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MLB stock watch: Who is ready for a run? Which teams are stumbling?

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Ah, September. All of the roster tweaks, on-field initiatives and crucial big-picture discussions in baseball since Game 7 of last year's epic World Series have put us in position for this. It's the race to the wire with much left to be decided. And when we get there, we hit reset and get ready to do it all over again, October-style.

As usual, teams in our monthly check-in have been ranked according to the change in their power rating since the last check-in. This time, we grouped them according to how teams are positioned in the postseason chase. Here are the definitions of those groups:

Ready for a run: Teams that currently have an 80 percent or better chance at the playoffs, according to simulations. There are eight teams that meet this definition. Thus, these are almost certainly the clubs who will take eight of the 10 playoff slots.

Still battling: Teams with a playoff probability between 10 and 80 percent. There are seven of them, and they are the ones scrambling for those last two spots.

Mathematically alive: Teams with a playoff probably greater than zero but less than 10 percent. There are five teams in this group. For each you can say that, sure, anything is possible, but most likely, it's not going to happen.

Looking ahead: This group is comprised of the 10 teams that missed the playoffs in all 10,000 of the simulations. Better luck next year.

Ready for a run

Cleveland Indians

Power rating: 103.7 (1) | Monthly change: 8.8

Current playoff probability: 100.0% | Probability entering August: 95.7%

Current temperature: 127.9° | Temperature entering August: 79.7°

Roster rating: 101.6 | Roster rank: 3

The Indians have seized the top spot in my power ratings and seem to gather momentum with each passing game. Baseball's top pitching staff has been dominant in just about every facet of the game, even with Andrew Miller battling knee trouble.

Chicago Cubs

Power rating: 92.5 (7) | Monthly change: 7.3

Current playoff probability: 86.3% | Probability entering August: 88.1%

Current temperature: 79.6° | Temperature entering August: 96.6°

Roster rating: 96.4 | Roster rank: 4

The defending champs enjoyed their best month of the season, and their underlying metrics look strong, especially with the Dodgers moving toward the NL pack. Still, Chicago hasn't yet put a headlock on its division, and one disastrous week could leave the Cubs in third place.

Boston Red Sox

Power rating: 89.6 (8) | Monthly change: 1.8

Current playoff probability: 98.7% | Probability entering August: 85.6%

Current temperature: 70.8° | Temperature entering August: 74.6°

Roster rating: 95.3 | Roster rank: 6

The Red Sox's lead over the Yankees is tenuous, even more so than a 3.5-game advantage suggests. The Yankees' roster value is virtually the same as Boston's, and the Yankees have an easier remaining schedule based on the power ratings here. Still, in the average simulation, Boston wins the AL East by a couple of games.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Power rating: 95.3 (6) | Monthly change: -2.4

Current playoff probability: 100.0% | Probability entering August: 90.6%

Current temperature: 120.9° | Temperature entering August: 68.6°

Roster rating: 84.0 | Roster rank: 9

The most amazing thing about Arizona's current win streak, which is nearing historical proportions in terms of run differential, is that the team had been cold for some time before it started. Arizona has been as high as 22 games over .500 but fell to just 10 games over after being swept at Minnesota in August. The D-backs have lost just once since then.

New York Yankees

Power rating: 95.6 (5) | Monthly change: -3.7

Current playoff probability: 93.9% | Probability entering August: 92.8%

Current temperature: 77.5° | Temperature entering August: 78.4°

Roster rating: 95.7 | Roster rank: 5

Who predicted both of these things? 1. The Yankees would have one of the top five bullpens in baseball. 2. Chad Green would be the Yankees' best reliever.

Washington Nationals

Power rating: 96.3 (4) | Monthly change: -3.8

Current playoff probability: 100.0% | Probability entering August: 99.8%

Current temperature: 96.1° | Temperature entering August: 81.5°

Roster rating: 91.6 | Roster rank: 7

According to fangraphs.com, during the first half, the Nationals finished dead last with minus-0.9 reliever WAR. During the second half, the Nats rank fifth with 2.2. That's how you plug a hole and withstand an injury to somebody like Bryce Harper.

Houston Astros

Power rating: 101.7 (2) | Monthly change: -5.7

Current playoff probability: 100.0% | Probability entering August: 100.0%

Current temperature: 99.2° | Temperature entering August: 65.5°

Roster rating: 102.1 | Roster rank: 2

Houston is hot again, and its post-Verlander roster rating is worth noting. Look out, Dodgers.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Power rating: 97.8 (3) | Monthly change: -8.8

Current playoff probability: 100.0% | Probability entering August: 100.0%

Current temperature: 42.5° | Temperature entering August: 116.4°

Roster rating: 105.6 | Roster rank: 1

Are the Dodgers still World Series favorites? Probably. But there are concerns, and while the current slump has hit all facets of the team, it's the rotation that needs to string some consistent outings together to alleviate anxieties about the October baseball to come.

Still battling

Baltimore Orioles

Power rating: 83.2 (12) | Monthly change: 11.2

Current playoff probability: 13.6% | Probability entering August: 14.5%

Current temperature: 91.1° | Temperature entering August: 93.8°

Roster rating: 83.0 | Roster rank: 12

The Orioles have been baseball's hottest team since our last check-in, which was in the immediate aftermath of a trade deadline that drew universal scorn from the pundits (including this one.) Health has been a key factor: The Orioles currently have less value on the DL (by WAR) than any other team in baseball.

Los Angeles Angels

Power rating: 82.3 (13) | Monthly change: 10.0

Current playoff probability: 25.0% | Probability entering August: 8.5%

Current temperature: 90.8° | Temperature entering August: 79.3°

Roster rating: 82.3 | Roster rank: 14

The Angels have baseball's sixth-toughest remaining schedule, but after the August deadline acquisitions of Justin Upton and Brandon Phillips, who could count out L.A.'s other team? This might be Mike Scioscia's finest hour.

Minnesota Twins

Power rating: 80.6 (16) | Monthly change: 8.1

Current playoff probability: 36.1% | Probability entering August: 4.4%

Current temperature: 69.1° | Temperature entering August: 51.3°

Roster rating: 77.9 | Roster rank: 18

Like the Orioles, the Twins have shown that drawing black-and-white conclusions from trade deadline decisions is of limited value. Byron Buxton's breakout has been one of baseball's best stories this season.

St. Louis Cardinals

Power rating: 87.6 (9) | Monthly change: 4.6

Current playoff probability: 31.2% | Probability entering August: 17.8%

Current temperature: 91.2° | Temperature entering August: 80.9°

Roster rating: 83.4 | Roster rank: 11

The Cardinals' superior run differential continues to keep them very much alive in the simulations, even while the front office continues to transition the big league roster to that which largely comprised Triple-A Memphis at the beginning of the season.

Texas Rangers

Power rating: 84.3 (10) | Monthly change: 0.5

Current playoff probability: 26.5% | Probability entering August: 6.4%

Current temperature: 86.6° | Temperature entering August: 58.5°

Roster rating: 75.8 | Roster rank: 21

Did you know that Texas ranks fifth in starting pitcher WAR this season? Now you do. With better bullpen performance earlier in the season and maybe a few more balls in play by the hitters, the Rangers would arguably be considered a better version than the team that won the AL West last season.

Milwaukee Brewers

Power rating: 80.8 (15) | Monthly change: -4.4

Current playoff probability: 12.7% | Probability entering August: 11.1%

Current temperature: 72.0° | Temperature entering August: 54.1°

Roster rating: 80.5 | Roster rank: 15

When we look at the breakouts of Jimmy Nelson, Corey Knebel, Chase Anderson and Zach Davies, at which point do we start to talk more about Milwaukee pitching coach Derek Johnson as one of the best in the business? The answer is that the point has long past: The Brewers rank eighth in all of baseball in ERA+.

Colorado Rockies

Power rating: 83.8 (11) | Monthly change: -7.6

Current playoff probability: 69.5% | Probability entering August: 87.9%

Current temperature: 64.5° | Temperature entering August: 71.0°

Roster rating: 78.0 | Roster rank: 17

Let's define "luck" as the difference between a team's record (per 162 games) and what that record should be based on run differential. The Rockies' win pace was 22 games ahead of their run profile at the end of April. Since then, the month-end figures have been 6.8, 7.1, 3.8 and, now, 1.5. In other words, you could say that the Rockies have found their level. Unfortunately, doing so moved them from the "Ready for a run" group to owning the best season record in this group, as the Rockies were baseball's second-coldest team since our last check-in.

Mathematically alive

Pittsburgh Pirates

Power rating: 75.2 (20) | Monthly change: 1.4

Current playoff probability: 0.0% | Probability entering August: 0.4%

Current temperature: 79.8° | Temperature entering August: 56.1°

Roster rating: 77.1 | Roster rank: 19

The Pirates actually did make the postseason in one of the simulations, but you'd need another decimal point for it to show up here. There just isn't enough power or patience in their lineup. But you have to love the Bucs' organizational stability, with manager Clint Hurdle and GM Neal Huntington signing extensions.

Tampa Bay Rays

Power rating: 80.8 (14) | Monthly change: -0.1

Current playoff probability: 3.5% | Probability entering August: 31.2%

Current temperature: 82.9° | Temperature entering August: 73.4°

Roster rating: 83.0 | Roster rank: 13

Tampa Bay looked well-positioned in late July, but a 15-21 stretch has all but pushed the Rays out of the playoffs. They lost 10 of those games by two runs or fewer. And if you're hoping for one more push, it'll have to come against baseball's toughest remaining schedule.

Seattle Mariners

Power rating: 79.4 (17) | Monthly change: -0.5

Current playoff probability: 1.2% | Probability entering August: 27.3%

Current temperature: 62.0° | Temperature entering August: 85.1°

Roster rating: 84.8 | Roster rank: 8

You certainly can't accuse GM Jerry DiPoto of standing pat with an injury-ravaged pitching staff. Seattle has used 40 pitchers this season, five more than every other team and 11.4 more than the big league average. The Indians have used 20 pitchers.

Miami Marlins

Power rating: 75.2 (19) | Monthly change: -4.1

Current playoff probability: 0.3% | Probability entering August: 4.0%

Current temperature: 51.6° | Temperature entering August: 89.4°

Roster rating: 74.2 | Roster rank: 22

It felt for a moment that Giancarlo Stanton's historic home run tear would be just enough to keep the Marlins in the wild-card race. But it's not, and the home run watch is all Marlins fans really have to look forward to.

Kansas City Royals

Power rating: 70.9 (24) | Monthly change: -7.1

Current playoff probability: 1.6% | Probability entering August: 27.7%

Current temperature: 64.8° | Temperature entering August: 75.0°

Roster rating: 71.0 | Roster rank: 24

When the Royals lose, they don't mess around. Kansas City has lost games by 11, 12 and 17 runs in just the past nine games. After Monday's game, the Royals were at .500 despite a minus-70 run differential. If the season had ended that day, it would have been the fourth-worst run differential by a team .500 or better in baseball history. Then they went out and lost 13-2 at Detroit.

Looking ahead

Toronto Blue Jays

Power rating: 73.4 (21) | Monthly change: 7.5

Current playoff probability: 0.0% | Probability entering August: 1.2%

Current temperature: 54.4° | Temperature entering August: 80.7°

Roster rating: 83.5 | Roster rank: 10

More than any other team, if you went back and replayed this season from the beginning, you'd peg the Blue Jays as the club most likely to do better than what it has done. Still, there are some hard decisions that need to made about this aging unit moving forward. Thankfully, the news from the minors on guys such as Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is enough to keep things from seeming too gloomy.

Cincinnati Reds

Power rating: 75.8 (18) | Monthly change: 5.7

Current playoff probability: 0.0% | Probability entering August: 0.0%

Current temperature: 79.1° | Temperature entering August: 59.1°

Roster rating: 73.5 | Roster rank: 23

The Reds rank in the top 10 by WAR at four positions, which I've noted before, but rank last in starter WAR and 29th in the bullpen. Yet the staff has missed bats, and lately, young Robert Stephenson has looked like a new guy. There are a lot of prospect arms on the September roster, giving Reds fans plenty to watch this month to see if Joey Votto & Co. could have some much-needed help on the way.

San Diego Padres

Power rating: 62.4 (30) | Monthly change: 4.4

Current playoff probability: 0.0% | Probability entering August: 0.0%

Current temperature: 66.7° | Temperature entering August: 79.3°

Roster rating: 63.3 | Roster rank: 29

There is a long developmental road ahead for an improving organization, but for now, we're left to marvel at how well manager Andy Green has done to keep this influx roster competitive all season.

San Francisco Giants

Power rating: 64.8 (28) | Monthly change: 3.7

Current playoff probability: 0.0% | Probability entering August: 0.0%

Current temperature: 36.4° | Temperature entering August: 48.4°

Roster rating: 76.1 | Roster rank: 20

Right now, the simulations have the Giants finishing with an average of 62 wins and earning the top pick in the next draft. While we see if they can fend off the White Sox and Phillies for that honor, at least we'll have that video of Bruce Bochy sitting on the Iron Throne to keep us warm through the winter.

Philadelphia Phillies

Power rating: 69.0 (26) | Monthly change: 3.1

Current playoff probability: 0.0% | Probability entering August: 0.0%

Current temperature: 75.3° | Temperature entering August: 76.1°

Roster rating: 71.0 | Roster rank: 25

With J.P. Crawford in the majors, with a hit under his belt already, the future continues to take shape in real time for the Phillies. This is a team that needs to splurge on some short-term deals for pitching this winter to bridge the gap between the young hurlers in the system and the near present, with a position-player group that might be ready to do some damage.

Oakland Athletics

Power rating: 67.2 (27) | Monthly change: 0.3

Current playoff probability: 0.0% | Probability entering August: 0.2%

Current temperature: 33.3° | Temperature entering August: 71.1°

Roster rating: 70.9 | Roster rank: 26

Could the Bay Area have two 100-loss teams this season? It might happen. The A's have done a lot more to brighten their future than the Giants during these lost seasons, but the big league product at present looks pretty ragged.

Atlanta Braves

Power rating: 69.9 (25) | Monthly change: -4.7

Current playoff probability: 0.0% | Probability entering August: 0.0%

Current temperature: 50.9° | Temperature entering August: 46.5°

Roster rating: 64.8 | Roster rank: 28

This has largely been a lackluster season for the Braves, their first at SunTrust Park. Still, when you look at the number of under-25 players who have gotten their feet wet this season, there's a good chance we'll look back at 2017 as the campaign in which the Braves' next era of excellence began to take shape. The Braves will be a popular sleeper pick heading into 2018.

New York Mets

Power rating: 72.6 (22) | Monthly change: -5.1

Current playoff probability: 0.0% | Probability entering August: 0.2%

Current temperature: 38.9° | Temperature entering August: 57.0°

Roster rating: 78.4 | Roster rank: 16

This is currently baseball's most stupefying team. Matt Harvey on short rest? Oh, wait, you changed your mind? Of course! We can point to the injuries all we want, but it's time for this team to do some serious internal evaluation when it comes to organizational processes.

Chicago White Sox

Power rating: 63.9 (29) | Monthly change: -6.2

Current playoff probability: 0.0% | Probability entering August: 0.0%

Current temperature: 54.8° | Temperature entering August: 36.4°

Roster rating: 57.2 | Roster rank: 30

The White Sox are bringing prospects Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech to Chicago on Wednesday to look around the ballpark and meet the media. They aren't being added to the roster or anything. It's a savvy move, really, to remind the fans that what they are watching on the field right now is largely irrelevant.

Detroit Tigers

Power rating: 71.1 (23) | Monthly change: -7.4

Current playoff probability: 0.0% | Probability entering August: 4.6%

Current temperature: 46.5° | Temperature entering August: 77.6°

Roster rating: 68.0 | Roster rank: 27

And so the rebuild begins.