It’s October again, which means everyone’s attention has already turned to football just when the MLB season is about to reach its climax. Nevertheless, there is a lot of playoff baseball yet to be played.
Out in Chicago, the Cubs have been making waves all year. The massive fan base makes Cleveland’s fans look like greedy title hordring jerks, being without a World Series title in 107 years. This year, the team boasted Major League Baseball’s best record. It’s a young team that plays with exciting energy, and probably the most intimidating roster in the field of ten.
The pitching staff has come into full form this year, and the offense has been a demolition crew for opposing teams. Sluggers like Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo have potential to devastate. But the Chicago Cubs are not the team to be the most frightened of in 2016.
Down in Texas, there’s the Rangers — also not the team to be most frightened of — they have a well-rounded offense built around veteran Adrian Beltre. Their ace on the mound, Yu Darvish, finally started to look like himself towards the end of the season. Combined with former World Series MVP Cole Hamels, the Rangers boasted a deadly one-two punch in the rotation.
The Cleveland Indians are probably the most surprising story of the MLB season, coming off of years of mediocrity. They had one of the league’s most elite offenses and topped it off with a solid rotation led by former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber. It was an especially strong second half for the Indians, who capped their season with one last win against the Kansas City Royals.
The Red Sox are not only the most exciting offense we have seen hit the diamond in years, they also might be the hungriest team. Long-time designated hitter, David Ortiz, is in his final season of his Hall of Fame caliber career. Somehow, he has turned back the clock and put together some of the best numbers of his career.
23 year old Xander Bogaerts has been an excellent spark for the team. He batted .355 on the year with 89 RBIS, in an offense that already had plenty of firepower. Like the Cubs, the Red Sox are a talented team with another massive fan base filled with hope. But also like the Cubs, they are not the team to be the most frightened of in 2016.
The Nationals are another team that didn’t get my number one spot on the list, despite the fact that this has been their year to finally reach their full potential.
One name to look out for will be Daniel Murphy, who made a name for himself in last year’s playoffs and surprisingly was able to carry it over to the regular season this year. He already proved to be a great performer under pressure once—it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s key in this year’s postseason.
Naturally, there is always some extra focus on the teams that come out of the American League East—the cream of the crop when it comes to MLB divisions. Along with the much-hyped Red Sox, there are the Blue Jays and the Orioles, who will be duking it out in the Wildcard playoff.
The Blue Jays have added a much improved pitching rotation, despite a lack of new acquisitions, to go along with their high-powered offense. Perhaps their best weapon is Aaron Sanchez, a rising star on the mound that has some great stuff.
The Orioles will be looking to capitalize on one of their many winning seasons in recent years, but they will have to overcome arguably the weakest starting rotation in the playoffs on their path to the ultimate victory.
The real team to be concerned about this year—the ones to pay attention to—will be the San Francisco Giants.
Why? Because it’s an even year. Baseball is nothing if not superstitious, and the Giants have been sneaking into the playoffs to win the World Series every other year for the past six seasons. We can only see it happen so many times before we have to admit, these Giants can’t be stopped in an even numbered year.
Besides, what more fitting way for the Chicago Cubs to miss out than losing to the luckiest team of the last decade?