The Student News Site of Pine Crest School

PC Paw Print

The Student News Site of Pine Crest School

PC Paw Print

The Student News Site of Pine Crest School

PC Paw Print

A Sprint to the Series: Painting the MLB Playoff Picture

Photo Credit: All-Pro Reels/Patr
Outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr, NL MVP frontrunner, slides into home plate

For Pine Crest students, the end of summer means seeing friends, getting back into schoolwork, and trying to get a great start to an eventful year. For the baseball fans in our community, this time signifies the end of the regular MLB season, paving the way for playoff baseball. 

What does the MLB postseason picture look like? It’s not clear. As of the writing of this article, there are countless ways that the final few weeks of the season can play out. 

Here’s the National and American League favorites for this year’s title:


NL Favorites: Atlanta Braves

Braves INF Ozzie Albies warms up.

Why the Braves might win the World Series:

Atlanta has the best record in MLB. Their roster consists of MVP-frontrunner Ronald Acuna Jr, MLB home-run leader Matt Olson, MLB strikeout leader Spencer, and arguably the best catcher in baseball: Sean Murphy. These standouts, alongside a stellar supporting cast, comprise the best team in MLB in terms of pitching and batting, alongside an above average defense. 

This is without a doubt the best team in the league, and the World Series is theirs to lose.

Why they might fall short:

There is no statistical reason for the Braves not to win the World Series. That, however, does not mean they cannot lose. The almost fated nature to this season’s conclusion will put an immense pressure on the team’s winning it all. There is no competition for the title of baseball’s best team, therefore anything short of a championship will assuredly be seen as an egregious disappointment. Additionally, it is rarer than one might expect for a league-best team to win the World Series. 

There is no guarantee that they will win; anything can happen in October. 


AL Favorites: Houston Astros

Astros 2B Jose Altuve steps up to the plate.

Why the Astros might win the World Series:

The reigning champions look to repeat. 

Top ten in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in batting, fielding, and pitching, this Astros team is solid on all fronts. Anchored by veterans Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker, and Framber Valdez, this team has been a constant force in a volatile AL West division. Bonafide stars Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve have dealt with injury throughout the season but are healthy and hot at the right time. Emerging star Chas McCormick has only added to the output, producing far more than expected.  

This is a seasoned group of players used to the bright lights of the postseason. They might not be the best AL team record-wise, but they have far fewer question marks surrounding their playoff aspirations than their competitors.

This Astros dynasty might have more left in the tank. 

Why they might fall short:

The Astros just don’t play well against winning teams. They have a sub-.500 record when facing these teams. Unfortunately for the Astros, beating winning teams is the name of the game in the postseason.  

Additionally, rotation ace Framber Valdez has cooled off significantly since the first half of the season, with his second half Earned Run Average two points higher. He’s produced good numbers for the team this year, but that is only because of his early productivity. He’s regressing when his team needs him to be performing at peak level.

Without Valdez dominating, who will lead the Astros’ rotation? It is unclear at best.


The Competition

It’s the Dodgers and Orioles that the Braves and Astros must worry about, respectively. 

The Dodgers are the only other NL team that come close to the Braves’ record, led by former Brave Freddie Freeman and superstar Mookie Betts, two of Acuna’s competitors for the NL MVP award. The team is deep, although injury riddled, and has the potential to defeat the Braves in any given series. The Braves still have an edge here, however slight.

The Orioles are the AL’s best team by record. This season, they were simply better than the Astros. They just happen to be incredibly young: they have one starting position player over 30. The Orioles are led by rising stars, many of them under 25. This year might be the one everything comes together for this team, but they will likely need more playoff experience to become true World Series contenders. This will be a formidable opponent for the Astros, no-doubt, but the more experienced team will likely have the edge.


The Braves and Astros are the most likely teams to win it all in their respective divisions. A rematch between these two goliaths would be entertaining for fans and great for MLB. However, other teams in the race would love nothing more than to defy expectations and steal the title from under these teams’ noses. And who knows, maybe even the almost-but-not-quite eliminated Yankees will shock the world and get their 28th championship ring. 

You can speculate as much as you want, but when the umpire yells “Play Ball!” all you can really do is watch. 






NY Times

Sports Illustrated 

Baseball Reference

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