In March, when the season originally was postponed, the thought of playing a regular season and even postseason baseball was slim. Now 60 games later, October baseball is finally here. Because to a shortened regular season, an expanded postseason is in affect as 16 teams continue their seasons into October. Some are entering the postseason with tons of confidence, while other just slided in. It’s anyone’s ballgame. Here’s one player on each postseason team to watch:
Tampa Bay Rays – Brandon Lowe, 2B
At one point in the regular season Rays’ second baseman Brandon Lowe was in the American League MVP running. Though slipping in the pack, Lowe has still been producing strong numbers around the diamond. Leading the team in Hits, RBIs, Home runs and walks, Lowe will be a pitchers threat this October. The Tampa Bay two-hole hitter is the bright light in the AL East clinching Rays’ team. If the fringe MVP candidate can continue his hot season into the postseason, he’ll give the Rays a strong shot to make a deep postseason run.
Toronto Blue Jays – Lourdes Gurriel Jr., LF
On a young and hungry Toronto Blue Jays team, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has been leading the way. The Wild Card clinching Blue Jays have been hot of late and are the third team in the AL East to clinch a postseason sport. A main reason for how Toronto clinched is Gurriel Jr. The daily left-fielder is having a stellar 2020 season with 60 hits, 31 RBIs and a near .300 Batting Average. Gurriel Jr. solidifies a strong presence at the top of the Blue Jays lineup. Making their first postseason appearance since 2016, Gurriel Jr. and Toronto will look to do damage.
Cleveland Indians – Jose Ramirez, 1B
The clear offensive leader in the Cleveland Indians Wild Card lineup, first-baseman Jose Ramirez, has been putting together a dominating age 28 season. Leading Cleveland in a handful of offensive categories, Ramirez has 61 hits, 46 RBIs, an OPS near 1.000, and a Batting Average surrounding .300 to his 2020 resumé. On the mound, Cleveland should be ready to make a strong run with potential Cy Young winner Shane Bieber leading the rotation. It’s a matter of the surrounding players to get Cleveland over the hump this October.
New York Yankees – Luke Voit, 1B
Leading the league with 21 home runs, Luke Voit is hot and there’s no stopping him. The main offensive energy source on the Yankees is having a break out 2020 season with a .280 Batting Average and 49 RBIs. The daily two-hole hitter provides a strong and aggressive bat to the Wild Card Yankees ballclub. If New York makes a deep postseason run, Voit will surely be a reason why.
Minnesota Twins – Nelson Cruz, DH
On a very underrated and overlooked Twins ballclub, Nelson Cruz has been putting on a show in Minnesota. Clinching first in the AL Central, the three-hole hitter provides an extra boost in a strong lineup. Like fine wine, Cruz has been getting better as he ages. Now 40, Cruz leads the Twins in Hits, Walks, OBP, SLG and OPS. A man of many hats. The 35-22 Twins ballclub is motivated to make a deep playoff run and if they do, the impact of Nelson Cruz will be a focus point into why.
Houston Astros – Michael Brantley, DH
Only playing in 47 of 60 regular season games, Michael Brantley still put up strong numbers in his 2020 season. An offensive threat to opposing pitcher, Brantley is batting .298 with 50 hits and 22 RBIs. With teams focusing on superstars such as Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman, Brantley could be an ‘X-Factor’ in the Astros’ lineup.
Oakland Athletics – Tommy La Stella, 2B
Acquired at the Trade Deadline from the Los Angeles Angels, INF Tommy La Stella has been filling in the gaps within the lineup ever since All-Star Matt Chapman has been out. In 23 games, La Stella holds as many hits along with 11 RBIs and 10 walks. The leadoff hitter in Oakland holds a Batting Average above .270 since being traded. With the A’s running away with the AL West, La Stella and Oakland are sleeper picks to win the World Series.
Chicago White Sox – Jose Abreu, 1B
The favorite to win American League MVP, Jose Abreu, is having a record-breaking 2020 season. The White Sox first baseman was the first player in all of baseball to reach the 50 RBI mark a few weeks ago and hasn’t broken stride ever since. With a Batting Average above .320 and 19 home runs, it’s hard to make another case for the American League MVP award. Abreu looks to lead the White Sox to their first World Series since 2005.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Corey Seager, SS
Overshadowed by stars Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts, Shortstop Corey Seager should be the talk of the town. Leading the team in Hits, doubles, RBIs and Batting Average, the Dodgers’ shortstop is putting together an incredible season. Seager has led L.A to their 8th straight NL West title aswell as the number one seed in the playoffs. With Seager hot and other stars filling in the gaps, the Dodgers lineup is a scary sight to see this October.
Milwaukee Brewers – Orlando Arcia, SS
With former MVP Christian Yelich slumping this season, many players have stepped up including Shortstop Orlando Arcia. Playing in 59 of 60 regular season games, Arcia is the offensive leader of the playoff-clinching Milwaukee ballclub. Knocking 45 hits, Arcia also totaled 20 RBIs and 10 home runs in his season. Carrying an above-average bat into the playoffs, Arcia and Brewers will be hard to take down.
San Diego Padres – Dinelson Lamet, SP
Another top contender for the National League Cy Young award, Dinelson Lamet has been having a strong 2020 campaign to add to his resume. The ace in San Diego might be expected to fulfill more this postseason until Mike Clevinger returns to the rotation. Lamet, 28, holds an efficient 2.07 ERA along with 87 K’s. There’s no question San Diego has the fire power on offense, the rest remains to Lamet and the rotation to do the heavy lifting. The Padres are the fan favorite to come out of the National League, and if they do, Lamet will be a key factor into why.
St. Louis Cardinals – Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
An offensive leader in a strong Cardinals’ lineup, Paul Goldschmidt brings a unique and strong bat to the table every game. The savvy, sweet-swinging right-hander leads St. Louis in a plethora of analytical categories. Batting above .300 in the regular season, Goldschmidt carries 58 hits and 31 runs into the postseason. The hot bat in the top of the Cardinals’ lineup should be one to watch this October. Don’t let him get hot.
Chicago Cubs – Yu Darvish, SP
A top-3 contender for the National League Cy Young award, Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish has been electric on the mound. The clear ace in the North Side of Chicago holds a 7-3 record with a sub 2.25 ERA. Searching for his first Cy Young award, Darvish is making a strong case for his contention. The former Texas Ranger and Los Angeles Dodger looks to bring magic back to Chicago and take the Cubs back to the World Series for the first time since 2016.
Miami Marlins – Jesus Aguilar, 1B
Yes, the Miami Marlins are in the playoffs. A young and motivated Miami ballclub led by veteran Jesus Aguilar could possibly be a Cinderella story this postseason. Aguilar, the daily three-hole hitter, holds 52 hits, 34 RBIs and 22 walks in his 2020 campaign. The seventh-year veteran provides a contact-first bat at the top of the Miami lineup. If Aguilar and co. are able to keep their pace, a postseason upset could be in store from the Miami Marlins.
Atlanta Braves – Ian Anderson, SP
Since ace Mike Soroka concluded his season a few months ago, Ian Anderson has stepped up and filled the lead Starting Pitching vacancy. Anderson, the 2016 third overall pick, has not disappointed in his rookie season. In five starts with Atlanta, Anderson holds a strong 3-1 record paired with a 2.36 ERA. The 22-year old right-hander also has 35 K’s in his 2020 resume. The rookie ace looks to take Ronald Acuña Jr. and the Atlanta Braves to their first World Series since 1995.
Cincinnati Reds – Trevor Bauer, SP
Running away with the National League Cy Young award, Reds ace Trevor Bauer is having the best season of his career. Leading the National League in a multitude of statistical categories, Bauer places himself as a top-5 pitcher in baseball. Going 5-4 with a 1.73 ERA in 11 games, Bauer holds two complete games, two shutouts along with 100+ K’s. The veteran right-hander holds a 0.79 WHIP coupled with an opposing Batting Average of .159. No lineup would like to face Trevor Bauer this October.
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