As we roll past Labor Day, the Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals, D-backs, Astros, Indians and Red Sox look to be in good shape. But those teams still have plenty to play for: You don't think Cleveland fans know their team is within just a few games of the Astros for best record in the American League? And, if the Dodgers falter, the Nats are right there waiting. Don't forget that, this year, home-field advantage in the World Series goes to the pennant winner with the best record. There is plenty on the line over the next few weeks for everyone when it comes to the postseason. This is going to be a huge September.

But, for many teams, getting to the playoffs is still a battle: While the D-backs look to have one National League Wild Card spot wrapped up, you've got three playoff spots completely up for grabs in both leagues, and 11 teams fighting for them. (Of course, if the Sox end up struggling, they could also fall back to the pack. But for the sake of this discussion, let's leave them be.)

Do any teams have an edge? I want to compare the eight AL playoff teams within reasonable reach of the two Wild Card spots in the most important categories. (I'll do the same with the NL on Friday.) Two of these teams are going to make the playoffs, and their tickets are going to be just as valuable as the other ones. I decided to take a look at how each team stacks up, position by position. These are my sort of "back of the napkin" rankings for each category. Feel free to disagree with me in the comments or on Twitter @williamfleitch!

LINEUP

  1. Baltimore
  2. N.Y. Yankees
  3. Minnesota
  4. L.A. Angels
  5. Texas
  6. Seattle
  7. Tampa Bay
  8. Kansas City

The Orioles finally have the scary lineup you were waiting for. Chris Davis has warmed up, Jonathan Schoop has been fantastic all season and, at last, Manny Machado has remembered that he's a superstar (and, you might remember, a free agent after next season). The result is an O's lineup that's mashing at the right time. The Yankees have fallen back a bit with Aaron Judge's slump, but veterans like Matt Holliday and Starlin Castro have been picking up the slack. Meanwhile, the Angels are rising here. Bringing in Justin Upton and Brandon Phillips changed the whole structure of that lineup, and, quietly, Albert Pujols is starting to hit again.

ROTATION

  1. N.Y. Yankees
  2. Tampa Bay
  3. Texas
  4. Minnesota
  5. Kansas City
  6. Seattle
  7. Baltimore
  8. L.A. Angels

Why is the AL Wild Card race so jumbled? You can start here. None of these teams blow you away with their starting pitching, and it tells you all you need to know that Texas -- which traded away one of the best starting pitchers in the game at the non-waiver Trade Deadline -- is still so high on this list. Mike Leake, who was expendable in the Cardinals' rotation at the exact moment that team was trying to make its own playoff push, went to the Mariners as a valuable addition. This category is a weakness pretty much across the board. Though it's worth noting: The Orioles' rotation has stabilized in the past month.

DEFENSE

  1. Minnesota
  2. Tampa Bay
  3. L.A. Angels
  4. Seattle
  5. N.Y. Yankees
  6. Baltimore
  7. Texas
  8. Kansas City

Byron Buxton is catching every baseball hit in every ballpark right now. It's a little surprising to see Kansas City -- a team that was supposedly the standard bearer for defensive ability during those World Series seasons -- at the bottom here, but according to Baseball Info Solutions' Defense Runs Saved Above Average, the Royals have one of the five worst defenses in baseball.

BULLPEN

  1. N.Y. Yankees
  2. Seattle
  3. Tampa Bay
  4. Baltimore
  5. Kansas City
  6. L.A. Angels
  7. Minnesota
  8. Texas

Bullpens are always important, of course, but when one game can mean so much, they're particularly vital. Of course, the team we ranked as having the best bullpen just gave up a brutal walk-off homer at Camden Yards Tuesday night.

SCHEDULE

  1. N.Y. Yankees
  2. Tampa Bay
  3. Minnesota
  4. Baltimore
  5. Kansas City
  6. Texas
  7. L.A. Angels
  8. Seattle

This one is tough to suss out because so many of these teams play each other. The Twins have a lot of road games, but they also have six games against the Tigers and four against the Blue Jays. A lot of these teams have games against the Indians, which is not a pleasant thing right now.

INTANGIBLES

  1. N.Y. Yankees
  2. Minnesota
  3. Baltimore
  4. L.A. Angels
  5. Tampa Bay
  6. Kansas City
  7. Texas
  8. Seattle

The Twins are young and exciting, the Orioles are playing their best ball at the right time, the Angels made some key trade acquisitions and the Yankees are, well, the Yankees. Those four seem to be a clear tier above the rest at this particular point.

PLAYOFF ODDS

  1. N.Y. Yankees (86.1 percent)
  2. L.A. Angels (42.6 percent)
  3. Minnesota (27.0 percent)
  4. Baltimore (12.5 percent)
  5. Tampa Bay (10.0 percent)
  6. Texas (9.0 percent)
  7. Kansas City (8.2 percent)
  8. Seattle (4.9 percent)

One month ago today, the Angels were at 8.0 percent odds. Meanwhile, the Twins were at 48.6 percent one week ago.

Prediction: It is tempting to pick Baltimore -- the Orioles have had a ton of dramatic moments, Machado is a monster again and they're playing better right now than they have in months. But the Angels might, suddenly, have the most talent in the whole race, non-Yankees division. Here's guessing that on Tuesday, Oct. 3, the AL Wild Card Game will be the Los Angeles Angels at the New York Yankees.

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