Handicapping All 30 MLB Teams' Playoff Odds at the 3-Quarter Mark
We're still a month and a half from the MLB postseason, but the playoff picture is becoming more and more clear here in the month of August.
The National League playoff hopefuls are all but locked up right now, but the American League races for each division title and both wild-card spots remain up in the air.
Now at the three-quarter mark of the 2013 season, here is an updated look at each MLB team's odds of reaching the postseason as of right now.
Less Than 1-Percent Chance (American League)
Seattle Mariners (55-64, 12 games out of WC)
With a wealth of high-end young talent, the Mariners are a team on the rise, but they're not quite there yet. Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma have been perhaps the best starting duo in the league, and there will likely be a few more top prospects joining the roster down the stretch.
Toronto Blue Jays (55-65, 13.5 games out of WC)
After a terrible start to the year, the Blue Jays used a hot streak in June to pull within five games of the AL East lead on June 23. However, they've gone just 17-29 since then and are once again in a distant last place in the division as a result.
Minnesota Twins (53-65, 13.5 games out of WC)
The Twins have once again struggled to get consistent production out of their starting rotation, and outside of star catcher Joe Mauer, they don't have much in the way of impact hitters, either. Their bullpen has been terrific, led by All-Star closer Glen Perkins, but that's not been enough for them to contend.
Los Angeles Angels (54-66, 15.5 games out of WC)
Young superstar Mike Trout is having an MVP-caliber season once again this year, but the rest of the Angels' roster has been largely disappointing, as the team has fallen well short of the lofty expectations it entered the year with.
Chicago White Sox (46-73, 21 games out of WC)
With the deals of Jake Peavy and Alex Rios, the rebuilding process has begun for the White Sox. And with a relatively thin farm system, it will likely be an uphill battle the next couple of seasons. Chris Sale is a terrific building block, but there's not much else to work with as far as impact players at the big-league level.
Houston Astros (39-80, 30 games out of WC)
The Astros' stripped-down roster has struggled as expected this season, but the team has quickly built up one of the best farm systems in all of baseball and could be a formidable young group a few years down the road. Expect to see plenty more prospects in Houston come September and next season.
Less Than 1-Percent Chance (National League)
New York Mets (54-64, 13 games out of WC)
The play of superstars David Wright and Matt Harvey has given Mets fans something to cheer about this year, and they've played fairly well of late, but they're still at least a year away from contention. An inconsistent starting rotation and lack of offensive punch at a number of positions has held the team back this season.
Colorado Rockies (57-65, 12 games out of WC)
Surprise contenders early on this season, the Rockies eventually fell off when their starting rotation came back down to earth. They still have one of the most potent offenses in all of baseball, led by superstars Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, but they need to improve their staff if they hope to contend moving forward.
San Diego Padres (54-66, 14 games out of WC)
The Padres won 10 out of 12 in mid-June to put themselves two games over .500 and within one game of the NL West lead. However, they've gone just 19-32 since and are in danger of finishing in last place as a result. They're a young team on the rise, but it looks like they're still a couple of years and a front-end arm from legitimate contention.
Philadelphia Phillies (53-67, 15 games out of WC)
The Phillies' superstar core that made the team a legitimate World Series contender for a number of years has declined quickly over the past two seasons. As a result, the team is stuck with a number of large contracts and little wiggle room financially to rebuild. Expect big changes over the next year or two.
San Francisco Giants (52-67, 15.5 games out of WC)
It's been a long season for the reigning champions, as their hallmark starting pitching has not been nearly as dominant and their offense has been below average once again. All that has led to disappointing results and has the team looking at a last-place finish.
Chicago Cubs (52-68, 16 games out of WC)
In year two of the Theo Epstein era, the Cubs look as though they'll improve on last year's 61-101 record, though they are still very much in the early stages of a rebuild. They've assembled one of the best farm systems in all of baseball over the past two years, and with some payroll flexibility on top of that, the 2015 season looks like a reasonable time frame for a return to contention.
Milwaukee Brewers (52-68, 16 games out of WC)
A year after leading the NL in runs scored but finishing just 83-79 due to their pitching staff, the Brewers have struggled all around this season and may be headed for a last-place finish. Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez have broken out as stars, but the pitching staff has been terrible and the team is now without Ryan Braun while he serves a suspension.
Miami Marlins (46-73, 21.5 games out of WC)
After a classic offseason fire sale, the Marlins entered the season with a roster made up of unproven youngsters and journeyman veterans. As expected, they've struggled, but there have been some promising takeaways from this year—none bigger than the play of 21-year-old pitcher Jose Fernandez, who has looked like a bona fide ace.
Washington Nationals (59-60, 8.5 Games Back in NL Wild Card)
Postseason Probability: Two Percent
The Nationals and Braves were expected to battle it out for the NL East title this season, and many had the Nats pegged as favorites in the National League entering the year.
Following their offseason acquisitions of Denard Span and Dan Haren, they had no clear hole on their roster on paper. But that hasn't translated to the success they expected.
Inconsistent offense and a shaky back end of the rotation have been the biggest culprits, and with an 11-13 record since the All-Star break, they've only fallen further behind the Braves. They're not officially out of it, but it would take a borderline miracle at this point to get the Nationals into the postseason.
New York Yankees (62-58, 5.5 Games Back in AL Wild Card)
Postseason Probability: 10 Percent
No team has been hit harder by injuries this season than the Yankees. While their patchwork lineup kept them in contention for the AL East title early on, they inevitably regressed as the season went on.
They're 11-13 since the All-Star break, and even with the acquisition of Alfonso Soriano and the return of Alex Rodriguez, the lineup is still not what it was, and the starting rotation has been terrible aside from Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova.
At this point, they're the fourth-best team in their own division. While it's still too early to completely count the Yankees out, it would be a shock to see them play their way into the playoff picture when all is said and done.
Arizona Diamondbacks (62-57, 5.5 Games Back in NL Wild Card)
Postseason Probability: 15 Percent
The NL West has been arguably the weakest division in baseball this season. In fact, for a while in the first half, it looked like the Diamondbacks would reach the postseason by default.
However, the Dodgers have surged past them with their recent run of success, and Arizona now looks like a long shot at best to be playing in October.
Patrick Corbin has proved his hot start was no fluke, Paul Goldschmidt remains a legitimate NL MVP candidate and the future in general looks very bright in Arizona. The present, however, is not as promising as far as the team's postseason hopes go.
Cleveland Indians (65-56, 3 Games Back in AL Wild Card)
Postseason Probability: 18 Percent
After winning 10 out of 11 and pulling to within two games of the Tigers in the AL Central earlier this month, the Indians have hit a rough patch, losing seven of their last 10, including a four-game sweep at the hands of the Tigers.
The starting rotation, which was viewed as the team's major weakness entering the season, has exceeded expectations for much of the year but struggled of late.
Meanwhile, the offense has fallen off significantly this month, hitting .218 (29th in MLB) and scoring just 47 runs (tied for 20th in MLB) in 14 games. To put it more simply, the team is trending sharply downward right now, and its postseason hopes appear to be dwindling.
Kansas City Royals (62-56, 4.5 Games Back in AL Wild Card)
Postseason Probability: 20 Percent
The Royals managed to hang around on the fringe of contention throughout the first half of the season, and they've caught fire of late, emerging right in the thick of the AL playoff picture.
Offensively, things have finally fallen into place, and the back end of the pitching staff, Bruce Chen and Wade Davis, has stepped things up as well. There are still four teams ahead of them in the wild-card race, but the Royals have a real chance to close the gap the way they've been playing.
They're 17-5 over their past 22 games, and while they still trail the Indians in the standings, with the momentum they have right now, they appear to have a better chance of reaching the postseason than the Tribe do.
Baltimore Orioles (65-55, 2.5 Games Back in AL Wild Card)
Postseason Probability: 40 Percent
The Orioles were as aggressive as anyone during what was one of the quietest trade seasons in recent memory, acquiring a pair of starters in Scott Feldman and Bud Norris to improve what was the team's biggest weakness.
Offensively, they continue to rank among the top teams in the American League. The trio of Chris Davis, Adam Jones and Manny Machado has been great all season, and top to bottom, the O's have one of the more complete lineups in all of baseball.
The pitching remains a question mark, though. And in the ultra-competitive AL East, it may be what winds up keeping them out of the postseason. Norris has pitched very well since joining the team, and the duo of Chris Tillman and Wei-Yin Chen remains solid, but in the end, that may not be enough.
Tampa Bay Rays (67-51, Current AL Wild Card No. 2)
Postseason Probability: 65 Percent
The Rays were as many as seven games back in the AL East as recently as June 28, but thanks to a 21-5 month of July, they pulled into a dead heat with the Red Sox entering August.
They've hit a rough patch of late, dropping six of their last seven, but they still currently hold the second wild-card spot in the AL and look to be in a solid position to make the postseason if they can halt their current skid.
Early on, the Rays' starting pitching struggled, with ace David Price perhaps the biggest culprit, but the staff has rounded into form and Price is once again pitching like an ace. Rookie Wil Myers has added a new dimension to an already improved lineup, and top to bottom, this team looks better prepared to contend in October than in previous seasons.
Oakland Athletics (68-52, Current AL Wild Card No. 1)
Postseason Probability: 75 Percent
The A's used a 51-25 second half last season to shock the Texas Rangers and swipe the AL West title on the final day of the regular season, but it's safe to say they have not taken anyone by surprise this time around.
While they lack a legitimate superstar, they are as good as any team in baseball at getting the most out of Nos. 1-25 on their roster, playing the matchups and rotating lineups on a daily basis.
Bartolo Colon has been one of the best pitchers in the American League this season, and the somewhat inexperienced rotation has been backed by one of the best bullpens in baseball. With the experience of last year's postseason push under their belts, the A's look poised to return to the playoffs once again.
Cincinnati Reds (68-52, Current NL Wild Card No. 2)
Postseason Probability: 85 Percent
The Reds have been without ace Johnny Cueto for most of the season, but they have again had one of the most consistent rotations in all of the sport, with rookie Tony Cingrani stepping up into the rotation.
Their lineup remains one of the most dangerous in baseball, and the addition of Shin-Soo Choo at the top of the order has filled the team's biggest hole from a season ago. A healthy Ryan Ludwick should only make the lineup better, as he gives the team the right-handed power bat it's been missing.
At this point, the Reds are only the third-best team in their own division, but as long as they can reach the postseason, they have the pieces to be legitimate contenders as they look to improve on last year's NLDS collapse.
Texas Rangers (70-51, Current AL West Leader)
Postseason Probability: 90 Percent
Winners of 14 of their last 16 games, the Rangers have passed the A's in the AL West race and now look like all but a sure thing to make the postseason one way or another.
The rotation has five healthy, plus options, including deadline-addition Matt Garza, and the team moved quickly to replace the suspended Nelson Cruz by acquiring Alex Rios from the White Sox earlier this month.
They may not be the dynamic offensive team they were in recent seasons, but if the Rangers can avoid further injury to their pitching staff, they have a mix of veterans and up-and-coming players that could lead to postseason success.
St. Louis Cardinals (69-51, Current NL Wild Card No. 1)
Postseason Probability: 92 Percent
For much of the season, the Cardinals have looked like the team to beat in the National League. While they do have some question marks entering the postseason, they are still among the favorites to win it all this year.
The team has gone 6-14 in its last 20 games, and star catcher Yadier Molina has been sidelined with a knee injury for much of that time. Getting him back will undoubtedly give the team a boost, but other issues remain.
Pete Kozma continues to struggle offensively at shortstop, and the starting rotation is inexperienced behind Adam Wainwright.
Still, the bullpen is fantastic, the young rotation is talented and the clutch offense can more than make up for a few weak spots in the lineup. Look for the Cards to make some noise in October.
Boston Red Sox (72-50, Current AL East Leader)
Postseason Probability: 95 Percent
Just a year removed from a 93-loss season, the Red Sox have made a remarkable turnaround in 2013. After an influx of veteran talent over the offseason on the heels of their salary dump in the deal with the Dodgers last August, the Boston has quickly gone from being the laughingstock of baseball to one of the best.
Clay Buchholz is still on the mend, but a healthy John Lackey and newly acquired Jake Peavy make the rotation a formidable one nonetheless. Koji Uehara has shored up the back end of the bullpen, though the team's relief corps is still somewhat shaky.
Even with an average pitching staff, the Red Sox have arguably the best lineup in the American League. Without any real offensive weakness, their veteran core should have no problem scoring runs down the stretch.
Pittsburgh Pirates (71-49, Current NL Central Leader)
Postseason Probability: 95 Percent
The Pirates are a lock to post their first winning season since 1992 this year, but they undoubtedly have their sights set on more than that, as a division title and serious postseason run is a real possibility.
Andrew McCutchen is a legitimate MVP candidate in the middle of the lineup, and their offense as a whole is far more balanced than last season. The bullpen is among the best in baseball, and the team should get All-Star closer Jason Grilli back before the regular season comes to an end.
The real question is the starting rotation, led by a resurgent Francisco Liriano and A.J. Burnett, which has been phenomenal to this point and will be counted on to lead the way in any postseason run the team might go on.
Los Angeles Dodgers (70-50, Current NL West Leader)
Postseason Probability: 97 Percent
There is no hotter team in baseball right now than the Dodgers, as they've gone 39-8 since June 22 and have not lost consecutive games over that span. They've done the bulk of that damage without star outfielder Matt Kemp, as rookie Yasiel Puig continues to provide a spark offensively and a constant source of energy for the entire roster.
Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu are each among the best pitchers in the National League right now, and Ricky Nolasco has proved to be a fantastic July acquisition.
The Dodgers are starting to run away with the NL West, and once October rolls around, they're a team built for postseason success with deep starting pitching and a veteran lineup.
Detroit Tigers (70-49, Current AL Central Leader)
Postseason Probability: 97 Percent
The Tigers didn't run away with the AL Central title early on like many expected them to, but they are firing on all cylinders now, and a recent 12-game winning streak has given them a six-game cushion over the Indians.
They boast as deep a starting rotation as any in baseball, led by Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer, as well as a high-powered offense anchored by the best hitter in the world in Miguel Cabrera. And they have no notable roster flaws, with Joaquin Benoit shoring up the closer spot and enough offensive firepower to overcome limited production at a few positions.
After the Giants dominated them in the World Series last season, the Tigers will definitely have a chip on their shoulder come October. They have to be considered the favorites at this point to once again come away with the AL pennant.
Atlanta Braves (74-47, Current NL East Leader)
Postseason Probability: 99 Percent
With a 14-game lead over the Nationals in the NL East, the Braves are as close to a sure thing to make the playoffs as any team in baseball, as they have had a much easier time than expected with the Nationals struggling this season. They're 17-2 over their last 19 games and will likely be the first team to clinch a playoff spot this season.
That said, the Braves are not without some inadequacies and are not the consensus favorites to come away with the NL pennant.
Their starting rotation is very young, and beyond the trio of Mike Minor, Kris Medlen and Julio Teheran, the staff is something of a question mark with the young Alex Wood and Tommy John returnee Brandon Beachy next in line for postseason rotation spots. On the offensive side of things, they have been one of the streakiest teams in baseball. But while they're piling up runs at the moment, they'll need to avoid a drop-off between now and October.
Still, there's a lot to like about what's going on in Atlanta these days.