Messing around with early-season playoff odds

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The great folks at Baseball Prospectus are once again running playoff odds for all 30 MLB teams, using a formula that plays out the rest of the 2010 season 1,000,000 times.  With pretty much every division up for grabs through June 2, it’s at least a fun thing to look at.

Not to spoil the entire read, but here are a few of the more interesting nuggets:

  • The Reds, who currently own a one-game lead in the National League Central, have only a 30.5% chance of winning the division.
  • The Cardinals, who trail the Reds, have a 63.5% shot at taking the NL Central crown.
  • There’s a similar scenario playing out in the American League East, where the Rays lead the Yankees by 2.5 games, but only have a 30.3% chance of winning baseball’s toughest division.
  • The Twins, with a 69.1% chance of winning the American League Central, have the highest probability of making the playoffs out of every team in the game.
  • Meanwhile the Orioles have the lowest probability of winning a division crown, with a 0.00038% chance of surpassing the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yanks and Rays.

Most of the readers here on HBT are probably already Baseball Prospectus fans, and possibly subscribers, but head on over and pay ’em a visit anyway.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.