2017 American League Wild Card Game Preview

Tonight is the night playoff baseball finally returns. If you are a baseball fan, this is the best time of the year. The drama, the excitement, the passion, this is just a few reasons why baseball is awesome and why the postseason make this arguably one of the best postseasons in sports in North America. Tonight and tomorrow will be the most drama filled nights as this will be the Wild Card round where each game is a win or go home scenario, a one game playoff. Tonight will the be the American League Wild Card game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins. Lets take a look at both squads.

Minnesota Twins

Honestly, it’s a joke this team got into the playoffs as they are not a very good team, but lucked out due to a mediocre American League. However, they are now in a position to surprise everyone. They are a rebuilding club that has a lot of potential on offense, but really lack at the pitching department. Here will be their lineup:

Brian Dozier, 2B

Joe Mauer, 1B

Jorge Polanco, SS

Eddie Rosario, LF

Eduardo Escobar, 3B

Max Kepler, RF

Byron Buxton, CF

Jason Castro, C

Robbie Grossman, DH

Starting Pitcher

Ervin Santana, P

Dozier is one of the best hitting second basemen in the game and with him at the lead off spot, it will make things tough for Yankees pitching. Mauer seemed to be a shell of his former self then all of a sudden had a great season at the plate. Having at the two hole will make things difficult. Polanco is one of their top prospects and had a great season after being promoted to help propel this team into the playoffs. Rosario broke out offensively this year and also became their most clutch hitter. Having him in the four hole will be crucial for the Twins. Escobar is interesting hitting fifth in the lineup as he does not have much power, but the team needs him in the lineup at third base with their biggest slugger Miguel Sano out with an injury. Kepler is a talented player and one of the most underrated players in the game. When he fully develops, he could be one of the most exciting players in the league. Buxton was once the highest ranked prospects in baseball, but struggled for a couple of seasons. Now he seemed to have figured it out at the plate and also provides outstanding defense. Castro had struggled for a couple of seasons with Houston, but has thrived with the Twins. Grossman rounds out the lineup as the designated hitter, but he really is only in there to replace Sano. Santana is a veteran pitcher who has been the most reliable starter for the Twins, but his numbers are not very good at Yankee stadium.

Here is the bench and bullpen:


C Mitch Garver

C Chris Gimenez

IF Ehire Adrianza

IF Kennys Vargas

OF Zack Granite

Gimenez has been a journeyman player and Garver is only in there if injuries occur. Adrianza has postseason experience with the Giants and he looks to use it in crucial situations for the Twins. Vargas should be the designated hitter, but he will be their power bat off the bench. Literally don’t know who Granite is so I really can’t give a scouting report on him.


Matt Belisle

Jose Berrios

Buddy Boshers

Alan Busenitz

Tyler Duffey

Dillon Gee

Trevor Hildenberger

Adalberto Mejia

Ryan Pressly

Taylor Rogers

There are lots of guys here who I never heard of until doing this preview. I really can’t assess Boshers, Busenitz, Hildenberger, Rogers, and Pressly. Belisle has been a reliable reliever for the Twins, but he is getting up there in age. Berrios is one of the Twins top pitching prospects and has lots of upside. Duffey is just not very good, but could be used as the LOOGY. Gee used to be a solid pitcher, but has thrived as reliever. Mejia has lots of upside and will likely get the ball if the team is leading going into the bottom of the ninth.

New York Yankees

They also lucked out this year in making it into the playoffs with a mediocre league due to them being in a rebuild, but this team is actually very talented and a good team. But they can’t take the Twins for granted, especially in a one game playoff. However, they are a much better ballclub than Minnesota.

Lets look at their lineup:

Brett Gardner, LF

Aaron Judge, RF

Gary Sanchez, C

Didi Gregorius, SS

Starlin Castro, 2B

Greg Bird, 1B

Aaron Hicks, CF

Jacoby Ellsbury, DH

Todd Frazier, 3B

Starting Pitcher

Luis Severino, P

Gardner is a speedy player, but also has a solid bat. Judge should be the unanimous rookie of the year as he set the rookie home run record with 52, but he also is just a very dangerous hitter in general. Sanchez is an up and coming star who has tremendous power as well. Gregorius is replacing a legend (Derek Jeter), but had a fantastic season. Castro is not quite the same player he was when he was a Cub, but he provides leadership. Bird is a talented hitter, but he has been hampered by injuries. Lets see what he does tonight. Hicks was supposed to be a bench player, but he broke out this season. Ellsbury will be an unorthodox designated hitter and he is a shell of his former self, but he provides speed which should help the Yankees. It is a little surprising to see Todd Frazier hit ninth, but he is a dangerous hitter as he has hit 40 home runs. He also has speed and provides solid defense at third base. I did not agree with Severino to pitch this game as he is very young, but he is a talented and very good pitcher. So time will tell with this decision.

Lets take a look at the bench and bullpen:


C Austin Romine

IF Chase Headley

IF Ronald Torreyes

IF Tyler Wade

OF Clint Frazier

DH Matt Holliday

Romine is the backup catcher who is solid behind the plate. Headley will come into the game in a matchup situation or if they need a late power bat. Torreyes is solid infielder who also has some speed. Wade will be used mainly as a pinch runner as he is very speedy. Frazier is an up and coming player who is one of the top prospects in baseball. Holliday will be a power bat off the bench.


Dellin Betances

Aroldis Chapman

Sonny Gray

Chad Green

Tommy Kahnle

David Robertson

CC Sabathia

Chasen Shreve

Adam Warren

Betances throws very hard, but he is also is one of the best relievers in baseball. Chapman throws even harder (like consistently 100 MPH) and is a dangerous reliever. Gray should be the starter, but is likely included just in case Severino struggles. Green has been a very reliable bullpen guys and solidifies this bullpen a lot. Kahnle came over in a trade, but before he was traded, statiscally was one of the best relievers in baseball this season and he throws hard. Robertson was a closer, but once he came over in a trade, he became the second set up guy. He throws a devastating cutter from which he learned from the best, Mariano Rivera. Sabathia looks to be an emergency reliever and used in long relief. Shreve has been outstanding this season. Warren is a very solid reliever who can also go long if needed.

This really is a easy prediction as the Yankees are simply better, Yankees should win this game. Baseball is a funny game as if the Twins just simply get some breaks and play better, they can upset. Anything can happen in this sport. It is a nice story that the Twins are the first team to lose 100 games a season ago then make the playoffs the next, but they had a lot of luck on their side, but sometimes its better to be lucky than good. However, the Yankees are probably going to come out victorious.

Prediction: Yankees