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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Brewers Jump Past the Pirates in the Latest Playoff Odds

The Pittsburgh Pirates had a tough week, getting swept by the Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend to drop to 2-4. That also saw a drop in their playoff odds across the board. At this point in the season, the playoff projections are going to be extremely volatile. A big week will see a big jump in the projected standings, while a bad week will see a big drop. As an example of how small sample sizes can dominate early season analysis, the Pirates won their first three series of the year before getting swept by Milwaukee. They played great during their first nine games, and poor in the last three games. That led to a big drop in the projected standings this week. Until about June, I’d expect these projections to be heavily influenced by a good or bad series.

Each week we will break down the playoff odds and projections from the top three projection sites: Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs and ClayDavenport.com. As the season goes on, this will allow us to track the Pirates’ chances of getting back to the playoffs. Let’s take a look at the odds after week two.

Baseball Prospectus: 79.3 wins, 82.7 losses, 18.3% chance to make playoffs

The Baseball Prospectus odds have dropped about six percent for the Pirates after their 2-4 week. Last week they were projected for an 82-80 season, and now they’re closer to 79-83. A good week or a bad week can really move the needle this early in the season. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have a 63% chance of making the playoffs, and the Brewers are up to a 54% chance.

FanGraphs: 82.7 wins, 79.3 losses, 39.3% chance to make playoffs

FanGraphs was much higher on the Pirates last week, and that seems to be the case again this week. Despite being swept by the Brewers, FanGraphs still gives the Pirates a better chance of making the playoffs, with Milwaukee at 33.2%. However, the Pirates have dropped to sixth place in the projected standings, after being projected for the second Wild Card spot last week.

Clay Davenport: 81.5 wins, 80.5 losses, 32.0% chance to make playoffs

The projections from Clay Davenport seem to be based heavily on the in-season results. The Pirates only dropped about two percent from last week, but the Brewers soared by about 35 points, and now have a 75.7% chance of making the playoffs, with 94 projected wins. I’d expect this projection to be very volatile early in the season, settling down around June.

The Competition

Here are the rankings of the NL contenders. To get “contender” status, a team must have a 15% or better to make the playoffs in all three projection systems.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers – 74.3% average odds, 90-72 record

2. Washington Nationals – 63.5% average odds, 87-75 record

3. St. Louis Cardinals – 54.7% average odds, 85-77 record

4. Milwaukee Brewers – 54.3% average odds, 87-75 record

5. Atlanta Braves – 50.6% average odds, 85-77 record

6. San Francisco Giants – 49.7% average odds, 84-78 record

7. Pittsburgh Pirates – 29.9% average odds, 81-81 record

8. San Diego Padres – 23.8% average odds, 81-81 record

The Milwaukee Brewers made the biggest jump, going from 7th last week to having the fourth best average playoff odds. Other than that, everything stayed about the same. The Pirates dropped from a 36% average last week to a 29.9% average this week, while also losing one projected win.

The Reds and Rockies both fell off this list, as they didn’t receive 15% in all three projections. Meanwhile, the Padres moved up to the bottom of the list.

Early in the season, it’s looking like 86 wins is going to be needed for the Wild Card. Like all of these projections, that could change from week-to-week.

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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.


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The odds only mean something if you want to make a bet. “Never tell me the odds!” – Han Solo


Interesting that they must have been guessing around 500 from the start , I must have missed that !


The Brewers have zero depth at pretty much any position but they are really tough like players 1-18 or so.
If they stay healthy I think they’re favorite to win the division. But, Braun has a bad thumb, Ramirez is chronically battling hamstring, knee, groin stuff the past few years, Garza is extremely injury prone, so for them it’s a huge if.


The Brewers shouldn’t continue to play as well as they have on the road, in pitchers parks. Also, eventually, RHP like Morton are going to give them a ton of problems.

They just KILL us in that park, though. It’s just a nightmare to witness. At least in Cincinnati the offense hits some longballs, for some reason in Milwaukee they chase a lot of pitches in the dirt.

We need to win at least three against them at home this weekend.

Ron Loreski

Agreed. The Brewers are off to an impressive start, but I’ll be really surprised if they stay in it.

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