Don’t look now, but the 2015 MLB regular season is roughly 90% percent completed, with roughly three weeks left before we head into the playoffs. There is still a lot to be said about fantasy leagues, individual awards, and playoff seeding, but unfortunately this year goes down as one of the few instances in which we will not see any compelling races towards the playoffs. Using Fangraphs’ playoff odds, all six current division leaders have at least a 90% chance of making the playoffs, but even that undersells the lack of competition. In fact, only the Astros (with 90.6% odds) have odds below 99.6% among division leaders, all but assuring that the Blue Jays, Royals, Mets, Cardinals, and Dodgers will be part of the playoffs either way.
While there is still some drama concerning the AL East, AL West, and NL Central races, the only playoff spot with multiple teams battling for it will take place in the American League, where the second wild card is still up for grabs. While the National League is all but settled, as the Cubs will visit either Pittsburgh or St. Louis for the right to play in the NLDS, the Junior Circuit faces a very different scenario.
Aside from the current wild card holders, New York and Texas, there are five other teams within six games of the second wild card. Even as some of them might still be long shots with so few games left on the calendar, we have seen in previous years how playoff races are decided all the way to the end, making it hard to discount anybody from this point on.
With this in mind, today we take a look at the AL playoff situation and how it could play out during these final three weeks. For this, we take into account each team’s projected playoff odds, its remaining strength of schedule, and how their roster is shaped to make a playoff run. Teams are listed in ascending order from least likely to most likely among this diverse bunch.
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