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The first two rounds of the 2023 MLB postseason are complete and four teams are still standing. Excluding strike-shortened and pandemic seasons, this is the first time in history none of the final four teams won more than 90 games. The teams with the five best records in baseball this season went a combined 1-13 in October. Yikes.

The American League Championship Series begins Sunday and will be an all-Texas series: Astros vs. Rangers. Over in the NL, the Championship Series begins Monday. That one will feature the Arizona Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies. Those are two first-time matchups. The Astros and Rangers have never met before in the postseason. Same with the D-backs and Phillies.

MLB hands out two (really three) awards each the postseason: World Series MVP plus one MVP for each of the two Championship Series. There is nothing to recognize the best player in the Wild Card Series or Division Series though, and we're here to right that wrong. Here are our hypothetical Wild Card Series MVPs and now here are our Division Series MVPs.

Astros: Yordan Alvarez

The easiest call of them all. Alvarez had a monster ALDS against the Twins, going 7 for 16 (.438) with two doubles and four home runs in the four games. He drove in six runs. Setting the minimums at four games played and 15 plate appearances, here are the highest OPSes in a single postseason series in baseball history:


Lou Gehrig, Yankees

1928 World Series vs. Cardinals


Babe Ruth, Yankees

1928 World Series vs. Cardinals


Hank Gowdy, Braves

1914 World Series vs. Athletics


Lloyd McClendon, Pirates

1992 NLCS vs. Braves


Juan Gonzalez, Rangers

1996 ALDS vs. Yankees


Mark Grace, Cubs

1989 NLCS vs. Giants


Yordan Alvarez, Astros

2023 ALDS vs. Twins


We just witnessed one of the most dominant performances in a single postseason series in baseball history. This is nothing out of the ordinary either. Alvarez is on the short list of the game's best hitters, and he's posted a 1.000 OPS or better in five of the 10 postseason series he has played in, including four of the last seven. Yordan is one of the game's great October performers.

Diamondbacks: Gabriel Moreno

Some players had a better series overall -- Corbin Carroll reached base seven times in three games, Ketel Marte and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had timely hits, etc. -- but Moreno gets our NLDS MVP award because he was involved in the two most meaningful plays of the series. His three-run homer against Clayton Kershaw in the first inning of Game 1 really set the tone for the series, and his solo homer in Game 3 put an exclamation point on the historic four-homer inning that put the series to bed.

Moreno went 3 for 11 (.273) with the two home runs in the three games, and he drove in five runs. He drove in one fewer run by himself than the Dodgers scored all series. Moreno exited Game 3 after taking a foul tip to his right hand, though X-rays came back negative, and he's good to go for the NLCS. The main piece in the Daulton Varsho trade has been an impact player in October.

Phillies: Nick Castellanos

Just like the Wild Card Series against the Marlins, the Phillies had an "everyone did their job" series against the Braves, and have multiple MVP candidates. Bryce Harper's Game 3 homer seemed to suck the life out of the Atlanta dugout. Ranger Suárez was awesome in his two starts. Aaron Nola was great. So was Trea Turner. I'm not sure there's a wrong answer here.

Since I must pick someone, I'm going with Castellanos, who became the first player in history to have back-to-back multi-homer games in the postseason. They were meaningful homers too. Castellanos tied Games 3 and 4 with his first homer, and his second homer in Game 4 give Philadelphia an important insurance run.

Castellanos went 7 for 15 (.467) with the four home runs in the ALDS. He struck out once. This is a player who came into the season as a career .188/.242/.282 hitter in 22 postseason games. Goes to show you can be "unclutch" and a poor postseason performer until suddenly you aren't. This game is nothing if not unpredictable.

Rangers: Corey Seager

You know, the Dodgers haven't gotten enough grief for letting Seager and Turner walk as a free agents, but I digress. Texas gave Seager 10 years and $325M to do exactly what he did against the Orioles in the ALDS: 6 for 14 (.429) with three doubles, 11 walks, and one strikeout. In Game 2, Seager became the first player ever to walk five times in a postseason game. It was the ultimate sign of respect. The O's wanted no part of him. Seager's solo homer opened the scoring in the sweep-clinching Game 3.

Mitch Garver was a serious candidate after breaking open Game 2 with a grand slam and Game 3 with a two-run double. Evan Carter makes the short list too after reaching base six times in 13 plate appearances. Nathan Eovaldi's seven innings of one-run ball  in Game 3 can't be overlooked either. Ultimately, Seager was on another level. The 2020 NLCS MVP and World Series MVP adds our hypothetical 2023 NLDS MVP to his trophy case.