Playoffs

The Trade Deadline Doesn’t Really Change Playoff Odds

The Trade Deadline Doesn’t Really Change Playoff Odds

On Wednesday, I took a look at the NL playoff odds, to get a snapshot of how the National League contenders looked before the trade deadline. Today we’ll take a look at how each team has improved since then. One note I’ll add before we look at the changes is that these also reflect what has happened over the last two days. For example, the Pirates lost two games, with one of them coming against the Giants, who are big contenders for the NL Wild Card.

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

Team Updated Odds W L Odds W L Change

1

Dodgers

97.2

92

70

94.9

91

71

2.2

2

Nationals

88.0

89

73

88.6

90

72

-0.5

3

Cardinals

64.7

86

76

64.7

87

75

0.0

4

Brewers

63.0

86

76

56.1

86

76

6.9

5

Giants

60.6

86

76

54.4

85

77

6.2

6

Pirates

50.9

85

77

59.3

86

76

-8.3

7

Braves

49.4

84

78

56.7

85

77

-7.3

The Pirates dropped a lot in percentage points, but only dropped one win on average in the projections. The Cardinals, despite making two trades for starting pitching since the last article, saw no change to their projections, and saw their projected wins drop by one. That’s after they went 1-1 and jumped ahead of the Pirates in the standings. The Wild Card race is still very close, with all of the contenders in the 84-86 win range, but there weren’t any major shifts in the projected W/L records.

As I mentioned above, I think most of the changes are a result of wins and losses over the last two days, especially a big loss against San Francisco. Baseball Prospectus actually did a study looking at the change in World Series odds, based on the trades which were made. This is only one of the three projection systems, and it doesn’t focus on overall playoffs, but it gives a better look at how the odds can change.

The result was that there was very little change. The Pirates, despite making no moves and seeing their division rivals make trades, saw no change. The Cardinals added two pitchers, and also didn’t see their odds change, just like above. The Rays traded David Price away, adding Drew Smyly, and didn’t see a change. The biggest upgrade was Oakland, who added Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes, and Sam Fuld, but lost Yoenis Cespedes. Their odds only went up 1.1 percentage points. The Tigers were the other big gainer, only going up half a percentage point after adding David Price.

What the BP odds show is that adding a big name at the deadline really doesn’t give a team a big boost to win a World Series. That makes sense, because the reason the team was a contender to begin with was because they had a lot of guys who put them in that position. If you need one guy to give you a great shot at winning a World Series, then you’re probably not a World Series contender to begin with.

Playoffs

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 AccuScore.com, 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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