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WFNY Stats & Info: Indians’ playoff odds over 70 percent

With six games left in the season, the Cleveland Indians have reached a new high watermark in their playoff odds. The three major sites — Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs and Cool Standings — all agree that the team’s odds are more than 70 percent.

A week ago, after the previous four-game sweep over the Chicago White Sox, the team’s playoff probability was finally creeping up over 50 percent. With another four-game sweep in hand, the odds jumped up even more over the weekend.

Here’s where each site stands right now:

Baseball Prospectus: (link)
Rays — 90.1%, 89.9-72.1 final record
Indians — 72.8%, 89.4-72.6 final record
Rangers — 35.0%, 88.1-73.9 final record
Other wild card contenders — 2.1% (best: KCR 85.6 wins)

FanGraphs: (link)
Rays — 87.4%, 89.9-72.1 final record
Indians — 80.3%, 89.4-72.6 final record
Rangers — 29.9%, 80.0-74.0 final record
Other wild card contenders — 2.4% (best: KCR 85.7 wins)

Cool Standings (link)
Rays — 77.4%, 89.5-72.5 final record
Indians — 87.6%, 89.9-72.1 final record
Rangers — 28.6%, 87.9-74.1 final record
Other wild card contenders — 6.3% (best: KCR 86.5 wins)

Last week in The Diff, I featured how these different projection systems operate and why Cool Standings has been the most favorable for the Indians of late. In a nutshell, it’s because that season uses run differential from 2013 alone; the others incorporate preseason predictions from their complicated mathematical systems.

There’s also a very high probability of some ties, as FanGraphs’ site shows most prominently. Kirk had a good breakdown earlier today of what that could mean for the Indians and where they stand if tied with the Rays or Rangers for one (or more) of the wild card spots.

It should be a pretty fascinating race to the finish. The sites see Cleveland winning between 3.4-3.9 of their final six games against two of the AL’s worst teams — Chicago and Minnesota. Winning five mathematically guarantees at least a tiebreaker; winning four should just about do it as well.

[Related: Tribe Weekend Recap: Sweep of Astros has Tribe on cusp of playoffs]

  • laughingcavs

    Still getting used to using the words “Cleveland” and “Playoffs” together in my head.

  • Harv 21

    Honestly have no idea what “70% odds of making playoffs” even means, since whether they make it depends on how they play, their opponent plays and the other contenders play, as opposed to a balanced dice roll.

    But whatevs. The idea that a team that lost 8 in a row in May, 6 in a row in August, has no power hitter and has no steady ace might end up with 90 wins feels kind of outrageous. They’re just not that good. Except I guess they are, if you are what your record says you are.

  • Matthew Grant Anson

    God I am so pumped.

  • mgbode

    main thing to read is: the Indians have a better chance at being in the playoffs than not in the playoffs if they continue playing at the same level they have this season.

    deeper? looking at what they have done, who they have to play, how they have done against those teams. then, look at their competition for the spots and figure out the same.

    lots of math goes here. figuring out all the different combinations and then figuring the statistical likelihood of each.

    out pops a number. which number is most accurate? not really sure. you can get slightly different results depending on which factors you weigh more heavily.

  • laughingcavs

    You could start by comparing this number to the Yankees, who have a 1.5% chance. I will offer you $100 if the Yanks make the playoffs, but you have to give me $100 if the Indians make the playoffs. Deal? Probably not, because you know the Indians are “likely” to make it and the Yankees are “not at all likely” to make it. 70% expresses degree of belief.
    If you do want to make the bet with me, please email laughingcavs@gmail.com and we can work out the details.

  • the golden flasher

    Just remember this is Cleveland. The greater the odds get that we make the playoffs, the greater the odds are that we will fllame out in some dramatic infamous way.

  • Steve

    It means that using the data established by the previous 156 games, thousands of simulations of the last 6 have the Indians winning the playoffs 70% of the time. That takes into account the strength of the opponent. Now, of course, simulations can miss something important, like Masterson being out. And yes, this team could go cold, but that’s one of the iterations that fall into the 30%.

    Despite the lack of that supposed power hitter (which is masked quite a bit by the park) this team is 6th in MLB in wRC+. They are league average in ERA+ despite no steady ace. These combine for the 8th best run differential in the game (better than Tampa, Pittsburgh and even the Dodgers).

    I’m not sure why they’re “just not that good”. A lot of playoff teams still have issues. An underrated plus is that Indians have taken advantage of a good run of health. They haven’t really had to go past the original 13 hitters on the roster (i.e. no Trevor Crowes providing negative WAR) and have five guys who are going to make 24 or more starts (just two last year).

  • Steve

    Indians *making the playoffs

  • FearTheRoo

    I won’t get excited until our playoff odds are at 100%.

  • Harv 21

    ” …using the data established by the previous 156 games, thousands of simulations of the last 6 have the Indians winning the playoffs 70% of the time. That takes into account the strength of the opponent.”

    Thanks, this is an explanation I get – based on past performance, current stats and simulations. As opposed to Vegas odds which, as I think I understand it, reflect (even if indirectly) the direction the money is being laid, or gamblers’ beliefs based upon whatever moves them to go that way.

  • Natedawg86

    Assuming we win the WC game (and make it there), do we want to play Oak or Bos? My vote is Oak and let Bos/Det beat eachother up.

  • mgbode

    based on how we did against the teams, Oakland is the smart choice. But, I want to face and beat Boston (and pray Oakland can take out Detroit).

  • Steve

    Don’t want any part of how Oakland is playing right now. They’ve won 15 of 20 and 23 of 30.

  • Natedawg86

    would be pretty cool to take out Bos. Still pissed about 2007.

  • Natedawg86

    I could see that dropping off in the playoffs. If Cle is going to ever win it, I don’t think we are going to dominate all season and blow through postseason. We are going to have to gut every series out.

  • mgbode

    as am I. 1999 as well (blew 2-0 lead in 5game ALDS)

  • The Angry Ranting Fan

    Wild Card? Pfft! Wake me up when the team is in first place and has a 30 game lead. I want it to be 1995 again!