Which NL Wild Card Team Can Win it All?

Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-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. The six wildcard teams at the time of writing this all have one thing in common, they can flat out put up runs. With 5 weeks left in the regular season, which NL wild card team can win it all?

National League

The three teams representing the National League are the San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Philles, and the reigning champion Atlanta Braves.

Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves have possibly the scariest lineup in the NL. Although their 1,189 strikeouts leads the National League, they also lead the NL in two other categories. Home runs with 192, and total bases at 1,960.

As I look deeper into Atlanta’s statistics, them being ranked 2nd in four categories caught my eye.

  • 2nd in SLG (.444)
  • 2nd in OPS (.762)
  • 2nd in At Bats (4,411)
  • 2nd in Runs (641)

The Braves keep the bases moving on offense. When they get a pitch they like they usually hit the baseball far away into a place somebody paid to sit.

On the mound Atlanta ranks 1st in the NL in strikeouts with 1,231 K’s. Ranking 3rd in five other categories, this rotation and bullpen might be the best one on this 3 team list. The starters are old school in a since of challenging pitchers and taking pressure off of the bullpen by eating up innings. The bullpen has been solid all year as they lead the National League in saves at 49.

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies have a respectable lineup on this list. When they are hot, they can put up 12 runs before I get the mustard packet open for my hot dog. However as hot as they can get, there have been times this baseball team has been ice cold. It is all or nothing offensively and defensively they have had their fair share of problems.

Out of the 15 teams in the National League the Phillies are ranked middle of the pack in all hitting statistics (6th-12th). The one sign of anything you might be able to hold a hat on in the post season is being ranked 4th in home runs with 162 and 4th in total bases with 1,826.

The pitching has improved this season after a 2021 of having one of the worse bullpens in the league. Philadelphia relies on a 6 man rotation and all 6 pitchers are competitive each time out. Again statistically they were not ranked any higher than 4th in the NL in any category.

San Diego Padres

For some reason one name comes to mind, I wonder why that is? The Padres added a huge presence to their already frightening lineup at the trade deadline. San Diego have not figured it out yet, however they seem very, very close.

According to statistics the Padres are not living up to expectations coming into the season. Ranking towards the lower half of the NL hitting statistics except for in walks taken on the season. In which they ranked 2nd in the National League.

The stats do not suggest a winning team, which means this team has “something” that is getting the job done. Starting pitching could be responsible for that “something”. The starters do not allow many runs giving the offense a chance on most nights, even when they are struggling. In a 3 game series they have the pitching and bats to pull off some wins in the playoffs.

Which NL Wild Card Team Can Win It All?

The San Diego Padres have a 1.1% chance of winning the World Series. The Philadelphia Phillies have a 2.4% chance of winning the World Series. The Atlanta Braves have a 9.6% chance to win the World Series. (All stats and % chances provided by baseball-reference.com)

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 Philles at one point won 9 straight, while the Braves won 14 straight and 13 straight. Padres have been consistently winning with no slumps or moments too high.

Stats this season suggest the NL Wild Card team with the best chance to contend for a title this season are the Atlanta Braves. Can they win their second World Series in a row?

*Tomorrow I will break down which AL wild card team has the best chance at a ring.

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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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