The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

MLB Postseason Sneak Peak: What We Are Looking Forward To, Hot Takes and World Series Picks


For all those who (perhaps rightfully so) have complaints about the length of the Major League Season, lack of intensity in games, and refer to October as the second month of the NFL season, meaningful baseball is finally here. Well, it has been here for a month or two now as playoff races have heated up. But, enjoy the upcoming month – enjoy the sold-out crowds, enjoy the questionable late-game managerial decisions, and enjoy the almost inevitable Cinderella run (e.g., 2019 Nationals, 2021 Braves, 2022 Phillies). We will not break down every matchup, or fill out a collaborative playoff bracket, but we will each note one storyline we are looking forward to, one hot take we have, and our World Series matchup and winner. 


What We Are Looking Forward to

Zach: The Marlins. Against all odds, the team with the 24th-highest payroll has found a way to sneak into the playoffs. Led by unsung heroes like Luis Arraez, (back-to-back MLB batting champion) Jorge Soler, who won a World Series MVP in Atlanta and hit 36 home runs this year, and newly-acquired trade deadline power bats Jake Burger and Josh Bell, the Marlins boast a well-constructed lineup featuring both contact and power hitters. On the mound, Eury Perez is electric. He’s 6’8/220, he doesn’t turn 21 for another 5 months, and he already may be the Marlins best pitcher. He was placed on the Injured List on September 23, but he would be set to make a return if the Marlins beat the Phillies. The last time the Marlins made the playoffs during a full season, Perez was 5 months old!!

Ian: The Orioles. Everyone saw the improvements made in 2022, but nobody expected the improvements to stick considering the following. The Orioles had the second-lowest payroll in 2023. They have been seven years removed from the playoffs. Since 2010, they have a win-loss ratio of 915-1089 (0.456). If you thought that the past 13 years were bad, from 2000-2010 this number is significantly worse at 698-922, having never won more than 78 games in a single season during that stretch. The Orioles up to date have been one of the worst franchises not only in Major League Baseball but also professional sports since the start of the 21st century. Now sitting atop the American League, with a chance at making it to the World Series for the first time in 40 years, it’s safe to say that the franchise has made a complete 180. How exactly? Unbelievable drafting from the top duo in the front office (Mike Elias GM and Sig Mejdal Assistant GM) paired with equally great player development. While the Orioles are the top dog in the American League, Kyle Bradish and the rest of the rotation are going to have to take an even bigger leap than they did this year if the Orioles are going to win it all. With some solid front-end pitching paired with the same lockdown late-game pitchers they have, the sky’s the limit for this team because we know the offense will perform.

Matt: This year has been one of the most hotly contested NL MVP campaigns in recent memory. Mookie Betts boasts an impressive slash line of .307/.408/.579 add in gold glove defense with elite baserunning and Mookie has amassed 8.3 War Tied for tops in all of baseball. Who is it that he is tied with? That would be Ronald Acuna Jr. Acuna has had a historic season with a monstrous 40 home run, 70 stolen base campaign. Both of these players are studs and have had spectacular seasons but I want to see this battle of individual greatness continue into the postseason. Acuna was not part of the Braves title back in 2021 as he was shelved with a torn ACL. He also was not himself all of last season still recovering from the injury. Injury is no longer a concern, Acuna is a superstar and I’m excited to see him fully back in action during October baseball. Mookie has been one of the faces of baseball for years and has nothing left to prove but another World Series ring is always enough motivation for a player like Betts. There is still uncertainty about who will come out on top for NL MVP, but what is more important for these players is what happens now in the playoffs and I can not wait to see what they have in store for us. 


Hot Takes

Zach: The Dodgers lose to the winner of the Diamondbacks/Brewers Wild Card Series. I have never been a believer in the Dodgers, and I cannot see that changing shortly. Aside from their shortened-season World Series title, they have been notorious playoff underachievers, not having won a full-season World Series since 1988 despite consistently having a top 3 payroll in baseball (2023 is an outlier; they only have the 6th-highest payroll). While the Dodgers have their superstars, Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts, in addition to a deep lineup, rotation, and bullpen, the Brewers and Diamondbacks would both be great tests. 

The Brewers have a scrappy lineup, led by the resurgence of Christian Yelich, offseason acquisitions William Contreras and Mark Canha, and the second-lowest team bullpen ERA in the MLB, only trailing the Yankees. 

The Diamondbacks, division rivals of the Dodgers, are one of the best baseball stories of 2023. Their first trip to the postseason since 2017 will not be led by Paul Goldschmidt or J.D. Martinez, but instead, by budding stars Corbin Carroll and Zac Gallen. Carroll is a phenom, with game-changing speed, power, and fielding, while Gallen should finish second in NL Cy Young Voting, only behind the Padres’ Blake Snell. 

Look for either team to put up a fight against the Dodgers, and potentially send the perennial contenders home packing. 

Ian: The Astros will be a first-round exit. Call me crazy, I know this may seem like the same team that just won the World Series, has had playoff experience for the past eight years. They may still have superstars like Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, and Jose Altuve, but what they no longer have is the pitching. Christian Javier has completely fallen off this year due to his elite fastball suddenly becoming his most hittable pitch. Framber Valdez was and still is their best pitcher, but his ERA has increased by over half a run since last year. Additionally, the new rule changes have favored teams that are very aggressive on the basepaths, which I think mostly every other team on the American League side of the bracket does well. Unless Bregman can get hot and provide that clutch playoff bat he usually is good for, I can’t see this team repeating history this year.

Matt: The Braves do not win the pennant. Picking the field over one team is not usually seen as a “Hot Take” but this Braves team has had one of the most dominant regular seasons we have ever seen. They have set the new single-season team home run record and have amassed a staggering 104 wins. However, with all of that being said I don’t see them making it to the fall classic. Their offense is historic but offense is only part of what wins playoff series. Pitching is the name of the game once October comes around and I still have serious questions about this Braves staff. Spencer Strider, the Braves Ace, has had inconsistent results throughout the season and I don’t see that coming to an end in the upcoming month. Strider is too reliant on just two pitches and now facing elite hitting, batters will be able to tee off on mistakes like they have throughout the season. Bryce Elder has had a nice rookie campaign but has massively overperformed his expected stats and has come back to earth in recent months. Max Fried is a stud who I think will continue to perform well into the postseason. Charlie Morton is a reliable pitcher but not a workhorse who will win you a game. Look, the Braves are awesome. They have a historic offense and a great bullpen with big-name starters, they should make the World Series. However, I do see a weakness within this squad that I think other NL teams will be able to capitalize off it and I don’t see them popping champagne like they did in 2021. 


World Series Picks

Zach: Braves/Astros (Braves win in 5)

I’m picking a rematch of the 2021 World Series, with the Braves hoisting the trophy one game earlier than they previously did. Their offense is simply too dominant, showcasing three 40+ home run hitters (Matt Olson, 53 home runs,  Ronald Acuña Jr., 41, and Marcell Ozuna, 40), with two more hitters slugging 33+ (Austin Riley, 37, and Ozzie Albies, 33 home runs). The only offense that compares to this year’s Braves offense is the 1927 Yankees, arguably the greatest baseball team ever, and who earned the nickname “Murderers’ Row.” 

On the American League side, which I would love to be wrong about, I will be picking the Astros over the Orioles. This is purely a pick based on experience, as from top to bottom, I believe the Orioles have a more well-rounded roster. But the Orioles may have to wait their turn. The Astros still have one of the best lineups in baseball, just won the most competitive divisional race in the MLB, and are two-time World Series Champions with the current core of Altuve, Bregman, and Tucker. The re-addition of Verlander is also not talked about nearly enough. 

Ian: Orioles/Braves (Orioles in 6)

How could I possibly pick against my team here? The odds may be stacked against the Birds here, but when have they not been over the past few years? This team was egregious less than 2 years ago. Everyone knew Adley was coming, but nobody expected this team to turn around the way they have with him being the face of our franchise. Then his buddy Gunnar Henderson emerged as a 21-year-old shortstop phenom this year (hot take this guy is the next Corey Seager) and tore apart right-handed pitchers this year while providing gold glove-level defense at SS/3B. 

How exactly would they stack up against the Braves though? Well, that’s the part where I’m gonna have to admit… They don’t. But that’s exactly why I’m picking them to win the series. In a year where every single moment of the season has felt like nobody thought we could continue beating the odds, why not once more? The Braves are certainly the better team, having my personal NL MVP pick, Ronald Acuna. While they may have the leading strikeout leader in baseball, they might have broken almost every offensive record this season. Oh, and did I mention they also won the most games in baseball this year. Doesn’t matter. Orioles in six.

Matt: Dodgers/Orioles  (Dodgers in 7)

The Orioles are a good baseball team. Top to bottom, they have a top 10 ERA, they are top 10 in OAA a metric that measures defensive ability, and are top 10 in runs per game. They have depth up and down their lineup and their pitching staff is nothing to look past. The AL is particularly weak this year with the Astros not looking like the dominant force the world is used to and the big-spending Rangers pitching staff in shambles after injuries. This opens the door for the young, exciting, and refreshing Baltimore team to put an emphatic exclamation on the end of the rebuild and come away with the AL pennant. 

Although the Orioles are a great ball club, the Dodgers have been the hottest team in baseball since the start of the second half of the season. They have depth up and down the line up with superstars in Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts. Their Pitching is not what they are used to after losing multiple key starters to injuries throughout the season but still anchored by Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw I believe they can get the job done. The Dodgers are perpetually under the weight of expectations because of their location and payroll but this year they have seemed to fly under the radar. This Dodgers team is a fundamentally sound experienced crew that I think can win a ring that will no longer have an asterisk from the COVID season. 


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About the Contributors
Zach Marchick, Assistant Sports Editor
Zach is a sophomore from Washington D.C. majoring in Politics. In his free time, he enjoys reading, playing basketball, baseball, tennis and cheering on D.C. sports teams.
Zach has written for the Sports section of the Bates Student for one year and the Sports section of his high school's newspaper for three years. He aspires to pursue a career in the sporting industry.
Ian McAslan, Assistant Sports Editor
Ian is a junior from Baltimore, Maryland, majoring in Math with a minor in History. He is a pitcher on the baseball team here at Bates, and hopes to one day take his experiences in baseball and create a career in the sport, whether that be through writing, analytics, or a combination of both! Ian has served as a Sports Editor for three of the past four years, two years for his high school, Boys’ Latin School of Maryland, as well as being an assistant sports editor last year for the Bates Student.

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