AL Playoff Outlook: Stars the Orioles could face
AL playoff outlook: potential stars the Orioles could face
The Orioles have officially clinched their first AL East division title since 1997. With the division locked up, all eyes point towards the postseason and a potential World Series berth. However, some superstars could pose potential threats to Baltimore's World Series aspirations. Will they be able to handle these big leaguers?
1B Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
When you think of the best hitters in baseball, Detroit Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera certainly lands at the top of that list. The 31-year-old slugger and two-time reigning AL MVP is batting a superb .318 with 23 home runs, 103 RBI as well as 48 doubles, two shy of his career high in 2005. The month of September has been phenomenal for Miggy, and he will enter the postseason with a hot bat.
SP Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers
The reigning 2013 AL Cy Young award winner will not reach his win total of 21 from last year but he still ranks as the Tigers' ace for October. Scherzer has been masterful once again this season, winning 16 games and striking out more than 230 batters through mid-September. He will be a terror for opposing batters when he starts for the Tigers, a team that boasts one of the best starting rotations in baseball.
SP David Price, Detroit Tigers
The Tigers traded for 2012 AL Cy Young winner David Price on August 1st, establishing the Detroit staff as one of the best in baseball. However, the lefty hurler has experienced ups and downs since coming over from Tampa Bay. A front line of Scherzer, Price and Justin Verlander will be a tough slate for opposing batters come October. Especially if Price can elevate his game back to it's 2012 level.
CF Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Similar to Miguel Cabrera, Los Angeles Angels CF Mike Trout immediately jumps to mind as one of MLB's best hitters. The 23-year-old superstar, arguably the favorite to win the 2014 AL MVP, boasts a .291 batting average with 34 home runs, and Major League leading 107 RBI. An active center fielder and electric base runner, Trout could be the best all around player in baseball. Come playoff time, teams will need to take extra caution when Mike Trout steps into the batters box.
SP Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels
The AL leader in wins (17) will be a force for the Los Angeles Angels during the 2014 postseason. With Garrett Richards lost for the year due to a torn patellar tendon, Weaver has stepped up admirably as the anchor of the Angels rotation. Although his home run and walk rates are up from years past, Weaver continues to be an excellent ace for the Halos.
SP Matt Shoemaker, Los Angeles Angels
Rookie sensation Matt Shoemaker will be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time. The reigning AL Rookie/Player of the Month for August has set an Angels franchise rookie record with 16 wins and is 7-0 with a 1.29 era in eight late summer starts. Despite a strained oblique, Shoemaker isn't expected to miss much time and will look to be lights out for the Angels in the postseason.
SP Jon Lester, Oakland A's
For the sixth time in his career, Jon Lester reached the 15-win plateau and proved to be a tremendous asset to Oakland A's. Acquired in late July from the Boston Red Sox, Lester bolstered an already fantastic starting rotation in Oakland with another potent arm. Lester's post season track record speaks for itself, as he has the second best ERA in World Series history at 0.43 ERA (minimum 20 innings pitched). The experienced Lester could be a big help in Billy Beane's quest for a world title.
3B Josh Donaldson, Oakland A's
Oakland 3B Josh Donaldson will enter the post season as the A's marquee hitter. The team leader in various batting categories including batting average, home runs, RBI, runs and OPS, the third year player will pose a major threat to opposing pitchers. The A's will rely heavily on the bat of their 2014 All-Star.
LF Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals
A pleasant surprise, the Kansas City Royals have been one of the AL's better teams in 2014 thanks in part to impressive batting from LF Alex Gordon. Gordon leads his team with 19 home runs, 70 RBI with 70, and 83 runs. A leader in the middle of the Royals batting order, Kansas City will count on his bat to carry them into the postseason.
CP Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals
As the Royals make a late season postseason push and bid for the second wild card spot, no player might be more important to KC than closer Greg Holland. Coming off a recent triceps injury, Holland returned to the mound recording a scoreless inning of work against the Boston Red Sox. Holland has accumulated 42 saves this season ranking him among the top closers in the American League.