16 teams will be making the playoffs and here’s the 10 we think have the best shot at winning.
The Dodgers have struggled by their standards of late, (5-5 in their last 10) but they are still the best record in baseball, in probably the best division in baseball. Their rotation is banged up at the moment with May and Buehler sidelined, but Justin Turner returns for them today. Beyond that, they have three players averaging around a 1.000 OPS this year with Betts, Seager, and Smith.
They have yet to reach close to their full potential this year, and still compete in every game. If they can put all the pieces together (Like Lux) at the right time, this team is unbeatable. The only team even close to their peak level in the NL this year are the Padres.
2. White Sox
And best win % in the AL currently goes to the White Sox. Jose Abreu (arguably the Arenado of the AL at the plate) is finally in the middle of a deadly lineup and is putting up MVP numbers. It seems that the rebuild is complete.
Luis Robert seems a shoe-in for ROY. Tim Anderson is showing last year was not a fluke. Eloy Jiménez is also a budding star in his second year. And they still have Grandal, McCann, Madrigal, Moncada, Mazara, and Encarnación. Absolutely loaded.
As for pitching, Gioloto is finally at Ace status since his no-hitter. Keuchel is having a career year. Dylan Cease has shown flashes of plus stuff. And their bullpen may be the most underrated pen in baseball with Colomé at the head.
If it wasn’t for the Dodgers, the Padres would be talked about as the most feared team in baseball. They went all in at the trade deadline to acquire Clevinger, Nola, Moreland, Rosenthal, and more role players. And everything seems to have worked.
They just took game 1 of 3 against the Dodgers to close the gap to 1.5 games and for the second best record in baseball. Everything seems to be clicking for the Friars.
Tatis is in a mini slump but has put up an MVP worthy year. Machado is a silver slugger at third. Cronenworth is the likely ROY. Will Myers has finally put it all together. And Trent Grisham may be the second most valuable player at the plate still. They’ve lost Pham and Hosmer and haven’t skipped a beat.
But the pitching is what truly makes this team special. Lamet and Davies have been Cy Young level this year. Paddack has had a rough year but is capable on greatness. And again, they added Clevinger to lead the staff. Their bullpen can go toe to toe with any pen and hasn’t gotten Yates back yet.
They are the only team that actually competes with the Dodgers as far as a truly complete team.
The Big Bad Yankees have stumbled and the Rays are finally in 1st even though not much has changed for them. They just keep winning even without particular standouts.
Snell is doing a great job leading the staff again. But he’s the only starter with a sub-4.00 ERA. But their worst consistent pitcher has an ERA of 5.34. They aren’t great, just no one is bad consistently. One of the closers, Nick Anderson, still has a perfect record on the year in 13 games.
The lineup is similar in that no one is standing out. Brandon Lowe was scorching hot last month but has cooled considerably. He was slashing .154/.262/.327 in his last 15. Meadows hasn’t found his groove since coming off the DL. In fact, Lowe is the only Ray above a .900 OPS. But almost all of their starters are above .700.
The Rays are doing what they do best again this year. Getting it done day to day. They win games and it’s a true team effort. No one person carries this team.
We moved the Cubs in to the top 5 this week. We almost had the A’s in this spot, but losing Chapman could be a very big deal for that team. Granted adding La Stella at the deadline softened the blow. But still, the Cubs seem to have the higher upside now.
Darvish is a top 5 pitcher in all of baseball this year and gives them an advantage in almost any game 1 in playoffs. Professor Hendricks is getting comps to Greg Maddux this year, succeeding despite being one of the slowest pitchers in the league.
And Alec Mills just threw a no-hitter. He may not be that good consistently, but still shows he can have a very high ceiling when he’s on. And Jeffress has put to rest the concern with Kimbrel closing. But pitching is far from their strength this year.
Their lineup has had some explosive breakouts while the usual studs have stumbled. Ian Happ has been an MVP candidate at times. Hayward has finally performed to his St Louis standards. Contreras has been solid behind the plate. And Jason Kipnis has been surprisingly productive this year.
Still Rizzo, Báez, and Bryant have been significantly underperforming. If they can get right, the Cubs can make a run for it this year.
- Losing Chapman hurts
- Lineup is boom or bust
- Bullpen is one of the best in baseball
- Every Starter is basically a #3 starter
- 3 of the hottest hitters in Acuna, Freeman, Duvall lead maybe the best offense this year
- No Pitchers after Fried
- Only a couple useful Bullpen Pieces
- Great starting staff
- Powerful lineup
- Above Average Pen
- Just can’t seem to win as much as they should
- Old team
9. Blue Jays
- Young squad with big upside
- Sadly just as big of a downside
- Average Pitching after Ryu
- Big 3 at the end of the pen
- Except for Greinke
- Long live Greinke