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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MLB 2018 Projections As Told By My Grandmother

"I'm just going based on how they're playing right now, and they ain't playing too good."

It is officially the first day of Spring, and what kind of article is best to write about on this day you may ask? A BASEBALL ARTICLE Y'ALL. You're in for a treat because this just isn't any kind of Baseball article, it's an article I asked my 88 year old, die hard MLB fan, grandmother to help me out with. Below are her predictions for the 2018 season rankings, based on the standings right now.

American League:

AL East

1. Orioles

2. Yankees

3. Rays

4. Red Socks

5. Blue Jays

AL Central

1. Indians

2. Twins

3. White Socks

4. Tigers

5. Royals

AL West

1. Astros

2. Angels

3. Athletics

4. Mariners

5. Rangers

National League

NL East

1. Nationals

2. Phillies

3. Braves

4. Mets

5. Marlins

NL Cenrtal

1. Cardinals

2. Brewers

3. Cubs

4. Pirates

5. Reds

NL West

1. Diamondbacks

2. Rockies

3. Giants

4. Padres

5. Dodgers

If you're doing any kind of bracket, bet, or fantasy league.. you're welcome.

Cover Image Credit: Arturo Pardavila III

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What Jason Vargas' Injury Means For Zack Wheeler

Injuries continue to shape the Mets.

Yesterday, the Mets announced that newcomer and rotation hopeful Jason Vargas sustained a non-displaced fracture of the hamate bone in his right hand, his non-throwing hand. Vargas suffered the injury after being struck by a line drive during a Spring Training start on Saturday, effectively sidelining the starter until June, at the earliest.

On Sunday, the club announced that Vargas will undergo surgery to repair the fracture, the recovery of which could take anywhere between three and four months. However, the loss of Vargas might be a blessing in disguise for the Mets, as the team has been trying for years to cultivate starting opportunities for a “perfect rotation” that has been in the works since as early as 2012. Now, the “five aces” of the Mets might finally have the opportunity to make 2018 a dream season.

The lethal combination of Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler has never started five consecutive games for the Mets, as it feels like each and every member of the Mets’ “dream rotation” has had their own moment in the spotlight without another pitcher to compliment them. Matt Harvey was the star of 2012 and 2013, starting an All-Star Game and nearly winning a Cy Young Award. 2014 belonged to Jacob DeGrom as he lit up the National League en route to a Rookie of the Year Award. 2015, however, was the year where both Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz made their Major League debuts, as they carried the Mets to a World Series appearance, with Harvey and DeGrom by their side.

And yet, despite 2 playoff appearances in the past 3 years, Zack Wheeler has been a missing link for the Mets throughout all of it. Although the starter showed signs of triumph during the 2014 season, constant injuries have plagued his career, allowing him to throw only 86.1 innings over the past three years. Wheeler missed all of 2015 and 2016 following Tommy John surgery, and had his 2017 season cut short after sustaining a stress reaction in his right arm.

But now, with Vargas taking a step to the side following an injury, the door has swung wide open for Wheeler, as a chance at redemption could be on the horizon. Although Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman could pose as potential threats to Wheeler’s rotation spot, the Mets organization has had faith in their 5-man “dream rotation” for years now, and with a perfect opportunity in front of them, it would only make sense for the Mets to reap the long-awaited fruits of their labor by giving the fifth and final rotation spot to Zack Wheeler.

Finally, it seems as if this long-structured plan is coming to fruition, and with Jason Vargas out of the picture for the time being, Wheeler has the ultimate chance to reclaim what was once his. For the Mets, the dream of creating a “perfect rotation” could finally come true as soon as next month, with Wheeler rounding things out, just like the organization planned over 6 years ago.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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