So a few days ago, we posted an article based around who will be the real and fake contenders for the post-season in the NL, and the teams we looked at were the ones already in the playoff picture. So why not do that again? Well, regardless of your answer, we will, expect we will be looking at the AL instead of the NL. Shocker.
Baltimore Orioles: Real
So in the AL East, we have the Baltimore Orioles currently leading their division over the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rays. This division is very much up for grabs, but that being said, right now the Orioles are the cream of the crop in their division. After weathering the storm that was the beginning of the season, where the Orioles were not playing great and the Jays were running away with the division, the Orioles are now on top. A lot of that is in part to their offense, which has a team batting average of .262, which is good for 5th in the majors. The Orioles are a little lackluster with their pitching, having a team ERA of 3.85, which is worse than the major league average. The Orioles still have time to turn it around, however. They have young gun Gausman playing better, and they are hoping top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy will join the team soon. If those two, along with the rest of their pitching staff, can step up their game in the second half of the season, the Orioles will be in a very good position to make a post-season run. With the rest of the division being so hot and cold, depending on the week, I am going with the Orioles as real contenders for the post-season.
Detroit Tigers: Real
Similar to the Orioles, the Detroit Tigers are winning their division because the rest of it is very underwhelming. Unlike the Orioles however, the Tigers have not been playing good ball by any means this year, but they are on top in their division because the other teams are just playing that much worse. Now when I say they aren’t playing good ball, I mean by Tigers standards. They do hold the 2nd best offensive in baseball this year with a team batting average of .279, but that could be a better number. Some of the players, especially Cabrera, have been underwhelming this year, and after the inhuman things Miguel has been doing to the baseball over the past few years, it is a bit out of the norm. On the flip side, the Tigers pitching staff has been HORRIBLE. They currently boast (not really though), a team ERA of 4.03. Yikes, that is bad, and with all their “star” pitchers playing bad, it is hard to imagine anything but a short stint in the playoffs. The Tigers don’t really deserve the playoffs this year, but with how bad the rest of their division is, they are unfortunately real contenders for the post-season.
Oakland A’s: Real
This is going to be the shortest of the explanations because everyone and their mother knows how real the A’s are. Coming out of the All-Star break, the A’s have the best record in all of baseball. They currently have a team ERA of .253, which is average, but the have driven the second most runs in throughout the majors with 468 RBIs. On the flip side, the truly scary part about the A’s is their pitching staff. They currently sit with a team ERA of 3.13, which is the third best in the majors and it is only going to get better for them. With the additions of Hammel and Samardzija from the Cubs, the A’s are only going up with their pitching staff. Before the trade, people were wondering if they can get to the World Series with their current staff. After the trade, their was no question and now most are considering them favorites, which is why they are very real contenders for the post-season.
LA Angels: Real
A little bit of a shocker, the LA Angels are playing some very great ball this year. Obviously, Mike Trout has been a stud for them the past three years, but the rest of the team around him has not really gotten to that point. However, this year they have been a whole new beast and are looking to have a deep run in the post-season. Currently sitting with a team batting average of .266 (third best in the majors) and having 471 batted in (best in the majors), the Angels have one of the best offenses in baseball. They have always had the potential to get to this point offensively with the money they have spent in the off-season the past few years, however players like Hamilton and Pujols never got to the points the Angels hoped for. This year, they have, to a certain extent, which is why the Angels are playing the way they are. Now, on the other side of the ball, the Angels also have a team ERA of 3.76. This is just slightly above average, and if they Angels want to make a dent in the playoffs this year, the pitching staff will have to improve. Playing in a division with the likes of the A’s, Mariners, and Rangers (who will always be tough even though they are bad), will make things more difficult for the Angels to make the post-season than other teams. However, they have the ability to do it, and with the rest of the AL not sure if they want to make the playoffs or not, I am picking the Angels to be very real contenders.
Seattle Mariners: Fake
I pray to all that is holy that this prediction is wrong. The Seattle Mariners are in an interesting place right now, they sit third in their division but second in the wild card race for the post-season. They currently can boast having the best pitching staff in baseball (taking over the Nationals) with a team ERA of 3.11. Regardless of what happens at the end of the year, the Mariners should sit in the top five in ERA due to the fact that they have a very good pitching staff and King Felix having a Cy Young type year. The real issue that the Mariners could face is on the offensive side. The Mariners currently have a below-average offense, having a team batting average of .245 and having batted in only 377 runners. Seattle either need to hope that their offense wakes up or that they make a trade for some pop. The Mariners have the pitching and just enough offense to make it into the post-season, but I cannot see them making it there. I have no proof of this, but I have a feeling in my gut that the Yankees or someone else in the AL East will turn it on and beat out the Mariners for the last post-season spot. I hope I am wrong, but the Mariners are fake contenders.
Thanks for reading!
All stats and information courtesy of espn.com