The AL East: Postseason Probabilities Gone Wrong


Headed into the All-Star break, the Boston Red Sox had some pretty good things going for them. Despite all of their troubles, the team had managed to climb back into the playoff race, and had been carrying some pretty strong momentum into their series with the Yanks. With plenty of games against division rivals remaining, the glimmer of hope was still there for the Red Sox.

Now, in late July, it seems that all is lost for the team that looked so great on paper. The Red Sox are sitting in dead-last in the American League East, a whole twelve games back from the division-leading Yankees. Despite the fact that they’re playoff probabilities sat as high as 76% in mid-April, it has fallen to a mere 1% in late July. Talk about a let down.

Of course, all of this becomes even more bitter when you take a look at the Yankees’ playoff probabilities throughout the season. In early April, the Yankees sat at the bottom of the charts, with an 18% chance at playoff berth. Now, they sit atop the AL East at 87%, a whole 42% higher than the second-place Blue Jays (46%).

However, if it makes Red Sox fans’ feel any better, your beloved team wasn’t the only failure in the AL East this season. The Tampa Bay Rays also fell a tremendous amount. Just over a month ago, the Rays had a 69% chance of making the playoffs. One month later, those chances have dropped  to sixteen percent.

Take a look for yourself:

Start of Season:

Current Chances:

Just for the record, the postseason probabilities for the rest of the league have been pretty well-predicted. When scrolling through the rest of the divisions, the postseason probabilities are pretty similar to what was predicted (with the exception of the Houston Astros, who jumped from 14% to 84%, because baseball). It’s the AL East that stumped the postseason predictions the most, and who’s surprised? It’s a wild, wild world out east. It just goes to show you how you never really know until the game has been played.

And what a game baseball is.

Postseason probabilites provided by