Pirates Playoff Odds: Strong Homestand Bumps Up Chances

Andrew McCutchen Pirates

FanGraphs projects Andrew McCutchen to be worth 3.2 wins the rest of the year. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

This week’s odds report was delayed by one day because my laptop was driving the StruggleBus yesterday. It couldn’t boot up. But one reformatted hard drive later, Lappy and I are all good. It’s a fresh start. So let’s also use this chance as a fresh start for looking at the Pirates’ playoff odds.

First, we will take a gander at the standings through June 17:

National League Central

St. Louis: 45-25 (—)
Cincinnati: 43-28 (2.5 games back)
Pittsburgh: 41-29 (4.0 GB)
Chicago: 28-40 (16.0 GB)
Milwaukee: 28-40 (16.0 GB)

National League Wild Card

Cincinnati: 43-28 (+1.5)
Pittsburgh: 41-29 (—)

Colorado: 37-34 (4.5 games back)
San Diego: 36-34 (5.0 GB)
San Francisco: 35-34 (5.5 GB)
Washington: 34-35 (5.5 GB)
Philadelphia: 34-37 (6.5 GB)

The Pirates remain four games back of the Cardinals, just as they were last Monday, despite a successful homestand in Pittsburgh. Boy, is St. Louis good.

On to the odds! Spoiler: Every projection sees the team finishing 87-75.

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Baseball Prospectus: 87.0 wins, 75.0 losses, 62.5% chance to make playoffs

BP’s odds bumped up the Pirates from 54.9% odds last Monday, and they project the Pirates to go exactly 46-46 the rest of the season. The adjusted standings reflect that the Bucs are still the National League’s luckiest team at outperforming underlying statistics, with the Yankees as the AL’s luckiest. BP projects Pittsburgh to beat out the Giants by four games to take the second Wild Card. But with the Cardinals still dominating, the Bucs’ odds to win the division are at 8.5%.

FanGraphs: 87 wins, 75 losses, Projected to earn second Wild Card

The ZiPS projections also see the Pirates besting the Giants by four games to make the playoffs and go 46-46 the rest of the way, scoring more runs per game but also allowing more too. The winning homestand improves their overall projection by one win.

FanGraphs’ depth charts show the following Pirates players will contribute most to the rest-of-season run: Andrew McCutchen (3.2 WAR), Russell Martin (1.8 WAR), Starling Marte (1.7 WAR), Neil Walker (1.6 WAR) and A.J. Burnett (1.5 WAR).

ClayDavenport.com: 87.0 wins, 75.0 losses, 55.7% chance to make playoffs

Davenport’s odds give the Pirates a lower chance, despite projecting the same record as the others (it was 48.6% last Monday). The reason for this discrepancy is that Davenport is much higher on the Nationals to draw a Wild Card (21.5%) than BP is (11.1%). Davenport says the Pirates have a 12.5% chance to win the NL Central but a 43% chance to play in the Wild Card game.

WWGCD?

ZiPS projections (used by FanGraphs) see Gerrit Cole posting the following numbers over the 2013 season: 4.30 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 7.0 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and 0.5 wins above replacement, a tick better than before his debut.

Prospectus’ PECOTA numbers project Cole to do better this season: 3.75 ERA, 6.8 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and 1.1 wins above replacement.

Depth Charts

Who will be the biggest contributors to the Pirates’ chances the rest of the season?

  • ZiPS/FanGraphs: Andrew McCutchen (3.2 WAR), Russell Martin (1.7), Starling Marte (1.5), Neil Walker (1.5), Francisco Liriano (1.4), Pedro Alvarez (1.3)
  • BP/PECOTA: Russell Martin (1.9 WAR), Andrew McCutchen (1.9), Pedro Alvarez (1.3), Jason Grilli (1.3), A.J. Burnett (1.3), Francisco Liriano (1.2), Starling Marte (1.2)

The Competition

Though the Pirates are still well ahead of other teams right now for a postseason spot, there are a lot of games to play with and around fellow contenders. We will look at which teams have 15% odds or better to make the playoffs in both Prospectus’ and Davenport’s odds.

  1. St. Louis Cardinals – 93% average odds, 94-68 record
  2. Atlanta Braves – 91% average odds, 92-70 record
  3. Cincinnati Reds – 88% average odds, 92-70 record
  4. Pittsburgh Pirates – 59% average odds, 87-75 record
  5. San Francisco Giants – 53% average odds, 86-76 record
  6. Arizona Diamondbacks – 37% average odds, 83-79 record
  7. Washington Nationals – 28% average odds, 83-79 record

Just missed: Colorado, San Diego, Los Angeles, Philadelphia

But most of all, keep this in mind. Playoff odds can be… wonky:

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

James Santelli

Author: 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

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