I was browsing Baseball Prospectus today (doing some research for another article that I am writing) and went to the odds section. Here BP takes each team and, using a Monte Carlo simulation, figures out the odds of each team making the playoffs. I was shocked to find that the A’s have the 7th-best chance to make the postseason.

Baseball Prospectus still sees the A’s as a losing squad — projecting a true talent winning percentage of just .479. But the team, even with its flaws, has a better than 1-in-4 chance of making the playoffs out of a very tough AL West. The A’s are currently in second place in the division and first in the wild card race.

The AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox present the Athletics’ next test, another chance to show that Oakland can hang with teams that are playoff worthy.

In case you forgot or haven’t seen the explanation, here is a quick description of how the model works:

  • I start by estimating the runs scored and allowed for each team given the starting pitcher, bullpen, defense and each team’s offense.
  • The data used in the projection model is based on the current season’s statistics to date and ZiPS projections, with the weighting shifting more toward the actual stats as the season progresses.
  • The estimated run differential is then converted into a projected winning percentage using the pythagorean expectation.
  • Then, it’s converted into an odds of winning the game using the log5 method developed by Bill James

Probables (via MLB.com):

Friday, August 10, 5:10 PM: Brandon McCarthy vs. Gavin Floyd

Saturday, August 11, 4:10 PM: Tommy Milone vs. Francisco Liriano

Sunday, August 12, 11:10 AM (Brunch Baseball!): Jarrod Parker vs. Chris Sale

Odds:

White Sox Athletics
Game 1 47% 53%
Game 2 53% 47%
Game 3 59% 41%
Sweep 15% 10%
2 out 3 40% 35%
1 out 3 35% 40%
0 out 3 10% 15%
Win Series 54% 46%
Lose Series 46% 54%

 

For a road series, the odds look pretty good for the A’s.

It certainly helps that McCarthy is back pitching for the A’s, as he has been their best pitcher this season when healthy. If this were the Giants, McCarthy’s return would be heralded as a big-time acquisition on par with a trade deadline splash. Having him back only adds to the pretty crazy pitching depth that the A’s have accumulated over the last year.

This is a pretty evenly matched series, with home field advantage swinging things in favor of the White Sox.

The White Sox have the run scoring advantage and the A’s have the run prevention advantage. It will be a classic battle between offense and defense to see which will prevail.