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Playoff odds update: Rockies in the thick of it

Three sources put the Rockies’ play odds anywhere from 43 to 51 percent

Maybe you’ve heard by now that the Rockies have been winning a lot of baseball games and are maybe a team to take seriously as the pennant race heats up. Because of those truths, it’s a good time to take a look at the playoff odds landscape for the National League.

We’ve provided periodic updates of playoff odds throughout the season. Previous versions of articles like this listed all teams, regardless of actual likelihood of them making the postseason. This time, we’re leaving off teams with playoff odds that are under one percent. Those teams are the New York Mets, the Miami Marlins, the Cincinnati Reds, and the San Diego Padres. They are all functionally, if not officially, eliminated from postseason play.

The odds, like the standings, are also pretty tight. There are currently three teams tied for the second NL Wild Card — the Rockies, Phillies, and Cardinals. They’re each just a half-game behind the Brewers for the first Wild Card, and none of those four teams are more than 3.5 games out of first place in their respective divisions.

NL Playoff Odds (alphabetical order)

Team FanGraphs FiveThirtyEight Baseball Prospectus Place in standings
Team FanGraphs FiveThirtyEight Baseball Prospectus Place in standings
Braves 57 65 72 First place
Brewers 57 56 64 First WC
Cardinals 43 57 47 Second WC (tied)
Cubs 97 92 94 First place
Diamondbacks 53 60 61 First place
Dodgers 75 54 56 2.0 WCGB
Giants 1 2 1 7 WCGB
Nationals 12 8 4 6.5 WCGB
Phillies 59 51 56 Second WC (tied)
Pirates 4 3 2 6.0 WCGB
Rockies 43 51 45 Second WC (tied)

There are a couple other things to note here. First, each source thinks that the Pirates and Giants are basically toast. If they don’t turn things around fast and get help from others in the NL West, neither will appear on the list the next time we check-in on playoff odds. Second, it still looks like FanGraphs’ projections put a lot of weight into pre-season projections. FanGraphs is highest on the Dodgers by a lot, and while their projections for the Nationals have turned pessimistic, they’re still more optimistic than both FiveThirtyEight and Baseball Prospectus.

The major conclusion regarding the Rockies is that each system believes that the Rockies are in the thick of the pennant race, but that they don’t have a clear advantage over the other teams they’re competing with. In fact, each system puts the Rockies at lower odds or even odds compared tot the Brewers, Cardinals, Phillies, and Dodgers. Part of that may have to do with pre-season projections, but part of it may also have to do with run differential (regarding the latter, you can feel how you want about it).

The one thing we can be sure about is that as the playoff odds will get more and more reliable the more games are played. There’s just six weeks left for this list to winnow down, and with it the shape of the postseason.