Dodgers on the prime, Orioles at zero %

MLB’s spring training is just around the corner and that means the season of projections and playoff odds is ahead of us.

One of those series of numbers arrived via Fangraphs on Tuesday, and the results were exactly what you would expect if you were to take or take a few spots in a division race. The Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, and San Diego Padres are all near castles to play baseball in October. Less with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Colorado Rockies and Baltimore Orioles.

It got interesting, however, when MLB shared the odds of winning its 8.7 million Twitter followers, creating what may be the first instance of a league that basically told its fans that one of their teams had no chance of making the playoffs.

In this case, the Orioles sat with the full blood arsky of Animal House: “Zero point zero”.

Just like the PECOTA projections of the baseball prospectus – which were also high on the Dodgers and low on the Orioles, but with some other weird predictions (apparently the Braves should be concerned about landing above .500 before hitting a replay in NL East) – Fangraphs’ playoff odds attracted their share of critics once they were released to the general baseball public.

Teams like the 2020 American League champions and the 2019 World Series champions have not been particularly friendly when told they have less than a 25 percent chance of the playoffs, and the pirates just wanted to set the whole thing on fire, similar to what they did with their payroll.

The Orioles took the double zero at least in a good mood:

Fangraphs itself eventually responded to the online noise and gave people what they want with one exception:

The story goes on

Okay everyone, we heard your feedback on our playoff odds and decided to make some math changes that should make everyone happy.

– FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) February 16, 2021

You really shouldn’t need advanced numbers to say the Orioles are going to be bad this year. The team went between 25 and 35 last year, and their biggest off-season additions to date have been 34-year-old Felix Hernandez and 31-year-old Freddy Galvis.

There’s a lot to like about the team’s future, but the Orioles basically had no interest in competing in 2021, not if the team’s burgeoning youth movement remains in the minor leagues. Perhaps Adley Rutschman, the former top overall winner, shows up and instantly looks like Joe Mauer’s second coming, but it will take a lot more to get the Orioles to even 500 baseball.

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