September 1, 2066
St. Louis Cardinals (Ryty)
2066 appears to be an exciting year for the Cardinals, one that everyone else throughout baseball points to as another reason for hate, and one that St. Louis fans point to as a result of their perfect culture. By the numbers, the Cardinals shouldn't be anywhere near the playoffs, and yet they currently sit atop the Wild Card standings in the West with a comfortable three and a half game lead. They're winning percentage has them as the #5 team in baseball, and their 27-17 record in one run ballgames speaks to the #4 bullpen in the west. The fact that they only hold a +12 run differential speaks to how AWFUL the Red Birds rotation is considering they also have a top 5 WL offense. The Cardinals might be in LUCK with only one month to go and the Twins, one of two teams with a realistic chance of catching them by season's end, also has an expected record that tilts in their favor. As it currently stands, the Chicago White Sox pose the greatest threat to usurp the Cardinals from their Wild Card spot.
Detroit Tigers (redwings8831)
It appears as though the Detroit Tigers are in jeopardy of winning the "CxMACx10 Floppy Finish Award" for 2066. What started out as a promising campaign for the Tigers with a 55-29 record on July 1st, the Tigers have gone -13 over the past two months and stand in jeopardy of losing their grip on the division. It certainly appears as though there will be at least two representatives in the playoffs from EL Manuel Division, but with how tight things are on September 1st for the entirety of the Eastern League, nothing seems guaranteed. Logically, the fact that the Manuel Division will continue to beat up upon one another means that by the second week of October, nothing is guaranteed. That's not even where the bad news ends for the Tigers, as they currently have an expected record that provides some wiggle room in the negative direction. What's even more interesting is that both teams featured in this month's article are constructed much the same way: top five offense and bullpen, with absolutely awful starting rotations and defenses. This September should prove to be a fascinating finish to another unpredictable season.
SS Chandler Robinson, Texas Rangers (HarkTheSound)
It's not a secret that the Texas Rangers value talent up the middle, and Chandler Robinson certainly fits that bill. Chandler has a career slash line of 292/309/386 and is actually performing better than all of those numbers especially after a August where he 306/346/408. Those numbers are inflated by a .417 BABIP and the fact that Robinson didn't take ONE walk throughout the entire month of August. Robinson's performance is of the utmost importance as the Rangers remain nipping at the heels of the Cubs while at the same time trying to maintain their control of the Wild Card. Robinson isn't a perfect hitter, but he does exactly what he's supposed to, ESPECIALLY when his team needs him most. LOVELY.
SS Tom Erwin, Baltimore Orioles (Jmustang1968)
Oh what a mess we have in the Eastern League. The entire playoff picture hangs in the balance of one hot month or one untimely injury, both things that characterize Tom Erwin. Tom Erwin is what most baseball professionals consider to be a defensive specialist, a career +52.7 glove at shortstop whose career offensive numbers look like 233/333/347. Sure, a career 681 OPS at SS for a defensive wizard isn't awful, but it certainly didn't lead anyone to believe that in the month of August he would put up a 317/412/378 line (thanks to a .433 BABIP) before getting sidelined for the month of September. Erwin also set the world on fire in June, but was back to his putrid offensive performance for the rest of the year. We think that even though regression was clearly on its way, it's still a loss for the Orioles considering the glove they'll be missing at short for an important division race against the fading Tigers. Either way, this was a clear sign of LUCK for Erwin in August and BAD LUCK for the Orioles in September.
SP Jonathan Vance, Vancouver Vandals (KJLamb23)
There's not much to say about this kid that hasn't been said, but after the numbers he put up in August, we're going to talk about him anyway. 2066 is Vance's fifth year in the league, and the kid is only 26. That fact is enough to make everyone consider blowing it up and embracing the process. What's more is that Vance has been a big reason that Vancouver finally started playing competitive baseball, having finished first or second in their division for what should be four consecutive years. The Vandals appear to be on the precipice of their second playoff bid in the franchise's short history, and Vance made sure to make that possible with his August performance. Vance threw 42 innings, had an 11.4 k/9, and a WHIP of 1.12 with a BABIP of .356! That's taking bad luck and telling it to kiss off. Jonathan is the definition of LOVELY.
SP Tim Miller, Chicago Cubs (Roggie)
Everyone was scratching their head when the Cubs rushed Miller to the big leagues, but it appeared as though the team knew something others didn't in regards to Miller's development. The ratings didn't lie and Miller has been striking out major league hitters all year, but to gain talent in painting the corners and keeping the ball in the park was just icing on the cake. On the year, Miller has some great numbers, no one can deny that, but they have certainly been aided by an astonishingly low BABIP that hit a ridiculous .196 in August. Part of that can be attributed to the strikeouts. Part of that can be attributed to the Cubs 3rd ranked defense in the West. But anytime anyone puts up a .196 BABIP, regression has to be on the way - especially for a rookie who was in AA ball just last year. It will be interesting to see how the Cubs deploy Miller in the playoffs, especially with other seasoned arms like Richard Brodsky and Clarence Clark. Miller is LUCKY and LOVELY (for now).