As we head towards the end of July – and teams near the 100 games played mark – the MLB playoff races are clarifying themselves on an almost daily basis. That makes it time to update our MLB playoffs tier list, where I evaluate who’s in, who’s out, and who will be fighting down the stretch for those final postseason spots.

MLB playoffs tier list
The Atlanta Braves have joined the ranks of the postseason locks in our latest MLB playoffs tier list. (Image: Todd Kirkland/Getty)

Things have changed significantly for a few teams since my first list in mid-June. While only one team has joined the top tier, there’s been plenty of movement in the middle of the pack. Meanwhile, one team has even managed to escape the Tier 5 abyss, though it remains to be seen if they can actually contend long-term.

Tier 1: Playoff locks

TeamRecordWorld Series Odds (via DraftKings)
New York Yankees66-33+380
Houston Astros64-35+500
New York Mets61-37+700
Atlanta Braves59-41+850
Los Angeles Dodgers65-32+350

The Braves are the new addition here, though they were on the verge of inclusion even in my last list. While Atlanta will battle the Mets in the NL East, both teams will make the playoffs – it’s just a matter of who wins the division and earns a likely first-round bye. Meanwhile, the Yankees, Astros, and Dodgers are also continuing to excel. All five of these teams could buy reinforcements at the trade deadline, as the Yankees did Wednesday by adding Andrew Benintendi.

Tier 2: Should be in

TeamRecordWorld Series Odds
Toronto Blue Jays54-44+1200
Milwaukee Brewers55-44+2000
San Diego Padres55-45+2200

The Milwaukee Brewers have done enough to earn their Tier 2 designation. While they only hold a three-game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central, they’re also above the wild card fray for the moment. FanGraphs gives Milwaukee a 90.2 percent chance of reaching the postseason, which means they’re closer to a lock than a bubble team. Toronto and San Diego won’t win their divisions, but both are heavy favorites to grab wild card spots in their respective leagues.

Tier 3: On the playoff bubble

TeamRecordWorld Series Odds
Tampa Bay Rays53-46+4000
Minnesota Twins52-46+5000
Cleveland Guardians50-47+9000
Chicago White Sox49-49+3000
Seattle Mariners54-45+5000
Philadelphia Phillies51-47+4500
St. Louis Cardinals52-47+4500

The AL Central remains a complete mess, with Minnesota, Cleveland, and the Chicago White Sox all still in the mix for a division title – though they may only grab one playoff spot between them. Meanwhile, the Mariners fought their way back into the playoff race with a 14-game winning streak just before the All-Star break, and are now a serious contender – one I even considered for Tier 2 status as this point.

Tier 4: Hopes Fading

TeamRecordWorld Series Odds
Baltimore Orioles50-49+50000
Boston Red Sox49-50+6000
Miami Marlins47-52+40000
San Francisco Giants48-50+6000

Other than Miami, all of these teams have moved to Tier 4 – from one direction or another. The San Francisco Giants are now under .500 after a seven-game losing streak, though they are probably the most likely playoff team of this group. Meanwhile, Baltimore rode its own long winning streak to pass the Red Sox in the AL East and rise out of Tier 5, something that should virtually never happen. The Orioles are just three games out of a wild card spot, though it’s hard to know if they legitimately have the talent to stay in the race down the stretch.

Tier 5: Wait until next year

TeamRecordWorld Series Odds
Detroit Tigers40-59+100000
Kansas City Royals39-59+200000
Texas Rangers43-54+100000
Los Angeles Angels42-56+50000
Oakland Athletics38-63+200000
Washington Nationals34-66+200000
Chicago Cubs40-57+200000
Pittsburgh Pirates40-58+200000
Cincinnati Reds38-60+200000
Arizona Diamondbacks45-53+200000
Colorado Rockies45-54+200000

For the most part, these are the same teams that were on the Tier 5 list last time, as this is a group of clubs simply playing out the string. The newest additions include the Angels, who just keep doing this year after year, and the Texas Rangers, who have slipped too far out of wild card contention to even think about making the postseason in 2022.