As the MLB season approaches September, teams and players are entering their home stretch.
This is when the season is truly decided for many clubs, as they find out whether they are contenders or pretenders.
Much of the pressure then falls on the players to step up and lead their team.
Here are three that fans should keep an eye on to have a standout September.
3. Bryce Harper
Before Friday, Harper hadn’t stepped on the field since June 25 when he was hit by a pitch and broke his left thumb.
Time to call up this Bryce Harper guy pic.twitter.com/S26RJQAXSk
— Crossing Broad (@CrossingBroad) August 23, 2022
In that time, the Philadelphia Phillies caught fire and thrust themselves into a playoff position.
Now, they are welcoming back the reigning MVP at just the right time, inserting him into the middle of a thriving offense.
Because of all this, Harper is going to be transformed into the heart and soul of a playoff team.
If Harper can return and play at a high level, the Phillies will instantly play better.
Such a run would allow the team to hold their Wild Card position and boost their hopes during the playoffs as well.
It could also help cement Harper’s legacy as a next level player in the sport of baseball.
With so much on the line, it’d be hard not to believe that Harper will have a blistering end to the season.
2. Anthony Rizzo
In his time with the New York Yankees, Anthony Rizzo has been one of the team’s most consistent hitters.
The lefty provides serious pop in the middle of the lineup, while also proving to be a tough out to put away.
Being in the midst of a resurgent season has allowed the veteran to be in the middle of a playoff run.
— Baseball Today (@dailymlbtweets) August 21, 2022
His 28 home runs rank second on the team, and are nearing his career-high in a single season.
After starting the season hot, Rizzo has been far from performing at the level that the Yankees want.
It is no surprise then that they are struggling in this time, as their inability to put together long at-bats and starting to bite them.
This final month could be really important for Rizzo.
He has the chance to step up and lead the Yankees, taking pressure away from Aaron Judge.
Seeing the progression of his season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see that Rizzo appear down the stretch.
In fact, the Yankees need it before they start a playoff run.
Look for Rizzo to string it together in September before the postseason.
1. Francisco Lindor
New York Mets shortstop Francisco Linda is a big reason why the team is playing so well this season.
He has played well above league average, driving in runs and being one of the best defensive options in the league.
Francisco Lindor this season:
— Starting 9 (@Starting9) August 20, 2022
His 21 home runs and .266 average have put together a 4.8 WAR, which puts Lindor towards the top at his position.
He has quietly put together an impressive bounce-back season.
As such, the Mets sit on top of the NL East with a legitimate chance to make a run this October.
However, it is all going to come back on Lindor.
He signed his massive contract extension for this very reason: to bring a championship back to the Mets.
The final month of the season will have Lindor playing under a microscope, and it’s the exact pressure the shortstop may need.
It will prepare him for the playoffs, and make the New York expectations a little easier to deal with.
Because of this, Lindor will undoubtedly be among the players to watch in the final month of the season.