The Pittsburgh Pirates have a nearly 98 percent chance to reach the MLB postseason, averaging projections from Baseball Prospectus and Clay Davenport, and are expected to finish the season 93-69.
The combined playoff odds are the best in Major League Baseball and the highest Pittsburgh has seen in the last three seasons, including a 49 percent chance of winning the National League Central division. This should be no surprise, as the Bucs lead the Central by 1.5 games over the St. Louis Cardinals and own the best record in Major League Baseball.
Let’s delve into the numbers:
Baseball Prospectus: 93.7 Wins, 68.3 Losses (98.9% chance of reaching playoffs)
The site uses PECOTA projections and their depth charts to figure out postseason chances for every team. Prospectus‘ odds divvy up into a 52.2% chance of winning the NL Central and 46.7% chance of playing in the NL Wild Card playoff, not to mention a 6.7% chance of winning the World Series.
Three straight wins over the St. Louis Cardinals, along with St. Louis’ and Cincinnati’s losing streaks, have boosted the Pirates’ chances to finish in first place. Prior to their series against the Cardinals, Prospectus gave the Bucs a 28.3% chance of winning the division. That number has almost doubled in just two days of baseball.
Clay Davenport: 92.2 Wins, 69.8 Losses (96.7% chance of reaching playoffs)
Prospectus founder Davenport publishes his own independent odds, which differ from those of his former site. He gives the Pirates a 45.9% chance to win the Central and a 50.7% chance to be in the Wild Card Game.
The biggest difference between the two sets of odds is that Davenport’s projections are more optimistic about the Cardinals and the Reds than Prospectus’ are. Even so, he still gives Pittsburgh the best chance to win the Central over St. Louis (39.9%).
FanGraphs: 93 Wins, 69 Losses
The third site uses ZiPS projections to project wins and losses instead of running simulations for playoff odds. FanGraphs expects the Pirates to go 29-27 over the rest of the season based on improved run production but worsened run prevention (in other words, better hitting but worse pitching).
In FanGraphs’ standings, Pittsburgh would finished tied with St. Louis for first place in the Central. Under that scenario, the two teams would play a one-game playoff. The winner would move on to the Division Series and the loser would play in the Wild Card Game.