30 MLB teams fight year in and year out to get into the postseason, regardless of the Commissioner’s preferences.
However, it’s clear that the league has certain preferences when it comes to which stars make it into October.
Here are three players that MLB needs in the playoffs.
3. Aaron Judge
The New York Yankees may be underperforming on the season as a whole, but they have been playing a lot better lately and are actually very close to occupying a postseason spot.
They are currently 66-52, just two games behind the Boston Red Sox for a Wild Card spot and with a big series against them in the next few days.
The Yankees are filled with stars, but the best of them all is Aaron Judge.
He has hit nine homers in his last 30 games, and has increased his season tally to 26 round-trippers even though he has missed several games with health issues, including COVID-19.
He is currently slashing .288/.376/.530 with a .906 OPS.
Judge is the best player on the most popular team in MLB, so it’s pretty clear that MLB needs him in the postseason.
The Yankees still have work to do to secure a spot in the playoffs, but they are in a good position to fight until the very end, in large part thanks to Judge.
2. Fernando Tatis Jr.
His combination of speed, power, and flair is almost unmatched in the league, and he has been single-handedly carrying the San Diego Padres all season long despite playing with a left shoulder subluxation since April.
For the year, Tatis is slashing .299/.377/.673 with 33 home runs, 23 stolen bases, and a 1.050 OPS, all while missing nearly a month worth of games.
The problem is that his place in the postseason is in jeopardy for a variety of reasons.
First, there is his shoulder.
He has aggravated his injury a couple of times already and may need season-ending surgery at some point.
Only Fernando Tatis Jr can go 4-5 with 2 HR’s on one shoulder. He’s the clear cut MVP.
— Luke (@ImLukeGarcia) August 16, 2021
The other issue is that the Padres, his team, have been scuffling a bit lately and have had problems holding on to the second Wild Card spot.
Right now, the Friars are third in the National League West division behind the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
They are the owners of the second and final Wild Card spot with a 67-54 record, but the Cincinnati Reds are very close, at 1.5 games behind, and the St. Louis Cardinals are not far behind either.
MLB would probably prefer the Padres holding on to their playoff berth so Tatis can be in the postseason.
1. Shohei Ohtani
Ohtani, with hitting and pitching prowess, is perhaps the biggest attraction in MLB at the moment.
Of course the league would prefer to have him, and Mike Trout, in the postseason.
However, their team, the Los Angeles Angels, aren’t looking particularly likely to make the playoffs.
Ohtani has been with the Angels since 2018, and he still hasn’t played in October.
With/ without Trout or Ohtani the Angels have not been a postseason team.
— Gil Jacome (@giljacome74) August 13, 2021
Right now, the Angels are 9.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot, which seems like an impossible task with only a month and a half of the season left to play.
Whereas Judge and Tatis will likely be fighting for a spot in October baseball until the very end, Ohtani and the Angels will likely be on the outside looking in yet another time.