Quantifying Hope: Cubs Boast 97 Percent Playoff Odds

Listen, I understand that it’s way too early to put credence in playoff odds projected from roughly one-eighth of a season. Rather than try to establish any long-term significance, however, I’m recording this for posterity. My wife makes scrapbooks, I write.

My Quantifying Hope series will run weekly on Fridays and will take a look at updated Cubs playoff odds, along with the occasional quirky trivia or other esoteric statistical info. The charts you’ll see below come from FanGraphs and show the postseason probabilities of all 30 MLB teams. Rising above the colorful cat’s cradle is the Cubs’ royal blue contrail, chugging along at a cruising altitude of just over 97 percent.

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It’s not too easy to match teams to their respective lines (I’m kinda surprised the Barves aren’t actually in the negative), so let’s focus in on just the NL Central for a moment.


Huh, so that’s encouraging. Ninety-seven point three percent, y’all. That’s more than 55 percent higher than the Redbirds (41.9) are flying right now and is absolutely plundering the Pirates’ (35.5) odds. For what it’s worth, the Mets (88.2) currently boast the second-best playoff odds, with the Dodgers (80.1) and Nationals (78.2) rounding out the top four.

For what it’s worth, the White Sox are second in the AL with 56.2 percent, trailing the Red Sox (72.8) by a pretty fair margin.

Baseball Prospectus is slightly less bullish on the Baby Bears, giving them a mere 95.5 percent chance at the postseason. The Pirates’ (38.0) get a little bit of a bump and Cardinals (37.1) drop quite a bit, but the moral of the story is pretty much the same: The Cubs are the best collection of talent in the history of collected talent.

These figures will obviously change over time and the Cubs may eventually come back to the pack a little bit. This is a nice jumping-off point, though, and it’ll be fun to track throughout the season to see how the odds shift and develop.

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