Baseball Factory Alumni Ready To Write Their Own Stories in MLB Postseason
The 2016 Major League Baseball Postseason is just hours away as the quest to crown a new World Series champion begins with Wild Card games in Toronto (tonight) and in New York (tomorrow night).
The Baltimore Orioles finished second in the American League East with an 89-73 and shared the same identical record as the Toronto Blue Jays (also 89-73) with the Blue Jays hosting the play-in game based on a better head-to-head matchup. Both teams capable of hitting the longball, the Orioles led the majors in homers with 253, and the Blue Jays themselves finished with 223, finishing fourth in the majors.
Some notable Baseball Factory alumni are looking to have a great start to the postseason, like Orioles SS JJ Hardy, 2000 Team One National participant, who batted .269 with 29 doubles, nine homers and 48 RBI in 115 games, providing the O’s with his always-steady glove in the infield this season.
For the Blue Jays, 2015 MVP 3B Josh Donaldson followed up his award-winning season in ’15 with a .284 average, 37 homers, 99 RBI, 122 runs scored and a career-high 109 walks drawn in 155 games. Donaldson was a 2004 Baseball Factory Pre-Season All-American.
In the National League, the defending National League Champion New York Mets hung on to claim the top Wild Card position and a home game for the fans at Citi Field on Wednesday night. The Mets weathered the storm, losing some of their most talented pitchers to injury in ’16 to make the postseason, while in San Francisco, well, it’s an even year – and if you believe in superstition, or just at the numbers in general – its the Giants year to win the World Series after winning it all in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
Brandon Belt, another alum from the Cape Cod High School All-Star Game, put together his best season in the majors this season, hitting .275 with 41 doubles, eight triples, 17 homers and 82 RBI to go along with 104 walks in 156 games.
Once the Wild Card round wraps up, Divisional play begins, as the winner of the Orioles/Blue Jays game faces the Texas Rangers. Meanwhile in the NL, the winner of the Giants/Mets game will face the Chicago Cubs, who won a season-high 103 games in 2016.
Other Factory alums are looking to help their teams advance deep into October as well.
Rick Porcello – The former Cape Cod High School All-Star could potentially be adding ‘Cy Young’ to his list of accomplishments after a season in which he won 22 games for the Boston Red Sox. The 27 year-old right-hander from West Orange, NJ bounced back in a big way from 2015 where he finished with an ERA of almost 5, to a 2016 campaign where he threw three complete games, pitched 223.0 innings and struck out 189 hitters. The ace of the staff is expected to be the Game 1 starter as Boston travels to Cleveland to face the Indians on Thursday night.
Francisco Lindor – Lindor dazzled at short for the 94-win Indians this season, providing highlight-reel plays in the infield and becoming a young leader at the dish. The Indians eighth-overall pick in the 2011 Draft hit a tick above .300 (.301), upping all of his offensive statistical categories in his first full season in the bigs. In 158 games, Lindor hit 30 doubles, 15 homers, 78 RBI, scored 99 runs, stole 19 bases and walked 57 times in his All-Star season. We first caught a glimpse of Lindor’s stardom at an Under Armour Baseball Factory National Tryout in Bradenton, FL and later that year in the Team One South showcase.
Bryce Harper – The reigning National League MVP had a down season, but is still an integral part of the Washington Nationals success this postseason as they await the Los Angeles Dodgers in a Game 1 tilt at Nationals Park on Friday. Harper still posted solid numbers across the board and stayed healthy, playing in 147 games. He hit just .243 but hit 24 homers, drove in 86, stole 21 bases and walked 108 times in 2016. Harper attended an Under Armour Baseball Factory National Tryout in Las Vegas, NV back in 2008.