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MLB World Series: How could each team come out on top?

The race to the World Series has begun, here are the ways each team can be the best team in baseball for 2017. Photo courtesy of Getty Images - Jon Durr

The race to the World Series has begun, here are the ways each team can be the best team in baseball for 2017. Photo courtesy of Getty Images - Jon Durr

Justin Couchot

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As the regular season for professional baseball comes to a conclusion, playoff baseball has just begun.

Let’s take a look at how teams may fare in this postseason:

AL Wildcard: New York Yankees

The 2017 Yankees remind me of the 2014-2015 Kansas City Royals. A young team with some young power but a very strong bullpen. If the Yankees have a chance at going all the way this year, they are going to have to do just what they did in the wildcard-deciding game against the Twins. After rocky starting pitching, their bullpen came in and allowed one earned run over the next eight and two-thirds innings and power hitting outfielder Aaron Judge stayed hot hitting his first career playoff home run and number 53 on the season.

AL West: Houston Astros

While the Astros are lacking in playoff experience, they definitely are not lacking in All-Stars experience. Possibly the biggest trade deadline pickup was Justin Verlander for the Astros. Along with the three All-Star team starter, the Astros had this year, including ace Dallas Keuchel who went 14-5 with a 2.90 ERA for the Astros this year, Verlander has come over and been lights out for the Astros going 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in five games for the Astros. The ‘Stros hope that this one-two punch will carry them to victory.

AL Central: Cleveland Indians

The Indians have made an example of the excitement of late-season baseball. Get hot at the right time and it is amazing what can happen. After a not-so-hot start to the season, the Indians won 22 games straight, the second longest in MLB history. The Indians key to playoff success? Don’t fall victim to the plunge that comes with a peak.

AL East: Boston Red Sox

With a starting rotation that includes 2016 Cy Young Award Winner Rick Porcello, 2017 Cy Young Award hopeful Chris Sale, and 2016 and 2017 All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel on their team, the Red Sox are hoping to ride this trio to victory. The X-factor for them will be utility man Eduardo Nunez who is fighting back from injury and since coming over from the Giants in late July, has been nothing short of amazing for the Red Sox.

NL Wildcard: Arizona Diamondbacks

Led by five time all star Paul Goldschmidt and veteran starting pitcher Zach Greinke who once again had great years, the Diamondbacks picked up slugger J.D. Martinez who managed to slug 29 homers in just 62 games with the D-Backs giving them the late boost they needed to make the playoffs this year. In order to keep their hope alive, these three will need to stay red hot for the Diamondbacks. They hope to pair this power with the youthful speed they displayed in the Wildcard game with four triples and make a deep run in the postseason.

NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers go into the postseason as the number one team according to their record. With five hitters with 20 or more homers, their closer converting 41-42 saves and first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger running away with the NL Rookie of the Year, the Dodgers look to stay hot.

NL Central: Chicago Cubs

Unlike the Astros, the reigning World Series Champion Cubs have the opposite problem. After retaining many players from last year’s team, and several of those having down years, they have still managed to make it to October. With star pitcher Jose Quintana now added to the rotation, the Cubs are hoping this and excellent chemistry will carry them through.

NL East: Washington Nationals

One of the biggest X-factors for the Nationals will be the health of starting pitcher Max Scherzer and his latest setback with his hamstring. The Nats have a team anchored by young flamethrower Stephen Strasburg and flashy outfielder Bryce Harper, but are also backed by an infield who all have hit .300 or higher this season. They will be a force to be reckoned with this postseason.

For a full look at the postseason schedule, see here.

Justin Couchot can be reached at [email protected] or @JCouchot_Sports on Twitter.

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MLB World Series: How could each team come out on top?