Even With McCutchen and Walker Injured, Pirates Still Projected For the Playoffs

Even With McCutchen and Walker Injured, Pirates Still Projected For the Playoffs

I held off on doing a playoff odds update last week because I was waiting to see how things might change with Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker likely heading to the disabled list. And then neither player went on the DL. McCutchen eventually was placed on the DL, although that happened this week. It doesn’t look like Walker is going to be placed on the DL at all.

Meanwhile, the Pirates have found a way to continue winning, going 7-6 so far in the month of August. They’ve got a tough schedule coming up, with games on the road against the Nationals and Brewers, and games at home against the Braves and Cardinals.

The playoff odds and projections come from the top three projection sites: Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs and Here are the latest projections.

Baseball Prospectus: 85.5 wins, 62.6% chance to make playoffs

The Baseball Prospectus odds are the only odds where the Pirates rank ahead of the Cardinals. They also rank ahead of the Giants, giving the Pirates the first Wild Card spot in these projections.

FanGraphs: 85.3 wins, 59.5% chance to make playoffs

FanGraphs has the NL Central going an entirely different direction. They’ve got the Cardinals with the best chance of making the playoffs, the Brewers second, and the Pirates third. The Pirates are just edging out the Giants with their odds of making the post-season, with a difference of 0.2 projected wins.

Clay Davenport: 85.7 wins, 63.5% chance to make playoffs

The projections from Clay Davenport have been the highest on the Pirates all season as far as their odds of making the post-season, although the other projection systems are gaining on them. Davenport has the Pirates as the second Wild Card team, and the difference here is that they’re beating out the Giants by a full win.

The Competition

Here are the rankings of the NL contenders. To get “contender” status, a team must have a 15% or better to make the playoffs in all three projection systems.

  Team Odds W L































The Atlanta Braves, who are now 61-60, have dropped off the contenders list after falling below 15% in the Clay Davenport projections. None of the other projections for the Braves were that high, so even if they do slightly improve in that one area, they’d clearly be the number seven team on this list.

The Pirates have dropped slightly since the last update, although their odds of making the playoffs have gone up a bit. Currently they’re projected to win the second Wild Card, edging out the Giants. If you look at the projected wins and losses, then it remains a close race all around. The Brewers are currently projected to win the division by one game, with the Cardinals and Pirates tied for the Wild Card spot, and the Giants one game behind them.

There are six games remaining each against the Brewers and Cardinals, and those games could go a long way to deciding the NL Central race and the Wild Card order. The first of those games will start next weekend, but before that happens, the Pirates have to go up against one of the best teams in the NL — the Nationals — along with trying to capitalize on the struggling Braves.


Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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