MLB Power Rankings: As wild card races wind down, which non-playoff teams will make the leap in 2019?

We're winding down here on the regular season in the 2018, with just a week of games left. There are still some playoff races to sort out, but we mostly know what's on tap for us in October, in terms of the matchups. With that in mind, let's discuss which non-playoff teams might be joining the playoffs next year, such as how the Braves and Athletics have crashed the party this season. 

The easy pick: Rays

OK, so the Rays enter Monday technically still alive, but I don't think they're going to win out while the A's lose out, so that makes them an easy pick to love for next season. They have a good shot at winning 90 games this season after starting 4-13. They don't lose anyone to free agency, either. 

In looking ahead, Tommy Pham has been such a monster since coming over, he could definitely be the anchor to the offense next year. Some players with lesser big-league experience such as Jake Bauers, Joey Wendle, Willy Adames and Austin Meadows have flashed some potential at times and can build upon that. 

There's no reason to doubt Blake Snell will keep pitching like an ace and the Rays have done well with their "opener" strategy. We'll likely see top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell return at some point in the season (probably late) from Tommy John surgery, too.

The Rays are also widely believed to have one of the best farm systems in baseball. A return to the postseason could happen in 2019.

The 'build on 2018' pick: Phillies

The Phillies fell apart this season, but they have already won 12 more games than they did last season and they have a shot to go from 66-96 to a winning record. That's a feather in their cap and once they get distance from the sour last two months, surely they'll realize that. 

The Phillies have young players like Jorge Alfaro, Scott Kingery, J.P. Crawford and even Rhys Hoskins who could still get a lot better next season. 

Aaron Nola is now an established ace to front the rotation while Zach Eflin and Nick Pivetta could improve. 

Also, the Phillies could make a monstrous splash in free agency. They will be going after both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. Landing at least one of them will be a major boost. 

The other big task for the offseason is to find a way to fix that dreadful defense

The possible breakout pick: White Sox

The White Sox have gone 19-18 since Aug. 13 and that's an arbitrary endpoint, but it's also showing that they are closing the season much better than their record shows. Should they so choose, the White Sox could spend a lot in free agency. 

They also have lots of young talent that could be set to breakout in 2019, such as Yoan Moncada, Reynaldo Lopez (he's already started to), Lucas Giolito, Carlos Rodon and 2019 AL Rookie of the Year possibility Eloy Jimenez. We could probably include people like Tim Anderson and Daniel Palka, too. I wrote more about the progress of the White Sox this season here.

The longshot play: Padres

I think the Padres actually arrive in 2020, but we've seen teams make playoff runs "a year early," and we could probably put the 2018 Braves in that category. I've already written a lot about the Padres' future potential, so you can check that out here

As for what's going on in the present, let's rank 'em. 

Biggest Movers
4 Marlins
2 Giants
1 Red Sox As things stand, the record says this is one of the best Red Sox teams -- if not the best -- of all time. But can they complete the job? --25-23
2 Astros Remember back when the Astros were dreadful and a bunch of old guard writers mocked the nerds running the Astros and the lowly "bloggers" who thought they'd be successful? Back-to-back 100-win seasons is about to happen. Someone was definitely wrong. Someone was very wrong. --33-16
3 Yankees That Didi Gregorius injury is a pretty damn tough blow with just one week until the playoffs. 230-17
4 Athletics The A's have gone 31-13 in one-run games this season. For some reason, we haven't been hearing how much of a fluke they are. It's weird. 125-25
5 Cubs The offense saw a few good signs this past week of breaking out of its funk. 128-18
6 Dodgers The Dodgers are cruising, now with wins in nine of their last 11 games. --32-17
7 Brewers Big week: The Brewers have a chance to steal the NL Central from the Cubs (but they'll need help) but could also lose home-field advantage in the Wild Card Game to the Cardinals, who the play on the road in a three-game series. --29-22
8 Braves What a fun season this must have been for Braves fans. There's a chance to make it even more special, too. --26-23
9 Rays It's a shame that geography is costing this team a chance to make the playoffs, but it happens. Those are the breaks. --27-18
10 Indians The Indians now have four pitchers with at least 200 strikeouts. That's an MLB record. --25-23
11 Cardinals That four-game losing streak could have been crippling, but the Cardinals responded by winning six of seven. A resilient group, this one appears to be. 124-24
12 Rockies They need to make up 1 1/2 games games in a week, which seems like almost nothing, but it's going to be tough to overcome. Still a chance, of course! 121-25
13 Mariners The Mariners have won 85 games with a week to go. The second AL wild card had 85 wins last year. In 2015, 86 wins got it done. Timing is everything. --23-29
14 Pirates In his last 12 starts, Trevor Williams is 8-2 with a 1.00 ERA. That's in 71 2/3 innings. Good grief. 324-21
15 Nationals I'm incredibly interested to see how Bryce Harper reacts to the Nationals final home game this week, but I need to realize he's just going to mess with people. 119-29
16 Diamondbacks They entered the month in first place but have gone 5-16 in it. Terrible. 125-25
17 Phillies Jake Arrieta has a 5.09 ERA in the second half. I'm sure some of it is the defense, but he needs to be better next season for the Phillies to break out. 128-20
18 Angels Remember when the Angels were 13-3? I'm swear, I'm not making that up. It is such a long season. --22-26
19 Mets Remember when the Mets were 11-1? I'm swear, I'm not making that up. It is such a long season. --22-25
20 Twins If you haven't yet seem him play, try to watch Willians Astudillo this week. He's short and stocky and always puts the ball in play (one walk and two strikeouts in 73 plate appearances). 132-16
21 Blue Jays Aaron Sanchez led the AL in ERA and finished seventh in AL Cy Young voting at age 23 in 2016. He's been injured or not very good since. Discouraging. 120-28
22 Giants For a non-contender, the Giants are actually treating their fans pretty well this season. They stayed competitive for a while and are mailing it in now (better draft pick!). 221-26
23 Rangers It seems weird to fire a manager with just a few games left in the season, doesn't it? Like, there wasn't some big, public, embarrassing moment and the team hasn't been contending all year. --24-23
24 Marlins Isaac Galloway is seventh on the team in WAR and he's only been up since July 31. No, it's not because of how awesome he's been. 414-31
25 Reds Given how often arms break and how Michael Lorenzen has yet to prove dominant for a full season, I'd seriously think about going the Rick Ankiel route and making him an outfielder. 122-27
26 Tigers Remember when they were only 2 1/2 games out in the middle of June? Man, it's a long season. --18-27
27 Padres C'mon Padres, make 2019 the breakout! 226-24
28 White Sox And Hawk's career is ... ovah. 121-26
29 Royals For most of the season, it looked like the Royals would set the franchise record for losses, but they might be able to avoid it. They can fall "short" by going 3-3 this week against the Reds and an Indians team worried only about setting up for the Astros in the ALDS. --17-31
30 Orioles (Crying emoji) --15-33
CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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