Did everything break right for your team this season? Probably not, because even the vaunted Los Angeles Dodgers aren't in first place in their own division with less than two months of regular season baseball to play.
Now that we're a little more than a week past one of the more eventful trade deadlines in recent years, it's time to take a look at what needs to happen for each team over the rest of the regular season.
The best case scenarios for the contending teams winning their respective divisions, but each team has different needs in order to be able to win a division title or a Wild Card spot to clinch playoff appearances. For the non-contending teams, it's about looking to the future and developing the prospects.
Here is the best-case scenario for each team the rest of the way through the 2021 season.
American League: Essentially Eliminated
Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland baseball team, Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners
These clubs have not been mathematically eliminated but are heading in that direction. All, with the exception of the Mariners, were sellers at the trade deadline and they're just playing out the string.
The best thing for all of these teams is to develop the prospects that are MLB ready or nearing it. The Royals have some players who could benefit from big league playing time. The rebuilding club was competitive throughout the first half of the season but were not able to sustain that first-place start and ended up trading longtime ace Danny Duffy to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Of their top 10 prospects, five are in Triple-A or in the Major Leagues.
The Angels badly need to develop pitching to be able to complement Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. A decade of prioritizing offense has left the team in limbo, not good enough to make the playoffs but not bad enough to completely rebuild. Top pitching prospect Reid Detmers is currently getting some looks in the major leagues.
National League: Essentially Eliminated
Arizona Diamondbacks, Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins, Colorado Rockies, Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals
The same goes for these teams. They have not been eliminated yet, but their deficits are too great to make up. There is no waiver-trade deadline this year so teams only had the one opportunity to better their prospect pools.
Most teams took that opportunity. The Rockies did not.
Getting Jack Flaherty back for the rest of the season would be a nice boost for the Cardinals, but the two National League Wild Card spots will probably be locked up by two NL West teams, so their best case scenario is to lock up their franchise cornerstones in Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina to secure their leadership for 2022.
Tampa Bay Rays: The defending American League champs will need more from their starting pitching staff with Tyler Glasnow out after undergoing Tommy John Surgery and Ryan Yarbrough on the injured list. Rookies Luis Patino, Josh Fleming and Shane McClanahan need to step up. McClanahan has been doing exactly that, going 4-2 with a 3.26 ERA over his last seven starts.
Boston Red Sox: The starting pitching situation is not great. The Red Sox have had an ERA over 5.00 since the All-Star break and opted not to throw all of their best prospects at the Nationals for Max Scherzer, looking at the short- and long-term pictures. Chris Sale's return gave the Red Sox a boost Saturday as they trounced the Orioles 16-2. Sale allowed two earned on six hits and struck out eight over five innings. It's a good step in the right direction for Boston, but the team may ultimately have to slug its way past Tampa Bay to try and win the AL East if the inconsistent pitching performances remain a trend.
New York Yankees: Is the division title within reach? Doubtful. A Wild Card is a better bet. To be able to surpass Boston or the Oakland A's to reach a playoff spot the Yankees will need to find someone capable of pitching in high-leverage innings. Closer Aroldis Chapman is on IL and Zack Britton told manager Aaron Boone that he doesn't deserve save opportunities after blowing one Thursday night in the Field of Dreams game against the Chicago White Sox. Chad Green and Jonathan Loaisiga are the most likely candidates.
Toronto Blue Jays: Like the Yankees, a Wild Card is within reach, but it won't be easy. Toronto has a +128 run differential, so we know they're capable of putting a lot of runs on the board. George Springer has a 1.159 OPS with 11 home runs over the second half of the season. Springer left Saturday's game with an apparent lower left leg injury, however. The Blue Jays also have an AL MVP candidate in Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who boasts the highest OPS in the league (1.025), so if the offense can continue to fire the way the pitching has (fifth-best ERA since the All-Star break) then Toronto could leap over the Yankees and Red Sox.