Six Key Players To Watch This MLB Postseason

Six Key Players To Watch This MLB Postseason

Throughout the ups and downs of the MLB 2017 Postseason, here are the players you should keep your eyes on.
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right, happy October! Postseason baseball is finally among us. Whether you are grieving over the end of the 2017 regular season or you are making predictions as to who will win it all, the postseason brings all baseball fanatics together. The 2017 regular season was a crazy one in the respect that so many individual and team records have been broken.

Despite this excitement, the playoff race was not exactly riveting this year. Unlike past postseason races, this years lacked drama and suspense considering most division races were decided by early September (the Colorado Rockies being the lone exception). The wild card games themselves were exhilarating.

The New York Yankees took a 8-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins in the AL Wildcard game at Yankee Stadium in New York on Tuesday October 3rd. The Arizona Diamondbacks took a 11-8 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field in Phoenix on Wednesday October 4th. Both the Yankees and the Diamondbacks were victorious, proving that home field advantage really does have an affect on the outcome of the game.

Thus far in the American League Division Series, The Houston Astros have a remarkable 2-0 ALDS lead over the Boston Red Sox. In addition, the Cleveland Indians have a stellar 2-0 ALDS lead over the New York Yankees. In the National League Division Series, The Los Angeles Dodgers have an early 1-0 NLDS lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Also, the Chicago Cubs have a 1-0 NLDS lead over the Washington Nationals. Only time will tell which teams advance to the NLCS and which teams fall short and are sent home. Until then, here are 6, of many key players to keep your eyes on throughout the rest of the postseason.


Jose Altuve

Houston Astros second baseman, Jose Altuve hit three solo home runs in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox. He also became the ninth player in history to hit at least three home runs in a postseason game. In addition, only two players (Ichiro Suzuki (.405) and Barry Bonds (.381)) this century had a higher road batting average than Altuve's (.381).


Cody Bellenger

Son of the former Yankees utilityman Clay Bellinger, Cody Bellenger ranked number 7 on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list this spring and made his debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 25th. He earned a place in the 2017 Home Run Derby and set an NL record with 39 homers while batting .267/.352/.581.


Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals has proven himself to be an impact player that is very important to the team. After being on the DL for approximately 46 games ,the Nationals scored 24.1 percent fewer runs per game.

Clayton Kershaw

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw is arguably the greatest pitcher of his generation. The left handed pitcher currently leads the Majors in ERA and has lowered his ERA for the ninth consecutive season. Though he has a bad postseason history, Kershaw is healthy after returning from the DL in September.

Aaron Judge

“Bronx Bomber”, Aaron Judge is anything but an ordinary. Judge hit .284/.422/.627 with 52 homers and 114 RBI as a rookie. He led the American league in runs, home runs, walks and strikeouts. Though he is only a rookie, he is already very well known and has been continuing to lead the New York Yankees to success.

Corey Kluber

Cleveland Indians's starting pitcher has a 1.62 ERA going back to June 1 which is the best among qualified pitchers by 0.86. The right handed pitcher did not allow more than 3 runs earned after May 2nd this season.


Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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20 Things LESS Exciting Than Hearing 'Dixieland Delight' Again At Bryant-Denny

Yes, "Dixie" is free but have you ever thought about what would students dread to face on campus too?

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Freeing "Dixieland Delight" was probably more exciting to Alabama fans than winning a national championship. OK, maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but nothing will ever beat the feeling of the fourth quarter of the Missouri game and hearing the first beat of that song.

If you don't believe me, here are 20 things that were LESS exciting than hearing "Dixieland Delight" playing at Bryant Denny Stadium.

1. Finding a good parking spot on campus

2. Waking up and seeing that your class is cancelled 

3. Seeing free T-shirts being passed out

4. Getting an A on a midterm

5. Receiving free food

6. Going to bed before 12 midnight

7. Doing all your homework BEFORE class

8. When your parents deposit money in your bank account

9. Thanksgiving/Christmas/Spring and summer break

10. A gameday in the South

11. Seeing a dog on campus

12. Going to Starbucks and seeing no line

13. Finding the exact quizlet you need

14. Walking in to a class prepared for a test

15. Working out... in college...

16. Talking to your parents on the phone

SEE ALSO: 23 Things You Call Your Mom For In College

17. Facetiming an old friend from back home

18. Getting a care package from your parents

19. Being well rested 

20. Winning a national championship

In case you forgot, these were things that don't even compare to hearing "Dixieland Delight" and actually singing it to the top of your lungs with thousands of people. Now that "Dixie" is free, maybe Alabama fans will now stay for all four quarters.

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The Cardinals Miss The Postseason... Again

Heading into the last week of the regular season, the St. Louis Cardinals had an 80 percent chance of making the postseason.

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This entire season has been a rollercoaster of emotions to say the least. I've said it before, but I remain optimistic at the beginning of every season regardless of circumstances. There are so many "what ifs" that I find it nearly impossible to be anything but optimistic. However, in classic Missouri sports fashion, the St. Louis Cardinals continually gave me slivers of hope only to shortly crush them afterwards. Regardless of the battles within the NL Central, the rise of young stars within the Cardinals farm system and an entire cultural shift thanks to Mike Shildt, the Cardinals have missed the postseason again and that's all that matters.

I think it's important to analyze the aspects where the team had fallen short. Throughout the entire year, one of the largest complaints coming out of the fanbase has been the inconsistent hitting and the steep run variations on a game-by-game basis. What may come as a surprise to some, but the Cardinals ranked 11th in the entire MLB in total runs during the 2018 regular season (759) but ranked 17th in team batting average (.249). For context, however, Boston lead the league with a .268. In fact, the Cardinals did not rank in the top ten for any hitting category except RBIs, ranking ninth with 725.

Furthermore, the Cardinals rank dead last in fielding statistics, in fielding statistics, committing a league-leading 133 fielding errors. When looking at the number of errors committed on an individual player basis, there were a lot of errors committed by people who I thought were a lot more defensively solid.

The top 5 error-committers on the Cardinals were Yairo Munoz (18), Matt Carpenter (16), Jedd Gyorko (16), Paul DeJong (12) and Kolten Wong (9). A good majority of those players have been playing in the MLB for at least 6 years which I think discredits a particular theory people had about ex-Manager Mike Matheny's management style.

Many people thought that Matheny was not holding his players accountable for committing errors. That makes sense when considering inexperienced, young players. However, as I mentioned earlier, many of the players committing these errors were veterans. Furthermore, let's look at the Cardinals' fielding ranking each of the years Mike Matheny was the manager. From 2013 to 2017, the Cardinals ranked 15th, on average, in fielding statistics.

So what do the Cardinals need to make it into the postseason? Anyone familiar with the Cardinals would tell you the team thrives off of young talent, which was definitely the case this year. The resurgence of players like Miles Mikolas, Tyler O'Neill, Jack Flaherty and Harrison Bader are prime examples of that. However, a team that relies on young talent alone cannot expect to make a deep run into the playoffs.

But there are a lot of aging veterans on the team who might not have the same explosive athletic ability yet they have an incredible wealth of baseball knowledge that is invaluable to rookies. But a team of aging players won't get anywhere either. What the team needs in a player or two who can bridge the gap between young talent and veterans. The current free agency pool could be pretty slim depending on where players with expiring contracts have their eyes set.

However, I can't say I'm entirely disappointed with how the season ended. When looking at the end of the regular season, the NL Central was by and large one of the most competitive divisions in all of baseball, and that's pretty much what I expected. With a week left on the season, the Cardinals and Brewers both had spots in the Wild Card while the Cubs had a ticket to the playoffs as the leaders of the NL Central. If that remained the case, 50 percent of the playoff teams in the National League would have been from the NL Central.

All in all, I was disappointed with how the season ended, especially with how amazing the team looked after the All-Star break. All we can hope for now is an acquisition or two and for the continued development of our young talent. Hopefully, we can see the Cardinals play in some October baseball next year, but knowing the Cubs lost in the NL Wild Card game eases my pain a little bit.

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