Updated: Nov 15, 2020
Hello, hello. HELLO! How I have missed you guys ever so much. It has been a chaotic month, and I am pushing through some serious writer's block, so please forgive me. This piece was written on Saturday 8/15 as an FYI
Before we get into, I want to mention my friends over at Repp Sports and Raze Energy. I have been running on fumes the last few weeks, and Raze has been helping keep pushing. Raze Energy fuels the Blog
We are going to get into Contender or Pretender in the National League today. I will look at the top 6 teams in the AL and their most significant strengths and weaknesses as we progress in the season. Being 1/3 of the way into the race, its time to start digging a little deeper.
6- After having to option two of their better pitchers in Pleasac and Clevinger, the Cleveland Indians come in 6th place in the AL. This team's strength has been the rotation being led by Biber and his 43K, followed by Civale and Carrasco, also pitching exceptionally well. Karinchak, Perez has led the bullpen staff, and Cimber so far, each pitching to an era below 2.0ERA. The offense hasn't been able to get the job done, hitting only a .196BA and a team total of 15HR. That is where the most significant problem lies for me with this season. They have a 179K as a team as well. These numbers do not give a lot of confidence in an 11-9 team. Now with sending down two of their better starters so far and a struggling offense. I don't see an easy path to the playoffs for this team.
Final verdict= Pretending Contender
5- This is one of 3 AL East teams on slate to talk about in the post. Spoiler alert one is going to be a pretender. We know this team as one of the better pitching teams sitting at 12-9 to this point. This team is the Tampa Bay Rays, which boasts a team ERA of 4.39 and a team BA of 243. Snell being the best starter so far for the Rays, and Thompson and Chirinos are the few bright spots of all the pitchers on the staff. Suppose your name isn't B. Lowe on the offensive side well, then you probably aren't playing all that great. Lowe is leading the offensive with a .319BA, 6HR, 19RBI, and 23H. The offense as a whole is struggling, especially the impact bats. Diaz, Rendfrow, Tsutsugo, Meadows have each struggled so far this season. That is this team's biggest downfall and will be as the season progresses if they can't rally now and take some of the pressure off the pitching staff.
Final verdict- Contending Pretender
4- this team if coming off a six-game winnings streak that ended Friday with a loss to the Nationals. The Baltimore Orioles have also been one of the more surprising teams, much like the Marlins in the NL, who I did not think would be here. At 11-8, we have seen a solid group offensive effort from Alberto, Santander, Hays, Nunes, Severino, and Ruiz all have hit for Avg, HR, and RBI's. Outside of Cobb, each starter has a 3.65ERA or higher. The bullpen has been shaky, pitching to a team ERA of 4.69. I don't think that the streak the O's have is going to continue. They have talent, and we see that offensive talent starts to take shape. The future is looking bright for the O's. Their time is not now.
Final verdict= Pretender
3- We have only hit a .239AVG but hit 34HR and 102RBI and have probably the best offense in baseball. We are the Bombas squad, aka the Minnesota Twins. Can you guess who the only two players are on this team with an above .300BA? Did you think Nelson Cruz and Jorge Polanco, if you did, you are correct? The pitching for the Twins has been good or not. Berrios and Thorpe's bost has an ERA over 5, and Dobnak(.90) and Maeda are both under 3. The pen as a whole has also had its ups and downs. But fair enough so far to help the Twins to a 13-8 record. Outside of the shaky pitchings and lack of concrete production, the whole offense will make or break this team. We saw this team win on their offense alone, and I know we will see it again.
Final verdict= Contender
2- Why can't we have an AL piece without mentioning the Yankee's? I swear its impossible. Yes, the Yankees are 14-6 and have the injury bug-catching back up to them sadly. Stanton and Judge are both on the IL. Judge smashing the ball, hitting 8HR, 20RBI, and a .290BA. We saw Andujar get sent down as well. We then saw Frazier get recalled, and he has been hot since being recalled. Overall, the offense has been excellent, getting contributions from the entire team with a team of 262BA and 351OBP. The top of the rotation for the Yankees in Cole and Tanaka have been excellent. The rest of the pitching staff has struggled, which has given the team a 4.19ERA. There is plenty of room for improvement, and with stars going down to injury, they will need everyone to step up! Especially the bullpen.
Final Verdict- Contender
1- Why do I do this to myself? I believe in other teams more than the ones I know will be good. The A's are that that has me kicking myself. Watching the Oakland A's battling back against the SF Giants reminds me how great and deep this team is. Friday night, they came back from being down 6-0 to win 8-7. Coming into Saturday at 14-6 and just making the rest of the AL West look easy. The A's are probably the best at playing team ball all the time. They are only hitting a team 216BA and striking out a 199K going into the game Saturday. The offense hasn't been great. The A's have had great pitching from Montas and Bassitt in the rotation. Hendricks, Smith, Soria, Dendelken, Petit, McFarland, Diekman all have been more than exceptional so far as well out of the pen. What this team needs are similar to other contenders is for their stars to get it together. Davis, Semien, and Chapman, and Olson all need to get the average up to help them remain in the hunt.
Final verdict- Contender