The Chicago Cubs are the fourth best team in baseball.
Well, maybe that goes a bit far – does it? – but they do currently have the fourth best record in all of baseball. Pretty impressive for a group many didn’t expect to compete for a playoff spot this year.
Of course, thanks to the Cardinals, the Pirates, and the roll of the divisional dice, the Cubs have the fourth best record in baseball, but only the third best in the NL Central. C’est la baseball.
But, after a weekend sweep of the Giants, the Cubs’ Wild Card lead has swelled to 3.5 games, and their playoff odds have swelled right alongside it. FanGraphs gives the Cubs a 79.3% shot at a playoff spot (4.2% winning division), and Baseball Prospectus has them at 83.3% (4.1% winning division). In other words, the Cubs are a strong favorite to land a Wild Card spot by the end of the year, but stand very little chance of overcoming their 8.5 game deficit (and overtaking the Pirates) and beating out the Cardinals in the Central.
All in all, very good stuff for the 2015 Cubs. There’s still nearly two months left to go, of course.
Hey, a random bonus factoid: the Cubs’ run of success is not just happening in 2015, but extends back to halfway through the 2014 season. You could say that’s when the rebuild started to turn a corner, and from July 28, 2014 until today, the Chicago Cubs have the 8th best record in baseball. That’s well over a full year of playing like a playoff team.
Thanks to @BetterRuleBook for the research on that one.