There's still a little more than another month until the postseason starts, but for a few days this week, California will preview what's to come in one league.
The Milwaukee Brewers are running away with the NL Central and visit Oracle Park for four games, and at the same time the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves visit the Los Angeles Dodgers. Those are four of the six NL teams with a positive run differential, and the Giants, Dodgers and Brewers are locked into October. After reloading at the trade deadline, the Braves aren't far behind.
The next month will determine division champions and seeding, but here in late August, we have a pretty good idea of which teams are headed for October baseball. Before a wild week in the NL kicks off, here's our latest look at all 30:
30. Orioles (40-89): Per MLB Pipeline, they now have the sport's best farm system. They're going to need those top prospects to hurry, because the big league team has lost 22 of its last 24 games.
29. Diamondbacks (44-88): Madison Bumgarner lost to the Pirates the last time out but is still working on a big second half. He has a 2.39 ERA in eight starts since the break.
28. Rangers (45-85): Charlie Culberson, the man who brought Marco Scutaro to San Francisco, spent the previous five seasons coming up clutch for the Dodgers and Braves. It's weird to see him still in Texas, although he does have the second most at-bats of his career.
27. Pirates (48-83): As September approaches, they're a reminder that you can't take anyone lightly. Over four games, they twice stunned the Cardinals, who are hanging around the second Wild Card spot. Before this weekend, they were also the last team to take a series from the Giants.
26. Cubs (57-75): They're giving a good fan base very little to care about, although a big moment is coming up. A week from Friday, Kris Bryant returns to Wrigley Field.
25. Twins (57-73): Kenta Maeda seemed like a good fit for all three NL West frontrunners at the trade deadline but his season is now over. Maeda will have elbow surgery and it's possible he ends up needing the full Tommy John procedure.
24. Nationals (55-74): There was no Home Run Derby curse for Juan Soto. He has a 1.162 OPS since the All-Star break and is averaging a homer every 11 at-bats.
23. Marlins (55-76): Jesus Luzardo has made six starts with the Marlins and thrown just 28 1/3 innings with a 7.62 ERA. The A's do not regret the Starling Marte trade.
22. Royals (59-71): The next generation is knocking on the door. Top prospect Bobby Witt Jr. has a .970 OPS as a 21-year-old in Triple-A and has hit 28 homers across two levels this season.
21. Tigers (62-69): They have some pieces in place on the pitching side and some really good prospects on the way, but they need a lot of offensive help. There isn't a single hitter on the roster who has played more than 40 games and posted an OPS above .800.
20. Rockies (60-70): They had just 15 road wins this season before going into Dodger Stadium and taking two of three. The Giants are appreciative.
19. Angels (64-67): Mike Trout hasn't played since May 17 and still ranks 38th in the American League in WAR!
18. Mets (63-67): Francisco Lindor got a $341 million contract, has a .686 OPS, and joined Javier Baez and Kevin Pillar in giving the thumbs-down sign to Mets fans who have booed the underachieving team. Same old Mets.
17. Indians (64-64): They've relied on pitching to carry them for years, but this season the staff hasn't quite been up to par. They rank 19th in the big leagues in ERA.
16. Phillies (66-64): One of a few NL teams trying to benefit from San Diego's second-half collapse. They're just four games out of the second Wild Card spot, in large part because of Bryce Harper, the only big leaguer with an OPS above 1.000.
15. Cardinals (66-63): A bad loss stings just a little bit more this time of year, and they suffered two brutal ones last week. They gave up eight runs in the seventh inning on Thursday to blow a lead against the Pirates and closer Alex Reyes allowed a walk-off homer on Sunday.
14. Mariners (70-61): They have the best one-two power punch nobody pays attention to. Kyle Seager has 31 homers and Mitch Haniger is right behind him at 29.
13. Padres (69-62): Their blockbuster deals for starting pitchers have proven disastrous. Mike Clevinger, last year's addition, needed Tommy John surgery. Blake Snell has a 4.58 ERA in his first season in San Diego and Yu Darvish, an All-Star in the first half, has a 6.12 ERA since the break.
12. Reds (71-61): The current leader for the final NL playoff spot, they would be a tough out in a winner-take-all game. Wade Miley has had a very good season, but it's nasty right-hander Luis Castillo -- 2.74 ERA since the start of June -- who might be waiting for the Dodgers or Giants.
11. Blue Jays (68-61): The most underrated player in baseball right now might be former A's shortstop Marcus Semien, who leads the American League with 5.4 Wins Above Replacement. He was worth 7.6 WAR in 2019. He's better than all the younger shortstops who will be chasing $200 million deals this offseason.
10. A's (72-59): Starling Marte is 20-for-20 on the bases since coming over to Oakland. With 42 stolen bases, he should easily become the first to swipe 50 since Dee Strange-Gordon and Billy Hamilton both did it in 2017.
9. Braves (70-59): One of the coolest stories of the season, they watched Ronald Acuña Jr. go down for the year and decided they were still going for it. After taking two of three from the Giants, they have a 4 1/2 game lead atop the NL East.
8. Red Sox (76-57): An injury took Kyle Schwarber out of the headlines before the trade deadline and the Red Sox very smartly scooped him up. They had to wait, but he's finally in their lineup and has a 1.081 OPS in 13 games.
7. White Sox (76-56): Luis Robert, 24, has missed most of the season because of injury, but he's back and absolutely mashing. Robert has a .344/.386/.552 slash line.
6. Yankees (76-54): Gerrit Cole has finished in the top five in Cy Young voting three straight seasons and has a strong shot at his first win. He's the only AL pitcher with 200 strikeouts and ranks third in the league with a 2.80 ERA.
5. Astros (77-53): With Oakland's recent struggles and Seattle's issues since the trade deadline, they've quietly opened up a 5 1/2 game lead in their bid to win a fifth AL West title in the last six years.
4. Brewers (79-52): They're running away with the NL Central and still have a shot at locking up homefield throughout the postseason. They begin a four-game series with the Giants just 5 1/2 games out of the top spot.
3. Rays (82-48): You think Giants-Diamondbacks has been a bloodbath? The Rays went 18-1 this season against the Orioles.
2. Dodgers (82-48): They seem allergic to taking advantage of Giants losses. After sweeping the Padres, the Dodgers dropped two of three at home to the Rockies, completely whiffing on a golden opportunity to cut their NL West deficit to half a game.
1. Giants (84-46): Their lengthy run atop our Power Rankings will be seriously tested over the next week. Before they even get to their final series of the year with the Dodgers, they have four against a very good Brewers team that kicks things off with Cy Young candidates Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff in the first two games.