Jun
16
2021

The American League Below .500 Club: Who Can Still Make The Playoffs?

This club is probably one of the less fortunate in the MLB this season. As of right now, there are six teams below .500 in the American League, and three of those teams are either at or near 20 games below the .500 mark. The other three teams are within five or fewer games of .500.

The closest American League team in this club of below .500 is the Seattle Mariners, currently sitting a few games below the .500 mark. So based on all of that information, which American League club in this conversation has the best chance to make the playoffs? Let’s discuss.

It would make the most logical sense to pick the Mariners to finish their season strong and make the wild card at least. However, there is one other team in this club that I think could make some noise late if they can stay healthy; that is the Kansas City Royals. Sounds crazy, I know, but there is a chance.

With so many AL teams near the .500 mark, the Royals currently eight games out of a wild card spot. Kansas City’s strength of schedule for the remainder of the season puts them at basically a 50-50 shot to make the playoffs. If I’m the Royals, those are phenomenal odds considering the number of injuries that have happened even before the All-Star break and the number of losses stemming from losing key players.

The Royals have the right pitching, but they have either been injured or have not found a rhythm. Kansas City also features an offense that should easily score 4-5 runs a game, but again, it is simply a lack of execution. Any team with the number of games where they should have won but fallen short can quickly turn things around.

My favorite example of this is the 2019 World Series champion Nationals. They started at the bottom or near the bottom of the division before All-Star Break and ended the season as champions. Now, before it seems like I am suggesting the Royals win the whole thing, that is not what I am saying. I am simply stating that Kansas City has the right pieces and system to win a bunch of games in the back half of the season and make the playoffs.

Down the stretch of the season, Kansas City will need to clean up their pitching and, hopefully, have their full bullpen at their disposal. If the Royals can also manage to produce runs and support their pitching staff, which sounds fundamental, wins will roll in left and right. Keep in mind that most of this is a prediction, or a hopeful prediction, to be exact. There is plenty of baseball left in the season and plenty of time for teams to turn the ship around.

My pick to turn the ship around is the Kansas City Royals. Call me crazy, but it could happen, and the Royals could be playoff-bound for the first time since 2015, and man, what a time that would be for the other Kansas City team to be competing in the playoffs once again.

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