Pirates Are Moving Closer to the Wild Card in Latest Playoff Projections

The Pittsburgh Pirates had a big week this past week, going 5-1 against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Philadelphia Phillies. The results showed up in the playoff projections, leading to a big increase in the Pirates’ odds going forward. Just last week I wrote about how the Pirates managed to creep back into the playoff picture. Now they’re in the process of moving up the list of playoff contenders.

Each week we will break down the playoff odds and projections from the top three projection sites: Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs and ClayDavenport.com. Here are the latest projections.

Baseball Prospectus: 83.9 wins, 78.1 losses, 32.1% chance to make playoffs

The Baseball Prospectus odds had the Pirates finishing with 81.9 wins at the start of last week. In the span of one week, their projections have gone up two wins. Their chances of making the playoffs have also gone up, from around 20% to 32%. They’re obviously trending in the right direction.

FanGraphs: 85.1 wins, 76.9 losses, 44.3% chance to make playoffs

FanGraphs also has the Pirates trending up, going from 82.7 wins to 85 wins. Their playoff chances soared from 28.6% to 44.3%. In both the BP and FanGraphs rankings, the Pirates moved past the Reds in terms of their chances to make the post-season. They’re just behind the Cardinals (48.4%) in this projection.

Clay Davenport: 85.5 wins, 76.5 losses, 43.8% chance to make playoffs

The projections from Clay Davenport had the Pirates seeing an increase of two wins, just like the other two projections. They didn’t see a big jump in their chances to make the playoffs, although part of that might have been due to the fact that CD had the Pirates with a 32% chance last week, which was higher than the other two systems.

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.

  Team Odds W L









































The Pirates jumped ahead of the Reds in the last week, and moved closer to the Cardinals and Brewers, who both saw their chances of winning decline. The chances for the Cardinals only declined slightly, while the Brewers saw a big drop. The Pirates will lead into the All-Star break with four games against the Cardinals, and three games against the Reds. They went 5-1 last week against non-division teams, and saw an increase in two wins to their projections, which probably means they were expected to go 3-2. A big week against their division opponents could see another increase to the projections. Currently they’re projected for an average of 85 wins, while the second Wild Card spot is projected for 87 wins.

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 reason division series are so important is simple,if you can’t beat your division you can’t win your division. The pirates have had their hats handed to them by the central this year. That has to change if they want a shot at the playoffs. This is still going to come down to the bucs ,cards and reds. Apologies to brewers fans, they just don’t have the depth to contend all season, ecspecially pitching depth. Reference the pirates a couple of years ago for an example of what not having depth down the streach means


A repeat from earlier, but I submit a trade request for Tulo – with a package of the following players.
A SS replacement (Mercer or Hanson) if I’m the Rockies I may prefer Mercer.
The stars (All-Stars Josh Bell and Orlando Castro)
The bonus choice (Lambo/Liriano/Kingham)

My package would be Mercer/Bell/Castro/Kingham though I admit Liriano and his sinker would be attractive. Maybe Ground Chuck is an option here too… The point though is putting a young starting SS together with power and talent and some pitching which the Rockies are always looking for.

For Tulo, it would be worth losing some studs. #Tulointheburgh #Tuloblackandgold #Tulocannonball


Orlando Castro is no star in any trade. He’s more of an afterthought. It would take a ton to get Colorado to trade Tulo. He’s their Cutch.


To much injury concern for tulo to sell the farm to get him.


ST1300B : Just one question ? Why ?


I can certainly see the why. What I can’t see is Colorado even coming close to doing the offer he presented. To get Tulo it would probably cost, Glasnow, Kingham, Bell and either Mercer or Hanson.


My point exactly. That should have been worded ” why give away what would be needed to make that deal ” ?
Pitching is the beginning ,middle, and end of winning in MLB.


I’ll answer that one. You would be getting the best SS in the game, who is locked up until 2021, and who wants to play for a contending team.


You are being ridiculous if you think getting the best SS in the game would be a better move than getting one of the best pitchers in MLB. Personally, I wouldn’t advocate either.


I like the looks of that trade. Couple of things – why would they want Liriano who is a FA after the season? Also, pitching is a priority for the Rockies, so maybe Mercer/Hanson with a pitching prospect.

Scott Kliesen

Not sure I’m advocating they do it, but I can see the logic behind making a trade to get Price.

Besides the obvious benefit of having a LH Ace and truly giving the Pirates a realistic chance to get into and win in the playoffs, it would also prevent the Cardinals from acquiring him.

And if they can’t sign him to an extension by next summer, they could trade him to a team, to essentially restock the players lost in making this trade.

We who read this site daily get caught up in the next generation of Pirates, and the prospect of losing two or three top 50 prospects to get Price would be hard to swallow. However, if I were a Pirates player, I would applaud NH for making a bold move to upgrade this team, while preventing a chief competitor from doing the same.


I don’t disagree with the trade part. What intrigued me about you comments was the clubhouse boost angle, I think a lot of the pirates early woes were due in part to the fact that management did very little to improve the team in the off season. We sometimes forget players are human beings with real emotions and not seeing any tangible improvement to the team had to bum them out a bit.


The Pirates are 5 games over 500 and if they get to 10 games over 500 that gives them 92 wins, the next 7 games are not make or break with 3 months to go. I don’t look at how the Pirates do against certain teams because if they win 90 or more, they have an excellent chance to make the playoffs, I don’t care how they get to 90 or more.


The Brewers and Reds have owned our Bucs to this point. The next two series will go a long way towards being contenders or pretenders. It won’t be the end all but if they get beat convincingly, it will be be difficult to see them as serious playoff contenders.


The Brewers ? Do you remember the closer ? The ” ownership ” might not be so complete if not for that issue.


The season series stands 3 up 10 down. That’s more than a closer issue. That’s getting soundly beat to keep it clean!


And you think the Brewers 40 man right now is stronger than the Pirates or either the other 2 contenders in the Central ? If so, I am SMH at that one.


I don’t recall at anytime stating anything about strength of rosters or anything else. Just the facts of what has happened up to this point. They’re 3-10 against the brewers, 5-4 against the Cards, and 4-7 against the Reds. That’s 12-21 against the contenders. 9-4 against the cubs helps.

40 man rosters are not the issue. Performance on the field is. If you think the Pirates have been the best of the bunch, well I’ll just have to SMH right back.


Most of the media and fans outside of Pittsburgh do not regard the Pirates as contenders and they wouldn’t even if they were in 1st place, so losing to the Reds or Cards or both won’t change much of anything in the thought process, if the Brewers were to lose right along with the Pirates nothing would change, too bad the Brewers get the Phillies and the Reds get the Cubs while the Pirates get the Cards. IMO, the schedule is the Pirates worst enemy so far this year.

IMO, Sept. is the time to worry about big series.


I would agree with the sept. Part if not for the fact that the bucs have been getting whupped by the central this year. Like I said earlier if you can’t beat your division you can’t win your division.


They all count the same. But if this team aspires to contend, they need to step up this week.


The Brewers are 4th with one of the best records in baseball, can’t imagine how good the Pirates would have to play to be ranked NO.1. I guess the best record in baseball since the first week of May and playing the toughest schedule in baseball up until last week is kind of meaningless. Oh wait that got them 7th.

Pie Rat

They would probably need to go 40-34 in their last 74 games. That’s a .541 win percentage. The Giants have a lot of injuries and I see them falling out of contention. It will depend on trades that are made. It looks like it will come down to the Pirates, Cards, and Reds playing for the last 2 wild card spots. Who knows the Brewers are also vulnerable.


Of course, none of these projections are going to make much difference if the Pirates fall apart during the next 7 games.

I know every game is just as important as the next one and the previous one, but these next 2 series could certainly go a long way to really tighten things up or shake things out in the NL Central.

Would be good to see the Pirates take 3 out of the 7. Would be great to see them take more, but I’m not expecting it.


Why not? The Pirates pitching has been among the best in the majors the last 3 1/2 weeks. The Cardinals are 28th in the majors in runs scored. I think 3 of 4 is very possible there. Unfortunately, they get the Reds’ best 3 pitchers, so getting 2 of 3 there will be tough.

Ron Loreski

I’m sorry, these projections are so stupid. They are constantly changing, proving how inaccurate they are. No one team in baseball will continue exactly on the pace they are on now.

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