As the playoffs approach on Friday, a great deal of uncertainty surrounds who is the “top dog” of the American League. While the Astros sit atop the American League, one can make an argument for the Yankees or even the Guardians who have caught fire as of late.
AL West Champs- Houston Astros
From 2017-2021, the Astros have put together the second-longest string of ALCS appearances in MLB history.
The Astros pitching rotation has proved to be lethal yet again, with an abundance of reliable pitchers sitting in their bullpen.
At the ripe age of 39, Justin Verlander has made a legitimate case to be this year’s Cy Young Award winner. The future Hall of Famers ERA currently sits at 1.80 after collecting 17 wins this season.
Will Justin Verlander win the Cy Young?
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 2, 2022
A quality start is a statistic assigned to starting pitchers that pitch six full innings and allow three earned runs or less. This year, Astros pitcher Framber Valdez has proved to be among the league’s most efficient by setting an MLB record for consecutive quality starts.
Despite only having one position player hit over .300, the Astros had few collective struggles at the plate this year. With their regular starters combining to hit just below .270, Houston has proven to be among the league’s most consistent at getting on base.
Designated hitter Yordan Alvarez leads the way with a .301 average, belting 37 home runs this year. The 2021 ALCS MVP earned his first All-Star appearance this season.
AL East Champs- New York Yankees
Outfielder Aaron Judge has the attention of baseball fans across the nation as he is nearing the American League single-season home run record. The 30-year-old is hitting for an average of .311 while knocking in 130 runs.
61 years since 61.
Aaron Judge has written his name alongside Roger Maris in baseball's record books. pic.twitter.com/1V4Gums34C
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 29, 2022
Despite posting an average of .227, Anthony Rizzo has displayed his usual power at the plate. The three-time All-Star has hit 32 home runs and brought in 75 RBIs.
Pitcher Nestor Cortes’ intricate, delayed wind-ups have generated a great deal of attention from fans this year. The 27-year-old pitcher has posted an ERA of 2.44 while winning 12 games and losing four.
Toronto Blue Jays
Those in charge of assembling the Toronto Blue Jays should feel quite comfortable knowing that both of their most reliable hitters are under the age of 25.
"They have won in the minors. They are destined to win in the majors".
Buck Martinez today on these two baseball brothers: Bo Bichette & Vladdy Guerrero Jr.
They are Blue Jays and they will take us to the World Series! pic.twitter.com/AmNJlpk2r1
— RapsLeafsJays (@RapsLeafsJays) October 1, 2022
Shortstop Bo Bichette has pieced together a batting average of .289 while knocking in 93 RBIs. He also found success on the base paths this year, stealing 13 bases in 21 attempts.
First baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. leads the team with 31 home runs while posting an average of .273
Pitcher Alex Manoah earned his first All-Star appearance this season. The 24-year-old’s ERA currently sits at 2.44 after winning 16 games.
AL Central Champs: Cleveland Guardians
The Guardians’ recent hot streak has allowed them to clinch the AL Central. Cleveland has won 11 of their last 13 games, this month their record is 22-5
Despite wrapping up one of the most statistically unimpressive seasons of his career, pitcher Zack Greinke has found success as of late. The 39-year-old pitched seven scoreless innings last week against the Royals.
Amed Rosario’s month of September has been among the league’s best. In the past 15 games, he has hit for an average of .318, bringing his average on the year to .280.
Second baseman Andres Gimenez leads all batters with an average of .302. The Venezuelan infielder earned his first All-Star appearance this year.