Ranking which teams could be the fans’ choices for October favorites this MLB postseason

Sep 11, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Gunnar Henderson (2) slides to score in the eighth inningagainst the St. Louis Cardinals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Gunnar Henderson (2) slides to score in the eighth inningagainst the St. Louis Cardinals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
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PHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 12: Corbin Carroll #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates with Geraldo Perdomo #2 of the Arizona Diamondbacks following the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-0 win over the San Diego Padres of the MLB Game at Chase Field on August 12, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Arizona Diamondbacks snapped a nine-game losing streak with their 3-0 win over the San Diego Padres. (Photo by Rebecca Sasnett/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 12: Corbin Carroll #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates with Geraldo Perdomo #2 of the Arizona Diamondbacks following the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-0 win over the San Diego Padres of the MLB Game at Chase Field on August 12, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Arizona Diamondbacks snapped a nine-game losing streak with their 3-0 win over the San Diego Padres. (Photo by Rebecca Sasnett/Getty Images) /

8. Arizona Diamondbacks. The D-Backs haven’t won since 2001, and they haven’t really contended since losing to Colorado in the 2007 NLCS. They have some dynamic young talent in the persons of Gabe Moreno, Ketel Marte, Alek Thomas and Corbin Carroll. Having said that, Arizona plays out west and is rarely seen by most fans. If they get going, the Diamondbacks have the opportunity to become a fan favorite.

7. Chicago Cubs. Any Cubs team is going to rank relatively high in lovability just because they’re the Cubs and they play in Wrigley Field. This team, which has gone from 10 below .500 to 10 above .500 in a couple months, could be an especially strong pull. There are attractive young faces in the forms of pitcher Jordan Wicks and infielder Christopher Morel, either of whom is capable of exciting young, unattached fans to make the Cubs fan favorites.

6. Miami Marlins. The Marlins are young, they look sexy in those party-colored Miami unis, Luis Arraez is going to win the batting title, and they’ve got guys named Jazz, Nick, Sandy and Eury. Plus, they do it on a payroll that’s measured in nickels. They won’t win the division and will be pressed to make it as a Wild Card, but that’s OK. The Marlins’ two World Series wins (in 1997 and 2003) both came as Wild Cards. Plus, if you root for the Marlins and they win, the postseason party is sure to be epic.

5. Cincinnati Reds. If you are moved by fresh faces, Cincy is Fresh Face City. The average age of the roster is a childish 27.2 years, making the Reds easily the youngest team in postseason contention. That roster includes Spencer Steer, Elly DeLa Cruz, Will Benson, TJ Friedl, Matt McLain, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Andrew Abbott, who as a group make Hunter Greene and Jonathan India look old. The Reds are top five in the NL in runs, triples, stolen bases (they’re tops here), strikeouts and most of the esoteric adrenalin-based categories. They may lose, but they’ll go down in a blaze of glory.

4. Seattle Mariners. Last season, when the Mariners broke a 21-year postseason drought, they were the people’s choice. A heartbreaking playoff loss to the Astros ended that dream. But it did acquaint fans with players of the stripe of the Big Dumper and J-Rod. On nicknames alone, the Mariners are favorites. They’re also young with an average age of just 27.9 years. But what the M’s really do is pitch; they’re third in fewest runs allowed per game, second in ERA and second in Fielding Independent Pitching.

3. Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers have a lengthy and largely undistinguished playoff history. They’ve made six appearances since 2008, four of them since 2018, but are only 13-19 in October play. Yet there is reason for hope. Behind Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and closer Devin Williams, the Brewers are first in ERA, second in run per game allowed, and second in ERA+. Fans who like a well-pitched game will gravitate to Milwaukee.

2. Tampa Bay Rays. Like Charlie Brown, the Rays are getting yet another shot at kicking the football in 2023 and everybody’s hoping some Lucy doesn’t pull it out from under them again. Despite the third-lowest payroll in baseball, the Rays will make a fifth straight postseason appearance this fall. They lost in the 2020 World Series.

1. Baltimore Orioles. From the standpoint of picking up available fans, the Orioles are  strong favorites. They have a dynamic young lineup led by Adley Rutschman (25), Gunnar Henderson (22) and Grayson Rodriguez (23), the entire roster is new to postseason play, and (perhaps most importantly) they’re legit. The O’s are likely to lead the AL in victories. If you’re an available fan, what’s better than a roster loaded with young talented players driving a potential champion?

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