The Major League Baseball postseason is rapidly approaching, and a number of players were asked important questions leading up to the start of the playoffs.
The Athletic posted the results of their player poll Thursday, where they surveyed nearly 200 current big leaguers to get their thoughts on a number of interesting questions.
Most concerned the postseason, like who they’d want starting a potential Game 7 of the World Series, and which stadium has the most intimidating atmosphere to play in.
deGrom deserves that recognition; after returning from injury this season, he’s been as dominant as ever. He’s struck out over 14 hitters per nine innings, had a 1.74 FIP, while only walking eight hitters in 58 1/3 innings.
If you asked essentially any fanbase across the league who they’d least like to face in a Game 7, deGrom would almost assuredly win that vote easily.
Even if the Mets lose the battle with the Braves for the NL East division, the potential for deGrom to start Game 1 and 5 of a Wild Card Series would be devastating for whoever they face.
The players chose another Met, Edwin Diaz, to close out games, a dramatic reversal of fortune after his high profile struggles in 2021.
Diaz has been dominant this year, however, with just a 1.35 ERA, while striking out more than 50% of the hitters he’s faced.
Based on these results, it seems as if players expect the Mets to be dangerous in October.
Hitters and Stadiums
Hitting was a much more contentious debate, with another survey question asking who players would want up with the game on the line during the World Series.
MVP candidate and 61-home run hitting Aaron Judge took first, with just over 15% of the vote, but a number of other interesting players received votes.
Probably the most surprising was Minnesota Twins second baseman Luis Arraez, who was one of the other top vote getters.
Arraez doesn’t have the name or the power that most would expect, but he’s extremely good at avoiding outs. On top of his .370 on base percentage, he rarely strikes out; just 7.3% of the time this year.
If you need someone to put the ball in play to win a game, there may be no one better than he is. Although thanks to the Twins struggles, he won’t have the opportunity to impact the postseason this year.
While Judge might be the most intimidating hitter, he’s probably helped out by his home stadium too.
Yankee Stadium was voted the most intimidating atmosphere, with Dodger Stadium finishing second.
Many have derided the new stadium as too corporate and laid back compared to the older building, but in big moments the fans still come alive, and the famous Bleacher Creatures are never pleasant for opposing players.
One player detailed how the Yankees fans contribute to the atmosphere with their less than polite interactions:
“Those guys are the most ruthless fan base ever. Those guys are mean. They don’t care who you are. Even if you are the home team, they hate you. I think (Joey) Gallo can attest to that.”
Dodger Stadium though has the highest capacity, and incredibly passionate fans that can create absurd amounts of noise when required. Which it certainly will be if the Dodgers are to win their second title in three years.
Citi Field in New York generated the best quote though, with one player saying, “It’s like playing in a f—ing nightclub in there.”
Who’s Going to Win the World Series?
The most important question though, is who the players believe will actually win the World Series.
There was one overwhelming winner in that category too, with the Dodgers taking 40% of the vote.
Several were reluctant to choose the only team who plays in Los Angeles, but were forced to admit that they’re essentially good at everything: ““Dodgers don’t have any holes, complete from pitching, hitting, defense, they can do it all.”
With the Dodgers at 107 wins entering Thursday afternoon, they’re in prime position to have the most wins by an NL team in 113 years.
Their dominance is far from limited to one year either; with seven games remaining they already have the most wins in back-to-back seasons of any team in the last 50 years.
A 5-2 finish would also give them the best four-year-winning-percentage since the 1907-1910 Chicago Cubs.
While nothing’s guaranteed, it’s hard to imagine a team setting themselves up for postseason success better than the Dodgers.
But then again, they might have to face deGrom and Diaz just to get back to the World Series, and according to nearly 200 players, that’s the last thing anyone should want.