A Way Too Early Playoff Picture For The 2018 MLB Season

A Way Too Early Playoff Picture For The 2018 MLB Season

With it being way too early to see how the MLB could shape out, here are the teams I think you will see in the playoffs next season.

I always see these types of articles around where people try to predict a season that couldn't be farther from starting. There are a lot of things to be done this offseason. There are blockbuster trades to be made, huge signings to be made, and much more. But before all of that happens, we can still try to pick who will win their division and decide who will steal the Wild Card spots in both leagues.

AL East... New York Yankees

Whether you love them or hate them, the Yankees put together an impressive season in a year where they didn't receive very high expectations. This ended up being a playoff team behind their star player Aaron Judge along with other key players. The Yankees are a team we all know that will spend their money in the offseason to be better than last year. That is why they are my pick to be at the top of their division.

AL Central... Clevland Indians

This division should remain the same. A young core led by Fransico Lindor and ace Corey Kluber who is still one of the best in the American Leauge. I believe the twins are still a few years behind this Indians team. Terry Francona and his crew should once again lead a crew that will top the Central again this year.

AL West... Houston Astros

While there hasn't been a repeat of champions in the MLB since 2 000, the Astros are primed to change that. Winning a World Series Title with an extremely young starting lineup says that they could easily do it all again next season. It also helps that they got Justin Verlander to stay longer in Houston. In a division where they finished 2 1 games ahead of the next closest team, the Astros should win their division once again and threaten to repeat.

AL Wild Card... Boston Redsox and Kansas City Royals

I think they will lose the division to the Yankees unfortunately anyway but they could make something happen out of the Wild Card spot. The Redsox are set up with a new manager to be a real threat coming out of the East.

The biggest thing for the Royals to get done before the next season is to sign back as many of the great players that won them their World Series in 2015. I have a strong feeling they can get this done and be right back in playoff contention.

NL East... Washington Nationals

While the Nationals never seem to make any noise in October, I don't see a team in this division that can rival their ability next season. The Marlins are the second best team in the East and they may be losing their best player in Giancarlo Stanton. Expect to see the Nationals back next year.

NL Central... St. Louis Cardinals

Surprising not to see the Cubs here. The Cardinals play in one of the best baseball cities in the country. Mix that with another rough season from the Cubs and I wouldn't be surprised to see the Cardinals add a free agent or trade piece to their roster to make it back to the playoffs.

NL West... Los Angeles Dodgers

Just like the Astros, the Dodgers should be in great shape to be right back in the same spot for next year. Avoiding a couple sophomore slumps from key youngsters on the squad will be huge. Expect Kershaw to dominate as usual and expect Darvish to be a lot better for them than he was in the World Series.

NL Wild Card... Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies

Don't worry Cubs fans, you still make the playoffs. But this year you will have to start game one of the ALDS with your number two pitcher. This should still be a scary team when the weather get colder next year. Joe Maddon will make sure of it.

The Rockies were very close to putting something together last season but fell just short in last years Wild Card game to the Arizona Diamondbacks. They will still have to play into the ALDS because the Dodgers should be good once again, but Nolan Arenado should lead this team back for a chance in the playoffs.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Baseball Is More Complex And Inclusive Than What Meets The Eye Of An Average Viewer

This game is one of the greatest metaphors for life.

Many people consider baseball to be a boring or simple game, however, to me is more complex than it seems. If we break down baseball into movements we can realize that it is pure physics into action; the way that the ball is projected once it comes into contact with the bat follows Newton’s third law of action and reaction, and what it’s required to score a home run goes back to basic principles of geometry. The combination of these elements makes Baseball something more than a simple sport, and that’s how many fanatics feel.

Something that I have noticed is that if you are Dominican, it is immediately assumed that you are a baseball fan, and I’m not the exception to this general perception. I have witnessed how each year my homeland splits between the two teams battling for the first place in the winter baseball season, so I never had to ask to be part of this game, I was expected to.

Spending the summers of my childhood supporting my father while he played for a recreational league was a family mandate. My sister, my father, and I had to embark on weekly trips to distant locations in which the games were taking place. My father saw those field trips as an opportunity for us to visit his old neighborhood, and to learn about his humble beginnings. During games, I was able to interact with family and friends while cheering my father, even though at that time I didn’t exactly know what I was cheering for. To me it was not about winning, it was about having a great time.

A wonderful thing about baseball stadiums is that seats weren’t separated and I had to coexist with people who were not on my side. There, I was able to learn the art of laughing at the rival team while respecting their supporters. Years later, I had to employ the same concept while competing for my school’s debate team. While debating an opposing view, I had to draw a line between an idea and the individual, which wasn’t hard to do because I was used to interacting with people from the other team.

People might argue that a baseball doesn’t have anything to do with beliefs and philosophies, however, through the years, I have come to understand that baseball fans support their teams for many reasons. There are some people who enjoy sports in general and they enjoy baseball as any other game. On the other hand, there are those who watch or play baseball for tradition because, like me, they grew up in a family that loves the game. There also the parents who make their kids go to the games because, like my father, they see this as an opportunity to spend time with their family.

In my case, I support my homeland team, because it reminds me of where I came from and the people that I grew up with. Finally, there are those who see baseball with hope because it offers them the opportunity of a better tomorrow, like some of the kids from my country who train hard every day to achieve their dreams of becoming professional baseball players. For them, baseball is more than just a game, it represents the only real chance that most of them will ever have to escape the extreme poverty that surrounds them.

Watching my favorite sport motivated me to meditate upon my life, and served me as a road for self-discovery, to remain loyal to myself and my team during triumphs and tribulations and to never give up.

As the years progressed, I used my own experiences with baseball to guide my life. I learned that it doesn’t matter how good or talented I may be if my team is falling behind. And that life, like baseball, is not a one-man sport - it requires sportsmanship and cooperation in order to score. In some cases I must realize that a ball may be too high for me and I must leave it to those on the field to catch it.

It also helped me acknowledge the need for diversity, because a successful team is made out of pitchers, catchers, and basemen, with different expertise and skills. Games can often be long and tedious, especially if your team is losing, making it easier to get frustrated - that’s how I learned to be patient because in a blink of an eye, in one inning, everything can change and countless home runs can be scored.

Those above mentions are just a few of the great lessons that I acquired from the complex world of baseball. I understand baseball as a science, as a sport, as an art, but also as a way of life, as a philosophy of life conduction towards success, like the runner whose objective is to reach home.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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Giancarlo Stanton Is Now A New York Yankee

A team with firepower just gained...firepower.

I'll never forget where I was when I got my first glimpse of my beloved New York Yankees playing in the 2017 season. It was April 2nd and I was in New Orleans, miserable and exhausted after three straight days of celebrating my twenty-first birthday. It was the Yankees first game of the season and I basically had no expectations for them, so as I watched them embarrass themselves on national television; I was neither happy nor sad.

Fast forward to the end of October. The Yankees won 91 games and went on an unbelievable run. They beat the defending AL Champions in the ALDS and then went 7 with the eventual champion Houston Astros in the ALCS. It was the most exciting baseball season I had ever experienced as a fan and it featured some of the best baseball games I've ever seen.

I also had never had so much fun going to the Yankee Stadium to watch them play. I was upset when they lost to the Astros because the way they were playing suggested that they deserved to win the World Series. But I wasn't that upset because once again, I had no expectations for them and they turned into one of the most amazing feats any sports team that I adore has ever turned in.

I also wasn't that upset because I knew what the future held for the Yankees. I was kind of young in the late 90s so while I was alive to watch the last Yankees dynasty, I was too young to remember it. My first legitimate memory of baseball is, unfortunately, Luis Gonzalez blooping a single over Derek Jeter's head to win the 2001 World Series for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

I wasn't that upset because now I get to watch the new Yankees dynasty. Keep in mind, this was back in October when I was excited to watch Aaron Judge, Gary Sánchez, Greg Bird, Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, Starlin Castro, Aaron Hicks, and Miguel Andujar bring us back to the status we had when I was born.

Now it's, December and my goodness, have things changed quickly! I can now add someone new to the list of Yankees I'm excited to watch bring back the dynasty.

Throughout 2017, Yankee fans and all baseball fans were captivated by Aaron Judge's record-breaking rookie year. He hit 52 home runs and won the AL Rookie of the Year unanimously. The entire year, he was in a competition with only one player to see who could hit more. That man wounded up hitting 59 home runs and was named NL Most Valuable Player. He, of course, is FORMER Miami Marlin and NEW New York Yankee Giancarlo Stanton!

The Yankees, unfortunately, traded Starlin Castro to get Stanton but THEY HAVE GIANCARLO STANTON! It's basically a heist. The Yankees didn't really give up much to get him and now they have an absolutely stacked lineup. The thought of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the same outfield or in the same lineup has gotten me so excited for next year I don't even know what to do. In my head, I keep hearing "Hip-Hop Hooray" playing in anticipation of how many home runs we'll be celebrating next season. I feel like my nephews on Christmas quite honestly.

Look at them! Aren't they two massive peas in a massive pod? And obviously the Judge-Stanton duo is what's getting all of the attention, but every other guy I mentioned above deserves a shoutout too. If a healthy Greg Bird and Aaron Hicks combine with these two sluggers, Didi Gregorius and Gary Sánchez, my goodness, they could wind up becoming Murderer's Row reincarnated.

If it wasn't already super exciting to be a Yankees fan, it certainly is now and I can't wait for 2018. Or 2019 or 2020 and so on.

And let's give Derek Jeter a major assist on this one! I mean, he was the one that traded us, Giancarlo Stanton, since he's now an executive with the Miami Marlins. This proves once again that Derek Jeter is and always will be the most clutch Yankee.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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