2019 MLB Playoff Picture Brackets
Narrowing down to ten.
The 2019 baseball season is nearing its end, making the 2019 MLB playoff picture all the more important.
From a field of thirty teams, just ten will remain to compete for the 2019 World Series championship. Before we know the team getting the trophy with all the flags on it, they have to get to the postseason first by navigating the standings.
For ten teams, the brisk October air will bring hope that this, in fact, is their year. Fans of nine of those teams will be wrong.
Below, we track the MLB Playoff Picture from now until the end of the regular season. Once the regular season is over, we present the playoff bracket, as we did last year. This is all very elementary stuff.
2019 MLB Playoff Picture Brackets: American League
2019 MLB Playoff Picture Brackets: National League
MLB Playoff Picture: September 20, 2019 Update
Houston and the Yankees are in the field. Three teams compete for two bids. Minnesota and Cleveland of the AL Central can both make the playoffs, but the only way in for Tampa Bay is the wild card.
Boy, the National League can’t figure it out, which is great for those watching the playoff chase in the final week of the season. Those who have teams in the chase, however, may experience enormous cardiac discomfort.
Atlanta and the Dodgers are in and the rest is up for grabs. The Cardinals are red hot, the Chicago Cubs are not, and Washington and Milwaukee control the wild card berths by a thread.
MLB Playoff Picture: September 15, 2019 Update
The AL’s playoff picture has shaken out, at least in terms of who will be in the field. There are the Cleveland Indians as the only viable team on the outside with a chance of making it, but their focus is the wild card. The Minnesota Twins have a lead in the AL Central and it looks to be their division to win.
Most of the drama in the American League, if any, will center on these items:
- Whether the New York Yankees or Houston Astros will get home-field advantage. As of now, it is a very close race with the Yankees up by one game.
- Which team will get home field in the AL Wild Card game: the Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays, or a hard-charging Cleveland Indians, should the latter occur.
The National League picture has settled down a little, but considering there are still two weeks to go, there is still plenty we don’t know. Here is what we do know, or can reasonably surmise:
- The Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves have guaranteed spots; Los Angeles won the NL West and the Braves clinched a playoff berth. Atlanta will win the NL East as well, but that is going to take a few more days.
- Your NL Central winner, which can still be one of three teams, is heading for the number three seed in the NLDS. Right now, the St. Louis Cardinals are in the driver’s seat.
- It is unlikely, but still possible, that any one division will get three bids. That division, it if happened, would be the NL East or NL Central.
Despite losing Christian Yelich, the Milwaukee Brewers are on the brink of a wild card, chasing both the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals. The New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies need stellar two-week stretches to catch up, while the Arizona Diamondbacks need even more help.
MLB Playoff Picture: August 23, 2019 Update
There is a bit more intrigue in the American League than there was this time last week. While the AL Central is less close, the AL West and East are a slight amount closer. Both the New York Yankees and Houston Astros still have leads in the high single-digits, but the teams chasing them, the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics, respectively, are in wild card position. This means the Cleveland Indians are out for the time being.
Nevertheless, the AL Playoff Picture remains somewhat orderly. Boston, the sole other team that could enter the fray in September, remains too far behind at seven games out of the wild card.
The National League Playoff Picture is a touch more clear than it was, and that’s just because a few teams on the outskirts, like Cincinnati and San Diego, are dropping out for good. The San Francisco Giants form the boundary of contending teams, and even they and the Arizona Diamondbacks fell further behind this week.
Nobody will challenge for the NL West, the NL East seems to belong to the Atlanta Braves, but the NL Central and wild card spots are volatile.
MLB Playoff Picture: August 16, 2019 Update
The American League and National League could not look more different with a month and a half to go in the 2019 season.
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer in the American League in 2019. We are down to seven teams in a realistic battle for five playoff bids, and one of them, the Boston Red Sox, are on the fringe of the competition. So, discounting them being seven games out, there are six teams fighting over five spots.
Like last week, just two teams, the New York Yankees and Houston Astros, are all but safe. The Yankees are up nine in the loss column with 39 games left, while Houston is up eight in the loss column with 40 remaining. Factor in the games they are clear of the first team out of the wild card and both would have to lose a majority of their outstanding games to even have a chance of missing the postseason. Were the Yankees to play .500 ball (20-19, close enough) the rest of the way, they would go 101-61, more than enough to win the division. Houston at 20-20 down the stretch would go 98-64, another safe record.
In the Central, the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians are the only contenders. The Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics remain in combat for the last position and it may be this way until the end.
This National League playoff picture in 2019 is a free-for-all. If you are the Los Angeles Dodgers, you have the only sure thing in the league. Every other spot is up in the air between division and wild card races. The only other team with any degree of comfort in the National League are the Atlanta Braves, with a 5.5-game lead in the NL East, and even that is flimsy. Atlanta has three division rivals chasing them, and all of them are alive (and in good shape) for the wild cards. Even the fourth-place New York Mets trail by just two games.
Forget trying to predict the NL Central or the two wild cards right now. Six teams are in a spot or are within 3.5 games of a bid, not counting the tied St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs, one of whom would win the division and the other of which would get a wild card.
MLB Playoff Picture: August 9, 2019 Update
We have a quiet-ish race going on in the American League, except for seeding amongst teams already headed into the field. Just two teams outside of playoff position have any sort of chance. This means security for the New York Yankees and Houston Astros, likely bids for the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians, while the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics fight for the last spot.
The National League picture is the opposite of the American League. Whereas there are not many entertaining pennant or wild card chases in the AL, the National League has just one race (the NL West) that is over. In the East, Central, and both wild card positions, everything is up for grabs. Part of this is because of how terrible the records are for playoff-bound teams. As of the start of business on August 9th, the two wild card teams (Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers) are 61-53 and 60-56, respectively. Those are 87 and 84-win paces. The San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds are both within five games of a berth, despite being below the .500 mark.
MLB Playoff Picture: July 30, 2019 Update
The New York Yankees own the best record in the American League on percentage points over the Houston Astros. Both teams are on pace to win over 100 games, and it figures to be a protracted fight to the finish for the league’s top seed. Another team with a fight on their hands are the Minnesota Twins, who struggle to hold off the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central. Cleveland, however, is in as the first wild card.
In the next tier of teams you have the Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays, and Boston Red Sox. As it is now, just one would make the postseason, but all three are in contention.
The layer behind those teams includes the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers out of the AL West. Both teams are in range for the wild card, neither is in contention for the division, and they are the teams on the farthest outskirts. Below Texas in the standings are the Chicago White Sox, 20 games out in the AL Central and 12 out in the wild card. The records get worse and worse from there.
Houston and the Yankees are playoff locks; they are the only two at this time as the AL Central and wild card races remain fluid.
Everyone in the National League is looking up at the Los Angeles Dodgers again. Let’s be serious, though: if they lose another World Series in 2019, they will be mentioned in the same sentence as the Buffalo Bills with frequency. Los Angeles is six games clear on the loss side from the Atlanta Braves, who lead the NL East.
The Washington Nationals have the third-best record in the National League, yet are 11 games behind the Dodgers. In fact, the Dodgers are the only team with a .600 win percentage in that league. Beyond Los Angeles and maybe Atlanta, the records get quite unimpressive for a pack of supposed playoff contenders.
In the NL Central, the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals are tied for the lead at 56-49, or a pace of 86-76. Hey, the 2006 Cards won it all with 83 wins. The Milwaukee Brewers are right behind them as well as in the wild card race, which has 11 teams either in the slots or within seven games of a playoff position. Even the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies, both 50-57, are only seven games out of a postseason spot. That is, of course, their sole avenue as the Dodgers will win the NL West with ease.