Atlanta, Milwaukee Rise; Giants, Red Sox Tumble

MLB playoffs tier list

As we head towards the end of July – and teams near the 100 games played mark – the MLB playoff races are clarifying themselves on an almost daily basis. That makes it time to update our MLB playoffs tier list, where I evaluate who’s in, who’s out, and who will be fighting down the stretch for those final postseason spots.

MLB playoffs tier listThe Atlanta Braves have joined the ranks of the postseason locks in our latest MLB playoffs tier list. (Image: Todd Kirkland/Getty)

Things have changed significantly for a few teams since my first list in mid-June. While only one team has joined the top tier, there’s been plenty of movement in the middle of the pack. Meanwhile, one team has even managed to escape the Tier 5 abyss, though it remains to be seen if they can actually contend long-term.

Tier 1: Playoff locks

Team
Record
World Series Odds (via DraftKings)

New York Yankees
66-33
+380

Houston Astros
64-35
+500

New York Mets
61-37
+700

Atlanta Braves
59-41
+850

Los Angeles Dodgers
65-32
+350

The Braves are the new addition here, though they were on the verge of inclusion even in my last list. While Atlanta will battle the Mets in the NL East, both teams will make the playoffs – it’s just a matter of who wins the division and earns a likely first-round bye. Meanwhile, the Yankees, Astros, and Dodgers are also continuing to excel. All five of these teams could buy reinforcements at the trade deadline, as the Yankees did Wednesday by adding Andrew Benintendi.

Tier 2: Should be in

Team
Record
World Series Odds

Toronto Blue Jays
54-44
+1200

Milwaukee Brewers
55-44
+2000

San Diego Padres
55-45
+2200

The Milwaukee Brewers have done enough to earn their Tier 2 designation. While they only hold a three-game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central, they’re also above the wild card fray for the moment. FanGraphs gives Milwaukee a 90.2 percent chance of reaching the postseason, which means they’re closer to a lock than a bubble team. Toronto and San Diego won’t win their divisions, but both are heavy favorites to grab wild card spots in their respective leagues.

Tier 3: On the playoff bubble

Team
Record
World Series Odds

Tampa Bay Rays
53-46
+4000

Minnesota Twins
52-46
+5000

Cleveland Guardians
50-47
+9000

Chicago White Sox
49-49
+3000

Seattle Mariners
54-45
+5000

Philadelphia Phillies
51-47
+4500

St. Louis Cardinals
52-47
+4500

The AL Central remains a complete mess, with Minnesota, Cleveland, and the Chicago White Sox all still in the mix for a division title – though they may only grab one playoff spot between them. Meanwhile, the Mariners fought their way back into the playoff race with a 14-game winning streak just before the All-Star break, and are now a serious contender – one I even considered for Tier 2 status as this point.

Tier 4: Hopes Fading

Team
Record
World Series Odds

Baltimore Orioles
50-49
+50000

Boston Red Sox
49-50
+6000

Miami Marlins
47-52
+40000

San Francisco Giants
48-50
+6000

Other than Miami, all of these teams have moved to Tier 4 – from one direction or another. The San Francisco Giants are now under .500 after a seven-game losing streak, though they are probably the most likely playoff team of this group. Meanwhile, Baltimore rode its own long winning streak to pass the Red Sox in the AL East and rise out of Tier 5, something that should virtually never happen. The Orioles are just three games out of a wild card spot, though it’s hard to know if they legitimately have the talent to stay in the race down the stretch.

Tier 5: Wait until next year

Team
Record
World Series Odds

Detroit Tigers
40-59
+100000

Kansas City Royals
39-59
+200000

Texas Rangers
43-54
+100000

Los Angeles Angels
42-56
+50000

Oakland Athletics
38-63
+200000

Washington Nationals
34-66
+200000

Chicago Cubs
40-57
+200000

Pittsburgh Pirates
40-58
+200000

Cincinnati Reds
38-60
+200000

Arizona Diamondbacks
45-53
+200000

Colorado Rockies
45-54
+200000

For the most part, these are the same teams that were on the Tier 5 list last time, as this is a group of clubs simply playing out the string. The newest additions include the Angels, who just keep doing this year after year, and the Texas Rangers, who have slipped too far out of wild card contention to even think about making the postseason in 2022.

Author: Justin Graves