As the final weekend of the MLB regular season concludes we take a look at where teams stand as the playoff seeding finalizes.
The MLB’s 60-game season has flown by as the postseason starts next week. And while the American League had it’s eight teams coming into this weekend, it took all 60 games for the National League playoff picture to come into focus.
But the stage has been set, and the MLB postseason begins Tuesday afternoon.
Record: 29-31 4th in NL Central
The Brewers’ offense has been hard to watch this season, especially with Christian Yelich going through one of the roughest stretches of his major league career. He’s currently tied with Jedd Gyorko with a 0.7 WAR, with OF Avisail Garcia leading the way with a 0.9 WAR – none of which is encouraging. It’s been Milwaukee’s pitching carrying them once again, particularly Corbin Burnes who’s found himself in the Cy Young race after a strong September. Only the Indians have a higher pitching WAR than the Brewers and their bullpen has averaged more strikeouts than any other team this year, but they are a bottom-five offense.
Only the Reds average fewer runs per game (4.05) than the Brewers among playoff teams. Brewers had things break their way in the final weekend of the regular season, but 2020 just hasn’t been their year.
Record: 31-29 2nd in NL East
The Marlins are in the playoffs for the first time since winning the 2003 World Series but after taking a quick glance at their roster it’s hard to see how they’re exactly doing this. Their offense doesn’t have a single player with an OPS over .900, their best hitter this season is SS Miguel Rojas, and their relief pitching was awful to start the season. But they do have solid starting pitching in the trio of Sandy Alcantra, Sixto Sanchez, and Pablo Lopez, all with sub 4.00 ERA this season and are 24-years-old or younger.
Their bullpen has been better after plugging veteran Brandon Kinzler in as the team’s closer and Yimi Garcia’s impressive 0.60 ERA and 11.4 K/9 over 15 IP. Offensively, the Marlins did trade for OF Starling Marte who had a .827 OPS in 33 games with the Diamondbacks, and despite so-so results thus far (.701 OPS with 22 strikeouts) the 31-year-old Marte does have postseason experience with the Pirates and could be a key run producer for this Marlins team.
Toronto Blue Jays
Record: 32-28 3rd in the AL East
Toronto has gotten great production out of OF Teoscar Hernandez, who’s currently tied for fourth in home runs with 16 this season to go along with a .930 OPS. INF Cavan Biggio has been an excellent on-base threat, leading the team with a .370 OBP, 39 walks, and 39 runs scored, Biggio’s been key to the offense. Their starting pitching has been encouraging with the additions of Taijuan Walker and Robbie Ray to go along with Hyun-Jin Ryu, who’s been the Blue Jay’s ace all season.
Losing Ken Giles for the season was a massive blow to Toronto’s bullpen but they’ve found success with a combination of Anthony Bass and Rafael Dolis closing games. But for the Blue Jays to go far in the postseason they’ll need to continue to hit home runs, currently ranked 9th in homers. Their pitching has been alright but it’ll be their offense that leads them to success this fall.
St. Louis Cardinals
Record: 30-28 Tied for 2nd in NL Central
It’s the end of the season and, in typical St. Louis fashion, the Cardinals own a 6-4 record in their final10 games. Paul Goldschmidt and Brad Miller are the lone hitters in the Cardinals lineup with an OPS above .800 this season, with Goldschmidt leading the team in runs scored and OBP. They do lack power in their lineup at the moment, ranking dead last in baseball with 50 home runs this season.
Their starting pitching has been so-so, ranking 21st in total pitching WAR per Fangraphs, but when Adam Wainwright and Jack Flaherty are your Game 1 and 2 starters in a postseason series you can’t complain much. The Cardinals also have three strong left-handed relievers in their bullpen in veteran Andrew Miller, Tyler Webb, and Andrew Gomber to pair with closer Giovanny Gallegos and Genesis Cabrera – who both have K/9 above 12 this season. Cardinals can be pesky, but their lineup lacks pop and their rotation drops dramatically after Flaherty and Wainwright.