While some teams are already planning for postseason baseball, others are scratching and clawing to get that far. Still, others are looking to the offseason and beyond.Regardless, this final month of the regular season is important for all of them, whether it's about wins and losses, player development or an
While some teams are already planning for postseason baseball, others are scratching and clawing to get that far. Still, others are looking to the offseason and beyond.
Regardless, this final month of the regular season is important for all of them, whether it's about wins and losses, player development or an opportunity to make better evaluations. On this Labor Day weekend, let's give all 30 teams a September wish list.
National League East
Braves: For Nick Markakis and Freddie Freeman to get hot again and put the finishing touches on what have been magical seasons for both themselves and the franchise.
Marlins: Solid final months from two rookies -- center fielder Lewis Brinson and right-hander Sandy Alcantara. Both were acquired during last offseason's remake and are projected to be big parts of the future.
Mets: One more ride for third baseman David Wright. Forget about him playing in 2019. One step at a time. After all the pain and work and all that he has meant to the franchise, he deserves to get back on the field and do what he loves.
Nationals: To put youngsters Victor Robles and Juan Soto in the outfield together and give Nationals fans a look at a 2019 season that still has lots of promise, despite the disappointment of '18.
Phillies: Time to fight through tough times, which the Phillies always knew were coming. That begins with cleaner play and a pitching staff that has had a tough few days. Jacob Arrieta was signed last offseason to lead in times like this.
Brewers: Right-handers Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra put a difficult August behind them and help a struggling pitching staff get back on track. Little room for error with eight NL teams fighting for five postseason berths.
Cardinals: Don't change a thing. Hit the way you've been hitting, wear what you've been wearing, sing the songs you've been singing. No team is playing better. One other thing: How about Matt Carpenter for the Most Valuable Player Award?
Cubs: Status quo. The Cubs are doing a great imitation of the NL's best team, and with a front three of Jonathan Lester, Cole Hamels and Kyle Hendricks, they could have a potentially dominant October rotation.
Pirates: How about a little bit of offense to back all that nice pitching? The Pirates have set themselves up nicely for 2019, regardless of how '18 plays out. But Starling Marte, Josh Bell and others could set the stage with fast finishes.
Reds: To show the makings of a solid 2019 rotation. Left-hander Cody Reed could solidify a spot for next season with a good final month and line up behind Anthony DeSclafani and perhaps Luis Castillo.
D-backs:Robbie Ray finishes strong to give Arizona what could be a World Series championship-caliber pitching staff. They might have that anyway, but one more hot pitcher would help.
Dodgers:Kenley Jansen calming the Dodgers' jitters by having a healthy and productive September . Without him, the entire bullpen equation looks shaky in a tight division race.
Giants: Give right-hander Dereck Rodriguez more offensive and defensive support to boost his NL Rookie of the Year Award candidacy and put the finishing touches on a successful rookie season.
Padres: Twenty-two-year-old second baseman Luis Urias energizes the entire franchise with a nice showing. The Padres have a bounty of young talent on the way, and lots of them are going to get chances this month. Urias would show fans how bright the future is.
Rockies: Rotation picks itself up, dusts itself off and gets back on track. The Rockies need someone to step up behind Kyle Freeland and German Marquez to keep a playoff berth in sight.
American League East
Blue Jays:Aaron Sanchez gives the franchise a boost with a healthy final month. He has made only 25 starts over the past two seasons and interrupted a trajectory that seemed headed toward stardom. Having him for a full season in 2019 would be huge.
Orioles: Let the kids keep playing. Center fielder Cedric Mullins is off to an exciting start, and right-hander David Hess has gotten better and better.
Rays: Keep on keeping on. No non-playoff team is likely to finish the season with as much optimism about the future as this one. This final month is about keeping the momentum going.
Red Sox:Chris Sale healthy and pitching well. If that happens, there's no team better than this one. But until he gets back on the mound and shows he's sound, there'll be worries.
Yankees:Aaron Judge back on the field healthy and swatting balls over the fence. Closer Albertin Chapman returning in time to be ready for the postseason. Andrew McCutchen is a nice addition, but there are still issues.
Indians: Right-hander Trevor Bauer and lefty Andrew Miller returning in time to be full go for the postseason. If that happens, the Indians are an easy World Series pick.
Royals: Full speed ahead with the reconstruction, which means playing time for Brett Phillips, Brad Keller, Heath Fillmyer, Raul Mondesi, Hunter Dozier and the others. Yes, Spring Training has already begun, and doesn't everyone love Spring Training?
Tigers: Outfield prospect Christin Stewart taking advantage of a September opportunity. He has struggled in the second half at Triple-A, but he's the organization's top position-player prospect.
Twins: Joe Mauer enjoying a healthy, productive and happy final month. If this is the end of his career with the Twins --- he's unsigned and won't discuss 2019 -- let it remind all of us how much he means to the the Twin Cities and to baseball.
White Sox: Top pitching prospect Michael Kopech continuing to show he's the real deal. Now, White Sox fans are hoping to get a look at outfielder Eloy Jimenez to remind them of the talent that's on the way.
Angels:Shohei Ohtani back on the mound for the entire month with a sound elbow as he continues to swat home runs between starts. He has shown he's a difference-maker, and his availability in 2019 would be huge.
Astros:Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa are all back on the field. If they stay there, the Astros will again be a very tough October opponent.
A's: Right-handers Daniel Mengden and Frankie Montas adequately filling the roster spots opened by injuries to Sean Manaea and Brett Anderson to put the finishing touches on what has been a great season for the A's.
Mariners: Fast finishes from third baseman Kyle Seager and designated hitter Nelson Cruz to make a run at the Astros and A's to snag that first postseason berth in 17 years.
Rangers: Strong performances by the young pitchers they will be auditioning for the 2019 rotation. Rookies Yohander Mendez and Ariel Jurado are at the top of that list.
Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.