It’s September Baseball and playoff spots are on the line.
The AL consists of tons of powerhouse squads and 4 of the 5 worst teams in baseball. The East race is the further than you think and all but won, the Central is finished and the West now has a bit of a gap
Top MVP Candidates: Jose Ramirez, Mookie Betts, JD Martinez
Underrated Hitters: Matt Chapman OAK, Mallex Smith TB, Whit Merrifield KC, Eddie Rosario MIN, Mitch Haniger SEA, Aaron Hicks NYY
Cy Young Candidates: Trevor Bauer, Blake Snell, Chris Sale, Justin Verlander
Underrated Pitchers: Mike Clevinger CLE, Charlie Morton HOU, Sean Manaea OAK, Mike Fiers OAK, Edwin Diaz SEA, Blake Parker LAA
AL Pennant Pick: Cleveland Indians
The NL is much deeper than the AL in terms of playoff pushes. The East will come down to Philly or Atlanta, and the West and Central could come down to three teams. Realistically, 9/10 teams for 5 spots which is awesome at this time of year.
Top MVP Candidates: Paul Goldschmidt, Christian Yelich, Trevor Story, Nolan Arenado, Javy Baez, Eugenia Suarez
Underrated Hitters: JT Realmuto MIA, Scooter Gennett CIN, Anthony Rendon WSH, David Peralta ARI, Johan Camargo ATL
Cy Young Candidates: Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, Aaron Nola, Kyle Freeland
Underrated Pitchers: Kyle Freeland COL, Mike Foltynewicz ATL, Miles Mikolas STL, Trevor Williams PIT, Alex Wood LAD, Adam Ottavino COL, Corbin Byrnes MIL, Jack Flaherty STL
NL Pennant Pick: Chicago Cubs
Arizona: In the mix in the NL West. Greinke, Corbin, the bullpen, recent resurgence of Clay Bucholz and the 3 headed monster have made them the leaders out west. Pollock and Peralta (stud) have been stellar while Goldschmidt remains in the MVP race if they can make the playoffs.
Atlanta: Still leading the NL East and pulling away a bit and it’s because of a mix of veteran and young blood. With the addition of Gausman, they now have a good threesome in a short series. Offensively, Acuna and Markakis pace the offense while Freeman is their big bat. Lots of guys who can get it done.
Baltimore: They finally did it right and sold everybody. They’ll be at 100 losses before we know it, got a boatload of prospects but for now things are ugly. Poor Adam Jones. Bottoming out like the Astros did about 7-8 years ago, hopefully there is a similar end game.
Boston: They have it all, lead a very good Yankees team by almost double digits. Pitching? Check. Hitting? Check. A few AL MVP candidates? Check. Threat to win it all. Need Chris Sale back for a postseason run.
Chicago White Sox: Young, exciting and bad. No pitching except Carlos Rodin who has been great in the second half, prospects who aren’t there yet and a few productive bats like Abreu and Anderson, who should have a 20/30 season.
Chicago Cubs: The Cubbies are feelin it. Will have the best record in a difficult division and league. Javy Baez will get MVP votes, Schwarber is hitting well and Rizzo is alive. Cole Hamels has been a good addition and could help in the playoffs with ring experience.
Cincinnati: Since their 7-24 start, they’re playing over .500 baseball. Yet another team with an MVP candidate in the NL. Eugenia Suarez. Joey Votto hasn’t been himself but Gennett could win a betting title and Peraza has been really good. Pitching is two thumbs down.
Cleveland: The tide has turned, they’re running away with the Central and have their eyes on the postseason. They add a potentially huge bat in Josh Donaldson. Have two studs in Ramirez and Lindor followed up by the consistent Michael Brantley. 3 aces. Best bullpen in the league. Threat.
Colorado: They mash. Love this team Should have 5 20 homerun hitters and in my opinion, two NL MVP Candidates, Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado. They need Lemahieu’s bat to heat up to have great depth in the lineup. Kyle Freeland has been unreal at Coors and should get Cy Young votes but is the pitching enough?
Detroit: They stink. Not flashy, kind of boring but haven’t embarrassed themselves, relatively speaking. Castellanos is their big bat and having an underrated year.
Houston: The best team in the majors in the first 100 has been hunted down. By FAR the best staff in baseball and historically great, as well. Altuve, Correa, Springer and Bergman are tough to top as a hitting core. Verlander has been sickeningly good along with their other 4 SP and a great Pen. Now they have Osuna to close games. They have it all but they have Oakland all over them in the West and it could still be a battle.
Kansas City: Blah. Bad and boring. 1 regular hitting over .265 (Merrifield around .300). The misfits pitching for them can’t do anything right and that’s why they’re a billion games under .500.
LA Angels: The Angels have subtly fallen apart. No one can stay healthy and now just a few games over .500, Trout has been great but other bats have either been sidelined or cooled off. The pitching can’t stay healthy and hasn’t been good lately. Pujols is done. Ohtani is polarizing and pushed into ROTY convo but will have TJ sooner or later.
LA Dodgers: No Seager. They add Machado and get it done in tons of different ways. Walker Beuhler has been phenomenal and guess who their most productive hitter has been? Matt Kemp! Muncy, Turner, Kershaw, Bellinger, who knows.. It’s success by committee and everyone is doing a job.
Miami: Another team that just flat out stinks. JT Realmuto has been the best catcher in baseball and Brian Anderson has been hitting well but…they don’t even have fans to get them through being bad. And it’s hot. And they’re awful.
Milwaukee: Love Milwaukee. Right there with the Cubbies. Yelich and Cain will be huge all year but Travis Shaw and Jesus Aguilar have had good years. Add Schoop and Moose at the deadline. But who do they toss on the mound in big games? Jhoulys Chacin?
Minnesota: One of the biggest disappointments to start the year. Average pitching and nobody besides Eduardo Escobar (traded) and Rosario has been hitting well. I’m 104% sure most of you don’t even know who they are. Dozier Gone. Wake up Buxton and Sano. Maybe even start over again?
NY Mets: Who knows. Just a big mess with no direction. Interesting times ahead in Queens. The only bright spot is the rightful NL Cy Young Winner, Jacob deGrom.
NY Yankees: Best offense in baseball. Andujar will win AL ROTY and Torres have helped so much since being called up earlier but things have changed. Luke Voit has stepped in and been great, Judge is on the shelf longer than we thought, Stanton has been good, Didi cooled off and now they don’t have a pitcher they know they can rely on. They keep winning but a ton of questions.
Oakland: What happened?!? The hottest team in baseball. They have a 50 homerun hitter you don’t know in Khris Davis and the most underrated fielder in history in Matt Chapman. Great bullpen with Blake Treinen and company. They just get it done in so many ways that they could be really scary come October.
Philadelphia: Right in the hunt with the Braves but seem to be fading a tad. Nola is a Cy Young candidate and Arrieta has been great all year but not of late. Offensively, they don’t rely on one guy but their fielding has been really bad. Would love to see them get in but think it’s a year early.
Pittsburgh: Not a playoff team in the NL Central and gave up a lot for Chris Archer. They have no big power bat but find a way to get it done with good seasons from Cervelli (2nd in C WAR), Marte, and Dickerson. Austin Meadows is a really fun prospect, watch for him. On the pitching end it’s been Taillon and Williams
San Diego: Eric Hosmer was overpaid and they’re a few years away. Shining spot? The future and their prospects. Fran Mejia smoked two homers and they have other guys on the way.
Seattle: This team is really good, they just play in a competitive division and could miss the dance. They’re good everywhere, not great. Jean Segura has been incredible alongside guys like Mitch Hanover and Dee Gordon. They’re probably done and will go another year of blowing it in the second half.
San Francisco: Floating around .500 in the NL West. Had a chance to enter the picture then got swept by Cincy. Posey is done for the year, Cutch is in NYY and another team with no true direction.
St. Louis: No franchise is better at producing homegrown talent. Everyone thought they were done and then in come guys like Jack Flaherty and Harrison Bader. They’re back in the mix. Their staff found a gem in Miles Mikolas and they get it done. Should fight with the Cubbies and BrewCrew the last leg of the journey. Love this team and think they’re underrated. Props to Schildt on regrouping his team and bringing them to playoff territory.
Tampa Bay: They have been great lately. If they were in the NL they’d be a playoff team but they have the Sox and Yanks to battle with. They could get to 88-90 wins with a bunch of nobodies. Snell could win Cy Young, Cash could win Manager of the Year and Mallex Smith has become one of the best leadoff guys in baseball. Oh and they robbed the Pirates for Archer. Well done.
Texas: Nomar Mazara and Shin Soo Choo have had good seasons but that’s about it. Joey Gallo IS 2018. .210, billion Ks and a billion HRs. Actually already over 100Ks…They’re done and are looking to 2019. Willie Calhoun has been a good call-up but Hamels is gone and could Beltre be done?
Toronto: Tough to win against the Yanks and Sox. This team just isn’t that good. Fortunately, they have the most exciting prospects in all of baseball coming in Vlad Jr. and Bo Bichette! Bringer of Rain, see ya.
Washington: They thought it’d be easy but the Phils and Braves has different thoughts. The talent on this team not winning the NL East is embarrassing. Bryce Harper heated up just when they didn’t need him (classic) but Juan Soto…that kid is nuts. Trea Turner is a stud and how can you not love Scherzer? Well on his way to 300K while leading an underperforming staff. Daniel Murphy is gone as Rendon is underrated.