomore in 2006 and as a Redskin in 2007 and 2008. His career at American Heritage in Florida was historic as he led them to a state title as a senior while garnering several All-American honors. He played the 2008 Series after being selected 3rd overall and refusing to sign until Midland’s summer was over. As a result, the community of Farmington absolutely loves Eric Hosmer and will always support him in his career, which has landed him the starting 1B gig in KC for the foreseeable future. As a rookie Hosmer has slashed .283/.335/.451 with 10 jacks. Hosmer is going to be an all-star with a ceiling that probably doesn’t exist and a chance at the HOF.
2006: Jason Jarvis – Arizona Firebirds
Jason Jarvis was electric for the Firebirds in their only championship run to date. He was among the tournament’s finest at the plate and on the mound, although his career post-HS was spent on the mound. Jarvis closed for ASU in 2007 with moderate success especially when considering the role that the freshman landed. However, Jarvis was deemed ineligible at ASU during the 2008 season due to a conflict involving an online art course. Jarvis was exonerated of all academic dishonesty charges following an appeal, but the university shamefully refused to allow Jarvis back on the team. Check this link out if you’re even considering attending ASU, and then don’t go. http://prof-fan.blogspot.com/2008/03/asu-baseball-jason-jarvis-declared.html Seriously. Bud Selig for once made the right call and allowed Jarvis to enter the MLB draft a year early, and he made it as high as AA as a 20-year old starter before converting to the pen and ultimately being released last year.
2005: Gordon Beckham – East Cobb Yankees
In 2005 the city of Farmington was witness to a show to remember at shortstop in the title game between the East Cobb Yankees; Gordon Beckham and Danny Espinosa of the Trombly Braves. It seemed to the fans in attendance that they were just trading blows at short with exceptional play after exceptional play and big hit after big hit. Both stars are now in the Bigs after tremendous careers at South Carolina and Long Beach State respectively. Beckham is having his second consecutive down year slashing .250/.307/.357 for the sub-.500 White Sox while Espinosa is slashing .226/.314/.420 with a shot at 20 bombs. Regardless of where their careers ultimately lead, for me and for many in attendance on 2005’s title night, there will never be a pair of shortstops that put on a show of the same quality as these two did.
2004: Cameron Maybin – Midland Redskins
Cameron Maybin played CF for Midland in the 2003 and 2004 CMWS and dazzled both years showing obvious athleticism and baseball instincts. He was selected in the first round (10th overall) by the Tigers in 2005 and signed for $2.65 million. He was the centerpiece of the deal that sent Miguel Cabrera to the Tigers and now is starting in center for the Padres after being traded for Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica. His slash line of .273/.326/.399 is a little light, but he should steal around 40 bags by the end of 2011 while playing terrific defense (4th best among NL CF’s). He has a chance to be an all-star at some point in his career and is outstandingly talented with room still to grow considering he’s only 24.
2003: Danny Payne – East Cobb Yankees
Danny Payne was a member of one of the more talented teams East Cobb has assembled with numerous Big Leaguers, high draft picks, and major conference signees, but Payne was the guy to walk away with the MVP hardware in August of 2003. As a two-way performer for Georgia Tech, Payne garnered All-ACC and All-America honors and was later drafted in the supplemental round by the Padres in the 2007 MLB draft. Payne is currently a 25-year old in the California League (High A) demonstrating above average on-base skills but little else and is probably in need of a change of scenery as he has been demoted from both AAA and AA this year.
2002: Randy Akasaka – Long Beach Cardinals
Randy Akasaka still holds the Series bomb record with 6 despite adding two teams to the field in recent years and thusly an extra round to the event. Akasaka went on to catch at Cal State-Northridge and Cal State-Los Angeles but never was able to catch on professionally. The Cardinals were the last team from Southern California to win the CMWS, and Akasaka along with teammates Ricky Romero (Toronto’s ace) and Danny Dorn (AAA-Reds) were a big reason why.
2001: Micah Owings – East Cobb Yankees
Micah Owings was a two-way star for the East Cobb Yankees before attending Georgia Tech. He later transferred to Tulane who he led to the nation’s top ranking and a trip to Omaha. Owings signed with Arizona following his selection in the 3rd round. He debuted in the Show as the Diamondbacks 5th starter in 2007 and, after spending around two seasons with the Reds, is back with Arizona and in the rotation. Perhaps the most notable aspect of Owings’ career is his frequent use as a pinch hitter relative to other MLB pitchers. He even won the 2007 Silver Slugger.
2000: Paul Oseguera – Encinitas Reds
This is my personal favorite MVP because Paul stayed with my family during the World Series alongside Hank Blalock’s younger brother, Jake. Paul gave up just a single run in two CG’s as a 16-year old to lead the Reds to the first title of the new millennium. After pitching for the UCLA Bruins, Paul signed with the Giants following his selection in the 16th round of the 2006 draft. He battled injuries much of his college and professional careers and was released in July of 2010 after reaching as high as AA with appearances in the A’s and Giants organizations.
This is quite a list to be sure. Who will be added to it from 2011’s Series? My early prediction is Florida’s Albert Almora, but that requires the Legends to first win the championship. Dark horse candidate: Mike Bernal of the Strike Zone Cardinals.