The common season is great. However let’s not child ourselves: In the end, you’ve obtained to get your self into the playoffs. That’s the place the magic occurs. A yr in the past, the Braves had misplaced Ronald Acuña Jr. to a season-ending knee damage and had been amid what appeared to be a determined Commerce Deadline clamor to cobble collectively one thing resembling a Main League outfield. Two and a half months later, they’d received the World Sequence. October is what it’s all about.
However you’ve obtained to get in. No staff has clinched a playoff spot, however utilizing FanGraphs Playoff Odds, there are 4 groups which might be at the moment given 100% odds of creating the postseason: The Yankees and the Astros within the American League, and the Dodgers and Mets within the Nationwide League. Which suggests there are eight spots open for, by my estimation, 14 groups: the Blue Jays, Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, Giants, Guardians, Mariners, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Rays, Purple Sox, Twins and White Sox. (These are additionally all of the groups that FanGraphs has with playoff odds of higher than 1 % and fewer than 100.)
Which means six of those groups aren’t going to make it. And loads of these groups actually need to make the playoffs. Thus, with two months left, we check out the Playoff Urgency Rankings, weighing simply how a lot these 14 groups have to make the postseason this yr. How a lot will it break followers’ hearts to fall brief? How a lot of a disappointment wouldn’t it be? And conversely, how a lot wouldn’t it imply for them to get in? Right here’s a rating of the 14.
Present playoff odds: 83%
I imply, it must be, proper? The Mariners have the longest playoff drought within the main North American skilled sports activities; the final time they made it was 2001, their 116-win season. Julio Rodríguez, their star participant, wasn’t even 1 yr outdated. The Mariners undoubtedly know the way essential this yr is, which is why they traded so much for right-hander Luis Castillo: The time to strike is now. It is a nice baseball fanbase that deserves October baseball. They’re on tempo for an AL Wild Card spot proper now. For his or her sake, and the sake of these long-suffering followers, they should grasp onto it.
Present playoff odds: 92%
Are you able to think about if the Padres had some kind of collapse and missed the playoffs? Are you able to think about? OK, so it’s fairly troublesome to think about, but it surely’s truthful to say, after going all-in on Juan Soto and buying and selling away almost your complete high tier of their farm system, the Padres are pretty invested. Have they got to win the World Sequence this yr? With Soto on the roster a minimum of via 2024, they’ll get a pair extra bites of the apple. However the assumption is that they’ll be in October, with room to spare, all three of these years. It’s actually laborious to fathom what would occur if the Padres fell brief this yr. Virtually as laborious to fathom because it taking place in any respect.
3. Blue Jays
Present playoff odds: 97%
All informed, you might make an argument they belong in that first group of assumed playoff groups. They’re comfortably in that first AL Wild Card spot, and FanGraphs really has them as extra of a lock than the Padres. I’m not so positive of that, if simply due to the variety of different contending groups within the AL. There’s little question, although, that they’re well-positioned, and it’s a great factor, as a result of for all the joy concerning the younger expertise on this staff and all of the spending the entrance workplace has carried out, they nonetheless haven’t received a playoff sport since 2016, when José Bautista and Edwin Encarnación had been their stars. The division is out of attain, however they very effectively might host a playoff sequence in the event that they play their playing cards proper. They wouldn’t dare miss one other alternative, would they?
Present playoff odds: 76%
Milwaukee may need been just a little decrease on this checklist earlier than the Commerce Deadline. However if you ship off your All-Star nearer — and one of the vital beloved gamers on the roster — proper in the midst of a pennant chase, you better not fall apart down the stretch. One can perceive the argument for buying and selling Josh Hader whereas nonetheless understanding why Brewers followers could be upset about it. A part of the Brewers’ mindset was that sending off Hader would assist them in the long run however not value them the division within the brief time period. They higher be proper. As a result of for those who’re not too cautious, you may simply outsmart your self.
Present playoff odds: 63%
Talking of NL Central groups with a fairly big couple of months developing, the Cardinals should justify their reluctance to actually participate within the Soto sweepstakes. It’s outdoors of this group’s persona to ship off their entire farm system the way in which A.J. Preller simply did; they don’t see something like “home windows” and consider they need to compete yearly. The factor about that although is that you need to compete this yr. Should you’re going to put off Soto, you higher win now. That is notably true if you’re saying goodbye to legends Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols on the finish of the yr. You don’t need to squander that goodbye. They want this division each bit as a lot because the Brewers do.
Present playoff odds: 66%
Relying on how shut you assume the Giants are, you may make a case that these three groups are going for 2 spots. The Phillies are combating for the NL Wild Card spot that whoever doesn’t win the Central is making an attempt to get, and their Deadline trades made it clear that Philly isn’t letting Bryce Harper’s absence drain them of any hope. Harper’s absence — and the excuse it might theoretically present — is the one motive they’re under the Cardinals and Brewers right here, however contemplating they’ve the second longest playoff drought in baseball (2011), you might completely put them above each.
7. White Sox
Present playoff odds: 55%
Some of us picked the White Sox as their second-best wager to win the World Sequence this yr, which hasn’t aged notably effectively. However the mindset made sense. It is a staff with a ton of expertise in its prime, an proprietor who desires to win proper now, a farm system that isn’t producing a ton of future expertise, a division that isn’t notably terrifying and a supervisor who, effectively, possible isn’t fascinated with how his staff’s going to be doing in 2030. That’s to say: The time is now. For all their complications this yr, the White Sox are solely three video games out of the AL Wild Card and within the AL Central, which implies all the pieces they needed out of this season continues to be in entrance of them. But when they fall brief this yr … there’s going to be a fairly big counting on the South Facet.
Present playoff odds: 51%
Sure, FanGraphs has the White Sox with higher playoff odds than the Twins regardless of Minnesota’s edge within the standings, which speaks to the truth that the Twins have a more durable remaining schedule, and presumably an assumption by the pc the White Sox have underperformed to date. The Twins got here into this season principally appearing like their disappointing 2021 was an anomaly, and thus far, they’ve been confirmed proper. They’re in first place regardless of some points with their pitching workers, points they tried to address at the Deadline. A lot of the urgency for 2022 comes from the truth that they’re in all probability solely going to have Carlos Correa for this season earlier than he opts out; you finest win when you’ve obtained him.
Present playoff odds: 58%
One of many Rays’ entire modus operandi is that they’ve by no means too all-in for one season: They’re all the time ensuring to assume three or 4 years forward. However there’s no query we’re in a peak interval for the Rays. They’ve had a .596 successful proportion of higher three straight years, they received 100 video games final yr, they made a World Sequence a few years in the past. However this yr has been extra of a wrestle. They’re nonetheless holding onto an AL Wild Card spot, but it surely feels just a little precarious, and there’s a way that this Rays staff is a notch or two under these of the previous.
Present playoff odds: 99%
Even with Acuña not trying fairly like himself since coming back from the knee damage that value him most of final yr and a few of this yr, it has grow to be settled knowledge that this Braves staff is best than final yr’s … , the one which received the World Sequence. They’re well-positioned for the playoffs, but when one thing fell aside down the stretch and so they someway completed out of the operating, Braves followers shall be so upset they should bust out their 2021 World Sequence DVDs to make them really feel higher. It’d be a significant step backward to overlook the playoffs. However they did simply win the World Sequence and appear to be a close to lock to a minimum of make the NL Wild Card spherical.
11. Purple Sox
Present playoff odds: 25%
First off, they’re the Purple Sox, so there’s all the time some urgency. That stated, the vibes have been off for the Purple Sox for a few months now, and you may inform the staff is aware of it by how relatively passive they were at the Deadline. Certain, they held onto J.D. Martinez and introduced in Tommy Pham and Eric Hosmer, however neither is a game-changer, and so they principally simply obtained Hosmer without spending a dime anyway. They’re clearly nonetheless within the race — they’re solely 4 video games out of the AL Wild Card. However they’re additionally a last-place staff that’s barely over .500, and so they don’t appear to have any illusions about it. They’ll settle for a late-season run if it occurs. However they’re clearly not relying on it.
Present playoff odds: 4%
The Giants are simply barely hanging on within the NL Wild Card race, however they didn’t fully punt, as you’ll be able to inform by the truth that Carlos Rodón continues to be on the roster. This was a staff that, we remind you, received 107 video games final yr, and also you by no means know when a staff like that’s going to make a run. However the fanbase can nonetheless take solace in successful three World Sequence titles not that way back.
Present playoff odds: 3%
Of all of the enjoyable methods for this season to finish, “Baltimore within the playoffs” can be one of the vital gloriously entertaining ones. This staff is an absolute blast proper now. It has been notably pleasant to see them virtually casually successful sequence towards groups just like the Rangers, Angels and Cubs in latest weeks, treating them like pace bumps. Even with the all the excitement, a staff that trades away Trey Mancini and Jorge López at the Deadline nonetheless sees its true competition window as a yr or two from now. It’s all bonus time for the Orioles in 2022. In 2023? Then the temperature begins rising.
Present playoff odds: 28%
Cleveland is just one sport out of the AL Central and two video games out of the AL Wild Card. However the membership didn’t make a single transfer on the Deadline aside from buying and selling away Sandy León and sending down Franmil Reyes. They might nonetheless make the playoffs: They’re fairly well-positioned, really. However additionally they have holes they did not fill. In order that they get the final spot right here.