Alright, that’s it. These are the teams that will compete for places in October and then fight for World Series supremacy. The MLB Trade Deadline has given the game of baseball a massive overhaul, but now teams will have to play their hands as is. So with the deals in the rearview mirror and the stretch ahead, who has the better team going forward?
It’s time to reset our understanding and assess who has the best roster to win over the next two (or three) months.
We’ve had a big chunk of the season so far, but of course the Dodgers have gotten ahead. They both entered Thursday with the best record in baseball, period, and should finish with this one by and .
With the Padres’ huge trade delay, the Braves perpetually winning and the Mets powering up overall, the Dodgers will certainly have some competition in October. The top row of their depth chart – you know, the one that includes Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman – is as strong as anyone, but admittedly closer competition than a week ago.
What sets the Dodgers apart, as always, is the depth of entry-level quality. Suddenly, that includes Joey Gallo’s recovery draft, as well as up-and-coming young hitters like Miguel Vargas.
You can never be sure a team will win a World Series, but the hunt for the Dodgers becomes a near certainty.
3. New York Yankees
Remember, we are looking forward, not backward. The Astros have a slightly worse record than the Yankees right now, but they have a fuller, well-stocked squad heading into October. And really, that’s really where this match is headed.
A veteran of five consecutive ALCS appearances, Houston boasts the best starting throwing depth in the league. Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy and Cristian Javier make up the rotation at the moment, but general manager James Click and manager Dusty Baker will soon have the enviable task of deciding what to do with an extra arm or two when Lance McCullers Jr. returns from injury.
The Yankees have Aaron Judge, which is pretty huge. And they legitimately found quality contributors in Nestor Cortes, Jose Trevino and several others. The ding that can cost them against the Astros, or anyone else, is the uncertainty at the back of their rotation. Trading Jordan Montgomery means they have to keep their fingers crossed that Luis Severino returns in time and their otherwise extremely good injury chance continues.
4. New York Foods
5. San Diego Padres
6. Atlanta Braves
Have the Padres gained ground ()? Well, of course they did. They’re not really going to catch the NL West Dodgers, who are a dozen games up. But they can be head-to-head in a playoff series – or in a delicious three-game set coming this weekend.
If you ask, the Padres have pulled into a virtual tie for the rest of the season with the Dodgers…and the Mets and Braves. The NL East titans are in a tighter race, and no matter how it goes, both think they have something to say about the NL pennant. The Braves did more at the trade deadline to bolster their chances, but the Mets’ ultimate advantage still comes down to the health of a certain Jacob deGrom. If he can stay on the field and pitch alongside Max Scherzer, the Mets have the best starting pitcher on the planet.
An X factor to watch out for, though? Moustached rookie Spencer Strider has a 3.02 ERA since joining the rotation in May and has allowed a run or less in eight of his 13 starts while hitting the world. Braves management said he was not subject to any kind of inning limit. He’s lined up to face deGrom — one of the only starters to throw harder than him — at Citi Field on Sunday.
7. Toronto Blue Jays
8. Philadelphia Phillies
9. Milwaukee Brewers
All of these teams are waiting for things that should happen, but might not happen, to reach their ultimate forms. The Blue Jays need more Bo Bichette and Jose Berrios. The Phillies need Bryce Harper to come back and their timeout additions to stabilize the black holes. The Brewers need Freddy Peralta back and training to pick up a bit.
These are all teams capable of going wild through October — thanks in large part to a dominant tee shot — if they can get their groove on.
10. Seattle Sailors
11. Minnesota Twins
These AL contenders can smell the playoffs and add some pitching to help. The Mariners won’t win their division, unlike the Twins, but they could have the highest cap in October. The addition of Luis Castillo takes their young duo of Logan Gilbert and George Kirby from “nervous picks for Game 2” to “exciting options for Game 3”.
12. Tampa Bay Rays
13. Cardinals of St. Louis
These teams are each working a coin toss chance of qualifying for the playoffs, as estimated by PECOTA. You would be hard pressed to say that they made huge progress by the deadline. The Cardinals made smart, if stealthy, additions to their pitching roster in Jordan Montgomery and Jose Quintana, while the Rays added a particularly interesting on-the-fly development draft in center fielder Jose Siri.
Do we believe they will both? .
14. San Francisco Giants
15. Chicago White Sox
16. Boston Red Sox
17. Cleveland Guardians
If there’s a team on the periphery that can make a run and shake things up, it’s probably in this group. But if you feel strongly about any of them, well, you apparently have more confidence than any of their front offices.
18. Baltimore Orioles
19. Miami Marlins
I don’t think the Orioles actually have a Miracle on Grass playoff run in them, but they don’t need to to count this season as a resounding victory. First-choice-turned-rookie wide receiver Adley Ruschman looks like the real deal: He’s hitting .252/.353/.446, looks like a balanced leader, and knocks on the door of the game’s elite wide receiver club under 60 games in his major league career.
20. Arizona Diamonds
21. Chicago Cubs
22. Los Angeles Angels
We have reached the rudderless part of the ranking. Neither of those teams are going anywhere this season — and two of them have seriously jeopardized their chances of going anywhere soon with confusing trade deadlines — so the Diamondbacks get top spot for having a super farming system. promising.
24. Pittsburgh Pirates
25. Kansas City Royals
26. Detroit Tigers
27. Cincinnati Reds
28. Colorado Rockies
29. Oakland A
30. Washington Nationals
Look, if you’re going to see a bad team the rest of the season, can I recommend the Pirates? Oneil Cruz — an Aaron Judge circus mirror who plays shortstop — still has sea legs in the majors. He hits too much, doesn’t walk enough, etc. But he’s starting to sway. Since the All-Star break, he’s hitting .257 with four homers, .