MLB Week in Review (August 17-23)

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September is coming for the MLB and that means one of the most interesting times in the league for the teams with not a lot to get excited about.

The postseason race is in full swing with teams fighting for their spots to play October baseball but the number of teams in the hunt is reducing as the days go on.

Many teams have no shot at making the postseason but mathematically are still in it but for the most part, the race is down to a handful of teams with a real shot.

For those teams making their way to the end of the season without anything left to play for, September becomes one of the most fun times of the year.

The players may not enjoy it as much, especially the veterans as September means the beginning of expanded rosters.

For the month teams get to bring more players to the major leagues in what was originally created as a way to give some relief near the end of the season.

September call-ups were a chance for teams to bring up players and give some of their starters who have been playing for five straight months some extra rest before the postseason.

It is still used that way especially as teams lock up their spots in the postseason and have less to play for at the end of the year.

The extra rest will give them the time they need to recover before games become much more important.

That doesn’t really o a lot for the teams not playing as they don’t need to rest anyone with no games coming up after the season.

Instead, teams without a chance at the postseason use their expanded rosters to get a serious look at some promising players.

This is their chance to see what they have in the farm system as they prepare for the future of their team.

Players get called up and get to compete in the big leagues trying to prove that come next season they should be a part of the team.

It can almost be seen as an early tryout for some of the most promising players in the league and for teams it gives them a real look at good players against better competition.

If a player can prove that they belong they will likely have a better chance at making the main roster next year.baseball-sidebar

For some teams, this is the chance for them to figure out what they need to do in order to be competitive next season.

The Toronto Blue Jays might be the perfect example of a team in this situation as they are sitting in the middle of the pack in the American League.

They may still be in the running for a postseason spot mathematically but the reality is that they will miss the postseason this year.

They are a team in transition as a few years of exciting baseball in the city has given way to a disappointing season.

The team is a mix of potential and veterans on their way out of the league making them a great example for September call-ups.

The season hasn’t gone the way that many had hoped but throughout the last few years, there has been a lot of talk about the players in their farm system.

They have a good young group of players coming through their farm system with five players in the top 100 prospects and two sitting in the top ten.

Most of the talk has surrounded the #1 ranked prospect in all of baseball, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who has lit up social media with big home runs.

At every level, he has proven to be too much for pitchers to handle and it seems like a matter of time before he makes the main roster.

Right behind him is Bo Bichette who ranks #9 and has been tied with Guerrero since they entered the MLB system.

The Jays may decide to play it smart with both as calling them up right now would put them in some contract issues with both players in the future.

They may not be called up but the Jays are happy to take a look at the rest of their young crop and have already put their plans into action.

Danny Jansen is the #79 ranked prospect in the league and was called up this week to prove that he is the catcher of the future for the Jays.

Meanwhile, Toronto has been using a host of young arms including earlier call-ups Ryan Borucki and Sam Gaviglio along with Thomas Pannone and Sean Reid-Foley.

The season might be over for the Jays this year but as the season ends fans in Toronto and fans for so many other teams have something to watch.

When the rosters expand teams preparing for the future will get a glimpse into what they have and things could get exciting with a peek into a lot of potential for teams with not much left to play for.

 

Extra Innings

A New Classic

It is a throwback to the beginning for so many MLB players as the Little League World Series is underway in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The MLB followed so many other leagues and took advantage of that connection to create a special game beginning last year that they deemed the Little League Classic. It was a chance for players and little leaguers to come together in a celebration of the sport. This year the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies were the teams given the chance to head to some old stomping grounds for some. The Mets took the win 8-2 in a game that looks like it is not going anywhere with everyone getting something out of it and the MLB reconnecting with their roots.

Generational Point of View

It is the debate that will never end no matter the year as it was going on 20 years ago and will go on 20 years from now. The evolution of the game is something that the older generation of players cannot get on board with. The game is not like the one they played as strikeouts and home runs are taking over making balls in play a rarity.  This week Goose Gossage, who is never shy to offer his opinion, gave his take on the new game claiming that he cannot watch it any longer. The game will forever be changing and as much as many think it needs fixing there will always be a generational gap when it comes to sports and the evolution of the game leading some to wonder if there really is anything that needs to be fixed.

Verlander Moving Up

Justin Verlander has been widely considered as one of the best pitchers of the era and this week he earned a significant accomplishment to justify that title. Verlander earned his 200th win on the mound becoming the 117th pitcher to achieve that milestone. Earlier this year he reached his 2,500th strikeout and with his 200 wins becomes one of only three active pitchers with both accomplishments. AS his career begins to wind down there will be no doubt that in this era of baseball Verlander’s name will consistently be among the biggest and best names to take the field.

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