The ZiPS Two-Month Standings Update

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

It may still feel like the 2024 season just got started, but Major League Baseball passed the one-third mark this past week. This is usually a good time for a full, fresh run of the ZiPS projected standings, and I think it’s especially so now after Ronald Acuña Jr.’s season-ending injury, which will have a serious impact on the NL East race.

The ZiPS projected standings use a different methodology than our Depth Chart standings, beyond only using ZiPS rather than a ZiPS/Steamer mix. Stored within ZiPS are the first- through 99th-percentile projections for each player. I start by making a generalized depth chart, using our Depth Charts as a jumping off point. I then make my own changes, and the final results are correlated with, but far from identical, to Jason Martinez’s projected PAs and IPs. It varies from player to player, but the biggest systemic difference is that my “average” projected playing time for individual players reflects a larger chance of significant injury. I feel this methodology helps better express a team’s depth, something crucial as the season goes on and IL attendance grows. It has the disadvantage, though, of being quite workload intensive, meaning it’s not something that can just be auto-run every morning.

The one change in methodology from past standings is that the average playing time for the projected players is month-based. For example, ZiPS sees no innings for Jacob deGrom at all in June or July, with most of the innings (I have the average at 15) coming in September. So each time, rather than having one distribution of expected team strength for the season, ZiPS now has six distributions for each team based on the calendar month. While the resulting changes are quite small, the sad truth is that baseball projections are mature enough after a couple decades that all improvements are tiny. It’s not just the low-hanging fruit that’s gone; you now have to climb a rickety ladder held by an inebriated friend to get the ones way up there.

Let’s get into the projections before we reach a Tolkien-movie level of narrator exposition. It should go without saying, because it rarely seems to end up that way, but take this as a reminder that 0.0% is not literally 0.0%, but until mathematical elimination, a number that rounds to 0.0%.

ZiPS Projected Standings – NL East (5/29)
Team W L GB Pct Div% WC% Playoff% WS Win% 80th 20th
Philadelphia Phillies 94 68 .580 64.6% 28.5% 93.1% 9.2% 100.4 88.5
Atlanta Braves 90 72 4 .556 33.1% 46.8% 79.9% 7.2% 96.6 83.9
New York Mets 78 84 16 .481 2.1% 17.2% 19.4% 1.1% 84.3 71.9
Washington Nationals 71 91 23 .438 0.2% 3.3% 3.5% 0.0% 77.5 65.2
Miami Marlins 67 95 27 .414 0.0% 0.6% 0.6% 0.0% 73.0 61.0

The Phillies have seen their projections sink a bit after losing four of five games to the Rockies and Giants, but the Acuña injury is a disaster for the Braves. ZiPS sees Philadelphia and Atlanta as basically equals now, but with a five-game lead, attrition benefits Philadelphia, not Atlanta. The Mets remain as mediocre as their preseason projections said, but the Acuña injury let them claw back almost a full percentage point of divisional probability over the last week, despite their dreadful recent stretch. The Nats have played much better than their expected doormat status, but they’re not certainly not inside the house yet, and ZiPS sees their relevance on the edge of the wild card race slipping away. The Marlins’ 6-24 start to the season all but officially eliminated them from the divisional race, but after playing roughly .500 ball this month, it’s at least plausible, though incredibly unlikely, that they could make a run for the third wild card spot.

ZiPS Projected Standings – NL Central (5/29)
Team W L GB Pct Div% WC% Playoff% WS Win% 80th 20th
Milwaukee Brewers 84 78 .519 36.8% 17.0% 53.8% 2.3% 90.4 78.3
Chicago Cubs 83 79 1 .512 29.0% 16.9% 45.9% 2.6% 89.1 77.0
St. Louis Cardinals 81 81 3 .500 19.2% 15.1% 34.3% 1.6% 87.1 75.0
Cincinnati Reds 78 84 6 .481 10.0% 10.3% 20.3% 0.9% 84.1 71.7
Pittsburgh Pirates 75 87 9 .463 5.0% 6.2% 11.3% 0.3% 81.4 69.5

Jackson Chourio has struggled, but Milwaukee has received solid offense contributions from almost every other position. Who had Joey Ortiz likely finishing 2024 with more WAR than Jackson Holliday? I can’t say ZiPS or I did, either. (Well, unless I lie.) ZiPS doesn’t expect Robert Gasser to maintain that microscopic ERA, but it does think he’ll get a pretty good jump from what is now a surprisingly low strikeout rate. Right now, the Brewers are the slight favorite to win the Central, but every team in the division still maintains more than a scrap of a chance. I personally think the Cubs will be the most aggressive at the deadline, but that’s a little out of ZiPS’s wheelhouse.

ZiPS Projected Standings – NL West (5/29)
Team W L GB Pct Div% WC% Playoff% WS Win% 80th 20th
Los Angeles Dodgers 95 67 .586 73.1% 21.3% 94.4% 16.1% 101.4 89.4
San Diego Padres 85 77 10 .525 11.6% 43.4% 55.0% 3.8% 91.2 79.1
San Francisco Giants 84 78 11 .519 9.6% 40.0% 49.6% 2.9% 90.3 78.0
Arizona Diamondbacks 82 80 13 .506 5.8% 33.1% 38.9% 2.6% 88.3 76.2
Colorado Rockies 64 98 31 .395 0.0% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 70.2 58.7

There were scenarios in which the Dodgers were topped in the NL West, but it doesn’t look like any of them are coming to pass. Outside of Bobby Miller’s shoulder injury, the rotation has held together quite well, and we’re getting closer to Clayton Kershaw’s possible return. The Padres and Giants have seen their divisional odds get longer since March, but their win projections remain about where they were initially expected, and both teams are serious wild card contenders. The 50th-percentile win projection for the last NL wild card berth is 85.4, a number well within the realm of possibility for both teams. So could the Diamondbacks, but their odds of getting there are a little less likely because, as of now, they’re three games behind San Diego and San Francisco. The Rockies are stubbornly hanging onto that last decimal point, though ZiPS think they’re the worst team in the National League.

ZiPS Projected Standings – AL East (5/29)
Team W L GB Pct Div% WC% Playoff% WS Win% 80th 20th
Baltimore Orioles 95 67 .586 47.7% 43.8% 91.5% 12.0% 101.4 89.1
New York Yankees 95 67 .586 47.2% 44.2% 91.4% 10.3% 101.4 89.2
Toronto Blue Jays 83 79 12 .512 3.0% 29.7% 32.7% 2.1% 88.6 76.5
Tampa Bay Rays 79 83 16 .488 1.2% 16.7% 17.9% 0.7% 85.3 73.3
Boston Red Sox 79 83 16 .488 0.9% 15.2% 16.1% 0.4% 84.9 72.7

Contrary to the preseason, the playoff picture in the AL East has cleared up considerably in two months. What was projected to possibly be a race between all five clubs, with even the Red Sox having a decent shot, has largely become a two-team competition between the Orioles and Yankees. ZiPS likes the Yankees slightly better in an “everybody stays healthy” projection, but with the injury risks all built in, ZiPS gives the Orioles the subtle nod due to their superior depth. ZiPS still believes the Blue Jays could contend for a wild card spot, because the offense can’t be this mediocre moving forward, but after struggling for two months, Toronto has basically been lapped by Baltimore and New York. ZiPS remains skeptical that the Red Sox will keep up their current win pace (at least their Pythagorean one), but the system thinks the rotation’s success is legitimate. It’s weird seeing the Rays with the worst bullpen WAR in baseball; I almost typed the Devil Rays when looking at that chart.

ZiPS Projected Standings – AL Central (5/29)
Team W L GB Pct Div% WC% Playoff% WS Win% 80th 20th
Cleveland Guardians 93 69 .574 58.7% 27.7% 86.3% 7.9% 99.2 87.1
Minnesota Twins 88 74 5 .543 22.8% 38.6% 61.4% 4.8% 93.8 81.4
Kansas City Royals 86 76 7 .531 15.7% 37.1% 52.8% 2.1% 92.0 80.1
Detroit Tigers 80 82 13 .494 2.9% 14.6% 17.4% 0.6% 85.2 73.1
Chicago White Sox 56 106 37 .346 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 62.1 50.1

ZiPS was the Cleveland believer of the projection systems coming into the season, but not even it could’ve expected the Guardians to win two-thirds of their games. I’m not going get mad at my computer for not realizing that David Fry would play like the second coming of Ted Williams. But if the Guardians are bound for some regression, the AL Central is not exactly full of teams that could overrun them. ZiPS remains extremely skeptical of the Royals, but they’ve banked enough wins that they’re not going to disappear from the race anytime soon. The computer now thinks the AL Central will have 1.2 wild card spots (on average), a big jump from 0.5. After an abomination of a start to the season, the White Sox have played just well enough that they still have a 20% chance of avoiding 100 losses. That’s something, I guess.

ZiPS Projected Standings – AL West (5/29)
Team W L GB Pct Div% WC% Playoff% WS Win% 80th 20th
Seattle Mariners 85 77 .525 48.6% 10.3% 58.9% 3.8% 91.3 79.5
Texas Rangers 82 80 3 .506 27.3% 10.9% 38.2% 2.4% 88.2 76.1
Houston Astros 81 81 4 .500 21.5% 9.5% 31.0% 2.1% 87.0 74.6
Los Angeles Angels 72 90 13 .444 2.4% 1.6% 4.0% 0.1% 78.1 65.9
Oakland A’s 65 97 20 .401 0.1% 0.1% 0.2% 0.0% 70.5 58.5

The Astros must play under a fortunate star because this has to be their best-case scenario considering their abysmal start to the season. With the Rangers treading water and playing some lousy baseball of late, the Mariners doing the usual Mariners .540 thing, and the Angels looking like a lost cause, nobody ran away with the division while the Astros sputtered. The Logan Roy of the AL West, Houston’s future may have some serious questions, but the team has weathered what was likely its worst stretch of pitcher injuries. The lack of a frontrunner in the West has kept Oakland theoretically in the mix, but the team lacks depth to remain single-digit games back from first place for much longer, and its owner is probably far too apathetic about his club’s short-term fate to make any big additions at the deadline. At least Mason Miller is a lot of fun.

As usual, I’m including the ZiPS playoff matrix, which shows the percentile results for the win total of each playoff spot’s eventual victor. For example, while the Orioles and Yankees are both projected to win 95 games, ZiPS projects that the average eventual result for the team that wins the AL East will be 99.3 wins.

ZiPS Playoff Matrix (5/29)
To Win 10th 20th 30th 40th 50th 60th 70th 80th 90th
AL East 92.3 94.6 96.4 97.9 99.3 100.8 102.4 104.2 106.7
AL Central 89.0 91.3 92.8 94.3 95.6 97.0 98.5 100.3 102.8
AL West 82.6 84.7 86.3 87.7 89.0 90.3 91.8 93.4 95.8
To Win 10th 20th 30th 40th 50th 60th 70th 80th 90th
AL Wild Card 1 88.8 90.4 91.6 92.6 93.6 94.7 95.9 97.3 99.4
AL Wild Card 2 85.5 86.8 87.8 88.7 89.5 90.3 91.2 92.3 93.8
AL Wild Card 3 83.1 84.3 85.2 86.1 86.8 87.6 88.4 89.3 90.7
To Win 10th 20th 30th 40th 50th 60th 70th 80th 90th
NL East 89.4 91.9 93.7 95.3 96.8 98.3 99.9 101.7 104.3
NL Central 83.4 85.4 86.9 88.2 89.4 90.6 92.0 93.5 95.8
NL West 89.6 91.9 93.5 95.1 96.5 98.0 99.7 101.6 104.4
To Win 10th 20th 30th 40th 50th 60th 70th 80th 90th
NL Wild Card 1 87.1 88.6 89.8 90.8 91.8 92.8 93.9 95.2 97.2
NL Wild Card 2 84.0 85.3 86.3 87.2 88.0 88.8 89.7 90.7 92.2
NL Wild Card 3 81.7 82.9 83.9 84.7 85.4 86.1 87.0 87.9 89.2

In order to not have to reference the preseason projections, I’m also including a sortable table of how the playoff/divisional/World Series probabilities have changed since the preseason projections.

ZiPS Preseason vs. 5/29
Team Div% Pre Diff Playoff% Pre Diff WS Win% Pre Diff
Philadelphia Phillies 64.6% 17.9% 46.7% 93.1% 51.2% 41.9% 9.2% 3.7% 5.5%
Kansas City Royals 15.7% 5.9% 9.8% 52.8% 12.5% 40.3% 2.1% 0.2% 1.9%
New York Yankees 47.2% 24.1% 23.1% 91.4% 59.3% 32.1% 10.3% 5.2% 5.1%
Cleveland Guardians 58.7% 38.4% 20.3% 86.3% 55.1% 31.2% 7.9% 3.9% 4.0%
Milwaukee Brewers 36.8% 14.7% 22.1% 53.8% 27.3% 26.5% 2.3% 1.0% 1.3%
Baltimore Orioles 47.7% 37.2% 10.5% 91.5% 72.1% 19.4% 12.0% 8.8% 3.2%
Los Angeles Dodgers 73.1% 49.3% 23.8% 94.4% 79.0% 15.4% 16.1% 11.9% 4.2%
San Diego Padres 11.6% 12.7% -1.1% 55.0% 41.2% 13.8% 3.8% 2.3% 1.5%
Seattle Mariners 48.6% 27.4% 21.2% 58.9% 54.7% 4.2% 3.8% 4.3% -0.5%
Minnesota Twins 22.8% 41.8% -19.0% 61.4% 57.5% 3.9% 4.8% 4.5% 0.3%
Chicago Cubs 29.0% 27.9% 1.1% 45.9% 43.5% 2.4% 2.6% 2.5% 0.1%
Washington Nationals 0.2% 0.3% -0.1% 3.5% 2.3% 1.2% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
San Francisco Giants 9.6% 17.2% -7.6% 49.6% 49.4% 0.2% 2.9% 3.4% -0.5%
Oakland A’s 0.1% 0.2% -0.1% 0.2% 1.1% -0.9% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Chicago White Sox 0.0% 0.6% -0.6% 0.0% 1.5% -1.5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Colorado Rockies 0.0% 0.2% -0.2% 0.1% 2.1% -2.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Atlanta Braves 33.1% 62.6% -29.5% 79.9% 84.0% -4.1% 7.2% 15.2% -8.0%
Boston Red Sox 0.9% 4.4% -3.5% 16.1% 22.0% -5.9% 0.4% 0.7% -0.3%
Pittsburgh Pirates 5.0% 8.9% -3.9% 11.3% 17.9% -6.6% 0.3% 0.5% -0.2%
Detroit Tigers 2.9% 13.2% -10.3% 17.4% 24.8% -7.4% 0.6% 0.8% -0.2%
St. Louis Cardinals 19.2% 27.8% -8.6% 34.3% 43.8% -9.5% 1.6% 2.6% -1.0%
Cincinnati Reds 10.0% 20.8% -10.8% 20.3% 35.1% -14.8% 0.9% 1.6% -0.7%
Arizona Diamondbacks 5.8% 20.5% -14.7% 38.9% 55.5% -16.6% 2.6% 4.4% -1.8%
Texas Rangers 27.3% 28.4% -1.1% 38.2% 55.5% -17.3% 2.4% 4.5% -2.1%
Los Angeles Angels 2.4% 6.9% -4.5% 4.0% 21.6% -17.6% 0.1% 0.7% -0.6%
New York Mets 2.1% 12.9% -10.8% 19.4% 41.1% -21.7% 1.1% 2.3% -1.2%
Tampa Bay Rays 1.2% 11.9% -10.7% 17.9% 41.1% -23.2% 0.7% 2.3% -1.6%
Toronto Blue Jays 3.0% 22.4% -19.4% 32.7% 58.3% -25.6% 2.1% 5.0% -2.9%
Miami Marlins 0.0% 6.3% -6.3% 0.6% 26.6% -26.0% 0.0% 2.3% -2.3%
Houston Astros 21.5% 37.0% -15.5% 31.0% 63.2% -32.2% 2.1% 6.3% -4.2%





Dan Szymborski is a senior writer for FanGraphs and the developer of the ZiPS projection system. He was a writer for ESPN.com from 2010-2018, a regular guest on a number of radio shows and podcasts, and a voting BBWAA member. He also maintains a terrible Twitter account at @DSzymborski.

25 Comments
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David Klein
15 days ago

I’d bet the under on the Mets unfortunately and I still think the Astros will find a way to win a mediocre at best nl west. The Astros need pitching even with some guys due back at some point but I don’t trust McCullers among others to stay healthy, so I can see them trading for Severino or someone of that ilk. I’d also take the over on the Brewers on wins I see them winning 88 or so games.

Last edited 15 days ago by David Klein
Philmember
15 days ago
Reply to  David Klein

The Astros have the same chance of winning the NL West as the Rockies do.

David Klein
15 days ago
Reply to  Phil

Lol whoops

Ivan_Grushenkomember
15 days ago
Reply to  Phil

And the Rockies have an equal chance at winning the AL West and NL West

sadtrombonemember
15 days ago
Reply to  David Klein

The Brewers have been way better than I expected on offense. Per Pythagorean Record and BaseRuns, the Brewers have completely earned their record. I’m more than a little skeptical about their playoff chances because their playoff rotation would have to include at least two of Joe Ross, Bryse Wilson, and Colin Rea, but in the regular season having a bunch of ace defensive players blanket the field goes a long way.

Dan B
15 days ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

The Brewers have the most up gradable position in the sport, and typically they have the appetite to make a move at the deadline.

airforce21one
15 days ago
Reply to  Dan B

Although this time, the Brewers should be shopping for pitching!

sadtrombonemember
14 days ago
Reply to  airforce21one

This feels like the exact sort of team that should try to land a couple of arms at the deadline, but it sure doesn’t feel like there are a lot of arms out there unless they are willing to trade big talent. Which seems unlikely and maybe a bad idea. Maybe they could trade for Jack Flaherty. Or Kikuchi but I’m real skeptical he will hold this level of performance. The next best available starter without giving up major talent will probably be…Erick Fedde? Luis Severino?

NATS Fanmember
14 days ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Fedde is for real! I expect him to pitch in the playoffs this season.