Tomorrow we begin arguably the greatest time of the year. We have the NBA season starting, we have the NFL season nearing the midpoint, and most importantly we have the MLB playoffs beginning. Even though last year’s playoffs were fantastic, this in my opinion will be even better.
What make this year’s playoffs so special is all the key teams and figures involved in it. The AL features the Cleveland Indians, a team that won a historic 22 games in a row at one point during the season. The Houston Astros, who have been consistently dominant all year and hope to live up to the Sports Illustrated cover from 2013 that said they would be “2017 World Series Champs”. The AL playoffs also features the possibility of a 2004 ALCS rematch featuring the Yankees and Red Sox, still the greatest playoff series in MLB history in my opinion. And you have the Minnesota Twins, the first team ever make the playoffs the year after losing 100 games.
On the National League side we get to see the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team who was historically great through the first five months of the season. We get the best player in baseball in my opinion in Bryce Harper and his Washington Nationals. We get to a see two offensive powers in the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies. We also get to see the Defending Champs, the Chicago Cubs, a phrase that hasn’t been said since 1909 1. Since I love to do rankings on things so much, I decided I would rank my top 5 players to watch and my top 5 World Series matchups. Also, I will give my playoff prediction at the end.
Top 5 players to watch
5) Aaron Judge (New York Yankees)
Coming in at number 5 for me is Aaron Judge. The rookie came onto the scene and made an instant impact for the Yankees. The man is an absolute giant at 6’7″ and 282 lbs. He is actually the biggest position player in baseball history. What excites me about him is his pure power. During the Home Run Derby, Judge hit a home run so far it actually hit the roof of Marlins Park. What makes this crazy is that NASA did scientific research for this stadium to ensure that no man could hit it. The reason I don’t have Judge higher is he struggled in the second half of the year. His MVP hopes faded and so did his “clutchness”. By the end of the year he was statistically the least clutch player in baseball. For my family and friends, they hope that trend continues into tomorrow’s wild card game.
4) Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Paul Goldschmidt, the least notable superstar in sports. Not only is he unknown by many fans, he is also disrespected. This man is arguably the best player in baseball. Every year this man ranks high in batting average, home runs and RBI’s. Yet, no one seems to know him that well. If the Diamondbacks are able to make a run, Paul Goldschmidt will be the reason why. Ironically I wrote the least amount of words for the guy I deemed “disrespected”.
3) Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies)
Nolan Arenado is an absolute stud. He is not only incredible with his bat but also with his glove. The multiple time golden glove winner has had the luxury of playing in Colorado for his career. The thin air has maybe inflated his batting stats somewhat., but he is still one of the best hitters in baseball. However, he has also had to deal with never making the Playoffs. He might be the most competitive man in baseball so it will be fun to see what this man can do when everything is on the line.
2) Byron Buxton (Minnesota Twins)
What are four words that define Byron Buxton: fast, fast and really fast. The centerfielder for the Twins holds the two fastest inside-the-park homerun times recorded in baseball history. But it is not just his speed on the base paths that makes him so dangerous. The man is unbelievable in the outfield. He is to the outfield what Steph Curry is to 3 point shooting, they both have what seems like unlimited range. But unlike Steph Curry, Byron Buxton won’t argue every call, throw a mouthguard at a fan, and disrespectfully taunt the opposing team’s fans 2. If Byron Buxton can continue his hot hitting streak he will be something to watch, unless the Twins lose to the Yankees again in the playoffs of course.
1) Kyle Schwarber (Chicago Cubs)
It is hard for me to not pick my favorite player from my favorite team for the number one spot. However, I will give you a legitimate reason why he is at this spot. Kyle Schwarber turns into a different beast during the playoffs. He hit for 5 home runs in the 2015 playoffs. He came back from an ACL tear IN THE SAME SEASON to hit .412 in the World Series in 2016. What else could he do? He might go out and throw a no-hitter just to one up his past performances. I honestly wouldn’t be shocked if he became one of Barbara Walters’ most interesting people this year just based off his playoff performance. Whatever he does, it is going to be special.
Top 5 World Series Matchups I would like to see 3
5) Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago Cubs
You know how I said this wouldn’t be a Cubs love fest? Well I lied, I mean who wouldn’t want to watch the Cubs in the World Series again? I know I wouldn’t. The reason I have this matchup 5th is solely because of what it would mean to me personally. I grow up in a family where my mom’s side are Twins fans and my dad’s side are Cubs fans. I chose the Cubs, because like every boy growing up you root for who your dad roots for 4. This matchup scares me more than it excites me because if the Twins magically win, I lose all bragging rights with my friends and family.
4) New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
This matchup would be interesting for one reason. It would provide a series with the two biggest cities in America. It would be funny see how excited FOX would get that they were able to have a World Series with these two markets. Also, even though I hate the Yankees, their fans do provide some fun that many other ball parks just don’t offer.
3) Boston Red Sox vs. Chicago Cubs (The “Are curse was worse” series)
This series would be interesting because it would take the two most historically cursed teams in baseball history. Not only did these teams wait many years for these championships to come to them, both of them now seem to be set for many years of excellence. The series would take place in the two oldest ballparks in the MLB with arguably the two greatest sets of fans. The amount of times Theo Epstein would be discussed in this series would be outrageous but I guess he deserves it.
2) Cleveland Indians vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (The “LeBron” Series)
The reason I named this the LeBron series is simple. LeBron plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers right now and likely will be on the Los Angeles Lakers next year. Rarely do the two best teams from the regular season meet in the World Series. However, these teams were both so dominant that it seems more likely than ever.
1) Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago Cubs (The “Let’s run it back” Series)
The rematch of the 2016 World Series would be the best matchup to watch in my opinion. It would offer the Cleveland Indians the chance to exercise the demands from last year. It would offer the Chicago Cubs to defend their title. The series was so great last year that I fully would expect it to do the same. And just like last year I hope the outcome would be the same.
AL Wild Card Game: Minnesota Twins over New York Yankees
NL Wild Card Game: Colorado Rockies over Arizona Diamondbacks
ALDS: Houston Astros over Boston Red Sox / Cleveland Indians over Minnesota Twins
NLDS: Chicago Cubs over Washington Nationals / Los Angeles Dodgers over Colorado Rockies
ALCS: Cleveland Indians over Houston Astros
NLCS: Chicago Cubs over Los Angeles Dodgers
World Series: Cleveland Indians over Chicago Cubs
I picked the Indians and Cubs to meet in the World Series again for one reason, they have the two best records since the all-star break. It pains me to put the Indians over the Cubs but they are just too hot right now. It is also hard to beat a team twice in a row. Hopefully I’m wrong in my prediction. I guess I’ll end it with two simple words that I hope I’ll be needing to say for the next 4 weeks, Go Cubs!