MLB Playoff Shifts - Week 17

AMERICAN LEAGUE

The Angels stood pat at the trade deadline, but still made the biggest improvement in the past week rising 9.7 percentage points in playoff probability.  They are still longshots to reach the postseason at 12.6 percent overall, but that is a massive increase from the week before at just 2.9 percent.  Much of this came at the expense of the Rangers who went 3-4 this week.  Still, Texas is in a good position to win the West particularly after strengthening its weakest link – the bullpen.  The Rangers did not acquire Heath Bell like many experts expected them to, but they did solidify the bridge to incumbent closer Neftali Feliz.  Koji Uehara and Mike Adams really strengthen the late innings for the team.

Cleveland made one of the biggest moves of the deadline taking a risk by acquiring Ubaldo Jimenez, and trading away several top prospects.  Jimenez’s performance hasn’t matched his stuff this season, but he is capable of leading the team in a very winnable Central division.  The Indians also traded away Orlando Cabrera handing the second base position full-time to rookie Jason Kipnis.  Despite the moves, they fell in the playoff probability by 11.3 percentage points.  The Tigers rose seven percentage points and solidified their rotation by acquiring Doug Fister, and seeing the debut of top prospect Jacob Turner.  Detroit is making the playoffs in 77.7 percent of the time via a division title.

The Red Sox just had their best July in history, and are forecasted to have the best record in the American League.  They also acquired Erik Bedard in a move that could pay off handsomely with the continued absence of Clay Bucholz.  Bedard has a spotty injury history, but when healthy is one of the best lefties in the game.  Boston and the Yankees are still virtual locks for the postseason.  Tampa Bay wasn’t a big seller at the deadline, and is virtually out of the race.  Tampa has just a 1.8 percent chance at the postseason.

American League Weekly Review Playoff % Chance
Team 25-Jul 31-Jul % Diff Win Div
Los Angeles Angels 2.9% 12.6% 9.7% 11.1%
Detroit Tigers 70.7% 77.7% 7.0% 77.7%
Chicago White Sox 2.5% 6.4% 3.9% 6.3%
New York Yankees 94.2% 96.4% 2.2% 15.3%
Boston Red Sox 99.6% 99.8% 0.2% 84.6%
Toronto Blue Jays 0.0% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0%
Kansas City Royals 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Baltimore Orioles 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Seattle Mariners 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Oakland Athletics 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Minnesota Twins 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Tampa Bay Rays 4.7% 1.8% -2.9% 0.1%
Texas Rangers 98.1% 89.3% -8.8% 88.9%
Cleveland Indians 27.2% 15.9% -11.3% 15.9%

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Arizona and the NL West were shaken up by a series of trades at the deadline.  The Diamondbacks traded away first baseman Brandon Allen, but acquired bullpen help and starter Jason Marquis.  Meanwhile Colorado got worse at the major league level by sending staff ace Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland.  San Francisco made the biggest splash well ahead of the deadline picking up Carlos Beltran, and Orlando Cabrera to help the bench.  Arizona though rose nearly 10 percentage points in the playoff standings, and is 18.3 percent likely to win the division.  The Giants are 81.7 percent likely to win the West.  The Padres and Rockies both sold at the deadline and don’t make the playoffs in any simulations.

Milwaukee won six games this week and rose 8.7 percentage points in playoff probability.  The team made only minor moves to compensate for the injury to Rickie Weeks trading for veterans Felipe Lopez and Jerry Hairston Jr. rather than trying to get a bigger name.  St. Louis went the opposite tact perhaps mortgaging the future for a chance at a playoff run today.  The Cardinals sent away Colby Rasmus and others, and ended up with starting pitcher Edwin Jackson as well as shortstop Rafael Furcal.  None of the playoff acquired are under team control past 2012 so St. Louis is clearly all in for this season.  The Cardinals though are underdogs for now to Milwaukee in the Central, and are winning the division in 35.2 percent of simulations.  The Pirates tried to shore up their run towards .500 but Derek Lee and Ryan Ludwick are not the marquee names they once were.  Pittsburgh has just a 0.2 percent chance at the postseason.

The Braves are currently racked by injuries, but helped offset that by acquiring Michael Bourn.  The centerfielder solidifies the top of the lineup for Atlanta, and could play a major factor in the postseason with his speed on the basepaths.  Philadelphia meanwhile armed itself for the playoffs as well acquiring Hunter Pence from Houston.  Pence doesn’t really improve his new team in the standings at Philadelphia was already over a 99 percent lock, but he too should help his lineup in any postseason series.  The Mets and Astros did the right thing at the deadline by selling.  Florida though was reportedly trying to buy at the deadline which makes sense in a world where its 0.0 percent playoff probability was actually closer to 100 percent.

National League Weekly Review Playoff % Chance
Team 25-Jul 31-Jul % Diff Win Div
Arizona Diamondbacks 14.6% 24.2% 9.6% 18.3%
Milwaukee Brewers 58.1% 66.8% 8.7% 63.4%
Philadelphia Phillies 99.3% 99.9% 0.6% 96.5%
Houston Astros 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Florida Marlins 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
New York Mets 0.2% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%
Colorado Rockies 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
San Diego Padres 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Chicago Cubs 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Los Angeles Dodgers 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pittsburgh Pirates 0.4% 0.2% -0.2% 0.2%
Washington Nationals 1.6% 0.0% -1.6% 0.0%
Cincinnati Reds 3.2% 1.5% -1.7% 1.2%
St. Louis Cardinals 43.1% 40.2% -2.9% 35.2%
Atlanta Braves 89.3% 83.3% -6.0% 3.5%
San Francisco Giants 90.1% 83.6% -6.5% 81.7%