With the MLB playoff race in straight sizzle mode, The Shadow League ranks the top 10 teams with roughly 10 days and 10 games left to play in the regular season. Let’s start with our First 5.
1. San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are the surprise of MLB this season. The Giants won three World Series in the past decade (2010, 2012 and 2014) so they aren’t total strangers to winning. This particular team, however, wasn’t expected to do much competiting against star-studded squads in the National League West Division like the Dodgers and Padres.
This 2021 team has a lot of the same personality. A collective effort has gotten San Francisco to this point. The Giants don’t have any MVP candidates, but they do have one emerging star in rookie outfielder Lamonte Wade Jr.
They are also very balanced. San Fran enters the weekend with the second-highest wRC+ (142) and the second-most runs scored (750) and hits (1275) in the National League. Pair that offensive efficiency with an elite bullpen (2.75 ERA in September) and it’s not a stretch to call the Giants the best team in MLB.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers had a chance to erase San Francisco’s lead in the NL West last weekend, but some trouble in Cincinnati prevented that. Los Angeles remains the favorite to win the World Series despite the results.
A postseason rotation of three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler, and Clayton Kershaw, with a loaded Dodgers lineup to back them, makes this team extremely difficult to beat in a playoff series.
3. Tampa Bay Rays
Rookie sensation Wander Franco is nearing a return from injury, and that will be a huge boost for the Tampa Bay Rays’ World Series hopes. The Rays can win without him in the regular season, especially when sleepers like Brett Phillips keep delivering late-game heroics.
Franco’s game-changing ability makes his postseason presence mandatory for a team looking to take the next step.
The consistency of the Rays’ rotation is the only concern as they gear up for October and a possible return to the World Series.
4. Milwaukee Brewers
It’s been an amazing year in Milwaukee with the Bucks winning their first NBA title in 50 years. Now the Brew Crew looks to bring a Fall Classic title to “Cream City.” The NL Central race was decided over a month ago. Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta are an outstanding playoff rotation.
Set up man Devin Williams put on a masterclass during the Milwaukee Brewers four-game homestand in which the Brew Crew took three out of four games against the defending World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. @carrpediem21 has the full story on https://t.co/d5pfLsCroD pic.twitter.com/fbpIh0Ayu0
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) May 4, 2021
The key to Milwaukee’s playoff run will be its dominant bullpen led by Josh Hader, Devin “Airbender” Williams and multi-inning specialist Aaron Ashby.
5. Houston Astros
It’s late September so you know what that means — here come the Houston Astros. Alex Bregman is healthy and this team hasn’t lost a series since its early September matchup with the San Diego Padres.
The “Stros” are taking full advantage of a light schedule to end the regular season and it will carry them to the AL West title. It would be great to see Dusty Baker win that elusive World Series title, even if it is with the hated Astros.
Stay tuned for teams 6-10 in our MLB Power Rankings