Each workforce has at the least one weak spot, even the most important postseason powerhouses. So let’s check out what they’re for this yr’s area with the postseason about to start.
Here is the most important weak spot for each 2022 postseason contender.
Groups are listed so as of postseason seeding if the season ended in the present day. Stats are by means of Friday.
Yuli Gurriel has been a rock of each Astros postseason run since their championship season in 2017. However, now 38 years outdated, he simply hasn’t been the identical this yr. The reigning AL batting champion has seen his common drop from .319 to .240 in 2022, a profession low for a full season. And Trey Mancini, who might have been an alternative choice at first base, is batting beneath the Mendoza Line since arriving in Houston from the Orioles, with a .184 common.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa simply is not in the identical tier as another star shortstops within the postseason — the likes of Bo Bichette, Wander Franco, Trea Turner and Francisco Lindor. The Yankees introduced him in to attempt to tackle their urgent shortstop query within the offseason, however though he is been an on a regular basis starter and contributed 21 stolen bases, he hasn’t given New York a lot offense (4 residence runs, 85 OPS+), and his protection has dropped off from the place it was with the Rangers (15 errors, -3 Outs Above Common).
Guardians: Lack of arduous contact
Cleveland has a number of hitters having a stable yr, however the workforce’s lack of arduous contact might grow to be a priority within the postseason because it faces ace pitchers and competes in opposition to high-powered offenses. The Guardians simply do not hit the ball arduous, an issue exemplified by their rotating forged at designated hitter, the place they’ve gotten the second-worst offensive manufacturing within the league (68 wRC+). The Guardians’ 33.1% hard-hit price is the bottom within the Majors — they’re the one workforce that hits the ball arduous lower than a 3rd of the time — and their 87.2 mph common exit velocity is the bottom in baseball, too. So is their 4.8% barrel price — which means fewer than one in 20 balls they hit reaches the highest stage of exit velocity and launch angle that is prone to produce an extra-base hit or residence run.
Blue Jays: Rotation depth
Alek Manoah is a bulldog. Kevin Gausman is nasty. Then what? José Berríos was alleged to be a 3rd ace, however he is misplaced his stuff this season, with a 5.37 ERA, a league-high 196 hits and 99 earned runs allowed, and his lowest Ok/9 price since his rookie season (7.8). Ross Stripling has been extra constant, however he does not have the identical electrical upside and does not are likely to go very deep into video games. In the meantime, Mitch White has a 7.38 ERA and Yusei Kikuchi may not even make the postseason roster if the Jays do not belief him in huge spots.
Mariners: Julio Rodríguez’s well being
Julio Rodríguez is the Mariners’ largest energy. Having to play with out him — or with him not at full energy — of their first postseason look in over 20 years could be their largest weak spot. J-Rod is on the injured listing with a decrease again pressure, and the truth that Seattle despatched him to the IL on the most crucial level of the season, with a postseason berth on the road, reveals there’s an actual concern there. The Mariners suppose their rookie sensation will probably be able to go when the ten days are up, but when Rodríguez is proscribed in any respect by his again, Seattle will not be the identical.
Rays: Enjoying on the highway
The Rays, unusually, have had bother profitable on the highway this season, with a 35-42 report away from Tropicana Area, guaranteeing that they will end underneath .500 on the highway. Their .461 profitable share is the worst of any postseason workforce, they usually’re the one contender within the backside half of the league in highway report. That would find yourself mattering, for the reason that Rays are a Wild Card workforce, which suggests they could must play their total first postseason sequence away from The Trop underneath the brand new postseason format.
Dodgers: Rotation stability
Here is one odd quirk concerning the juggernaut Dodgers: they are going to present their opponents a number of the identical appears to be like with their beginning pitching. The Dodgers may run out an all-left-handed beginning rotation within the postseason — Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urías, Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney — relying on whether or not Tony Gonsolin and Dustin Might can construct again up into kind as they return from damage. The Dodgers’ lefties are all excellent lefties, however possibly a workforce with huge righty bats (say, the Cardinals, with Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and Albert Pujols) can discover the tiniest edge there.
This may be Spencer Strider’s well being, because the breakout rookie’s sore indirect is placing his postseason in query. However let’s take a look at Atlanta’s workforce offense. The defending World Sequence champs are probably the most aggressive hitting groups in baseball. Generally that may be a double-edged sword. Atlanta has the best swing-and-miss price of any workforce in baseball at 28.4%. The Braves chase 31% of pitches out of the strike zone, third highest in MLB, they usually strike out in almost 1 / 4 of their plate appearances, additionally third highest. Hitters like Dansby Swanson might be nice once they’re scorching, however once they’re not, it might result in a number of strikeouts (Swanson has 180 this season, in comparison with 47 walks, for instance).
The Cardinals have gotten the fewest swings-and-misses of any pitching workers in baseball, inducing a Main League-low 22.2% whiff price this season. Their 19.7% strikeout price as a workforce is sixth-lowest within the Majors, they usually rank far beneath all the opposite postseason groups. St. Louis’ starters specifically are posting low strikeout numbers, with Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas, José Quintana and Jordan Montgomery all hanging out underneath a batter per inning. If Jack Flaherty is again to his outdated self, that would go a good distance, however in any other case, if the Cardinals want a giant strikeout within the postseason, will they be capable to get it?
The Mets have an elite beginning rotation headlined by Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. They’ve an elite nearer in Edwin Díaz. However the bridge between them has plagued New York at occasions this season. The Mets have setup choices like Seth Lugo, Trevor Might and Adam Ottavino, however the workforce has had an excessive amount of inconsistency in center aid, forcing the Mets to check out starters like David Peterson and Tylor Megill within the bullpen. Somebody has to get these outs in October.
Padres (haven’t clinched): Heart area
Trent Grisham performs nice protection in heart area, however his offense has been nonexistent down the stretch, as he batted .068 in September to carry his season common right down to .182, far beneath the Mendoza Line. Even together with his 17 residence runs this season, that is an issue. And if not Grisham, the Padres must flip to José Azocar, who’s extra a platoon choice, or Wil Myers, who shouldn’t be a real heart fielder. That makes heart area the Padres’ chief postseason concern.
Phillies (haven’t clinched): Protection
The Phillies’ defensive points aren’t any secret; it has been a storyline for the reason that offseason, once they added Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos to a workforce that was already one of many worst fielding groups within the league. And the season has proceeded as anticipated — Philadelphia ranks second-to-last within the Majors at -34 Outs Above Common, which is by far the worst of any workforce within the postseason image (the Brewers are next-closest at -1 OAA, and each different contending workforce is above common defensively). The hope is that Schwarber & Co. will outslug their defensive deficiencies … however will they?
Brewers (haven’t clinched): Contact hitting
(Be aware: Milwaukee trails the Phillies by one recreation for the ultimate NL Wild Card spot)
The Brewers are fortunate they nonetheless have Devin Williams, or their commerce of Josh Hader on the Deadline would make the again finish of their bullpen by far their largest weak spot. However let’s take a look at how their lineup is constructed. Milwaukee has some energy hitters — Rowdy Tellez has 34 homers, Willy Adames has 31, Hunter Renfroe has 28, and so forth. However contact? It is nowhere to be discovered. The Brewers haven’t got one common batting above .260 this season (Renfroe is the “chief” … at .252), and their .235 workforce common is the bottom amongst NL postseason contenders.