Jon Lester and the Cubs are climbing the ranks.Getty Images

1. St. Louis Cardinals (67-38, previous No. 1) – It doesn’t appear the Cardinals will be stopped anytime soon, as they continue their impressive run that’s lasted since the beginning of the season. Even with losing starter Adam Wainwright for the season, they hold the best record in the league, a major league-leading plus-110 run differential and lead the NL Central by 5.5 games.

2. Kansas City Royals (62-42, previous No. 2) – Kansas City still holds the best record in the American League, although that could be challenged in the final two months, as a number of teams made some big additions at the trade deadline. Lorenzo Cain’s 5.8 WAR is the second-best in the AL.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates (61-43, previous No. 3) – The Pirates are unfortunate to be in the same division as the Cardinals as in any other division in baseball they would be in first place. Pittsburgh did suffer some bad news this week when it was learned A.J. Burnett will be out four weeks with a flexor strain.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers (60-45, previous No. 5) – With their now bolstered starting rotation, the Dodgers have won seven of their last 10 games to build a three-game lead in the NL West. Los Angeles will be very tough in the postseason with a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and now Mat Latos.


5. Houston Astros (60-47, previous No. 7) – With some moves at the trade deadline, the Astros appear ready for the stretch run as they have already taken over first place in the AL West. Trading for Scott Kazmir to go along with AL All-Star starter Dallas Keutchel will be tough to top in a playoff series.

6. New York Yankees (59-45, previous No. 4) – In a bit of a surprise, the Yankees were the team to pull away from everyone in the AL East as they have opened a 5.5-game lead over the Orioles. They didn’t do much at the trade deadline, although they did promote pitching prospect Luis Severino who will make his major league debut Wednesday.

7. Chicago Cubs (57-47, previous No. 10) – Here come the Cubs. Winners of five straight, the Cubs have moved to the second Wild Card spot in the National League. It will be interesting to see if they can keep up their strong play of late and get into the postseason, which many were doubting earlier in the year.

8. San Francisco Giants (57-48, previous No. 8) – After a recent hot streak, the Giants have cooled off and are now three games back of the Dodgers in the NL West. Buster Posey’s 5.3 WAR is the third-best mark in the American League.

9. Los Angeles Angels (56-49, previous No. 6) – The Angels are in a bit of a funk, which has allowed the Astros to take over the lead in the AL West. They have dropped eight of 10 to fall three games back. Los Angels added to its outfield depth at the deadline, but it will be interesting to see how that pays dividends.

10. New York Mets (56-50, previous No. 12) – The Mets have won four straight and seven of 10 games to take over first place in the NL East. Jacob deGrom has turned into one of the best pitchers in the entire league as his 2.09 ERA is the second-best in the NL.

11. Toronto Blue Jays (55-52, previous No. 13) – The Blue Jays are going for it. After adding Troy Tulowitski they weren’t done there as they traded for David Price as their starting rotation desperately needed improvement. Toronto has an AL-leading plus-110 run differential, which will likely even get better with the addition of Price.

12. Washington Nationals (54-50, previous No. 9) – Washington is struggling of late, losing four straight games to now fall out of first place in the NL East. It’s been the thought that their starting pitching would carry them, which it has, but not to the point some thought it would. They should get Stephen Strasburg back soon, which will certainly help them make a run at getting back on top in the division.

13. Baltimore Orioles (54-51, previous No. 15) – Baltimore is making a push at the postseason as they have won eight of their last 10 games to move 5.5 games out in the AL East, but tied for the second Wild Card spot. If they can get some pitching down the stretch, their offense will be more than enough to get into the postseason.

14. Minnesota Twins (54-51, previous No. 11) – The Twins have picked a bad time to struggle as they have dropped seven of their last 10 to fall 8.5 games back in the AL Central. It would appear their only shot at the postseason would be through the Wild Card.

15. Tampa Bay Rays (53-54, previous No. 14) – Things don’t look good for the Rays as they didn’t do much at the trade deadline and trail the Yankees by 7.5 games in the AL East. The weird thing for the Rays is they are three games below .500 at home.

16. Texas Rangers (52-53, previous No. 18) – Even at a game below .500 the Rangers are just two games out of a Wild Card spot. They improved their chances with trading for Cole Hamels and with him also under control put them in a better position for next year.

17. San Diego Padres (52-54, previous No. 20) – San Diego has won eight of 10 games, but it may be too late to get back into any playoff contention. It will be interesting to see what they do with their manager spot as there are plenty of worthy candidates both in and out of their organization.

18. Arizona Diamondbacks (51-53, previous No. 19) – At six games back in the NL Wild Card, time is running out for Arizona to make a late run. Paul Goldschmidt is doing everything he can as his .339 average is the best in the NL.

19. Chicago White Sox (50-54, previous No. 17) – The White Sox were close to being out of things, but they have been one of the hottest teams in baseball of late to give them a chance to make a run at the postseason. Even with their minus-63 run differential, they are 3.5 games out of a Wild Card spot.

20. Detroit Tigers (51-54 previous No. 16) – The Tigers were major sellers at the deadline giving up David Price and Yoenis Cespedes, basically throwing in the towel for the season. Losers of six of their last 10, along with a poor month of July left the Tigers with not much choice.

21. Seattle Mariners (49-58, previous No. 22) – Being in the position the Mariners are in they could have been sellers, but they chose to hang on to what they had. This was likely the wise move as the pieces seem to be in place for a more competitive year next season.

22. Atlanta Braves (48-58, previous No. 21) – The Braves aren’t going anywhere as they are currently eight games out in the NL East as they have lost eight of 10 games. They are 27-20 at home, but just 21-38 on the road.

23. Cleveland Indians (48-57, previous No. 23) – Things have gone downhill and downhill quick for the Indians as they have lost three straight and seven of 10 games to fall a remarkable 14.5 games out of first in the AL Central. It will be worth monitoring how they look to turn it around next year as the pitching is in place.

24. Cincinnati Reds (47-56, previous No. 26) – With the playoffs not on the horizon for the Reds, some thought they would have been major sellers at the trade deadline. Time will tell if that was the right move or not.

25. Boston Red Sox (47-59, previous No. 24) – The Red Sox have shifted their focus on 2016 as they will now give more of a look at their younger players to see what they have. That process starts Tuesday night with Henry Owens on the mound in New York.

26. Oakland Athletics (47-60, previous No. 25) – What a difference a year makes for the A’s as after making the postseason last year, they are now 13 games back in the AL West.

27. Colorado Rockies (44-60, previous No. 28) – Trading away Troy Tulowitski cetainly didn’t help the Rockies in any way as they have dropped seven of 10 and fallen even further back in the NL West.

28. Milwaukee Brewers (44-63, previous No. 27) – The Brewers are back to what they were at the beginning of the year as they have lost nine of 10. They also traded away their best player in Carlos Gomez at the deadline.

29. Miami Marlins (43-63, previous No. 29) – The Marlins are another team in disarray as they have lost eight of 10 games and are 13 games back in the NL East with only the Phillies having a worse record.

30. Philadelphia Phillies (41-65, previous No. 30) – Despite winning eight of 10 games, the Phillies still have the worst record in baseball. They also finally traded away Cole Hamels.

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