So I went off and did some comparison shopping and created a spreadsheet filled with development boards and chips that are easily available and can be bought in small quantities. While I like the msp430 for small projects requiring less than 16k/512b. What TI offers when you want more than that puts you into surface mount chips and higher prices. My spreadsheet looks at alternatives that could fit the bill when you want a little more flash ~32K, > 25 MHz cpu speed and ~2K of ram. My personal priorities are probably different than yours. On the spreadsheet I ordered the columns left to right based on what I want. I didn't look at 8 bit processors as I don't have any desire to go backwards.
Nothing scientific here, just a gut feel on how I rank them. Don't complain about my choices, I'm just sharing with the group. Lots of extra info when you hover over the cells, with links to the boards and chips.