Blue Jays' playoff odds plummeting
Projection systems bearish on Toronto's post-season hopes
The Toronto Blue Jays' hopes of returning to the post-season for the first time since the franchise won back-to-back World Series in 1992 and '93 have taken a serious hit of late.
This week's dismal sweep at the hands of the Mariners, who outscored Toronto 19-4 over three games in Seattle, dropped the Jays 7½ games behind AL East-leading Baltimore and three back of Detroit and Seattle for the second and final AL wild-card spot (the L.A. Angels have a stranglehold on the top wild card).
Does Toronto still have a shot at reaching the post-season? Sure, and three games (with 40 still to play) may not seem like that big a deficit. But the chances are not good, according to various calculations of teams' playoff odds.
Baseball Prospectus projects the Jays to finish 83-79, with just an 11.6 per cent chance of making the post-season. Toronto's probability of winning its division is pegged at just 3.6 per cent, and its chance of winning the World Series at 0.7 per cent.
According to Baseball Prospectus, the Jays' playoff odds plummeted by 25.1 per cent in just the last seven days, with Wednesday's loss to Seattle alone counting for a 6.1 per cent drop.
Fangraphs is slightly more optimistic. Its system, which simulates the remaining games 10,000 times, predicts Toronto will finish at 84-78, with a 16.2 per cent chance of making the post-season, a 5.2 per cent chance of winning the division and a 1.2 per cent chance of taking the World Series.
While every projection formula is different, most use some combination of a team's runs scored and allowed, strength of schedule, remaining opponents, the number of home games left, and several other factors.
MLB.com takes the Baseball Prospectus numbers and plots them on a line graph that tracks teams' playoff odds over the course of the season. It shows the Jays peaking at 86 per cent on June 6, when they beat St. Louis for their sixth consecutive win and 20th in 26 games.
That stretch improved the Jays' record from 18-20 to 38-24. Since then, they're 25-35, and their playoff odds of roughly 12 per cent have never been lower. No formula needed to understand the problem there.