The MLB trade deadline looms, and some teams are fooling themselves into thinking they have a chance at October glory. However, franchises also need to keep butts in the seats, so we get it. But we also want to keep it real with math.
Not including division leaders, six teams in the National League are at .500 or better and within shouting distance of the two wild-card spots, while the same is true in the American League.
Hence, this is our “special edition” at the math reality of October success and mere October participation. Enjoy!
Note: Current records through Sunday, July 28, are included, as well as the previous ranking from last week.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (69-38, 1): Currently, the Dodgers have a 24.2-percent chance to win the World Series, which would be the team’s first title since 1988. With a 14.5-game lead in the NL West, L.A. is going to win its seventh straight division crown.
- Houston Astros (68-39, 3): Currently, the Astros have an 18.5-percent chance to win the World Series. How Houston went 1-5 combined against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh this season, though, is a mystery.
- New York Yankees (67-38, 2): Currently, the Yankees have a 12-percent chance to win the World Series, which would be the team’s first title since 2009. It seems like a strange world when the Bronx Bombers have just one MLB title since 2000.
- Minnesota Twins (64-41, 6): Currently, the Twinkies have a 10.8-percent chance to win the World Series, which would be the team’s first title since 1991. Minnesota has played the second-easiest schedule this season, though, due to AL Central Division weakness.
- Chicago Cubs (56-49, 4): Currently, the Cubbies have a 7.9-percent chance to win the World Series. But Chicago is just 16-18 in one-run games and 4-5 in extra-inning contests. Those numbers don’t bode well if the team reaches October.
- Tampa Bay Rays (60-48, 5): Currently, the one-time Devil Rays have a 2.9-percent chance to win the World Series, which would be the team’s first title ever. Since changing the team name to just “Rays” in 2008, Tampa Bay has compiled a .531 winning percentage. The Devils Rays merely played .399 ball for 10 years.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (53-53, 8): Currently, the D’backs have a 2-percent chance to win the World Series, which would be the team’s first title since 2001. Since Arizona can’t win the NL West, it needs to leapfrog at least four teams in the NL wild-card chase to even make the postseason at this point.
- Oakland Athletics (60-47, 7): Currently, the A’s have a 1.6-percent chance to win the World Series, which would be the team’s first title since 1989. Somehow, we think the team’s acquisition of Jake Diekman (0-6, 4.75 ERA) isn’t going to make much of a difference.
- Boston Red Sox (59-48, 10): Currently, the defending champs have a 2.1-percent chance to win the World Series. We suspect Boston fans would disagree with that math, but they’re not known for their smarts, are they?
- Atlanta Braves (62-44, 9): Currently, the Braves have a 7.4-percent chance to win the World Series, which would be the team’s first title since 1995. It helps to not have to play in the wild-card game, in understanding those percentages. These Top 10 teams have an 89.4 percent chance, combined, of winning it all in October 2019.
- Cincinnati Reds (48-55, 11): Meanwhile, the Reds have just an 8.9-percent chance to make the postseason. The team is seven games out of first in the NL Central and the same out of the wild-card chase. Understanding these odds is key to sanity.
- Washington Nationals (56-49, 12): Currently, the Nats have a 2.7-percent chance to win the World Series, which would be the team’s first title ever. The team’s 32-16 record since June 1 has helped it get into this position, which is still relatively weak.
- St. Louis Cardinals (56-49, 14): Currently, the Cards have a 2.8-percent chance to win the World Series, which would be the team’s first title since 2011. The 15-8 record in July has gotten St. Louis into a tie with the Cubs for first place in the NL Central.
- Milwaukee Brewers (56-51, 13): Currently, the Brew Crew has a 1.2-percent chance to win the World Series, which would be the team’s first title ever. However, the team is under .500 since June 1, and overall, Milwaukee really has underperformed this season.
- Cleveland Indians (62-43, 15): Currently, the Tribe has a 1.6-percent chance to win the World Series, which would be the team’s first title since 1948! Cleveland has a three-game advantage right now for the right to host the AL Wild Card Game, although it remains just two games out of first in the AL Central.
- Los Angeles Angels (55-52, 16): Meanwhile, the Halos have just a 3.9-percent chance to make the postseason. The good news is that perhaps anything is possible with Mike Trout on your roster. The bad news is … well, that 10-14 record in one-run games is not helping the Angels make up any ground in the playoff chase.
- Texas Rangers (53-53, 20): This is where the teams left over have minimal chances to make the playoffs at this point. The Rangers have hurt themselves plenty by going just 7-15 in July, all but knocking themselves out of October contention.
- New York Mets (50-55, 19): The Mets are a serious long shot for the postseason, but perhaps the team has given itself a fighting chance now with the 12-8 record in July. However, having the 10th-best record overall in the NL doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence for those chances.
- Colorado Rockies (49-57, 18): The Rox were flying high coming into July, looking at a good chance to make it to October for the third season in a row. And then Colorado crashed hard. With just five victories this month, the Rockies should start making plans for 2020.
- Philadelphia Phillies (55-50, 17): Okay, we lied above. Somehow, despite being outscored on the season by 22 runs, the Phillies still have a 22.7-percent chance to make it to the playoffs. They currently occupy a wild-card spot in the NL, although Philly has used up a lot of luck already this season to be there.
- San Diego Padres (49-56, 21): The Pads were doing fine, hovering just over .500, until July 1. Like the Rockies, though, a single-digit victory month (7-15 in July) has damaged San Diego’s hopes of reaching October.
- San Francisco Giants (54-52, 23): Then there are the Giants, with an 11-percent chance to make the postseason, thanks to a silly July record (18-5) built upon nine one-run wins, including the last seven victories for the team. That is not sustainable with a minus-45 run differential overall. Hence, this is why even geniuses like Jeff Sagarin have them buried in rankings. Talk about using up luck …
- Seattle Mariners (46-63, 24): Hey, the Ms have won five in a row now, and overall, they won six of seven last week. That’s a big deal for a team that has been terrible since the end of April. Seattle still does not have a snowball’s chance in hell of making it to October for the first time since 2001, but who cares?
- Pittsburgh Pirates (46-59, 22): With an 18-31 record since June 1, including a current eight-game losing streak, the Pirates are done for 2019. They are just 2-14 since the All-Star break, which makes you wonder if the Pittsburgh roster even returned from vacation.
- Miami Marlins (40-63, 26): The Fish have won four of their last five, against the Cubbies and D’backs, teams in our Top 10. That gives Miami a respectable 7-8 record since the ASB, which is always a good starting point for building a case for the next season.
- Toronto Blue Jays (40-67, 25): Since May 1, the Blue Jays have struggled to a 26-52 record, which is just .333 ball. We know Toronto has a lot of young talent, so when does that talent start producing? Is it time to find a real manager? Who the heck is Charlie Montoyo, anyway?
- Chicago White Sox (46-57, 27): A lot of teams seem to have tanked this month, as the Pale Hose join the gang with a 7-15 record in July. The overall record also includes a lot of luck for a team with a minus-113 run differential. Ouch.
- Kansas City Royals (40-67, 28): Meanwhile, the Royals are 10-6 since the All-Star break, so maybe Kansas City means business in 2020. Trading away two meaningless arms to Oakland in the last few weeks is the start of something?
- Baltimore Orioles (35-70, 29): Speaking of building momentum for next year, the Os are 8-8 since the ASB and 11-11 in July, too. For a team scuffling at .333 for the season, those are huge milestones right now. Baltimore has it going!
- Detroit Tigers (30-71, 30): It is tough to explain just how bad the Tigers are right now. They have just eight wins since June 1 after winning nine games in May alone. The last time Detroit won consecutive games was back on May 31. Yeah, that may do the trick of explaining just how bad this team is right now.
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