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Mets third baseman David Wright
New York Mets (54-64, 13 games out of WC)
The play of superstars David Wright and Matt Harvey has given Mets fans something to cheer about this year, and they've played fairly well of late, but they're still at least a year away from contention. An inconsistent starting rotation and lack of offensive punch at a number of positions has held the team back this season.
Colorado Rockies (57-65, 12 games out of WC)
Surprise contenders early on this season, the Rockies eventually fell off when their starting rotation came back down to earth. They still have one of the most potent offenses in all of baseball, led by superstars Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, but they need to improve their staff if they hope to contend moving forward.
San Diego Padres (54-66, 14 games out of WC)
The Padres won 10 out of 12 in mid-June to put themselves two games over .500 and within one game of the NL West lead. However, they've gone just 19-32 since and are in danger of finishing in last place as a result. They're a young team on the rise, but it looks like they're still a couple of years and a front-end arm from legitimate contention.
Philadelphia Phillies (53-67, 15 games out of WC)
The Phillies' superstar core that made the team a legitimate World Series contender for a number of years has declined quickly over the past two seasons. As a result, the team is stuck with a number of large contracts and little wiggle room financially to rebuild. Expect big changes over the next year or two.
San Francisco Giants (52-67, 15.5 games out of WC)
It's been a long season for the reigning champions, as their hallmark starting pitching has not been nearly as dominant and their offense has been below average once again. All that has led to disappointing results and has the team looking at a last-place finish.
Chicago Cubs (52-68, 16 games out of WC)
In year two of the Theo Epstein era, the Cubs look as though they'll improve on last year's 61-101 record, though they are still very much in the early stages of a rebuild. They've assembled one of the best farm systems in all of baseball over the past two years, and with some payroll flexibility on top of that, the 2015 season looks like a reasonable time frame for a return to contention.
Milwaukee Brewers (52-68, 16 games out of WC)
A year after leading the NL in runs scored but finishing just 83-79 due to their pitching staff, the Brewers have struggled all around this season and may be headed for a last-place finish. Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez have broken out as stars, but the pitching staff has been terrible and the team is now without Ryan Braun while he serves a suspension.
Miami Marlins (46-73, 21.5 games out of WC)
After a classic offseason fire sale, the Marlins entered the season with a roster made up of unproven youngsters and journeyman veterans. As expected, they've struggled, but there have been some promising takeaways from this year—none bigger than the play of 21-year-old pitcher Jose Fernandez, who has looked like a bona fide ace.