With the exception of the American League Central, where the Kansas City Royals are boat-racing the field, the rest of MLB‘s division titles and wild-card chases are up for grabs as the stretch drive ramps up.

With 17 teams within six games of a postseason trip, the future is now for more than half of baseball. Looking around the league, there are all sorts of encouraging signs for those October hopefuls.

The San Francisco Giants aren’t in playoff position right now, but they still have seven games left against the Los Angeles Dodgers, whom San Francisco has made a habit of beating up. Even for the reeling Washington Nationals, the future is looking up, as they could soon get their spark plug back.

For squads such as the Oakland Athletics and the Boston Red Sox, who have already toppled out of the postseason hunt, finding those encouraging signs requires more digging. The key is to look out to the horizon and to focus on rising stars like Sonny Gray, Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts.

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