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.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.