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.

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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Sports Teach Learn Life Lessons That May Not Be Learned Anywhere Else

You have to practice to become better and that you must push yourself to get better every day.

Ever since I was a little boy, I have always loved sports. I was drawn to them and couldn't get enough—whether it was playing or watching. I always wanted to try and play every sport possible; even when I had no time for anything else, I always begged my mom to let me play. This continued throughout my childhood, but baseball was always my favorite to play.

I have played baseball ever since I was 4-years-old, and I continue playing it today at the University of Wisconsin on their club baseball team. Baseball (and sports in general) have taught me many different lessons and have shaped who I am as a person today.

Sports have impacted my life greatly and showed me the way I should live. It has always made me want to become the best that I can be, whether on the field or off. Many sports are a team game and you have other people relying on you to be the best you can be.

You have to practice to become better and that you must push yourself to get better every day.

This mindset has correlated with my life outside of sports. I have tried to push myself in every aspect of life to be the best that I can be, and I have learned that from sports and I am grateful. I strive to get better every day of my life and that is all due to the values sports have taught me.

I have met some of my best friends through sports. There are some of my close friends that I met by playing flag football or t-ball with them. Also, when I was going into high school I didn't know a whole lot of people because I went to private school from K-4 through 8th grade, and a lot of my friends were going to different high schools.

So, being the big sports fan I was, I decided to join the football team as a freshman because I had played before. That is probably the best decision I could have made my freshman year because through practice and summer lifting, I met friends that I've had before the first day of high school up until this day.

Sports make people become really close because of a common goal: winning. If you want to win, you must have good team chemistry. Bonding with your teammates through wins and losses really creates amazing friendships that can last a lifetime.

Sports have taught me that no matter the outcome of the game, as long as you leave everything out on the field and give the game everything you have, then there is no need to get down on yourself.

There is nothing more you could have done, and if you want the outcome to change the next time, then you must get better.

Only you know if you truly gave your all and that you tried to better yourself for every game, so you must hold yourself accountable... no one else will. This applies to everyday life, too, because if you know you tried and truly did your best with anything, then you know that is the best result that could have occurred from it.

Sports have changed my life for all good, positive reasons and have taught me many important lessons that I carry with me throughout my life. I highly encourage everyone to at try and go out for a sport, because it teaches many lessons that can't be taught in a classroom or through studying.

The only way to truly learn important life lessons like these is to get out there, get involved and challenge yourself. If you do that, then I promise you it will change your life for the better.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Are The Los Angeles Angels For Real This Year?

The LA Angels have made a lot of moves this year to put them in a place to win some games.

The Los Angeles Angels are making a push to be serious contenders in the American League for the 2018 season, it seems. Being in the same division as the defending world champion Houston Astros doesn’t make it easy to win games in the American League West, but maybe they are fighting for a wild-card spot. Last year, they fell just short of the wild-card game, missing it by just five games.

Losing Mike Trout (the best player in baseball) for 50 games last year and only falling five games short of the wild card was probably seen as a win for many Angels fans and their ownership. It showed the GM that this team is ready to win and just needs a couple more pieces to do so. GM Billy Eppler went and did just that.

The Los Angeles Angels won the sweepstakes this off-season that every team wanted to win. They got the Japanese star referred to as the Japanese Babe Ruth, Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani was set to be their pitching ace and potential Designated Hitter on his off days.

I say was set to be because recently, a report about a problem with the star pitcher's elbow has come out. There have been multiple reports that have come out saying that he has a small problem with his throwing elbow, that the Angels and any other MLB team were unaware of before signing him.

This elbow problem hasn’t been made a big deal or a little one really, it is known, and being looked at by the Angels' doctors now. They don’t think he will lose his time now, but they also don’t want him to keep pitching on it and shorten his career in the long run.

Regardless, getting Ohtani I think put the Angels into action and started their off-season in an aggressive mode. A mode where they know they can compete and getting Ohtani makes other free agents or big-name players want to come there more to compete because they see a chance of winning there.

Just last week, the Angels got Ian Kinsler, former second baseman with the Detroit Tigers, and Kinsler will play second base now for the Angels. The Angels also just signed free agent Zack Cozart. Cozart, former shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds, will add another nice piece for the Angels.

Cozart will play third base for the Angels because Andrelton Simmons has the shortstop position locked down. Those two acquisitions help solidify the Angels infield, as well as gives their lineup more depth beyond just Trout and Pujols.

With Ohtani playing DH, that would make Albert Pujols move out of the DH position, and play first base. That is where there are some question marks with the Angels defense, because of Pujols’ injuries and inability to move around anymore.

Regardless of the question marks and how everything shakes out with their lineup defensively, it should be known that the Angels are making moves and should be put on notice by the rest of the American League West, and the entire American League for that matter.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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