For those of you not already familiar, Baseball Prospectus has a fantastic tool that gives daily updates on the playoff odds for every MLB team. If you’re not already subscribed for premium access to everything BP has to offer, you might want to consider it; this is truly a great site for those who want access to all kinds of data and analysis (I’ll be invoicing you soon, boys).
In any case, I meandered over there today (h/t Matthew Trueblood) to have a look-see at the Cubs’ current projections and was pretty amazed by what I saw. With the mandatory caveat that we’re only a few weeks into a very long season, the odds are most certainly shifting in the North Siders’ favor.
BP currently projects the Cubs to earn 86.6 wins, just 1.2 shy of the Redbirds, and they hold a 35% chance to win the NL Central. Add in a 26.9% chance at a Wildcard spot, and you’ve got a 62% chance of the Cubs making the postseason. Yesterday’s win, coupled with bad news regarding Adam Wainwright’s health, served to vault the Cubs chances by 8.2% over Monday and 11.7% over last week.
As it stands, only three NL teams (Mets – 68%, Cardinals – 70.6%, Dodgers – 94.3%) have better projected shots. Before I continue…94.3%?!?! The Washington Nationals, early favorites, have dropped like a rock over the lack week and now sport a playoff chance of 57.1% after boasting a 75.9% number a week ago.
Interestingly enough, the Nats still possess a 7.4% shot to win the World Series, which puts them 2nd in the NL behind the Dodgers (19.8%). The Cards are at 6.3%, but the Cubs are holding onto a respectable 5.1% chance right now. That’s better than all but 7 MLB teams, including the Mets (4.9%).
So what can we make of these numbers? Well, nothing of any substance. I just think this is a cool little feature at BP and it’s something I wanted to draw some attention to. But I also think these numbers serve to support the sense we’ve been getting that this team really is better and I plan on tracking and sharing the playoff odds at the end of each month throughout the season to see how they shift.
For what it’s worth, I think this is going to be a lot more fun that checking the standings to make sure the Cubs haven’t fallen out of the protected-draft-pick range.