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Three Strikes: The best team on the new circuit continues to make history

When we almost say goodbye to September and smell the highlight of the season in MLB baseball, we already have the first division winner of the American League, which – guess what – is the best team on the new circuit. Also, it is clear what the surprise of the contest is. Do you need a clue to find out? They’re launching a new name and are the youngest band in the business.

Finally, it’s time to take a look at what’s happening in the city of cars, Detroit. The Tigers have made a number of interesting moves recently that are intended to immediately change the future of the franchise. Without further ado, let’s sing the first strike.

First Strike

Before the season began, the Astros were projected as the best team in the American League. When there are 11 days left for the campaign to end, the projection is a reality. The amazing thing is that the sidereals have been the best club on the new circuit in the purest style of Dusty Baker Jr.

With a fearsome offense, one of the best pitching staffs and systematic rotations in the lineup, they have once again conquered the West. In that way, they have won the division title five times in the last six years: “It’s kind of a dynasty,” Baker told reporters last week.

At dawn this Sunday, the Astros had a balance of 100 wins and 53 losses in their 153rd game of the season, which represents their best record in this sample, equaling the hundred smiles they achieved in the first 153 games of 2019. How have they done it? What has been the recipe for success?

The answer falls under its own weight: they have achieved effectiveness in every aspect of the game. For example, his batting ranks sixth in the league in OPS, he’s fifth in home runs and eighth in runs scored. Starting pitching has posted the second-lowest ERA and WHIP, while the bullpen has the best ERA and second-highest strikeout percentage. As if that weren’t enough, his defense is second in OAA (Above Average Outs) and sixth in DRS (Defensive Runs Saved).

In the Astros, a figure stands out who has been the engine of the offense. I am referring to Yordan Álvarez, who, at the moment, leads the astronauts in most advanced and traditional metrics.

The season that the player from Las Tunas is having is only comparable – within the history of Houston – with the one that Jeff Bagwell had in 1994. An example is that they are the only campaigns in which a franchise batter achieved an offensive average over .300 , a .400 on-base percentage (OBP), a .620 slugging percentage. and OPS+ greater than 180. In addition, the two drove in 90 runs and hit 35 homers, at least.

Jeff Bagwell’s 1994 season (age 26): 110 games and 479 appearances. .368/.451/.750/1.201 offensive line, 39 home runs and 116 RBIs. He was selected Most Valuable Player in the National League.

Yordan Alvarez’s 2022 season (age 25): 125 games and 519 appearances. .303/.409/.618/1.016 offensive line, 37 home runs and 95 RBIs.

The West Indian is having such a campaign a year younger than Bagwell. Nor should we overlook the fact that almost three decades have elapsed between the two. That means that in this era, technology and the study of baseball make it more complex to perform. By the way, if Yordan reaches 40 homers in the coming days, he will be the fifth player in the franchise to reach that mark in a season.

Another thing that impresses us about “Air Yordan” is his performance against relievers. In the middle of the bullpen era, the player from Las Tunas shows an elite batting against the firefighters. Wait, don’t you believe me about the bullpen era? Well, let me tell you that in 2022 the closers have achieved the lowest offensive average (.236) and the lowest OBP (.310) in the league, only against relievers, from 2008 to date.

MLB in the seventh: Yordan Álvarez activates the machinery again

Bottom line, Yordan and Aaron Judge are the only hitters this season to have hit 15 homers against relievers and had a .280 or higher batting average with at least 200 plate appearances.

Now, we must not only highlight the performance of the Cuban in Houston, where other hitters have also made a great contribution. Such is the case of Kyle Tucker, who continues to establish himself as one of the best players in this game.

The first mission of the Astros is accomplished, now, they will try to finish the task. At the same time, this should be Dusty Baker Jr.’s last postseason coaching. Which becomes another incentive to seek the World Series title.

Strike Two

The youngest team of the season is about to become the surprise of the year. I present to you the Cleveland Guardians in their first year under that name. If Terry Francona’s troop was looking to strike a blow to authority, well, they’ve done it. They swept the White Sox in a three-game series this week, burying Chicago in its own ballpark.

That way, the difference with the second place in the division (The Sox) is nine games. It’s only a matter of time before a team that had just a 15% chance of reaching the postseason on Opening Day (according to fangraphs), arrives in the promised land.

What have been the keys to your success?

*A decent offense, which benefits from the 10th-best batting average in the league. In addition, it also owns a timely production. Cleveland men have the fifth-most RBIs with runners in scoring position.

*His turnover has been above average, too, one of the least wild. He ranks eighth in walk rate per nine innings.

*The bullpen is one of the best in the business. Figures such as Emmanuel Clase, James Karinchak, Trevor Stephan and Nick Sandlin have stood out in this role.

* The defense is top: Harvest the third highest number of DRS and the fifth in OOA.

* Lastly, they have the third most stolen bases while recording the fourth most baserunning.

We must give credit to a management that handles its players perfectly. Francona, who has had various health problems in recent years, is showing us once again why he is a genius in this sport. One prediction: He should win manager of the year for the third time.

Strike Three Strikeout!

What is the disappointing team in the Central League? That title is disputed between the Tigers and White Sox. At least the felines have made desperate moves to reverse the situation in the short term.

In 2021, their record improved to 77-85 from 47-114 in 2019. That improvement prompted the owner to greenlight a new mode in free agency, buyers.

Before the past begins Opening Daythe cats hired Javier Báez (six years and 140 million dollars) and Eduardo Rodríguez (five years and 77 million).

Together, Báez and Rodríguez cost 217 million and their returns have fallen well below expectations. Add to that the fact that the main pitcher (Casey Mize) of the rotation made only two appearances in this 2022, since he had to undergo surgery for Tommy John surgery.

As the season progressed, the physical difficulties worsened, and at one point, the main pitchers were on the disabled list. Another of the organization’s problems was its mediocre offense, which ranks last in the Major Leagues in home runs, runs scored and OPS.

It has been a disastrous contest for the franchise and that is why there was only one alternative left, to do a cleanup. The Tigers fired the president of operations and general manager, Al Ávila, on August 10. Ávila served in the previous positions since 2015 and, in that period, Detroit was the worst team in baseball with a balance of (478-661).

Scott Harris, who was the general manager of the Giants since the end of 2019, will be in charge of fixing the infrastructure of a franchise, which cries out for a positive turn. How will he do it? It will be difficult, mainly, because he must align all the points, even, in this way, they must still be far from competing.

At least they play in the weakest division in baseball, and that allows a lot of wiggle room. On the other hand, management doesn’t want another rebuild, rather an immediate response with some acquisitions on the active list.

Prospects Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson need to start their engines. Let us remember that both have been sold as the future of the team. At the same time, figures like Matt Maining, Tarick Skubal and Mize must continue to contribute. Big hires have to perform as expected, and lastly, a cleanup of the active roster wouldn’t hurt (some veterans).

All of the above points are subjective. Harris’ path looks pretty rocky, though he’s trodden similar terrain before. In 2021, few thought the Giants would go this far, winning a season-high 107 games. Will something similar happen now in Detroit? Time will have the last word.

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