Pirates Playoff Odds: Hovering Above 50 Percent

Andrew McCutchen pirates

Andrew McCutchen is projected to proved 3.6 wins above replacement for the rest of the season. (Photo by: David Hague)

Let’s escape from the forest and look at the trees. We are still four months away from the MLB Playoffs, but want to make sure to keep one eye on the postseason picture, one eye on the team day-to-day and one eye on that optometrist that really screwed us up.

Every Monday, I will break down the playoff odds and projections from the three sites that do it best: Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs and ClayDavenport.com. We’ll see how the Pirates’ chances develop on their quest to make the playoffs for the first time in two decades.

Baseball Prospectus: 87.5 wins, 74.5 losses, 61.2% chance to make playoffs

The BP odds use PECOTA projections and the site’s depth charts to simulate the rest of the season. BP projects the Pirates to play about .500 ball the rest of the season, and their adjusted standings reflect that the Bucs have been one of the luckiest teams this season but have underlying statistics that match what their positive run differential.

FanGraphs: 88 wins, 74 losses, Projected to earn second Wild Card

This system does not put a percentage on any team’s odds to reach the postseason. Instead, FanGraphs uses a combination of ZiPS and Steamer projections (plus their own depth charts) to place a season win-loss record on each team.

The depth charts show specific stat projections for each player, and FanGraphs expects the biggest contributors the rest of the season to be Andrew McCutchen (3.6 WAR), Russell Martin (1.9), Neil Walker (1.7), Starling Marte (1.7) and A.J. Burnett (1.7). Then again, they also list Mets catcher Travis D’Arnaud as being on the team instead of Chase d’Arnaud, so let’s move on.

The Pirates are projected to take the second Wild Card spot by quite a bit, their 88-74 record would be four games better than the 84-78 record FanGraphs projects for the San Francisco Giants.

ClayDavenport.com: 87.1 wins, 74.9 losses, 53.1% chance to make playoffs

The co-founder of Baseball Prospectus maintains his own projections and playoff odds. Davenport’s formula gives the Pirates a 15% chance to win the NL Central and a 38% chance they will play in the Wild Card playoff. A version of his odds that uses only real data and not projections give the Pirates a 56% chance to reach the postseason.

The Competition

One other aspect of these playoff odds I find interesting is seeing who are the other contenders in the National League. To determine contender status, the team should have 15% odds or better to make the playoffs in both Prospectus’ and Davenport’s odds.

  1. St. Louis Cardinals – 89% average odds, 94-68 record
  2. Cincinnati Reds – 84% average odds, 91-71 record
  3. Atlanta Braves – 84% average odds, 90-72 record
  4. Pittsburgh Pirates – 57% average odds, 87-75 record
  5. San Francisco Giants – 53% average odds, 86-76 record
  6. Arizona Diamondbacks – 51% average odds, 85-77 record
  7. Washington Nationals – 34% average odds, 83-79 record
  8. Los Angeles Dodgers – 16% average odds, 80-82 record

As we move toward July, this list will allow us to identify sellers on the trade market, and specific player projections from Prospectus and FanGraphs will give an idea of the areas the Pirates (and other teams) can look to improve most on the trade market.

The future is bright. But it’s also scary. Bring a friend and a calculator.

Share This Article

James Santelli

James covers the Pirates beat for Pirates Prospects. He is a Broadcast Journalism student at USC and has written for such outlets as NBCOlympics.com, Pittsburgh Magazine and the official websites of the Los Angeles Clippers and Pittsburgh Penguins. James previously covered the Pirates for Pittsburgh Sports Report. He also broadcasts play-by-play for the USC Trojans baseball team and was awarded the 2013 Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship and Allan Malamud Scholarship. James dispenses puns at his Twitter account (@JamesSantelli) where he promises to write in first-person. Google

Has Russell Martin been the Best Free Agent Signing?

Next Story »

DSL Prospect Watch: Agrazal With Impressive Pro Debut

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.brooks.581 Stephen Brooks

    All of this would be comforting if the Bucs would just. start. hitting.

  • joe g.

    I think the Bucs will start hitting, and the starting pitching will get a boost thanks to the depth. Yes, some of that starting depth is rehabbing, but they will be healthy by the time the team traditionally flounders and will help this team make a final drive to the playoffs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryan.graham.773 Bryan Graham

    Yeah, well they were above 80% last year for a while on espn.com. We all know how that worked out. This season just looks too similiar to the last 2 to me. Pitching above their heads and a poor offense.

Latest Analysis

  • Tyler Glasnow

    The Change That Will Help Tyler Glasnow Reach His Upside

    9 hours ago

    The 2011 draft made headlines for the Pittsburgh Pirates for two main reasons. They selected Gerrit Cole first overall, and gave him a record-setting bonus of $8 ...

    Read More
  • Jameson Taillon

    The Next Steps in Jameson Taillon’s Tommy John Rehab Process

    1 day ago

    Jameson Taillon threw a bullpen session yesterday, which I outlined in the daily recap. Taillon is still in “rehab mode” as Clint Hurdle put it, which means ...

    Read More
  • Sean Rodriguez

    The Keys to Sean Rodriguez Being a Productive Hitter

    2 days ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates added Sean Rodriguez at a high cost this off-season. They traded promising pitching prospect Buddy Borden to the Rays, getting Rodriguez in return after ...

    Read More
  • Elias Diaz taking batting practice.

    How Elias Diaz Quickly Became the Catcher of the Future

    3 days ago

    Elias Diaz has always been well-regarded for his defense. Baseball America named him the best defensive catcher in the Florida State League in 2013, and the best defensive ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    Is Vance Worley the Most Under-Rated Pitcher in the Pirates’ Rotation?

    3 days ago

    For the second year in a row, Vance Worley enters Spring Training trying to compete for one of the final spots in the rotation. This time around, ...

    Read More
  • Corey Hart

    Corey Hart Discusses His Knees, Last Year’s Hitting, and Joining the Pirates

    4 days ago

    Up until a few years ago, Corey Hart was a dangerous hitter. From 2010-2012 he had a .279/.343/.514 line, averaging 29 home runs per season. To put ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles