Which Baseball Teams Will Reign In September?
- Updated: May 15, 2014
It’s been such an overloaded year in sports that it’s hard to remember that baseball season is in full swing (excuse the pun). So now is as good a time as any to take a crack at predicting the long term future of the majors by seeing which baseball teams will reign in September (click here for more 2014 World Series news).
We’ve been treated to a few bags of surprises this year, and gauging whether or not these upstart teams have the lasting power to make an impact in the playoffs is what we’re here to discuss.
DISCUSSING THE AMERICAN LEAGUE
Perhaps the hardest division to really figure out remains the American League East. You could probably see this coming. The big name squads like Boston, New York and Toronto have been adequately mediocre with the Jays still posting the most attractive longshot odds in the division at 40-to-1 to win it all. Tampa has been atrocious this season while Baltimore has been the biggest surprise of them all. The fact that every team in the AL East keeps beating each other like a circus of bumper cars isn’t helping clear up the picture.
Of course, we had the same problems with this wayward division last year when the Boston Red Sox somehow emerged as World Series winners yet again. Go figure. The Orioles are performing at a higher rate than expected, but their overall roster quality suggests that this isn’t sustainable. Their biggest problem is run differential, and that’s what’s made Baltimore backers so squeamish over the past two seasons. In 2014, they’re actually giving up more runs (4.12 per game) than they’re earning themselves (4.08 on offence).
So if we’re going to be talking about which baseball teams will regain in September, we might have to look elsewhere.
ARE THE OAKLAND ATHLETICS FOR REAL?
It’s cheesy to just state that the division leaders are the best overall teams to back but that’s how things shake down in this league for now. The American League doesn’t have that many strong rosters, but right now the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics look like the best overall teams to get behind. The Tigers have the pitching, and the their hitting has been just as productive as when Prince Fielder left town and any team that boasts a stable of aces that they do has a chance to reign in September.
There are a ton of question about the Athletics, who sit atop the west division ahead of the Angels, but they’re getting harder and harder to ask. Eventually you have to look at the numbers and take them for what they are, and right now they have one of the best run differentials (a blissful 2.01) and some of the top overall aggregated stats through the first forty games.
Detroit has remained the favorite to win it all since the preseason, but Oakland has been creeping through despite a lack of superstar power. It sincerely feels like a second apex for famed general manager Billy Beane.
GRADING THE NATIONAL LEAGUE
Due to the ever changing quality of rosters in the national league, and the lack of depth overall, there are a lot more contenders on this side of the majors. The Colorado Rockies, LA Dodgers and Atlanta Braves all deserve your attention. And no, “Colorado Rockies” was not a typo.
However, no two franchises are more intriguing than the Milwaukee Brewers and the San Francisco Giants. There are massive concerns with the offenses of both teams, but their pitching and team defenses have been astounding as of late. The Brewers and Giants rank fourth and fifth in overall defense throughout the league right now. A team can improve and show flourishes of brilliance with a bat in hand at the plate. Suddenly stumbling upon reliable defense and pitching numbers doesn’t happen later on in the year.
As is usually the case when we do these write ups in mid-May it’s too early to tell what’s going to happen with over 100+ games left to paly on the schedule. However, early surprises like Oakland and Milwaukee have shown a glimpse of staying power that’s worth getting behind. These stretches have gone on too long to suggest that their mere pan flashes, though it remains to be seen if they’ll have the endurance to reign in September.