September has finally arrived, which means we are extremely close to the start of playoff baseball. There has been a little shuffling since our first “way too early” Wild Card Rankings, so let’s take a look at the entire playoff picture this time before we dive into our WC update.

 

Way Too Early Wild Card | Who Makes The Cut?

 

The New York Yankees looked like a juggernaut the last time we checked in, but lately things have been shaky in the Bronx. Now you may read that sentence and say “How is that possible? Aaron Judge is crushing every baseball thrown his way.” While this is true, the Yankees have seen their double-digit lead in the division dwindle down to five games as we head into the home stretch. 

Judge may set the Yankees’ single season record for home runs, but if he doesn’t get help from his teammates the Yanks could still stumble down into a wild card spot. Giancarlo Stanton has returned to the lineup, but so far it seems he didn’t bring his bat back with him. Stanton has slashed .080/.179/.080 in his last seven games, notching just two hits in his last 25 at-bats.

While the Yankees have fallen off some, Dusty Baker’s boys once again look like a machine in the AL West. The Astros have won seven of their last 10 and are 15 games above .500 both at home and on the road. The Astros haven’t missed a beat since our MLBbro Michael Brantley went down for the season, although his bat and leadership are certainly missed. 

“Michael’s a big part of this club,” said Baker when asked about the injury. “Not only on the field but a big part of the club in the clubhouse and the dugout and on the planes.” Brantley was hitting .288 with 14 doubles, five homers and 26 RBI while still playing a solid left field before he went down. The 35-year-old Brantley will become a free agent after this season, so his time in H-Town may be over.

Two of the three division leaders in the American League have already eclipsed the 80-win mark… and then there’s the AL Central. Labeled by many as the weakest division overall in baseball, both teams tied for the division lead have yet to win 70 games. Neither team was projected to win the division, and the way they’ve played recently it seems like no one wants it. Triston McKenzie’s Cleveland Guardians have gone 2-8 in their last 10 games, which allowed Minnesota to catch them despite losing Byron Buxton for a stretch.

Wild Card 

This year there will be three Wild Card teams, and there are a bunch of MLBbro’s in the mix. J.P. Crawford and the Seattle Mariners are poised to break their 20-year playoff drought and currently have a two-game lead over the field. The Tampa Bay Rays are ranked second, and George Springer’s Toronto Blue Jays are currently holding down the third and final spot.

Cedric Mullins and the Baltimore Orioles, a team we aren’t used to mentioning in any playoff conversion, are right on the Blue Jays heels. The Orioles are 2.5 games out of the final playoff spot, and we all know how quickly a 2.5 game lead can disappear in September. 

Buckle Up.

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