It’s about to time to enter the last month of the baseball season. This is the time of year when things get real interesting. Teams can prepare to make one last push and we get to see what players get hot. Here’s a few things to watch for:
AL East Race
The AL East has returned to being one of the toughest divisions in baseball. Teams in the division have rich histories and have always been relatively competitive and that’s definitely the case this season. Toronto, Boston, and Baltimore all have playoff caliber teams, and it might be possible to see all three teams make it. The Yankees have also played well as of late and currently only 3.5 back in the Wild Card race. This is going to be a race to watch as season winds down.
The race for American League MVP is going to be an interesting one. While Trout leads the AL in fWAR with 7.6, voters always seem to find ways to not vote for him. I expect the same this year, as the Angels have zero chance of making the postseason. If the Astros find themselves in the playoffs I could see the award going to Altuve if he has a strong finish. Otherwise Mookie Betts has a strong chance. And Josh Donaldson has to definitely be in the conversation. This last month will be the deciding factor, and I think it will come down to whose team is playing in October, unless Trout gets hot and gives voters no choice.
I think it’s unlikely that Kris Bryant isn’t named the NL MVP. He leads the National League in fWAR at 7.6, and plays for the best team in baseball. It’ll be difficult for anyone to jump ahead of him. But Corey Seager deserves mention for turning in a phenomenal season up to this point. He’s slashing .320/.379/.540. He’s a lock for Rookie of the Year, but he belongs in the MVP conversation as well.
Cy Young Races
The MVP award isn’t the only one that’s up in the air at this point. The National League has been spoiled with starting pitching this season, and with Kershaw being out for last two months, the award is up for grabs. Noah Syndergaard, Madison Bumgarner, Jose Fernandez, Max Scherzer, and Kyle Hendricks are all in the conversation with about five other pitchers. It’s really anyone’s guess who ends up winning that one. The American League is no different with a number of guys pitching well, but no one really standing out.
As rosters are set to expand, September provides us a glimpse of the future. We get to see some big name prospects get their first taste of the big leagues. We may finally get to see Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada, and Dodgers’ pitcher Jose De Leon. It’s also likely that some familiar faces return. Joey Gallo has gotten time in the Majors with the Rangers, and looks likely to make a return. Byron Buxton has also been hitting well in Triple-A, but we’ve heard that before. Regardless it’s likely he’ll make a big league return.