Which MLB Team can Steal a Wild Card Spot?

Wild Card Spot
Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The new playoff format means a few things, all of which are good for the fans. More teams, more games, and more time for anything to happen in a sport where anything can happen. There are 3 or 4 teams out of the wild card spot with a legitimate chance to make the playoffs. With 5 weeks left in the regular season, which team has the best chance to steal a wild card spot?

Teams in the Hunt to Steal a Wild Card Spot

For this column I am going to combine both American League and National League, since there is only 2 serious contenders in the AL, and honestly only one in the NL. However I am going to mention 3 AL teams with a chance, Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins, and the Chicago White Sox. Alongside 2 NL teams in the Milwaukee Brewers and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

National League

In the NL you have the Milwaukee Brewers only 2.5 games behind the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies. There are two ways you can look at this. One being, could the Brewers take a wild card spot from one of them, or could one of them give a wild card spot to the Brewers.

Before tonight the Phillies have lost 3 in a row, which is my biggest fear in this whole baseball season. That the Philadelphia Phillies with will fall apart and hand a wild card spot off to whichever team behind them wants to take it.

The Padres however, I do not see them losing enough games to hurt themselves. If they missed the playoffs it is because somebody came into their house at 3 am and took it from their bed side table. Which brings me to the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team who won 5 straight before tonight, yet they are 10 games back.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have the best young talent I have seen in a decade on a baseball field. They are playing loose and allowing their youth to make mistakes. The D-Backs are planning for next season but if a chance comes with 2 weeks left and they are 3 games out; watch out! This team can pitch and hit with the best of them, consistency is Arizona’s only flaw.

Back to Milwaukee, who play the Diamondbacks next, interesting. The Brewers can take control of this wild card race by winning this series this weekend. Which would allow them to not even have to think about checking their rearview mirror the rest of the race.

Milwaukee Brewers: Statistically

They have a 33.3% chance to make the playoffs and a 0.2% chance to win the World Series. The hitting statistics are below average in most categories, besides home runs which they are 2nd in the NL with 181.

This team has been on a downward spiral the month of August but are showing signs of picking it back up for a late season push. Finally adjusting to Devin Williams being their closer instead of Josh Hader. They are ranked 3rd in the NL in strikeouts with 1,208, 2nd in hits given up with 993, 4th in earned runs given up with 490, and first in saves with 49.

From what I have seen on the field and in the numbers, the Milwaukee Brewers will steal a playoff spot from the Philadelphia Phillies in dramatic fashion, breaking the hearts of Phillies fans. There is no such thing as “due” in baseball, but according to the Phillies inconsistencies, they are “due” for a collapse. The Milwaukee Brewers will be steady on their tail, right there waiting to take advantage.

American League

In the AL all three wild card teams at this time can be caught, and caught easily. That opens the doors for multiple teams to still make a run. The Baltimore O’s are currently only 2 games back from the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Minnesota Twins are only 1 game back from the O’s. Only 5 games separate all 5 of these teams fighting for 3 wild card spots.

Then there are the Chicago White Sox, who have had one of the roughest seasons a franchise can have. Albeit, as of now they stand only 6.5 games back from a wild card spot. The White Sox are trending down however, with injuries at almost every position and the news of their Manager Tony La Russo maybe being forced to retire immediately depending on doctor’s test results. (Get Well Tony)

Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles are the one team that just does not fit for some reason. They have been playing above their potential all season long, it has been inspirational. At some point that bubble has to pop, right?

Right now they have a 33.6% chance to make the playoffs and a 1.0% chance to win the World Series. At the plate this team has nothing standing out as far as statistics go, lower half in the AL. In pitching they are ranked 4th-7th in the majority of the categories.

They win close games, and they beat up on weaker teams. Both attributes you need as a contender, just not enough proof that they can do it against better teams in high pressure situations.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins are the best team not in the playoffs, personal opinion. I feel like they have all of the players and for one reason or another have not found their groove just yet. I know, a little late to be looking for a groove.

The twins have the best shot to me if they can get hot to not only make it to the playoffs, but to do damage once they get there. They have a 37.6% chance to make it to the playoffs, and a 1.0% chance to win the World Series.

This lineup is top 5 in most hitting categories in the American League. Same thing on the pitching side of the statistics. The Minnesota Twins statistically are one of the top 5 teams in the AL. For some reason they have been under performing in big moments this season.

They are desperately looking for a leader, I believe they have 2-3 players that need to wake up and answer the call. If Toronto, Tampa Bay or Seattle slip up in the slightest; the Minnesota Twins will be waiting in the wing.

Overview: Which MLB Team can Steal a Wild Card Spot?

Major League Baseball is the most unpredictable sport in the world. The ball bounces left sometimes, and right others. One day a pitcher has his “stuff” and the next outing he left it on the bus. One centimeter higher on his swing would have resulted in a home run. Every team has a chance to make a run in this new expanded playoff format.

The Milwaukee Brewers and the Minnesota Twins will make a run at the wild card spots. It will be up to the 6 teams holding one of those spots currently to not let it slip out of grasp.

This is about to be one of the most exciting month of the year, and at the heart of it all will be the MLB stretch to the playoffs!

(All stats and % chances provided by baseball-reference.com)

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Rowan Donaghey is a Sports and Betting Insider for Fantom Sports Industries. Follow him on twitter for daily content via

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