As Major League Baseball makes it through the dog days of August, there are still more than a dozen teams that can consider themselves contenders for a playoff spot, and therefore, a world championship.
But not all contenders are created equal—especially when it comes to swinging the lumber. Every contender needs a solid pitching staff, but the batting lineups of the teams in the hunt vary from high-powered scoreboard-busters to teams that scrape for every little run they can get.
Read on as we rank and assign a letter grade to the batting order for every MLB contender.
Runs Scored: 399 (29)
Batting Average: .241 (27)
Home Runs: 72 (27)
Stolen Bases: 66 (21)
It's no secret that San Francisco's success is reliant on their starting rotation and deep bullpen.
They're one of two first place teams with a negative run differential (-12).
The loss of Buster Posey was a huge blow. Although Cody Ross and Edgar Renteria won the NLCS and World Series MVP during their World Series run, it was Buster Posey who consistently performed during the entire postseason.
The acquisition of Carlos Beltran helps, but he's hit just .244 in 11 games thus far. The only other threat in the lineup is Pablo Sandoval.
If the Giants make the postseason, Bruce Bochy will be doing a lot of mixing and matching like he did last year.
Runs Scored: 453 (20)
Batting Average: .252 (17)
Home Runs: 112 (11)
Stolen Bases: 53 (25)
Chicago White Sox fans just keep on waiting for Alex Rios (.218) and Adam Dunn (.165) to breakthrough at some point this season. Dunn's ineffectiveness is starting to become one of the worst seasons for a hitter in MLB history.
Paul Konerko (.305, 26 HR, 79 RBI) and Carlos Quentin (.264, 24 HR, 71 RBI) have carried the offense so far. They need help.
Runs Scored: 453 (20)
Batting Average: .247 (22)
Home Runs: 105 (17)
Stolen Bases: 63 (24)
It's been Asdrubal Cabrera and not much else so far in Cleveland. He leads the team in average (.289) home runs (19) and RBI (65).
Shin-Soo Choo should be back soon while Grady Sizemore's return is a bit more iffy.
Runs Scored: 441 (24)
Batting Average: .250 (18)
Home Runs: 92 (20)
Stolen Bases: 98 (7)
In an August 18 game just two years ago, the Angels became the first team since 1934 to have all nine members of their batting lineup with a batting average above .300.
Currently, the Angels don't have a single player (min 100 AB) batting over .300.
Vernon Wells has been a huge disappointment, while Bobby Abreu and Torii Hunter are in the twilight of their careers.
Mark Trumbo's been a productive rookie with 22 home runs and 63 RBI.
What the Angels do possess is speed. They have four players with 10-plus steals: Erick Aybar (24), Peter Bourjos (15), Bobby Abreu (15) and Howie Kendrick (11).
Runs Scored: 476 (16)
Batting Average: .245 (25)
Home Runs: 126 (9)
Stolen Bases: 46 (26)
He currently has a 30-game hitting streak and his name is Dan Uggla. How about the turnaround Uggla's had since his brutal start to the season.
The Braves added a pivotal piece at the deadline in Michael Bourn. Atlanta's been playing musical chairs with their leadoff hitter, but Bourn answers that need. He leads baseball with 42 stolen bases.
Brian McCann was an NL MVP candidate before his recent injury while Freddie Freeman is most likely going to win the Rookie of the Year Award.
Runs Scored: 516 (9)
Batting Average: .247 (21)
Home Runs: 130 (5)
Stolen Bases: 87 (10)
Arizona is a team that relies on the long ball to score runs.
Justin Upton leads the way with a .296 average with 23 home runs and 72 RBI.
Chris Young, Ryan Roberts and Kelly Johnson don't hit for high averages, but they all have pop.
Miguel Montero is a very underrated catcher. He's hitting .274 with 12 home runs and 59 RBI.
Runs Scored: 512 (10)
Batting Average: .262 (8)
Home Runs: 127 (6)
Stolen Bases: 65 (22)
Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun are one of the most dynamic duos in baseball. Fielder had a .303 average with 26 home runs and 85 RBI. Braun has a .321 average with 21 home runs and 74 RBI.
Rickie Weeks is currently on the DL with a sprained ankle, but he provides pop at the top of the lineup. Corey Hart's missed time, but he's been fine.
Casey McGehee hasn't produced.
Runs Scored: 504 (13)
Batting Average: .252 (16)
Home Runs: 108 (15)
Stolen Bases: 78 (17)
The debut of Chase Utley changed the entire landscape of this lineup. They led the league in runs scored in July.
They filled their need of a right-handed hitter in the five hole with the acquisition of Hunter Pence. This gives the NL RBI leader (89) Ryan Howard some protection in the lineup.
Shane Victorino (.310) continues to be the unsung hero. He's been everywhere in the order this season.
Runs Scored: 508 (11)
Batting Average: .268 (4)
Home Runs: 110 (14)
Stolen Bases: 39 (28)
Detroit has plenty of depth from top to bottom, although there's no one that can steal bases.
The decision to put Alex Avila behind the plate has benefited. He's hitting .288 with 13 home runs and 53 RBI. Victor Martinez has excelled as primarily a DH with a .325 average.
Jhonny Peralta's having a career year; he's hitting .312.
Miguel Cabrera continues to be consistent hitting .315 with 22 home runs and 71 RBI.
Runs Scored: 552 (4)
Batting Average: .270 (3)
Home Runs: 117 (10)
Stolen Bases: 39 (29)
Before the season there were a lot of critics who questioned the decision to put Lance Berkman in right field for his bat, a position he hadn't played since 2004. After a horrific 2010, Berkman's bounced back by hitting .290 with 28 home runs and 75 RBI.
Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday provide more punch in the middle of the lineup.
The one big flaw in the lineup is the lack of speed.
Runs Scored: 589 (3)
Batting Average: .277 (2)
Home Runs: 136 (3)
Stolen Bases: 102 (5)
Michael Young came into the season without a position, but he's been the key cog in the Texas lineup all season long. He's hitting .333.
Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre continue to be plagued with injury, but both have been effective when healthy.
Nelson Cruz leads the team in home runs with 25.
Elvis Andrus has gotten on base more this year and has 31 steals.
Ian Kinsler's been a disappointment, he's hitting just .237 on the year.
Runs Scored: 603 (2)
Batting Average: .265 (7)
Home Runs: 149 (1)
Stolen Bases: 116 (2)
The decision to put Brett Gardner at the top of the lineup has paid huge dividends so far this year. He's getting on base and is second in the AL in steals with 36.
Behind him you have plenty of pop in Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira.
Runs Scored: 625 (1)
Batting Average: .282 (1)
Home Runs: 139 (2)
Stolen Bases: 79 (16)
On paper, Adrian Gonzalez looks like a shoe-in to win the AL MVP. He leads the league in batting average (.350) and RBI (91). We'll see, Jacoby Ellsbury has a strong case as well.
As Gonzalez continues to drive in runs, much credit has to go to the table-setters at the top of the lineup. Ellsbury is hitting .319 with 19 HR, 72 RBI and 31 SB while former AL MVP Dustin Pedroia is hitting .310 with 15 HR, 60 RBI and 22 SB.
Carl Crawford had a horrific start, but is hitting .295 since May 1. He had nine hits in the Yankees series.
From top to bottom, there's not much weakness.