I feel like I have neglected Major League Baseball this summer. In case you didn’t know it, teams have played about 100 games thus far this season. And in case you didn’t know it, 12 teams will make the playoffs this upcoming October.
I am going to review the season in these pages by listing the 12 teams I feel will make the playoffs.
Let me start with the wildcard teams.
St. Louis Cardinals – The Cards are close to catching the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. I do not think St. Louis, even with likely league MVP, Paul Goldschmidt, leading the offense. The Brewers have too much pitching.
Seattle Mariners – Seattle got itself back in the race by entering the recent All-Star game on a 14-game winning streak. The Mariners have since cooled off a bit, but will be fine with rookie sensation, Julio Rodriguez.
Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays have been making trips to the playoffs on an annual basis of late. I think they will again if they can overcome injuries. They have 15 players on the injured list, but have the pitching to make another playoff run.
San Diego Padres – The Padres will never catch the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, but have the starting pitching to scare teams in the playoffs. And they will soon welcome star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. back into the lineup after an offseason injury.
Toronto Blue Jays – As I write this, the Blue Jays have won six in a row and eight of their last nine, climbing from fourth to second in the AL East standings. Few teams hit like Toronto. If the Blue Jays add a few pitchers, they will find themselves deep in the playoffs.
Atlanta Braves – The Braves have the best record in the game since June 1, but have not yet caught the New York Mets. I do not think they will but I would not count them out. They could repeat. My player to watch is the underrated Austin Riley of the Braves.
Division Winners – Minnesota Twins – The likely AL Central winner can score runs with anyone. Their offense that ranks fifth in the majors with a .743 OPS, but they need pitching, especially starting pitching. Minnesota has not had much competition in their division and will likely be an early out in the playoffs.
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers are the complete opposite of the Twins. They have great starting pitching and a top-five bullpen. Milwaukee needs offense and will likely add a hitter or two prior to the upcoming trade deadline.
New York Mets – The Mets have seen their lead in the NL East standings shrink from 10.5 games at the start of June to only 1.5 games entering play Monday. But the return of pitchers Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer to the starting rotation will enable the Mets to win the NL East and a possible World Series run.
New York Yankees – The Yanks have won twice as many games as they have lost thus far. And that is after starting July with a 10-10 mark. Pitching will be a question for the Yankees. But they have Aaron Judge. He just hit his 38th home run of the season as I was writing this. He may carry this team to the World Series.
Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers have a huge lead in the NL West and will likely make another World Series appearance. It could be an instant classic if the Dodgers lineup squares off against the Mets’ pitchers.
Houston Astros – Houston may be the most well-rounded team in the game. They have a nice balance of pitching and offense. And they own the New York Yankees. Houston will coast into the playoffs as it owns the largest division lead in baseball.