All 30 MLB Teams' Odds of Reaching the 2016 Postseason
The 2016 MLB season is finally in full swing, but it's never too late to make some long-term predictions about how the season could shake out.
Things rarely play out as expected over 162 games with so many moving parts on an MLB roster and injuries impossible to predict.
However, even with that uncertainty, some teams obviously have a better chance of extending their seasons on into October than others.
With that in mind, what follows is a look at each team's odds of making the playoffs in 2016.
To put this exercise into perspective, no team was given better than an 80 percent chance of reaching the playoffs here in early April, and a grand total of 10 teams were pegged with better than a 50 percent chance.
A team's overall talent level and outlook obviously trumps anything it may have accomplished during spring training or in the handful of regular-season games that have been played to this point. Overall organizational depth to counter potential injuries and eventual prospect reinforcements also factored into a team's chances.
Provided along with each team's odds is a look at what that translates to in terms of a percent chance of reaching the postseason. Those percentages add up to approximately 500 percent for each league, as five playoff spots are up for grabs.
|Toronto Blue Jays||1-2||66.67%|
|Boston Red Sox||1-1||50%|
|New York Yankees||2-1||33.33%|
|Tampa Bay Rays||6-1||14.29%|
The 2015 season began as a complete crapshoot in the AL East, and it remained that way for most of the season.
The Toronto Blue Jays eventually went on to win the division by six games, but they didn't take the lead in the standings for good until Aug. 23.
Many will point to the addition of David Price as a turning point in the season for the Blue Jays, but it was their juggernaut of an offense that averaged 5.5 runs per game and led the way throughout the season.
Losing Price to free agency hurts, but a full season of Marcus Stroman and the addition of J.A. Happ to the rotation and Drew Storen, Jesse Chavez, Franklin Morales and Gavin Floyd to the bullpen could mean a better pitching staff top to bottom.
Consider Toronto to be the favorite once again, and if its pitching staff falls into place, it could easily wind up being the best team in the American League.
Checking in behind the Blue Jays with even odds to reach the postseason are the Boston Red Sox, a team that is coming off back-to-back losing seasons since winning it all in 2013.
Price gives the rotation a bona fide ace, while Craig Kimbrel completely changes the complexion of a bullpen that was among the worst in the league last year.
Offense shouldn't be hard to come by as Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts continue to emerge as two of the best young players in the game and veterans Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz remain productive in their own rights.
The New York Yankees finished second in the majors in runs scored a year ago, and with a boom-or-bust starting rotation and what should be a lights-out bullpen once newcomer Aroldis Chapman returns from his suspension, it's that lineup that could be the difference-maker once again.
Provided their aging offensive core and starters Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda can stay healthy, and young right-hander Luis Severino can take the next step in his development, the Yankees should be in the thick of things once again.
The focus of the offseason for the Tampa Bay Rays was on finding more offense, as they added Corey Dickerson, Logan Morrison, Brad Miller, Steve Pearce and Hank Conger, but they will still rely on their young rotation to shoulder the load.
The Baltimore Orioles bring up the rear in the division, as their starting rotation may be the worst in the AL. There's no shortage of power in their lineup after they re-signed Chris Davis and added both Pedro Alvarez and Mark Trumbo to the mix, but they might not have the arms to finish above .500.
|Kansas City Royals||1-2||66.67%|
|Chicago White Sox||12-1||7.69%|
After back-to-back American League pennants and a World Series title last season, there's no ignoring the Kansas City Royals any longer.
They will once again rely on speed, defense and a lights-out bullpen to lead the way, but there's no reason to believe those three areas won't once again be a strength after they skated to a 12-game lead in the AL Central a year ago.
The starting rotation will be the deciding factor for the reigning champs, as a group of Edinson Volquez, Yordano Ventura, Ian Kennedy, Chris Young and Kris Medlen may not look amazing on paper, but it has a real chance to be good enough for the Royals to make a strong push once again.
After four consecutive division titles, the Detroit Tigers slid all the way to last place in the standings a year ago, but new general manager Al Avila set right to work retooling the roster for another run at the playoffs.
Jordan Zimmermann and Mike Pelfrey bring stability to the rotation, and Justin Upton gives an already-talented lineup another solid bat, but the biggest difference could be in the bullpen, which was finally addressed with the additions of Mark Lowe, Justin Wilson and Francisco Rodriguez after being among the worst in the league several years running.
The Cleveland Indians might have the best starting rotation in the AL, but the question once again is whether or not they have enough offensive firepower.
They are never one to spend big in free agency, but the additions of Mike Napoli, Rajai Davis, Marlon Byrd and Juan Uribe definitely give the lineup a different look. Getting Michael Brantley healthy after offseason shoulder surgery will be key.
The young Minnesota Twins surprised more than a few people with their 83-79 record a year ago, but that is a bit deceiving, as they went 32-21 to start the year and then 51-58 the rest of the way.
Full seasons of Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario along with newcomer Byung Ho Park should give the offense plenty of weapons, but there's still a real question as to whether or not they have the starting pitching to contend.
Rounding up the division, we have the Chicago White Sox, who fell well short of expectations a year ago but had a busy offseason and are once again looking to make a push.
Adding Todd Frazier, Brett Lawrie, Jimmy Rollins and Austin Jackson should not only help offensively, but that should go a long way toward improving what was a terrible defensive club.
If young left-hander Carlos Rodon can take the next step in his development and the roster can stay healthy, those 12-1 odds for the White Sox could look like a steal a few months from now.
|Los Angeles Angels||15-1||6.25%|
It's tough to pick a favorite in the AL West right now between the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros, as both teams appear to be potential World Series contenders.
The Rangers will benefit greatly from a full season of Cole Hamels and the return of Yu Darvish from Tommy John surgery once he's officially back in action, as a rotation that was a major weakness for much of the 2015 season could become a real strength.
Ian Desmond was the only major addition on the offensive side of things, but getting Adrian Beltre back to 100 percent after he played much of last season with a thumb injury could mean a significant uptick in his power production in the middle of the lineup.
As for the Astros, their only major offseason add was reliever Ken Giles, but he has a chance to transform a bullpen that was vastly improved but still a weakness at times last season.
While they may not have made a significant addition to the offense, there is plenty of reason for optimism there as well.
A full season of deadline addition Carlos Gomez, a healthy year by George Springer and two extra months of AL Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa could make a real difference, and while they'll be prone to the strikeout once again, they should also pile up runs in the process.
Behind those two are the Seattle Mariners, who fell well short of expectations a year ago but underwent a major roster overhaul in the offseason under new GM Jerry Dipoto.
All told, there were 13 newcomers on the Opening Day roster, and while none of them quite stacked up to the recent additions of Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, it's a more complete roster top to bottom, and they could rectify their disappointing performance from a year ago.
The Oakland Athletics made upgrading their bullpen the priority of the offseason after their relief corps was the worst in the AL a year ago with a 4.64 ERA. They nailed down just 28 of 53 save chances and wound up a dismal 19-35 in one-run games.
While they should be an improved club, there's still a legitimate question whether they have the arms in the rotation to contend behind ace Sonny Gray.
That leaves the Los Angeles Angels, who went from first to 20th in runs scored in a matter of one year and could struggle to score runs once again despite the lineup featuring the best player on the planet in Mike Trout.
The starting rotation is solid, but it may not be good enough to shoulder the load if the offense can't pull its weight once again. And in a division that features a pair of legitimate World Series contenders, things won't be easy for the Angels.
|New York Mets||3-7||70%|
A 53-50 team as the trade deadline approached, the New York Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes to bolster a middling offensive attack and went 37-22 while averaging 5.39 runs per game down the stretch to win the NL East by seven games.
Most expected Cespedes to land elsewhere in free agency, but when the outfield market was slow to develop, the Mets swooped in with a creative three-year, $75 million deal that includes an opt-out after just one year to make him a free agent again next winter.
Adding his bat back to the middle of the lineup along with the new middle infield duo of Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera should make the offense better from the get-go, and that should also better prepare the team to be without David Wright for extended periods of time while he continues to manage his spinal stenosis.
Offense remains the focus when talking about how good the Mets can be this year, as no one doubts the abilities of a starting rotation that looks to be the best in baseball by a significant margin.
Despite a wildly disappointing 2015 season, the Washington Nationals remain a team with tremendous talent and the potential to legitimately push the Mets for the division crown.
A healthy season from Anthony Rendon could make a world of difference to the offense, while Daniel Murphy and Ben Revere are also capable of transforming a lineup that struggled at times amid a number of injuries.
The eventual arrivals of top prospects Lucas Giolito and Trea Turner could prove to be the X-factor for the Nats, as those two rank among the best young talents in all of the minor leagues and should be able to make an immediate impact.
The Miami Marlins were a major disappointment in their own right a year ago, but with a new-look coaching staff led by manager Don Mattingly and hitting coach Barry Bonds and the addition of Wei-Yin Chen to the rotation, they're hoping for a better 2016.
Keeping slugger Giancarlo Stanton healthy will be their top priority, as he makes a world of difference in the lineup, but it will be up to the starting rotation behind Jose Fernandez and Chen to decide how well this team does.
With the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves both in the midst of major rebuilding efforts, it's essentially a three-team division this year with those two clubs focusing on evaluating talent and simply trying to avoid 100 losses and last place.
|St. Louis Cardinals||2-3||60%|
Throughout their rebuilding efforts, people expected the Chicago Cubs to make a push toward respectability in 2015 and then a real run at contention in 2016.
Instead, their young core made a bigger immediate impact than expected, and they wound up reaching the National League Championship Series last season before the New York Mets swept them.
Arguably their two biggest weaknesses were a lack of on-base ability and the absence of a quality No. 3 starter in the rotation, and they addressed both areas in the offseason with the additions of Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and John Lackey.
Those newcomers, coupled with the one-two punch of Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester in the rotation and Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant in the starting lineup, leave the Cubs looking like the best team in baseball on paper by a wide margin.
It's a completely different animal being the favorites and having that target on your back than it was for a team that snuck up on some people last year, but as far as the odds are concerned, no team has a better shot of reaching October.
While the Cubs are swimming in hype, it's easy to forget it was the St. Louis Cardinals who won the NL Central a year ago on the strength of a 100-win season.
There are some real questions about their offensive attack, but after posting the best team ERA in baseball a year ago, it's the pitching staff that will once again be their strength.
If Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk can emerge as the leaders of the offense and their terrific starting rotation can stay healthy, there's no reason to think they won't make their 13th postseason appearance in the past 17 years.
Don't count out the Pittsburgh Pirates, either, as they search for a fourth consecutive playoff berth.
Jon Niese, Juan Nicasio, Ryan Vogelsong, Kyle Lobstein, Cory Luebke and Neftali Feliz are all newcomers to a pitching staff that ranked second to the Cardinals in team ERA, and how well that group performs will go a long way.
Adding John Jaso and David Freese to the infield and saying goodbye to Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker also gives the lineup a different look, but the team should have tremendous depth and flexibility once Jung Ho Kang returns to action.
Similar to the NL East, this is clearly a three-team race with the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds both focused on rebuilding at this point.
Jonathan Lucroy of the Brewers and Jay Bruce of the Reds could be two of the biggest names on the move at the trade deadline, as both teams look to add more young talent to the mix.
|San Francisco Giants||2-3||60%|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||1-1||50%|
|San Diego Padres||45-1||2.17%|
Considering we're in an even-numbered year, those 2-3 odds for the San Francisco Giants might be underselling their chances, but there's more working for that team than just the number on the calendar.
Adding Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to the rotation gives them a much-needed boost on the pitching side of things, and don't be surprised new center fielder Denard Span winds up being the best bargain of the offseason after inking a three-year, $31 million deal.
After leaning heavily on the pitching staff during their previous three World Series runs, it's the offense that looks to be the greatest strength for the Giants behind their homegrown infield, a healthy Hunter Pence and all-world catcher Buster Posey.
Meanwhile, it's the Los Angeles Dodgers who are riding a streak of three consecutive NL West division titles, and they're certainly a threat to top the standings once again.
The issue is their starting rotation—Zack Greinke bolted in free agency, and they failed to land a front-line arm to replace him. A deeper stable of arms was supposed to offset that loss, but myriad injuries this spring have left them with Ross Stripling as part of the Opening Day rotation.
A healthy season from Yasiel Puig and a return to first-half form by Joc Pederson could make their offense formidable, and once their rotation gets healthy, it won't be a hindrance, but 50-50 odds seem about right for now.
Then we have the Arizona Diamondbacks, who made it clear they were ready to contend when they spent big money to sign Greinke and big talent to add Shelby Miller to a rotation that was clearly lacking in top-end talent.
Losing A.J. Pollock to a fractured elbow was a major blow, but they still look like a better team than the one that went 79-83 a year ago. If the pitching staff performs to its potential, the D-backs could definitely make some noise in the wild-card race.
The San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies aren't quite on the same level as the bottom two teams in the other two NL divisions, but they're still long shots to be relevant.
It's the same old story for the Rockies, as they have a solid offensive attack but are lacking on the pitching side, while the Padres are in the process of regrouping after going all-in a year ago and coming up well short.
All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.