The MLB season is coming to a close as October inches ever closer. With the playoffs looming This article covers every American League playoff team, their season, and how they are looking as they head into the 2019 playoffs.
New York Yankees: The Yankees have dealt with injury bug all season. The team currently has 12 injured players, 9 of which are out for the season. Despite injury woes, the team has won their division and have 100 plus wins for the second straight season. This team has an affinity for the long ball, with 6 players that have 20 plus homers in 2019. They also have 2 players batting above .300 and 13 batting above .250. The team is a batting juggernaut but has a lackluster pitching core. The starting rotation is led by James Paxton with 186 strikeouts and 15 wins on the season. The Yankees do have a great closer in “The Cuban Missile,” Aroldis Chapman. Chapman at age 31 is still throwing heat, averaging 98.4 mph on his fastball this season. The Yankees are definitely a favorite in the AL.
Minnesota Twins: Who saw this team coming in June? Aside from Twins faithful, no one believed this was a playoff team. But the twins shocked the world, winning 101 games and hitting a major league record 307 homeruns. The team was led by 39 year-old Nelson Cruz who is having his best season since 2015, he’s batting .311 with 41 home runs. The team also benefited from the emergence of Max Kepler and Miguel Sano, who hit 36 and 34 home runs respectively. The starting rotation was Average I for the Twins with solid performances from Jose Berrios, and Jake Ordorizzi. However this team’s postseason success will depend entirely on the Twins batting ability.
Houston Astros: The Astros won a major league leading 107 games. The astros are the most complete team in the majors. The lineup includes 7 players batting above .275, and have 20 plus home runs. The starting rotation includes 2 Cy Young candidates in Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, and added another at the trade deadline, acquiring Zach Greinke. But it doesn’t end there. The 5 man rotation is rounded out by Brad Peacock and Wade Miley, both of whom would be the number 2 guy in any other rotation. They also have one of the best closers in the majors in Roberto Ozuna, who had 38 saves in 2019. Anything other than a world championship will be a disappointment for the Astros.
Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays just beat out the Indians for the second wildcard spot in the AL. The team relies more on their pitching than hitting: the team had just one player with 22 plus home runs and no one batting above .300. The team’s two best position players were acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh where the Rays shipped off potential ace Chris Archer in exchange for Austin Meadows and Tommy Pham. The team’s ace Blake Snell, who won the Cy Young last year, struggled in 2019, losing more games than he won. Luckily for the Rays, Charlie Morton has emerged as the team’s best pitcher, winning 16 games and striking out 240 batters in 2019. The team will need all of its pitchers to be at their very best in order for a postseason run to be possible.