After passing the annual mid-season mark of the season that is the MLB All-Star Game, the playoff picture will begin to take shape. There’s a little over two full months left in the season, and with the trade deadline approaching, teams are either making a run for the pennant or punting their chances away this season. Here’s a complete overview of the MLB playoff picture at this point in the season.
True World Series Contenders
AL: Rays, Orioles, Rangers, Astros
The AL has been a very interesting league up until this point in the season. This half of the league has seen some surprising teams reach new heights, while some familiar faces have remained dominant.
Two of those teams are the Rays and Astros. Both have essentially dominated the American League over the past five years, and have continued that trend in 2023. However, the Orioles and Rangers are two teams that have made massive strides, and find themselves in contention for the first time in a while.
NL: Braves, Dodgers
As for the NL, things get a lot more confusing in this half of the MLB. These two have been the top teams in recent memory — aside from the 2022 season. To this point in the season, no other team has truly established themselves as a threat to dethrone these two.
MLB Playoff Contenders
AL: Blue Jays, Twins, Red Sox, Yankees
The AL East is a flat-out bloodbath this season. Every single team in the division has the chance to at least make the playoffs. One team will have to miss out, but all have been impressive throughout the year.
NL: Brewers, Giants, Diamondbacks, Marlins, Phillies, Reds
The Wild Card race in the NL is wiiiide-open right now. The Brewers and Phillies have been in this race for a few years now, so it’s not surprising to see them here again.
On the flip side, it’s very surprising to see the Giants, Diamondbacks, Marlins, and Reds here. This year has seen a rejuvenation of new faces, and all four of these teams seem to be on the rise, ready to make noise in October.
Fringe MLB Playoff Contenders
AL: Mariners, Angels, Guardians
This year has been a disappointing one for these three, to say the least. The Mariners and Guardians, both coming off playoff appearances last season, have been unable to sustain their success. The Angels disappointing campaign seems to be yet another wasted year with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.
Uhh.. Maybe Next Year, Or the Year After.. Or..
AL: Tigers, Royals, White Sox, Athletics
This is the bottom of the barrel in the American League. First, we have the Tigers and Royals. Both of these teams have bright futures, but have failed to take that next step.
The White Sox have talent, but have failed to find any sort of rhythm throughout the year. Some players have regressed, and they may need a retool to be competitive going forward. On that same note, it’s looking more and more likely that they will be sellers at the deadline.
As for the Athletics… well, yeah.
NL: Padres, Mets, Cubs, Pirates, Cardinals, Nationals, Rockies
There are several disappointing teams on this list. The Padres, Mets, and Cardinals all were competitive last season, but have drastically failed to meet those same expectations this year. Pittsburgh is a team on the rise, and they had a great start to the season, but have fluttered out of the playoff race. Look for them to make noise next year.
The Cubs, Nationals, and Rockies are all in the middle of their respective rebuilds. All three of these teams have solid farm systems and should be competitive in a couple of years. For now though, they find themselves at the bottom of the National League.