10 players under the most pressure the rest of the MLB season, including Gerrit Cole and Cody Bellinger

Solely 19 days stay within the 2021 MLB common season, and as of Wednesday morning, 17 teams are within four games of a postseason spot. There’s a lot on the road these subsequent 19 days, together with awards races and pursuits of historical past.

Presently of 12 months each participant feels the strain to carry out, although some really feel extra strain than others. The star shortstop and ace pitcher are counted on to do greater than the platoon outfielder and swingman within the bullpen, for instance. With that in thoughts, listed below are 10 gamers feeling heightened strain because the common season winds down, listed alphabetically.

I do know Cody Bellinger is having a foul 12 months, and but each time I take a look at his numbers, I am shocked at simply how dangerous he is been. He owns a .159/.237/.295 batting line, which is “worst hitter in baseball” kinda stuff, although he stays a superb defensive heart fielder. The Dodgers try to chase down the Giants for the NL West title and Bellinger is attempting to a) assist them try this, b) safe a spot on the postseason roster, and c) shut down any hypothesis he could possibly be non-tendered within the offseason. I feel non-tendering a participant with MVP upside can be insane regardless of how dangerous he is been this 12 months, however there was hypothesis it might occur. A robust end would resolve a number of issues for Bellinger himself and likewise the Dodgers. 

Very quietly, Mark Canha put up an .869 OPS from Opening 2019 by way of Might 2021, a high 25 mark in baseball and on par with larger names like José Abreu (.874), Max Muncy (.871), and José Ramírez (.866). Then he missed a few month with a hip subject at midseason and he did not hit in any respect when he first returned (.599 OPS in his first 37 video games again). Canha has began to come back across the final two weeks or so (5 homers in his final 13 video games) and the Athletics want it. They’re preventing for his or her postseason lives proper now. Additionally, Canha is a free agent-to-be, so he is enjoying for a contract. That is a double whammy of September strain.

Merely put, the Yankees are tried to keep away from a collapse, having gone 5-12 since their 13-game profitable streak. The offense is struggling, the bullpen is blowing leads, and the starters aren’t pitching deep into video games. Seven instances within the final 13 video games their starter failed to finish even 5 innings. Gerrit Cole returned from a minor hamstring subject Tuesday evening and might be requested to shoulder a lot of the load the remainder of the season. At this level, the Yankees want Cole to dominate and eat up innings in his last 4 common season begins to have an opportunity at a postseason berth. Something lower than that, they usually’ll seemingly go dwelling in three weeks.

This has been a contract 12 months to overlook for Michael Conforto. The 28-year-old was some of the productive hitters in baseball from 2017-20, however he began this 12 months terribly, taking a .196/.322/.321 batting line into August. The Mets as a workforce are averaging solely 3.97 runs per sport, fourth fewest in baseball. Offense has been an issue all 12 months. Conforto has been higher of late (.274/.381/.459 since Aug. 1) and two and a half good weeks to shut out the season could possibly be sufficient to maintain the Mets related within the postseason race into the ultimate weekend, and likewise tack just a few million onto what looks like Conforto’s inevitable one-year “show your self” contract this winter.

Coming into the season the Padres have been a stylish World Sequence decide and why not? They’d the third greatest file in baseball in the course of the shortened 60-game season they usually have been MLB‘s most energetic workforce over the winter. Issues haven’t gone based on plan although, and San Diego is 8-21 since Aug. 10. They’re attempting like heck to hold across the wild-card race. Yu Darvish began the season very effectively (2.44 ERA in his first 16 begins), although he is struggled these days (5.74 ERA in his final 11 begins), whereas additionally spending a while on the injured listing. The Padres did not commerce for Darvish to deliver him alongside for the experience. They traded for him to be a difference-maker, and he was that pitcher earlier within the 12 months. The Padres want Darvish to get again to that to keep away from what can be an embarrassing collapse ought to they miss the postseason, particularly with Blake Snell now injured.

The Red Sox rotation has been a little bit of a rollercoaster this season. They have been superb (a lot better than anticipated) early within the 12 months, then they crashed again to Earth a bit, and now they’re coping with a COVID-19 outbreak. Chris Sale is at present out and Nick Pivetta simply returned this previous weekend. By all of it, Nathan Eovaldi has been Boston’s rock, offering high quality innings each fifth day. Just like Cole and the Yankees, the Pink Sox want Eovaldi to pitch effectively and eat up innings to safe a postseason berth. He is the man they do not wish to have to fret about each 5 days the remainder of the season.

Nothing comes straightforward for the Phillies. They’ve questions past Zack Wheeler within the rotation, the bullpen all the time appears to be shaky, and the offense is inconsistent at greatest. Bryce Harper is having a celebrity season and perhaps not getting sufficient credit score for it given Philadelphia’s place within the standings. He is smashed 32 homers and leads baseball in OPS (1.033) and OPS+ (179). The Phillies are kinda sorta perhaps however not likely within the postseason race at this level, and there is mainly zero likelihood they make it if Harper slumps even a tiny little bit these last two and a half weeks.

On paper, the Mariners don’t have any enterprise being within the postseason race. Their minus-60 run differential is worse than the Rockies (minus-48) and Tigers (minus-56), they usually’re one of many lowest scoring groups in baseball. Seattle has hung around the race because they’ve been insanely clutch, and stalwart Kyle Seager owns a1.056 OPS with runners in scoring place. He’s the membership’s longest tenured participant and most harmful left-handed bat. He is additionally enjoying for a contract. Seager’s contract features a membership choice for 2022 that’s now approaching $20 million by way of escalators, and if the Mariners decline that, he’ll be a free agent. First issues first: Seager desires to assist Seattle attain the postseason for the primary time since Ichiro’s rookie 12 months. He’ll fear about his contract after that.

The Blue Jays have stormed up the standings in latest weeks because of a high-powered offense and a rotation that’s 4 deep in above-average starters (José Berríos, Alek Manoah, Robbie Ray, Hyun-Jin Ryu). The bullpen has been shaky at instances (OK, shaky all 12 months), although nearer Jordan Romano has been glorious. The offense goes to attain runs and the rotation goes to offer high quality begins just about each evening. It is on Romano (and his bullpen mates) to make each lead arise. Toronto cannot afford to led any leads slip away at this level within the postseason race.

At any given second the Giants have solely three pitchers within the rotation. Johnny Cueto and Alex Wood (and Tyler Beede) are harm, which places a number of duty on younger Logan Webb. The 24-year-old is having a truly excellent season with above-average strikeout, stroll, and floor ball charges throughout the board. Veteran righties Anthony DeSclafani and Kevin Gausman are below strain as effectively as a result of the Giants want them to contribute amount and high quality (a number of good innings, not simply innings), however Webb is being requested to try this in his first full 162-game season. To this point, he is excelled, and San Francisco wants it to proceed.

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