2019 MLB Playoff Primer + Predictions

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2019 MLB Playoff Primer + Predictions

Ethan Schwam

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Who will be crowned World Series Champions this year?

 

It is now October, which means playoff baseball is straight ahead. The teams competing in the 2019 Major League Baseball Playoffs were decided this past Sunday in thrilling action over the course of the final day of the regular season, with the highlight being the Cardinals snatching away the NL Central from the red-hot Brewers to set up a date with Atlanta in the divisional round. Here is a look at all 10 of these playoff teams and how they got to October. 

Nationals – After starting off quite slowly early in the season, at one point even being 8 games under .500, the Nationals surged back into contention to clinch a home game in the Wild Card. With perennial MVP candidate and soon to be free agent Anthony Rendon, and a solid pitching staff including Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, Washington looks poised to make a statement in the playoffs.

Brewers – Playing Washington in the wild card game is the Milwaukee Brewers. After a scorching second half of the season, the Brewers placed themselves square in the second wild card spot and must win in Washington to advance. However, star outfielder for the team, Christian Yelich, suffered a broken kneecap in the middle of September that will keep him out of the entire playoffs. The Brewers are definitely formidable with their strong bullpen that includes Josh Hader, but have a long road ahead of themselves to reach a title. 

Dodgers – Finishing with the best record in the NL, the Dodgers look ready to make a run towards another World Series appearance. Though their bullpen remains in question, they have strong bats such as MVP favorite Cody Bellinger and young Gavin Lux. The front end of the rotation is top tier as well, which includes future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw, and flamethrower Walker Buehler.  The Dodgers certainly have what it takes to raise the championship trophy come seasons’ end. 

Cardinals – The winners of the NL Central, the Cardinals boast an overall solid team that looks to make a run in October. Riding the hottest pitcher in the league, Jack Flaherty, and the surging bats of outfielder Marcell Ozuna and the always reliable Paul Goldschmidt, as well as young players such as Tommy Edman, the Cardinals will look to upend the Braves in the divisional round. 

Braves – The champions of the East look to beat the Cardinals in the divisional round. Atlanta poses as an all around threat because they have a solid lineup that includes young sensation Ronald Acuna, and Rookie of the Year candidate and ace pitcher Mike Soroka. However, the Braves will be without talented outfielder Ender Inciarte for the entirety of the postseason, but Atlanta still proves to be a powerful threat in the National League this year. 

Rays – A wild card team in the AL, the Rays flew under the radar for most of the season but still ended up with almost 100 wins and a wild card berth. Led by power hitting outfielder Austin Meadows, and strong rotation arms in Charlie Morton and 2018 Cy Young award winner Blake Snell, the Rays are always a team to keep an eye out on if you root for a sleeper to take the crown. 

Athletics – Oakland will host the AL wild card game against the Rays. This team is filled with power that makes up for their mediocre pitching, with hitters such as Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, and Khris Davis anchoring the dangerous lineup for the A’s. If there is anything to look out for with this team, it is definitely their offense, because it has the capability to carry Oakland on a run this year in the postseason. 

Yankees – The Bronx Bombers are back in the dance once again, but this time it is not as a wild card team.  They took the eastern division title in the AL this year after an impressive 103 win season despite all of the injuries they suffered this year.  Their pitching certainly remains a question, but with the returning Luis Severino and their big bats like Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres, New York certainly seems primed for a World Series championship in 2019. 

Twins – Minnesota is coming off one of the best regular seasons in franchise history, winning over 100 games and setting a Major League record with a whopping 307 total home runs. There is no question that their offense is lethal, as they have powerful bats like Nelson Cruz and Johnathan Schoop. Their pitching is average to good, but they are still a team to watch out for and could potentially serve as a sleeper candidate to take home the trophy this year. 

Astros – Posting the best record in all of baseball, one could argue that the Astros have the best overall team out of all 10 in the playoffs. Their lineup is one of the scariest to face, as they have Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley in their star studded lineup, and they have their lights-out rotation with headliners Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and the late season acquisition of Zack Grienke. Houston is a surefire championship contender in this field of teams in the 2019 playoffs.

Predictions

 

Wild Cards – AL: Rays over Athletics

          NL: Nationals over Brewers

Divisional Round – AL: Yankees over Twins, Astros over Rays

                                  NL: Dodgers over Nationals, Braves over Cardinals

Championship Round – AL: Astros over Yankees

                                           NL: Dodgers over Braves

World Series – Astros over Dodgers

Who do you want to win this year’s World Series? Follow all of these exciting matchups to experience the feel of playoff baseball as we approach the Fall Classic.

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