Even with less than a week to go in the regular season, there's still an unusual amount of contenders in Major League Baseball this season. The crowd is thinning out more and more every day, but at this point, over half of MLB's 30 teams are still in the playoff picture in some form or another.
The addition of an extra wild card berth in each league is part of the explanation for all the madness. Aside from that, there's simply more parity in MLB this year. Never a bad thing in my estimation.
However, nothing will change in the end. MLB can make as many tweaks to its playoff system as it wants, but only two teams can go to the World Series and only one can win it.
As such, asking which teams are good enough to make the playoffs is not quite the same as asking which teams are good enough to win the World Series. Making the postseason is the easy part. Collecting 11 (or 12, if you're a wild card team) wins once you're in the postseason is the hard part.
So which contenders around MLB actually have the goods to go all the way this year? For that matter, which teams don't have the goods to go all the way?
The answers lie ahead of you. It's time for a little game of "Contender or Pretender?"
Note: Stats come courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.