Who are the American League World Series Contenders?
Tampa Bay Rays
In a shortened year, a lot of people expected the Rays to be a strong contender with their depth. That has proven to be true as Tampa Bay is in good position to claim the top seed in the American League. They don’t have the big names, but they’ve turned Brandon Lowe into a player that’s in the MVP conversation, they scratch out enough runs on offense and have a ton of pitching, headlined by Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and Charlie Morton. Their real strength though is their bullpen and in October, it’s all about grabbing an early lead and shortening the game. The Rays are in better position to do that than anyone in the American League.
I expected the A’s to be the top team in the AL West given a normal season and that was proven to be the case anyway. This is another team that thrives on its pitching and defense but is getting some nice power production from its corner infielders, Matt Olson and Matt Chapman. Chris Bassitt has been the team’s best starter but they have depth with Sean Manaea, Mike Fiers and the recently acquired Mike Minor. I think the X-factor is going to be Jesus Luzardo. The southpaw has front-line stuff and I see him having a big October. I predicted Rays-A’s ALCS during the winter and I’m going to stick with that.
New York Yankees
This final spot was tougher than I would have thought a month ago to narrow down. I considered the White Sox here because they’re on fire right now but I decided not to because they are a young team in their first year of contention and are going to have their lulls that you can’t afford to have in the postseason. Also, their strength is their offense which could dry up in a short series. I’m not letting the team that has the hot hand right now dissuade me from going with the team I know can really make some noise when they’re healthy.
Relax Yankee fans, it’s going to be okay.
At the end of the day, players are going to come back and the team should be healthy when it matters the most. Especially this year, you just have to get into the postseason and then it’s a new season. This lineup with a healthy Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, and DJ LeMahieu is lethal. Not to mention the big year they’re getting from Luke Voit. I expect Gerrit Cole to get hot down the stretch and the bullpen to right the ship as well. As long as the Yankees finish in second place and avoid playing one of the top two seeds, which I think they will, they can definitely go on a run (and potentially playing the Twins to start off wouldn’t hurt their chances). When everything is clicking, this is a team nobody wants to see in October.
American League seeding predictions: 1-Rays, 2-A’s, 3-White Sox, 4-Twins, 5-Yankees, 6-Astros, 7-Indians, 8-Blue Jays.
(Cover Photo: Adam Hunger/AP)