Before a single pitch was thrown in the 2016 season, the Chicago Cubs were earmarked for greatness. You’ve heard this intro before.
The Cubs took a very young, 97 win, NLDS championship team and added Ben Zobrist, John Lackey, and Jason Heyward (among others).
Are/were they expected to win the World Series? Well, no. No one is expected to win it all, but they did have the best odds of any team to take it a good long way.
But then something strange happened. Instead of dashing all of our dreams with a laborious, monotonous, suspenseful or even maddening start to the season, the Cubs were actually playing well. Quite well, it seems. In fact, despite coming into the season with sky-high odds of making the playoffs, the Cubs hot start has increased those odds … and it’s one of the largest increases in baseball!
In an article at Baseball Prospectus, Matthew Trueblood collects and organizes the teams with the biggest rises and falls in regards to playoff odds, while explaining what may have happened along the way. With just about 25% of the season already in the books (yeesh how did that happen?) here’s what those teams look like.
Biggest Odds Risers:
- White Sox: 37.5 percent to 73.3 percent (+35.8)
- Red Sox: 44.3 percent to 79.3 percent (+35)
- Mariners: 44.5 percent to 73.3 percent (+28.8)
- Orioles: 7.8 percent to 32.9 percent (+25.1)
- Cubs: 83.9 percent to 98.1 percent (+14.2)
Biggest Odds Fallers:
- Astros: 56.7 percent to 26.1 percent (-30.6)
- Yankees: 34.3 percent to 8.4 percent (-25.9)
- Blue Jays: 45.2 percent to 26.8 percent (-18.4)
- Twins: 17.3 percent to 0.7 percent (-16.6)
- Diamondbacks: 19.9 percent to 7.9 percent (-12.0)
For a thoughtful, specific breakdown of each of the changes, check out Trueblood’s article here at Baseball Prospectus. It’s a really handy way to re-apprise yourself with the league.
So, as you can see, the Cubs have managed to take their already enormous 83.9% pre-season odds of making the playoffs and bring it all the way up to an almost LOL-worthy 98.1% IN FREAKIN MAY. What’s funnier is that they have only the fifth highest increase in odds because they’re already butting right up against the maximum. They’ve essentially obtained the highest possible odds any system (or anyone with a brain) could possible give a team this early in the year.
So take that information and run with it, friends. But more importantly, keep it in mind the next time the Cubs lose to a team like the Brewers, Padres or Rockies. They were a good team coming into the season, they’ve played like an even better one during it, and they are projected to play unscheduled baseball in October.