John Keen, Staff Writer
As the Major League Baseball regular season enters its final month, both American League and National League teams still vie for playoff position.
According to High Heat Stats, 13 teams have a 25 percent or better chance of making postseason ball. Of these 13 teams, six will make into the postseason as division champions.
This means the remaining seven teams are fighting for four wild card spots, two in each league. Many things can still change between now and the season’s end but going off of where things currently stand, these teams are in best shape to make postseason play by division.
The AL East consist of three legitimate playoff contenders: Toronto, who currently leads the division and has the lowest team ERA in the AL at 3.79; Boston, occupying the first wild card spot and Baltimore, with the lowest projected playoff odds of discussed teams at 26.9%.
Ironically enough, the Orioles are currently tied with the Detroit Tigers (51.2% chance of making the playoffs) for the final wild card spot.
Cleveland, bolstered by the second-best team ERA of 3.81 in the American, hold the AL Central’s top spot. The aforementioned Tigers currently sit second in the Central and are tied for second in the wild card.
The Texas Rangers hold the best record in the American, sitting atop the AL West that, much like the AL Central, only has two playoff contenders. They also holds the largest division lead in the AL over Houston.
Despite trailing the Rangers in the division and two teams for the final wild card spot, Houston currently has a greater chance of making postseason play than Baltimore.
The Washington Nationals are all but assured to make the playoffs, whether by Wildcard or as division champions. However, the defending NL East and NL pennant champion New York Mets’ odds are not as favorable as they are currently outside of the final wild card spot, trailing St. Louis.
The Chicago Cubs, like Washington, have wrapped up a playoff spot, holding the largest division lead in baseball and have a chance of making their first World Series in over half a century. Meanwhile, St. Louis has sole possession of the second wild card spot.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, despite losing its ace Clayton Kershaw for the remainder of the season, hold the NL West’s top spot. San Francisco (winner of the last three World Series played in even numbered years: 2010, 2012, 2014), holds the NL’s first wild card spot.
Assuming play remains fairly consistent, look for Boston to remain the AL’s top wild card with Detroit, given its much more favorable schedule compared to Baltimore, securing the second spot.
In NL play, San Francisco looks in good shape to make another World Series run by securing the top wild card spot. However, St Louis, despite having greater odds of making the postseason, may fall out to a superior New York team.