MLB Week in Review (August 21-27)

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The postseason race continues in the MLB with teams running to the end of the season and looking to find their way to the postseason.

As teams get into the last push to the postseason they will all be looking to their superstars to lead the way.

They start looking to those players that have had the biggest impact on the field for their team.

The league is also watching as the award season is fast approaching and a number of players have separated themselves as the best of the best.

Through this much of the season there are only a handful of players that have a chance at the major awards in the MLB.

Some of the awards don’t even have that battle though as there are clear leaders in many of the awards while only a few battles remain.

In the Rookie of the Year race two players have emerged as the favourites and have remained favourites since the start of the year.

When the season started all of the talk was about super rookie Kris Bryant who had lit it up in Spring Training for the Cubs.

He was the biggest name rookie in the league and although he had a few weeks in the minors to start the year he came in and continued his great play into the season.

Despite a July slump Bryant remains the easy choice in the National League for the Rookie of the Year with a .265 average along with a .850 OPS, 20 home runs, and 77 RBIs Bryant is leading all rookies in most of the significant batting stats.

Meanwhile his 4.8 WAR, according to FanGraphs, leads all rookies as his season has come as advertised.

Right behind Bryant in all of those major categories is the likely American League winner for Rookie of the Year, Carlos Correa.

He was ranked as one of the top prospects in the MLB and missed much of the start of the season as the Astros kept him in the minors.

They called him up in June and since then he has solidified his spot in the major leagues and proven the hype.

He is currently batting .278 with a .856 OPS, 15 home runs, and 43 RBIs. His WAR is 2.8 and so far he has not had much of a slump at any point in the season.

The Rookie of the Year races are not the most entertaining and despite the talent of some other rookies both Bryant and Correa have pulled away from the pack.

The Cy Young race is a little more interesting as the National League will likely see the award come down to two teammates to determine the best pitcher.

Clayton Kershaw is constantly in the conversation as there is no doubt that he has been the best starter in the last few years.

With three Cy Young Awards already, Kershaw has not slowed down with a 2.29 ERA, 22 strikeouts, 32 walks, and a WHIP of 0.92 while batters are hitting .203 against him.baseball-sidebar

His biggest competitor to add yet another Cy Young award is Zach Greinke who has had a great year.

Greinke has a 1.67 ERA, with 155 strikeouts, 29 walks, and a WHIP of 0.85 with opponents batting .191 against him.

Nobody has a better WAR than Kershaw with a 6.2, Greinke’s is only 4.8. It could come down to a battle of new stats against old stats in the NL with Greinke ruling the old stats and Kershaw ruling the new stats.

In the American League the battle is huge with plenty of players having an opportunity to win. Chris Sale, Sonny Gray, Dallas Keuchel, Chris Archer, and David Price all have a shot.

Once again it could come down to new versus old as Sale seems to be the leader in stats like WAR, 5.8, while Gray leads the AL in ERA (2.10), WHIP (0.98), and Opponent’s ERA (2.00).

It will be a tough last month for all of these pitchers as they try to separate themselves from the pack.

In the MVP race the two leagues are polar opposites as the National League really has one option while the American League is quickly becoming a tough race.

The National League has been rules by Bryce Harper who has a .332 average along with 31 home runs, 76 RBIs, and a 1.095 OPS. He also leads the MLB with a 7.3 WAR ranking according to FanGraphs and there is really nobody close to him unless he enters a slump for the end of the season.

In the American League there was nobody even close to Mike Trout for most of the season until Josh Donaldson went off after the all-star break.

Trout is currently hitting .295 with 33 home runs, 73 RBIs, and a .970 OPS. Donaldson is hitting .299 with 34 home runs, 101 RBIs, and an OPS of .945.

Their WAR rankings are also close with Donaldson owning a 7.0 rating and Trout a 6.9 rating on FanGraphs.

Unless one of these two slumps to end the season this could be the closest MVP race in recent memory.

As big as these battles will be none of the potential award winners even cares at this point as every one of the potential winners is in the heat of the postseason race and as long as they can help their teams get in and stay in the playoffs an award means nothing.

As they try to do that they continue to make their case for the awards with plenty of games to play and more than enough time to clinch or lose these major awards.

Extra Innings
(More on this week in baseball)

Blow to Yankees Hopes
The New York Yankees are struggling to keep up in the AL East race and their postseason race just got tougher as CC Sabathia has been placed on the 15-Day DL and although he will return after his stint on the DL he may have to pitch from the pen rather than provide starts

Schilling Done
Kurt Schilling has never been known to have a quiet manner as he has always been outspoken which made him great for TV until he compared extreme Muslims to Nazis which earned him a suspension from ESPN and possibly the loss of his job

Decision Time for Manfred
Rob Manfred has not had to make any extremely tough decisions in his first year as the Commissioner of Baseball but there is one that everyone is wondering about as he announced that he will have a decision on Pete Rose by the end of the year

Key Series:
Pittsburgh Pirates 3 – 1 San Francisco Giants
– The Giants are trying to avoid their recent postseason curse as they try to make the postseason after winning the World Series for the first time in the last few year but this is not re way to go about it losing three games to a wild card holder

Toronto Blue Jays 3 – 0 Los Angeles Angels
– The Blue Jays continued their strong end to the season as they swept the Angels pushing LA out of the wild card and pushing themselves past the Yankees into the lead for the AL East taking control for the time being

Houston Astros 2 – 1 New York Yankees
– The Yankees took over the AL East lead before the week began and then they ran into the Astros who took two games from them and caused them to fall behind in the race for the AL East as the Blue Jays moved ahead

San Francisco Giants 2 – 1 Chicago Cubs
– Once again the Giants were on the path to trying to find their way into the postseason and took on one of the two wild card teams to get their as they beat the Cubs in a three game series gaining a game on the Cubs in the wild card race

Upcoming Series:
Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins [August 28/29/30]
– There is plenty to play for in this three game series as the Astros continue to try to put distance between them and everyone else in the West while The Twins continue to fight for the wild card spot they had only a few weeks ago

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox [August 31/Sept. 1/2]
– The Yankees have fallen behind in the AL East race and nothing would be better for their long-time rivals than to make them fall even further behind the AL East by taking them down in this three-game series

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants [August 31/Sept. 1/2]
– The Giants are not only fighting for the wild card but they are in the toughest NL division battle as well as they enter a new week only 2.5 games behind the Dodgers as they try to move into the lead in a very important series

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Milwaukee Brewers [Sept. 1/2/3]
– The Pirates are trying to once again make the postseason and this time make a bigger impact but they will need to earn their spot first and against the Brewers they hope to extend their lead in the wild card race

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