The outlet recently released its entire 2020 standings and playoff odds, and while some of those projections were no-brainers, others might come as a surprise to certain fanbases. It’s possible those projections might even come as a surprise to players on the team.
Fangraphs gave the Cubs a 39.7 percent chance of winning the division, and a 51.9 percent chance of making the playoffs. Both of those odds are quite a bit higher than any other team in the NL Central. The favorites to finish second place are the Cincinnati Reds, who were given a 23.9 percent chance of being division champs and a 34.8 percent chance of making the playoffs. The Brewers came in third, with 19.7 percent and 29.5 percent chances respectively.
The St. Louis Cardinals came in fourth, though not far behind either the Reds or the Brewers. They have a 15.8 percent chance to be NL Central champs and a 25.1 percent chance at making the postseason. The Pittsburgh Pirates were the only team to be given almost no chance of competing. They were projected to have just a 0.8 percent shot at winning the division and 1.4 percent chance at the postseason. Unsurprisingly, they were listed as the only team in the division to have absolutely no shot at winning the World Series.
While the Cubs are the odds-on favorite to make the postseason, the season is not expected to be a cakewalk. Fangraphs has projected the team to win about 84 games, leading the way in a close division race where the Reds may win 82 games, the Brewers 81, and the Cards 80. Once again, only the Pittsburgh Pirates are expected to be blown out of the water, with just 70 wins.
Around the rest of the league, the Los Angeles Dodgers, thanks in no small part to the acquisition of Mookie Betts, were listed as the favorite to win the World Series with a 19.9 percent chance. The Houston Astros and New York Yankees were close behind with 19.3 percent and 16.2 percent respectively.
The Washington Nationals were given the second-best chance to win a championship in the NL with 4.5 percent. And when looking for a surprise playoff contender, one may look no further than the San Diego Padres. Fangraphs projects them as an 83-win team, with a 40.3 percent chance of making the playoffs.
All told, the Chicago Cubs have the fifth-best odds in the National League to make the playoffs, which would mark a return to the postseason after a one-year hiatus.