Our Playoff Odds Have a New Look

The Playoff Odds page looks different! The playoff-odds data and simulation method remains the same; however, we have revamped our reporting page to make it easier to understand and more powerful.

The most noticeable changes are the table layout and the mobile layout. We’ve tried to make it easier to understand what the columns mean for users who are new to the site. The goal of the mobile layout is to allow users to reach the most important information more quickly. Every column on the desktop page is viewable on the mobile layout by clicking the “Full” button.

We have also added a few new display features. The detailed round-by-round postseason odds (winning the ALDS or the NLCS, etc.) are hidden by default during the regular season. They remain present, but are collapsed in a Postseason column. The default view will switch once the Postseason begins, and most of the regular-season projections will be initially hidden. The updated calendar widget allows one to view playoff odds on any day dating back to 2014. We have also added new quick dates in the drop-down menu next to the widget, in order get to the current day’s playoff odds or preseason odds.

Strength of Schedule

Another addition is the Projected Strength of Schedule (SOS). This isn’t the backwards-looking strength of schedule with which you might be familiar from NFL tiebreakers or the really old college football BCS ranking calculations. This looks ahead at the team’s remaining schedule to determine how difficult it will be. Technically, this is the Average Projected Opponent Winning Percentage for Remaining Games, but that’s a mouthful of words.

We are calculating the opponent’s winning percentage using the same engine we use to calculate the Playoff Odds. Changing the projection mode to Season-to-Date or Coin Flip will affect the SOS metric. SOS will center around .500, and early in the season there won’t be too much deviation from it since there are many games remaining against various teams.

One reason we decided to include SOS is that it can be useful to explain why certain teams are projected to do better in the future, especially in the last few weeks of the season.

I would caution against using this for determining how balanced a schedule is. If you are comparing a team projected to do very well (let’s say the Indians) to a team projected to do poorly (like maybe the White Sox), we aren’t removing the common games between the two teams, so the White Sox appear to have a tougher schedule because they have to play the Indians (having a high opponent winning percent), while the Indians in those games have to play the White Sox (low opponent winning percent).

Displaying Changes in Playoff Odds Over Time

The playoff-odds graphs do a good job of showing evolution of the baseball season and, in particular, the change in playoff odds over time. We thought we’d include a way to display those changes in our tables. If you choose “Changes” as a “Display Option”, the tables will show the difference in the playoff odds or projected wins between two dates. It’s also possible to compare any two dates for which we have playoff odds.

As usual, please let us know if you have any problems or find any bugs.

We hoped you liked reading Our Playoff Odds Have a New Look by Sean Dolinar!

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I code a bunch of things here. I really need to update my blog about statistics at stats.seandolinar.com.

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Ariel Cohen
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Member
Ariel Cohen

Why did the Mets’ probability of making the playoffs go down over the past few days?

jonvanderlugt
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Member
jonvanderlugt

Sean just does the code (to my understanding) and can’t really answer questions about why the projections have the Mets’ odds lower.

Moreover, they’re only down 3% from the other day, which happens to coincide with the fact that they sent a player with a 215 wRC+ down to the minors around the same time.

Ariel Cohen
Member
Member
Ariel Cohen

Might have been the demotion. Would be interesting to gauge the sensitivity of sending down such a player (if that is the reason why the odds went down). If so – he’s worth 3%? That implies a large WAR.

jskelly4
Member
jskelly4

My guess is it’s the d’Arnarud injury – he was projected for a decent WAR and now they prob have Nido in the projections which is a big change.