Fall baseball is the best kind of baseball because there is equally everything to win and everything to lose. As a baseball fan, there is absolutely nothing better. You live and die with every pitch, every swing and every call. Every play means something. The elation of your team winning a big September game, changing your season, is only matched with the empty feeling you have when your team loses that very same big game. There is nothing better than a crisp September night at the park with everything on the line.
Starting in the American League, you have no choice but to start with the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox reached 100 wins before any other team reached 95, and are currently seven games clear of the second best record in baseball. Led by the transcendent years of their two MVP candidates, Designated Hitter Julio David Martinez and Outfielder Mookie Betts, the Red Sox have a dynamic offense. When a healthy Chris Sale is on the mound, this team is almost unbeatable.
The second best team in baseball also resides in the American League, and also happens to be the defending champion Houston Astros. The Astros bring most of their championship roster back, including 2017 AL MVP Second Basemen Jose Altuve, World Series MVP OF George Springer and perennial Cy Young contender Starting Pitcher Justin Verlander. The Astros strengthened their bullpen, last year’s team’s biggest weakness, at the trade deadline with the controversial acquisition of closer Roberto Osuna.
Flying under the radar, the AL Central leading Cleveland Indians are sneakily building up to a potential postseason run. Led by their own two MVP candidates in Shortstop Francisco Lindor and 2B Jose Ramirez, Cleveland’s 1-2 punch is up there with any other one in the league.
The much hyped New York Yankees are in a state of flux as they stare at wild card berth for the second year in a row. As the Red Sox and Indians keep winning, the Yankees fail to keep at their blistering pace because of key injuries to Catcher Gary Sanchez, SS Didi Gregorious, Closer Aroldis Chapman and star OF Aaron Judge. A healthy Judge paired with $275 million man Giancarlo Stanton makes an offense that is as feared as any other in the sport.
The dark horse contenders are the pesky Oakland Athletics. Considered by many to be the hottest team in baseball, the Athletics went on a tear in the second half propelling them to the second wild card spot and within striking distance of the Yankees. OF Khris Davis or “Khrush” is having another stellar year and third basemen Matt Chapman is widely considered one of the best fielding third basemen in baseball.
Now onto the National League. The best team in the National League is the Chicago Cubs. 2B Javier Baez is the heart and soul of this team and quite possibly the most exciting player in all of baseball. The acquisition of SP Cole Hamels has stabilized this playoff tested rotation including playoff veteran SP Jon Lester. 3B Kris Bryant, who has been battling injuries all season, could be the key to unlocking this team’s full potential. In a crowded National League, the Chicago Cubs and manager Joe Maddon have to be considered the favorites.
Tight on their heels are the Milwaukee Brewers, who after finishing one game out of the playoffs last season fortified their roster with the acquisitions of OFs Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich, and those acquisitions have paid off big time, both of whom were National League all-stars. The Milwaukee X-Factor is super reliever Josh Hader who has had many different roles inside that Milwaukee bullpen, being lights out in each one.
Out of the National League East are going to be the upstart Atlanta Braves. Lead by youthful stars OF Ronald Acuna, 2B Ozzie Albies and the always steady and dependable first basemen Freddie Freeman, the Braves are a couple years ahead of their rebuilding schedule, and they do not care. The Braves are a young, fun and exciting team with a lot of swag.
The National League West is the tightest division in baseball, with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Colorado Rockies, and the Arizona Diamondbacks all within three games of first place. The defending National League champion Dodgers have had a disappointing season for their standards, but still have possibly the most talented roster in baseball, only bolstered by the acquisition of infielders Manny Machado and Brian Dozier.
The Colorado Rockies go as MVP candidate 3B Nolan Arenado goes. Arenado is arguably the best player in the National League, and, along with power hitting SS Trevor Story have lead this bashing Rockies offense into first place. The Diamondbacks are fighting for a wild card spot, along with the Dodgers, Cardinals and Phillies.
As fun and exciting as this regular season as been, it is almost time for the best part of the baseball year. As the leaves change colors, as the temperature gets colder, as the kids go back to school, baseball hits its peak.