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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When You Give A Girl A Pair Of Cleats

It's more than a pair of shoes.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her far more than a new pair of shoes. You are giving her new friends and new challenges and so many lessons and some of her best memories.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a team. You are giving her a group of girls that she might not have ever talked to if it wasn’t for these common cleats. A group of girls who will teach her how to be a teammate. A group of girls who will laugh with her and yell at her and train with her and win with her and lose with her. With a pair of cleats comes a group of mismatched people with a common goal who are learning from each other and working together.

SEE ALSO: To The Coach That Took My Confidence Away

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a coach. This coach is going to play an instrumental role in her love or hate for the sport. This coach will work her hard. This coach will train her and teach her and encourage her and yell at her and make her cry and hug her and cheer her on. This coach wants to see her succeed. This coach knows what these cleats mean, what this sport means. And this coach will be someone that she will watch. She will watch the way that her coach talks to her and talks to her teammates and talks to the other team and she will see her coach’s responses to games that are won and games that are lost. This pair of cleats comes with a role model, for better or for worse.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her team practices. You are giving her practice that will instill discipline and dedication and commitment. You are teaching her that she is on a team and she is expected to put in time. You are teaching her that her presence is important and that people are relying on her. You are teaching her how to balance her time, because, now, she has school and practice and games and teammates and friends and family. And for the first time in her life, she has to establish priorities. With this practice time comes some of the hardest conditioning and training. With this practice time comes some of her favorite memories as she bonds with her teammates and laughs with them and works hard with them. This pair of cleats comes with quite the time commitment.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her game days. You are giving her bus rides and warm up playlists and team matching hair ribbons and orange slices at half-time and constantly looking for your water bottle on the sidelines. You are giving her a competitiveness that can only come out on the field. You are giving her the cheers from the sidelines and the screams of her coach and the exhaustion in her legs at the end of the game. You are giving her handshakes with opponents and a winning attitude even when she loses. With a pair of cleats comes pasta dinners and game days; These will become her favorite days.

SEE ALSO: My First Semester As A College Athlete

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a challenge. She is going to grow and learn, and she’s going to want to quit at times, but she is going to look down at her feet and remember why she’s doing this. She’s going to remember her teammates and her coaches and the amount of time she’s poured into this sport, and she’s going to realize that it’s worth it. She’s going to be covered in bruises and her socks are going to stink, and she’s always going to be looking for a sock or needing a hair elastic. She’s going to be tired, and she’s going to get hurt. But those cleats are going to establish lessons that she’s going to remember for the rest of her life, friends that she is going to learn to love, and discipline that she is going to be thankful for. If you’re the girl with the cleats, soak it in. Love the long practices and the exhaustion and the sound of the whistle that starts the game. If you’re the girl without the cleats, go get some. Try something new. Take the risk. Sign up for the team, the musical, the club. You will regret it if you don’t. Even if you fail, few things can teach you the lessons that those cleats will.


The Girl Who Hung Up Her Cleats

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Cook

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The Oakland Athletics Are Boring, Fun, And Winning!

"Moneyball" is alive and well.

Whenever the Oakland Athletics baseball team is brought up in conversation, it's most likely in the context of "Moneyball", the 2011 film starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.

Pitt assumes a charismatic role as Oakland’s general manager, Billy Beane, while Hill serves as a more robust version of Beane’s assistant, Paul DePodesta. While I believe that "Moneyball" is an extremely flawed interpretation of the 2002 Oakland Athletics season, the film received critical acclaim for its ability to convey the sophistication behind sabermetrics, an empirical analysis of baseball.

I was only three years old when Oakland shocked the baseball world by remarkably winning twenty games in a row and capturing the best record in the Major Leagues. Four years later, I fell in love with the A’s during the 2006 MLB Postseason, most likely due to the team’s vibrant green and gold colors. I can proudly say that I have remained a loyal Oakland supporter ever since.

Despite my unconditional love for Oakland, the team never fails to frustrate me. The A’s play in a small market and do not maintain disposable funds like the Yankees and Red Sox do.

Thus, Oakland is often unable to resign its standout players once their contracts expire. It's difficult to develop a successful franchise with such little money, but the A’s have always found ways to acquire quality talent at bargain prices.

This season is no different. As I write this, Oakland currently sits at 25-22, two games out of a Wildcard Playoff spot. According to Spotrac, the A’s also have the lowest payroll in Major League Baseball at $71 million.

$71 million? Sounds like a lot of money, right? Well, $71 million is essentially chump change for other big league clubs.

The Los Angeles Dodgers payroll for 2018 is $187 MILLION. How many wins do the Dodgers have? 20. The Dodgers have 5 fewer wins than the A’s despite spending $115 million more on their players. Baseball is crazy!

I’ve tried my best to watch as many A’s games as possible this season. 47 games later, I can confidently label this team as BORING. They are so damn boring that it's sometimes difficult to watch them play for nine whole innings without falling asleep.

It seems as though every at-bat ends in either a strikeout or a walk. Not many players on the team are capable of making contact with the ball consistently.

Yet, at the same time, Oakland can be such an exciting team. When they aren’t striking out or drawing bases on balls, the A’s are belting baseballs into the outfield seats. Oakland is fifth in the MLB with 60 home runs and leads the majors in homers on the road.

Pretty impressive for a team whose core pieces are Khris Davis, Matt Olson, and Jed Lowrie.

Most importantly, the Athletics are winning. After missing the postseason three years in a row, Oakland has a legitimate chance to reach the playoffs this season. Beane has cleverly assembled a group of 25 players at minimal cost who are keen on winning.

I’ve always embraced the underdog role. Underdogs are challenged to overcome adversity in their pursuit of success. Oakland is much the same way, and that is why I connect so well with the players and organization as a whole.

Critics claim that the “Moneyball” strategy is dying and that sabermetrics are outdated. The Athletics are here to prove haters wrong. It's still early in the season, but Oakland continues to exceed expectations.

Only time will tell if the boys in green and gold can keep it up for the remainder of the year, but I am optimistic about this team’s future.


Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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