Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson is renowned for what he achieved in the postseason. In the 1970s, he played for six American League champions and earned five World Series rings and two World Series MVPs.

In the 1977 World Series against the Dodgers, Jackson — then with the New York Yankees — went yard three times in Game 6 and became the first player in MLB history to hit five home runs over a three-game span in a World Series. For his domination in October, Jackson earned the iconic nickname “Mr. October.”

Who could be this postseason’s “Mr. October”? Below are five strong candidates. (All stats are through Thursday.)

Nick Castellanos | Phillies right fielder

Through nine games, Castellanos has five home runs, seven RBI, 10 hits and scored seven runs. He is batting .313 with a .361 OBP.

Against the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series, Castellanos became the first player in MLB postseason history to hit two home runs in back-to-back games.

In March 2022, the Phillies signed Castellanos to a five-year, $100M deal, in part, to deliver in the clutch. His teammate, Bryce Harper, reminded him during his monster home run binge against Atlanta.

“That’s why you’re here,” Harper told him, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. “That’s why I wanted you here.”

In Game 1 of the NLCS against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Castellanos delivered his fifth home run in a three-game span, tying Jackson as the only players to accomplish the feat in the postseason.

Bryce Harper | Phillies first baseman

This postseason, Harper burnished his reputation as a player who shines when the lights are brightest.

In 28 at-bats, he has seven RBI, 10 hits, 11 runs, four home runs and is batting .357 with a .539 OBP.

Since joining the Phillies in 2019, Harper has proved to be one of the best clutch hitters in Phillies and postseason history. His “Bedlam at the Bank” home run sent the Phillies to the 2022 World Series.

Following Tommy John surgery on his right elbow during the offseason, Harper moved from his original position, right field, to first base.

“Harper sees baseball at both macro and micro levels,” Phillies reporter Todd Zolecki of wrote. “He can speak to the state of the game like few players can. He can dissect the tiniest detail from a game, like a savant.”

Yordan Alvarez | Astros DH/left fielder

Alvarez has torn the cover off the baseball in the postseason, leading all hitters with six home runs and 13 RBI and tying Harper for the lead in runs with 11. He has 13 hits and is batting .419 with a .457 OBP.

“Night after night, series after series and now year after year, Yordan Alvarez is the body around which the Houston Astros rotate,” Gabe Lacques of USA Today wrote. “Digging them out after they fall into a hole, influencing outcomes even when he’s two, three or four spots away in the lineup.”

The Astros power hitter needs four home runs to tie Randy Arozarena’s mark for most home runs in a postseason. Arozarena accomplished that feat with the Rays in 2020.

Jose Abreu | Astros first baseman

Alvarez’s teammate, Abreu, has shined in his first postseason with the Astros. Batting a respectable .258, Abreu has 11 RBI, eight hits, four home runs, six runs and a .343 OBP.

Abreu and Alvarez are the first pair of teammates to each hit four-plus home runs and drive in 10-plus runs in their team’s first eight games of a postseason.

Abreu is bouncing back from a rough regular season in which he batted .237, in large part due to a lumbar spine inflammation injury. During his struggles, Abreu even reached out to the original “Mr. October” for advice. 

“Maybe Abreu sought out Jackson because he’s a former MVP, someone who could relate to Abreu’s challenges as a slugger with high expectations for himself,” ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote.

Josh Jung | Rangers third baseman

Jung is one of the chief reasons the Rangers reached the American League Championship Series against Houston. In Game 3 against the Astros, he blasted two home runs.

Jung has not only done his part on offense. Per Rangers infielder Corey Seager, he’s a “vacuum” on defense. 

“Anything that’s hit to him, he catches,” Seager said. “For my opinion, that’s a Gold Glove finalist.”

Through nine postseason games this season, Jung is one of three Rangers (joining Mitch Garver and Adolis Garcia) with eight RBI. He is tied for the team lead in hits (11), runs (eight), home runs (three) and is batting .324.

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