MLB Power Rankings: Predicting post-season picture ahead of second half

Arizona Diamondbacks' Ketel Marte reacts in the dugout after hitting a solo home run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the third inning of their MLB Interleague baseball game in Toronto on Sunday, June 9, 2019. (Fred Thornhill/CP)

With the MLB All-Star Game in the rearview mirror, crunch time is upon teams in the 2019 season.

In the first, and only, post-break game so far, the Rangers blanked the Astros. Lance Lynn improved to a 6-0 record with 11 strikeouts on the night, helping his team reach a 43-42 record and proving that anything can still happen and the playoff race is mostly open in every division.

The Rangers, who were singled out as a big winner in our MLB Power Rankings a few weeks ago, no longer hold a wild-card spot in the American League, but look surprisingly well within reach of a post-season berth. So do teams like the Diamondbacks and the White Sox, who could very well be just one hot streak away from a surprise playoff appearance.

On the other hand, certified squads like the Red Sox and Brewers, who have high positions in our rankings, seem to be at risk of not getting a chance to play in October, as both teams currently find themselves beneath the wild-card cutline.

But after the dust settles at the end of September, when all of the possible surprises and upsets prove to be real or fake, where will each of the 30 teams stand? Here’s a prediction for which teams will make the playoffs in the AL and NL ahead of the second half of the season:

Ben Nicholson-Smith is Sportsnet’s baseball editor. Arden Zwelling is a senior writer. Together, they bring you the most in-depth Blue Jays podcast in the league, covering off all the latest news with opinion and analysis, as well as interviews with other insiders and team members.

At the top of our Power Rankings, AL teams like the Yankees (third in our Power Rankings) and Astros (second) look like absolute locks to continue their first-half success and make a breezy run to the post-season.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox and Rays — both posting 91 projected wins in the season — have nothing guaranteed coming into the season’s most defining time. With the Twins also running away with the top spot in their division, the Indians and A’s appear as interesting, real competitors for wild-card spots. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the Rangers, who have been on the rise in our rankings.

As the Dodgers — the absolute leaders of our MLB Power Rankings — and Braves seem to be running away with their divisions, the NL Central still looks wide open. The Cubs currently have the lead and sit high up on this list, but they might very well end up missing the playoffs if the Brewers and Cardinals find their footing.

The Diamondbacks, Phillies and Nationals are also intriguing contenders in the NL, and the Pirates — who won six out of 10 just before the all-star break, but rank just 24th — are a dark horse in the unpredictable NL Central. It wouldn’t be prudent to count out the Padres, either, even if the team has had a very inconsistent season. Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. might just be winding up for a big second-half run.

Here are this week’s MLB Power Rankings and a prediction of where each team will stand at the end of the regular season:

1 (1) Los Angeles Dodgers

NL West champions.

2 (2) Houston Astros

AL West champions.

3 (3) New York Yankees

AL East champions.

4 (4) Minnesota Twins

AL Central champions.

5 (5) Atlanta Braves

NL East champions.

6 (6) Tampa Bay Rays

AL Wild Card No. 1.

7 (7) Chicago Cubs

NL Central Champions.

8 (8) Milwaukee Brewers

NL Wild Card No. 1.

9 (10) Cleveland Indians

AL Wild Card No. 2.

10 (9) Boston Red Sox

No post-season berth.

11 (11) Texas Rangers

No post-season berth.

12 (12) Philadelphia Phillies

No post-season berth.

13 (16) Arizona Diamondbacks

NL Wild Card No. 2.

14 (14) Oakland Athletics

No post-season berth.

15 (13) Colorado Rockies

No post-season berth.

16 (15) St. Louis Cardinals

No post-season berth.

17 (18) San Diego Padres

No post-season berth.

18 (17) Los Angeles Angels

No post-season berth.

19 (19) Chicago White Sox

No post-season berth.

20 (20) Washington Nationals

No post-season berth.

21 (21) San Francisco Giants

Last place in NL West.

22 (22) New York Mets

No post-season berth.

23 (23) Cincinnati Reds

Last place in NL Central.

24 (24) Pittsburgh Pirates

No post-season berth.

25 (25) Seattle Mariners

Last place in AL West.

26 (26) Kansas City Royals

No post-season berth.

27 (27) Toronto Blue Jays

No post-season berth.

28 (28) Miami Marlins

Last place in NL East.

29 (29) Detroit Tigers

Last place in AL Central.

30 (30) Baltimore Orioles

Last place in AL East.

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