2022 MLB Playoff Projections

Projections for the 2022 playoffs are posted on FanGraphs, and while some of the predictions won’t shock anyone — the Dodgers are the World Series preseason favorites — there are also plenty of interesting projections and big surprises.

To calculate playoff odds, FanGraphs takes each team’s schedule and its players’ projected performances and simulates the season 20,000 times. A 90% playoff odds means the team makes the playoffs in 18,000 of the 20,000 simulated seasons, a 10% World Series championship odds would mean the team wins in 2,000 of the 20,000 simulated seasons , And so on.

Here are 10 eye-catching facts about playoff odds for this season.

Note: PECOTA season projections on Baseball Prospectus have also been posted, and PECOTA similarities/differences to FanGraphs projections are included.

Blue Jays are AL favorites

Will this be the Blue Jays’ big year? Playoff odds love them for being the American League’s representative in the World Series. Only the Dodgers, at 14.9%, have better league odds than Toronto’s 12%. With Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, George Springer and Teoscar Hernández all set to have monster years and the Gausman-Berríos-Ryu-Manoah-Kikuchi rotation set to be well above average, the Blue Jays are the pick for the most wins in the AL (92) and have the highest playoff odds (89.5%) despite a stacked split. For reference, the AL’s projected best team entering the season was the Yankees in 2021, Astros in 2020, Yankees in 2019, Astros in 2018, Cleveland in 2017, and Red Sox in 2016.

Second opinion: PECOTA also has the Blue Jays at 92 wins — but finishes six games behind the Yankees, who are projected for an AL-best 98 wins and 15.6% World Series championship odds, just behind the Dodgers 16%.

The AL East has all three Wild Card teams

The AL East had three teams in the playoffs last year. With the post-season format expanded to 12 teams in 2022, there should be four. The Blue Jays are expected to win the division, with the Yankees (91 wins), Rays (87) and Red Sox (84) vying for all three Wild Card slots. When you remember how tight the competition was in the East in 2021, that makes sense. The Yankees and Red Sox were the Wild Card teams last October, the Rays won their second straight AL East title and the Blue Jays finished one game out of contention. All four teams have won over 90 games.

Second opinion: The same four AL East teams have winning records in PECOTA projections, but only the Yankees, Blue Jays and Rays would make the playoffs. The Red Sox’s 83 projected wins put them behind the Angels (89), Twins (84) and Mariners (84).

The East is expected to be the tightest race in the National League as longtime rivals the Mets and Braves go head-to-head. FanGraphs projections see the defending World Series champions as the least of the division favorites entering 2022, with Atlanta slated for 91 wins to New York’s 90. The Braves have an 84.8% postseason chance, 48.9% chance of winning the division, and 8.7% chance of winning the World Series; the Mets have a 78.4% postseason chance, 37.4% chance of winning the division, and 7% chance of winning the World Series. Both teams have made big moves this offseason, with the Braves trading for Matt Olson and the Mets signing Max Scherzer and more.

Second opinion: PECOTA agrees…even more strongly. PECOTA has the NL East as a tie, with the Braves and Mets projected for identical records of 92-70. Interestingly, the Mets win the World Series in 10.3% of PECOTA’s simulated seasons, second-best of any NL team behind Los Angeles, while the Braves only win 7.2% of the time, which also places them behind the Brewers (10%).

Welcome the Giants to the NL West race

Last year, the race everyone was excited for was the Dodgers against the Padres in the NL West. Then the Giants came out of nowhere to win 107 games and finish as the best team in baseball. San Diego fell back on San Francisco in 2022 preseason projections, but playoff odds see the NL West as a three-team race this year, not a two-team race. The Dodgers (96 wins, 95.7% playoff odds), Padres (90 wins, 78.0% odds) and Giants (85 wins, 49.2% odds) are all playoff teams of 2022 according to the projections of the classification. LA would win the division at that total, with the Padres and Giants the second and third Wild Card teams behind the Mets, just ahead of the Cardinals and Phillies.

Second opinion: PECOTA does not view San Francisco as favorably as FanGraphs. The Giants are projected for a losing record (79-83), while the Dodgers are the only team to 100 baseball wins (with a 99.4% playoff odds) and the Padres also make the playoffs with 86 wins.

The White Sox are finally favorites

After back-to-back playoff appearances and their Premier League title in 13 years, the White Sox are finally the preseason favorites to win the AL Central. Even last year, they had to finish second behind the Twins. But now they are the biggest favorite in any division, and should win the Central by 10 complete games against Minnesota (90 wins against 80). After having preseason odds of less than 1% from 2017 to 2019, Chicago’s odds have risen to 36.9% in 2020, 48% in 21 and 83.8% in 22.

Second Opinion: PECOTA agrees, projecting the White Sox to finish with 91 wins and win the division by seven games over the Twins. Chicago has 83.8% playoff odds and a 71.2% chance of winning Central.

The Astros are the AL team most likely to earn a bye

The Blue Jays are the World Series favorites out of the AL, and the White Sox should win their Division by the biggest margin, but it’s the Astros who have the highest likelihood of landing a Division Series bye (the byes go to the top two division winners in each league under the new playoff format). That’s because the Blue Jays might have a harder time winning the division thanks to stiff competition in the East, and the White Sox are expected to finish with fewer wins than Houston (91) even though they have a bigger division. weak overall.

Second Opinion: The Astros are actually projected for one less win (90) than the White Sox in PECOTA’s simulations, and with PECOTA considering the Angels stronger than FanGraphs, Houston is slightly less likely to make the Division Series than Chicago.

Meanwhile, every team in the two East Divisions has a schedule strength of 0.500 or greater. This is actually the second year in a row that this has been the case. Even with some low-level teams projected into these divisions (the Orioles, Marlins and Nationals), they have plenty of contenders who will all have to cross paths on the road to October.

Second opinion: The Easts are the only divisions to feature multiple 90-win teams by PECOTA’s projections (Yankees and Blue Jays in the AL, Mets and Braves in the NL), but the Red Sox and Phillies are later than them. in FanGraphs simulations.

Central champions have the easiest schedules

The White Sox and Brewers are expected to win the AL Central and NL Central respectively. They could also have the clearest routes to the playoffs, facing the easiest schedules of any baseball team. Opponents Chicago have a projected winning percentage of .488, and opponents Brewers are projected at .489. The next most favorable schedules belong to the Dodgers (also .489), Astros (.492) and Padres (.493).

Second opinion: PECOTA sees the NL Central as particularly lopsided, with the Brewers slated to win the division by 13 games against the Cardinals (94 wins to 81) … which would be the biggest gap if it weren’t for the juggernaut Dodgers chosen for win by 14 games against the Padres while San Diego is also a playoff team in PECOTA.

The Angels’ quest to end their playoff drought and bring Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani to the playoffs continues. 2022 odds don’t think they’ll get there, but it could be close – the Angels are the first team out, and they should finish just behind the Red Sox for the last Wild Card spot (82 wins to Boston’s 84 ). The Angels have a playoff odds of 38.1%, putting them ahead of the Mariners despite Seattle’s 90 wins in 2021 and moves to add Robbie Ray, Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suárez.

Second opinion: The Angels are in the game. PECOTA actually thinks they will be the second Wild Card team, with 89 wins, just behind Toronto and ahead of the Rays. It would be the most wins for the Angels since they last appeared in the playoffs in 2014.

World Series winner comes from AL East or NL West half the time

Two divisions account for more than half of FanGraphs’ World Series simulated champions. That’s because the NL West has the overall favorite, the Dodgers, and the AL East has four teams with significant championship odds. The Blue Jays, Yankees, Rays or Red Sox win the 2022 World Series in 28.7% of simulated seasons, while the Dodgers, Padres or Giants win in 22.2% of them. It’s 50.9% in total.

Second opinion: It is rather about the leading teams in the projections of PECOTA. The Yankees and Dodgers alone account for almost a third of the World Series championships (31.6% between them).

Neal T. Doss