With a third of the 2016 campaign remaining, only 9 baseball teams have a realistic shot at winning the World Series, at least according to most expert projections.
#9. The Baltimore Orioles (2.5 to 6%)
The Orioles are unlucky enough to be playing in the A.L. East, the only division in baseball with 3 legitimate postseason contenders duking it out down the stretch. While the O’s remain in the mix for either a division title or playoff berth, their projected run differential (+46) lags behind other contenders.
#8. The San Francisco Giants (3.6 to 6%)
The Giants were once right alongside the Cubs with the best World Series odds in baseball, and fans will point to the calendar (even year) when making their case. Still, a 16-21 record since July 1st can’t be very comforting for Bay Area believers.
#7. The Los Angeles Dodgers (6 to 8.5%)
The Dodgers were being written off by some as the Giants began staking a lead in the N.L. West heading into the All Star Break. Fortunately for Dodgers fans, a 21-16 record since July 1st has put them back in contention.
#6: The Texas Rangers (5.7 to 7%)
How exactly does the team with the most wins in the American League end up so far down the list? It’s simple. The Texas Rangers only have a +3 run differential. The Rangers may have the clearest path to the postseason in the A.L., but their ability to compete in October is questionable.
#5 TIE: The Toronto Blue Jays (8.3 to 9%)
The Blue Jays, like the Orioles, are unlucky enough to be in the competitive A.L. East. Silver’s 538 and Baseball Prospectus diverge on their fate, with Silver’s model giving the Jays the best odds at winning their division.
#5 TIE: The Boston Red Sox (7 to 9.4%)
Baseball Prospectus is high on the Sox. Is there some sort of hidden Big Papi retirement year factor in their model I don’t know about? The Red Sox do boast the second-best projected run differential in the A.L. (+117), so it’s not illogical to see them coming out of the East.
#3: The Washington Nationals (12 to 13.3%)
The Nationals have a solid lock on their division, a tremendous projected run differential (+183), and at least some October experience to rely on. The only thing holding them back mathematically is that their run to the Series will almost certainly go through the #1 team in baseball.
#2: The Cleveland Indians (12 to 17%)
The Indians have the best projected run differential in the American League (+131) and the division race has narrowed down to the Tribe and the Tigers. The Tribe has an 11-1 advantage in games against Detroit so far, and both models give the Indians’ excellent pitching staff a good shot at going the distance.
#1: The Chicago Cubs (18 to 20.8%)
The division race in the N.L. Central is but a formality at this point, and the Cubs have moved past their midseason slump, starting off August at a torrid 10-2 clip. For note, a Cubs-Indians World Series would have a collective 176 years without a championship on the line.