How are the Blue Jays' playoff odds looking one month into the season?
Now four weeks into the marathon that is the MLB season, the Toronto Blue Jays sit third in the AL East at 16-9. While the season is only one-sixth complete, with the postseason a distant thought, the one-month mark seems like a good, if arbitrary, spot to update the Jays' playoff odds.
If you missed it, we covered their preseason playoff odds, as calculated by FanGraphs, back in Spring Training. These ever-changing odds include the probability of teams winning their division, clinching a bye, clinching a Wild Card, making the playoffs and winning the World Series.
If you're curious how FanGraphs creates their playoff odds, you can read our quick overview, or for a more thorough explanation, check out David Appelman's write-up on FanGraphs.
Note: Probability and odds are not the same. The numbers discussed 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.
How have the Blue Jays' playoff chances changed?
FanGraphs' preseason projections calculated the Blue Jays to finish with an 87.6-74.4 record. That has improved to 90.1-71.9 after sweeping the White Sox out of town.
The probability of the Jays making the playoffs is 82.9%, which means that out of 20,000 simulations, they made the postseason 16,580 times. Prior to Opening Day, FanGraphs gave them a 72% chance at being playoff bound.
Before the season, the probability of the Jays grabbing a Wild Card was 42.6%, but that has improved to 58.4% over the first month.
Are the Blue Jays favorites to win the division?
Last season, the Jays had to contend with the Yankees' hot start. This year, the juggernaut Rays have somehow had an even better opening four weeks. At 20-5, they lead the division, four games up on the Jays and have the best odds at the division crown, with a 52.8% chance.
The Yankees were given the highest probability of winning the AL East to start the year, at 42.7%, with the Jays second at 29.4%. Four weeks in, Toronto is still second, but their chances at the division title have dropped to 24.5%, with a 23.5% chance of clinching a bye.
Here's a look at the current AL East division and playoff odds:
Have the Blue Jays' World Series odds improved?
Coming into the season, Brandon Belt boldly stated that the Blue Jays should be considered World Series favorites. FanGraphs disagreed. Toronto was given a 6.9% chance of claiming the title, good for sixth overall.
After 25 games, not much has changed. The Jays still sit sixth, with a slightly improved 7.2% probability of winning the World Series. For context, the Braves (18.8%) and Rays (10%) lead the way, with the Astros, Padres and Yankees ahead of Canada's favorite team.
Remember that these probabilities are fluid and change daily, influenced by wins and losses, player performance and roster moves. Despite the ups and downs of the early season, there's plenty of baseball left to play. The Jays are starting to hit their stride and still control their destiny.