Now that the MLB Trade Deadline has come and gone, the rosters are set. The teams that feel they have a chance went out and spent.
The teams that know this isn’t their year dealt their stars to get a haul of future assets in return. The playoff contenders have pretty much been narrowed down by now.

In the American League, you probably have the Rays, Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, Astros, A’s, Mariners, and White Sox. The Giants, Dodgers, Padres, Brewers, Reds, Mets, Braves, and Phillies are all fighting for spots in the National League.

It’ll come down to some tight divisional races come September, and a lot can change between now and then, but it’s time we take a look at each team and evaluate who can ACTUALLY win the World Series come October.

American League: CAN’T WIN

Too Little Too Late // Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays

The Mariners are 2 games back of the last wild card spot, but there’s not a single statistical category that they’ve been consistently dominant in all season; the GM also seemed to be on the fence about buying at the deadline, so there seems to be a lack of confidence in this team that has caught lightning in a bottle throughout the season thus far. It’ll be an uphill climb to even make the postseason.

For the Blue Jays, their lineup is deep and hits the most home runs in the league, but the lack of depth in the rotation and bullpen isn’t enough, especially in the playoff format where that’s the most valuable asset.

Victims of a Nightmare Season // New York Yankees

The Yankees came in as the odds leader to make the World Series out of the American League, and they’ve dealt with nagging injuries all season, COVID shutdowns, an inconsistent rotation that has little depth outside of Gerrit Cole, and a closer in Aroldis Chapman that went from the best in baseball to the worst overnight. They made some moves at the deadline by adding Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo to add some much-needed lefty power, but that isn’t enough to power them past the wild card at this point as they’re 2 games back of the final spot. It just feels like they’ve never caught a break this year, and their best hasn’t been better nor as consistent as the rest of the competition in the American League. (Also, if you have Rougned Odor batting 4th in your lineup, you’re in trouble.)

No Specific Strength // Oakland A’s

The A’s over-perform seemingly every single season, and this season is no different- their leader in batting average is Matt Olson at only .277. Although they’re top 10 in several different pitching categories like ERA, WHIP, and home runs and walks given up per game, Chris Bassitt is the only consistent starter and Lou Trevino the only lights-out reliever out of the bullpen.

They manage to find a way to win and credit to the managing, the resilience, and the intangibles that they’re skilled at to make that possible, but that luck eventually runs out. They don’t have that one specific category that they’re far and away better at than anyone else that you need for a World Series run.

American League: CAN WIN

Tampa Bay Rays

They won the American League last year. They called up Wander Franco, the 20-year-old best prospect of this generation. They traded for Nelson Cruz. Other moves like trading Willy Adames, Diego Castillo, and Rich Hill were a bit questionable for them to win now, and they lost Tyler Glasnow for the rest of the season with Tommy John surgery, but you can never question the Rays’ weird methodology when it comes to winning games. They have the best record in the AL by scoring the 4th-most runs per game and having a top 10 pitching staff. This team might be deeper than the one that won the league last year now that they’ve added some big bats.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox have been a pleasant surprise after finishing last in the AL East last year, so with their new manager back in the building and the momentum of good vibes in the clubhouse all season, they could easily go on a magical run here. Not only does this team clearly love each other, but they also have a star-studded lineup of Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and JD Martinez that have powered them to one of the best and consistent offenses in the league- they hit the most doubles, are third in slugging, and fourth in OBP+slugging.

They also happened to trade for the hottest bat in baseball before an injury, Kyle Schwarber, human army tank. The pitching is around league average, but Chris Sale will be coming back from injury, and he could be an x-factor in the role he’s given. The lineup has way too much offensive depth that what they lack in pitching might not matter.

Photo: Ron Gesely/Getty Images

Chicago White Sox

They hate their manager and are still bat-flipping their way to one of the best records in baseball. They’re arguably the most complete team in the American League after they traded for Craig Kimbrel and are getting Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert back from injury. They’re going to absolutely cruise through the weakest division in baseball- they have a 9.5 game lead over Cleveland, who is below .500, which will give them plenty of time to rest and get their minds right before the postseason.

The gauntlet rotation of Lynn, Rodon, Giolito, Cease, and Keuchel all have the potential to go 7 deep and shut down a team any given night in a series. The only thing that could throw them off track is, ironically, their own manager, but he hasn’t been able to stop them so far.

Houston Astros

The deepest lineup in the league. Correa, Altuve, Bregman, Brantley, Gurriel, and Alvarez are all dominant hitters that make up the core of the team that leads the league in batting average, runs per game, hits per game, and on-base percentage. No one in the lineup outside of the catcher bats below .250. On top of that, they’ve got an ace in Greinke and depth in the rotation.

They’re just a confident, steady organization with a legendary manager that knows how to win games, and they’ve been able to overcome the booing shame tour this season and are out for revenge.

National League: CAN’T WIN

Too Many Things Need to Go Right // Cincinnati Reds

They need the Padres, one of the best teams in baseball, to have a huge fall off of a cliff to sneak into the second wild card by having Castellanos come back from injury looking like his old self and the pitching staff to all of a sudden get consistent despite not making any moves at the deadline at all. They’re also one of the streakiest teams in the league.

Yeah. That’s a lot, Reds.

Too Tall a Task // Atlanta Braves 

As for the Braves, even though they traded for an entirely new outfield, they lost their best player, Ronald Acuna Jr., to a torn ACL, and they just had a streak in which they went win, loss, win, loss… for 17 games in a row. That’s the definition of inconsistency. Not great for a playoff series format!

National League: CAN WIN

New York Mets

Until the recent resurgence of the rest of the AL East contenders, the Mets have coasted as the division leader the entire season despite being one of the most-injured teams this season. Lindor and deGrom have missed significant time and are both out right now, and those are two of the most dominant players in baseball when they’re right.

The reason they can still win the World Series is that all year we’ve been waiting for them to all get hot at the right time, where their loaded rotation of deGrom, Stroman, and Walker are dealing and the lineup of Lindor, Alonso, and now Javy Baez are hitting, and we haven’t yet. If they can get healthy and right down the stretch in early August and September, when they’ll be playing 18 games against the tanking Nationals and Marlins, they could easily go on a run and get their dormant offense going.

Philadelphia Phillies

Not to be a prisoner of the moment now that the Phillies have become one of the hottest teams post-deadline and now lead the NL East, but this team feels VERY real the way they’re constructed. They addressed their weaknesses by adding a starter in Kyle Gibson and a closer in Ian Kennedy, and the bats from unsung heroes have been pouring it on. In the NL, where you need depth from pinch-hitters in tight postseason settings, they’ll have guys that will be able to step up in those clutch spots.

Not to mention they’ll have a gauntlet of a rotation for a series with Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, and now Gibson, all who can go deep in games to address their bullpen weakness, and they have the man who could potentially win the MVP this season: Bryce Harper. He’s finally having his moment in Philly, batting .302, and is top 5 in on-base % and OPS. The formula has lined up for them to catch some magic.

Milwaukee Brewers

Photo: Aaron Doster/Associated Press

The Brewers are a team that has a clear identity as they’ve coasted through the NL Central. They’ve got a rotation of Burnes, Peralta, Woodruff, and Houser and a deep bullpen that ranks top 5 in almost every single pitching statistic- that sort of depth is what carries teams on postseason runs. As for their offense, it was anything but exciting to start the year until they made the most impactful move of the season so far: trading for Willy Adames, who has become an MVP candidate ever since he joined the team. The offense has been in rhythm ever since, and the former MVP, Christian Yelich, has been in and out of the lineup with injuries and COVID, so he hasn’t even gotten hot yet. They know how to win with pitching and defense and their roster construction, and they might not even have hit their ceiling yet.

The NL West Powerhouses (Dodgers, Giants, Padres)

San Francisco Giants

The Giants surprised the entire baseball world by getting off to the hot start that they did despite having the third-oldest roster in league with a 7% chance to make the playoffs to start the year. However, they’ve proven the magic is very real because they still have the best record and just added a former MVP in Kris Bryant at the deadline. They can easily go for it.

San Diego Padres

The Padres have a balanced roster that just added the hits leader in Adam Frazier at the deadline, and they’ve firmly been the third-best team in the NL all season. The fear is that the MVP, Fernando Tatis Jr., might need season-ending surgery, but even without Tatis, they have the swag and the depth from their aggression the past two free agencies to compete. They play exceptionally well against the team they could possibly play in the wild card, the rival Dodgers.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Speaking of which, the Dodgers are the defending champs with 4 MVPs, 3 Cy Young Award Winners, and just traded for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner at the deadline and signed Cole Hamels. Need we say more?

Featured Image: Aaron Doster/Associated Press
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