As we approach the end of May, MLB teams are starting to show their true face.
These three clubs in particular appear poised to contend for a playoff spot.
3. Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins finished last in the AL Central division last year, lost their best player (Byron Buxton) and pitcher (Kenta Maeda) to injuries, and traded a fan favorite slugger (Nelson Cruz) in a rebuilding year.
As it turns out, it was more of a retooling season with an eye on contention this year.
Their faith and their plan has paid off.
They extended Buxton, who is currently healthy and producing marvelous numbers (11 homers, .535 slugging percentage plus excellent center field defense), brought in Carlos Correa and fortified their rotation with Dylan Bundy, Sonny Gray, and Joe Ryan, one of the pitchers they received last year in the Cruz trade.
Oh, and they have shortstop Royce Lewis ready in Triple-A whenever they need him.
Minnesota has done a tremendous job this season, from top to bottom: player development staff, front office, ownership, the manager, and of course, the players.
They are 27-17 and looking like legit contenders.
All of these teams would be in the #postseason if the season ended today.
Will they be there at the end of the year? pic.twitter.com/A2Gn0Z5M5C
— MLB (@MLB) May 18, 2022
2. Los Angeles Angels
The Angels are one of the teams that changed their vibe and their roster in order to take the next step towards contention.
Last year, they missed the playoffs again, but in 2022, they are actually hanging with the Houston Astros.
The Astros lead the AL West, but at 27-18, the Angels are just two games behind.
Mike Trout, who missed most of last season with a severe calf strain, is looking like the best hitter in baseball once again with a .319/.425/.674 line and 12 home runs so far.
The Angels are well-positioned to make the postseason for the first time since 2014.
— Austin Wolford 🐺 (@wolford_16) May 11, 2022
1. San Diego Padres
When it was revealed shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. had a fractured wrist and would miss several months, many people thought the San Diego Padres were doomed.
It’s not easy to go into the season without your best player for several weeks.
But the Padres have gotten MVP-caliber play from Manny Machado, and that has saved their season so far.
The Friars are second in the NL West division with a 28-16 record, just 1.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Machado has slashed .361/.437/.590 with eight home runs and seven steals, and is making sure the Dodgers are within striking distance when Tatis returns.
That should be sometime in June.
San Diego has also received notable contributions from Eric Hosmer, but the pitching has been excellent overall.
They have a good shot at making the playoffs, and Tatis’ impending return will only help.