There is no secret sauce for October. If there were, the most optimized teams would recognize that with a 12-team MLB playoff, what might work in the postseason is probably enough to get through the regular season and then gear their roster toward setting up a playoff run.
Thus, we're left trying to reverse-engineer what may work in the postseason by ranking teams in each of the potentially indicative categories, revisiting this at the end of the month to see where the most successful teams ranked high. And perhaps even then there will be no clear correlation -- no obvious categories that align with prosperity. The greatest key to October, many in baseball like to say, is luck, and quantifying that is impossible.
That leaves us with a longer-play option of looking for trends over multiple years, knowing the game shifts with rapidity, and that what might work now may not necessarily be the same in the pitch-clock era ... or when hitting catches up to pitching ... or some other epoch destined to bear out. The difficulty of the game is trying to foretell that, to see where it's going and shape a roster to extract advantages -- but that's not going to stop us from trying.
Here are eight categories that are likely to have an impact on the rest of this postseason, with each of the eight teams remaining in the playoffs ranked and accompanied by comments for teams that stand out, good or bad.