But before September, the standings are lying to you. You don't know what came before, and you definitely don't know what comes after.
A baseball season doesn't reveal its secrets until it's over. It's grand and beautiful in the micro sense plus there is beer , but it only makes sense in the macro. The odds take into account everything: Wins in the bank, future schedules, PECOTA BP's secret predictive sauce , the competition in both the team's division and league for postseason positioning, all of it.
They stir that together to give you one simple number: They simulate the season moving forward tens of thousands of times, and that number is the percentage of seasons the team would reach the postseason under that formula. It's basically the percent chance you have of making the playoffs at a certain snapshot in time.
This number tells me so much more than the MLB standings: A Dodgers three-game lead over the Giants is something very different than a Cardinals three-game lead over the Pirates -- particularly if other teams are in between them. The goal of baseball, because of its increasingly unpredictable postseason, is simply to make it to the playoffs: After that, as we saw last season, anything can happen.
These odds, which change dynamically every day throughout the season, show how likely you are to do that. Baseball Prospectus finally came out with its Playoff Odds Report this week , and I'm already obsessed. Let's go through division by division and see what odds seem high, or low.
The biggest surprise here is Tampa Bay, widely considered to have been left in the dust when Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman left for the Cubs and Dodgers, respectively. But this team still has a lot of young talent, and a lot of smart people in charge. If there's one team despairing from its number, it's Toronto. The Blue Jays believe this is the year they're finally going to end that playoff draught … but BP's odds doesn't even give them a 3-in shot.
So apparently no one is winning this division! This is as persuasive a snapshot that this division is going to be tight as you'll find: The odds are against every team making the playoffs. Obviously, one of them is going to do it, and B-Pro still likes Detroit to make one last desperate limp to October before the piper comes calling.
At that time, the Rockies were still in 3rd place, 1. We hope so too. That could be a pretty good series at least for Colorado.
You'll have to give us the lowdown on your observations. Really hoping I feel well enough to go, cause I think it will come down to the very end with them. Pretty compelling games in the meantime too -- 7 game homestand vs the Dodgers and Diamondbacks starting tomorrow, and a 6 game road trip vs those same 2 clubs the following week.
Rotating and rotation - who starts - but not an opener by mikelink Who plays in the OF?