Blue Jays: FanGraphs' playoff odds are out and Jays fans won't be happy
The season hasn't even begun, but the folks over at FanGraphs have released their 2023 MLB Playoff Odds. Toronto Blue Jays fans might not like what they see.
Each year, FanGraphs calculates the odds of outcomes for the upcoming season. They include win-loss projections for each team and the probability of teams winning their division, clinching a bye, clinching a wild card berth, making the playoffs and winning the World Series.
How does FanGraphs get their numbers?
Using Steamer and ZiPS projections, with pro-rated playing time from Depth Charts, they use the Pythagorean Win-Loss formula to find each team's winning percentage. They then run 20,000 simulations of the full 162-game schedule. And voila ... playoff odds!
You can check out David Appelman's write-up on FanGraphs for more details about the process.
Note: Probability and odds are not the same. The numbers we are discussing here are the probability, or chance, of the outcomes occurring. The term "odds" is used loosely, as these aren't the actual odds of the outcomes.
What do the odds say about the Jays' chances this season?
So, how do the Jays stack up against the rest of the AL East?
Unfortunately, the projections don't think the Jays had as good an offseason as many fans and analysts seem to believe.
Don't look now, but FanGraphs has the Jays finishing third in the division, with an 86.7-75.3 record and .535 winning percentage. However, they're just behind the Tampa Bay Rays' .537 percentage.
The Yankees are in the top spot at 89.9-72.1, with a 44.1% chance of winning the AL East, while the Jays are given a 23.6% probability of clinching the division.
Here's the projected AL East standings:
The good news is that the Jays' playoff odds sit at 67.7%. Unfortunately, they only have a 5.6% chance of winning the World Series.
The highest probability of winning the World Series belongs to the Atlanta Braves (14.6%), San Diego Padres (11.9%), and the Yankees (10.5%). The Jays are seventh on this list.
The upgraded outfield defense and the experienced veterans brought in to complement the young core will hopefully pay off and help the Blue Jays outperform the projections. Not to mention other intangibles that predictions can't take into account, such as a full season with John Schneider at the helm and the addition of Don Mattingly to the coaching staff.
How accurate are the Jays' projections and playoff odds?
It's important to remember that we are still weeks away from the start of meaningful games, and plenty of baseball has yet to be played. While the numbers are interesting and have some predictive value, players and teams outperform and underperform their expectations all the time.
So, how accurate have the projections been in previous years?
Before the 2021 season, the Jays were projected for an 87-75 record, with a 50.7% probability of making the playoffs. How did they finish? With a better record at 91-71, but as fans are painfully aware, they missed the playoffs by a single game.
At this time last year, they were pegged to win the division with a 92.4-69.6 record, which they matched at 92-70. What the projections didn't see coming was the Yankees' 99-win season.
The Jays had a 43.8% chance at the AL East, which obviously didn't happen. But they were given a 45.8% probability for a Wild Card spot and an 89.6% playoff probability, both of which came to fruition.
Their 12% chance of winning the World Series in 2022 was second only to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Neither team had even a sniff of the Fall Classic.
As you can see, projections aren't perfect, and the probabilities don't always work out. They also change throughout the season. Injuries, trades, and winning and losing streaks all play a role in altering the probable results.
So, Blue Jays fans, don't worry! A lot can change once the players take the field.