Will your team be playing in October? We’re firing up our TRACR-powered supercomputer to simulate the rest of the 2024 regular season and give us its MLB playoff predictions.

What do the numbers 58, 59, 74, 65 and 56 represent?

They’re the victory totals for the Kansas City Royals in each of their last five 162-game seasons. And with 554 defeats, no franchise has lost more games since 2018.

So if you insist that you thought the Royals would have one of the best records in baseball at the historical first marker of the season, we’ll say that we think you’re fibbing.

But here we are just past Memorial Day, and Kansas City (34-22) has a higher winning percentage than the Atlanta Braves (31-21). But are the Royals on their way to their first playoff appearance since winning the 2015 World Series?

And what about the defending champion Texas Rangers (26-29) and perennially contending Houston Astros (24-31)? Will they break out of their early funks to get back to the postseason? Can the New York Yankees (37-19) hold off the Baltimore Orioles (34-19) in the AL East?

We’re going to push some buttons on our supercomputer and have it answer those questions and more. How does it work? Its projections incorporate each team’s TRACR, win-loss record and strength of schedule to calculate an expected run differential per 27 outs, which is used to simulate the remaining schedule and produce our predictions.

Let’s take a look at how the model sees the division races playing out the rest of the way.


AL East

The Yankees entered the post-Memorial Day portion of the season with a 1.5-game lead over the defending AL East-champion Orioles. And our supercomputer doesn’t see the Yanks slowing down with an AL-best 105.4 projected wins and an 86.6% chance of winning the division compared to Baltimore’s 96.8 projected victories and 13.4% probability of finishing first. New York ranks No. 1 in overall TRACR (2.14), overall raw value (RV) and offensive RV+, and second in starters RV-. Juan Soto (205.2), Aaron Judge (194.0) and Nestor Cortes (64.7) are all in the top 10 in RV. And, oh yeah, ace Gerrit Cole is working his way back.

It be might surprising Baltimore only has an 11.7% chance of winning the AL pennant, but keep in mind the Orioles’ probability is lower because they would have to go through the wild-card round if they don’t win the division.

AL pennant chances

The model doesn’t see the Tampa Bay Rays making their usual playoff push with just 71.9 projected wins – behind the Boston Red Sox (80.6) and Toronto Blue Jays (76.1). It would be the Rays’ fewest victories in a 162-game season since going 68-94 in 2016.

AL Central

Let’s get back to the Royals. Despite their historic start, they still entered the second third of the season 3.5 games behind the Cleveland Guardians. But our projections have them overtaking Cleveland for the division title and earning the No. 2 seed in the AL. The Royals are getting it done with an elite offensive performance (sixth in RV) and starting rotation (seventh). Bobby Witt Jr. (165.6) is seventh in RV+, while Salvador Perez (162.0) is ninth. Kansas City, second in MLB in TRACR (1.49), is projected to win 96.9 games with a 52.2% chance of winning the Central, while Cleveland is at 96.6 and 47.5%, respectively.

The Detroit Tigers were the preseason darlings of the Central, as many (including us) predicted they’d be a team on the rise. But our model has them finishing just 77-85, behind the third-place Minnesota Twins (82-80). The Chicago White Sox have the worst record in baseball, and they’re expected to stay there at 54-108. That would be the franchise’s second-worst winning percentage of the modern era (since 1901) behind only the 1932 team that went 49-102.

AL West  

The biggest question in the West is whether the two powerhouses will find their way in the summer months. And perhaps surprisingly, our model doesn’t see it happening. The Seattle Mariners are predicted to finish atop the West standings for the first time since 2001 when they won an MLB record-tying 116 games. Seattle has an above-average rotation by RV (12th) and one of the best bullpens in the majors (fourth).

The Astros are expected to climb back over .500 (82-80) and grab the final playoff spot in the AL behind the Orioles and Guardians. They’ve had some bad luck with the third-highest differential between projected winning percentage and actual winning percentage.

AL win probability differential
(Entering May 28 Games)

However, the defending champion Rangers fail to get back with just 75.9 projected victories. Injuries to each team’s starting rotation could prove too much to overcome. Houston ranks 18th in starters RV- at 105.4 – worse than the league average – while Texas sits 21st at 107.9.  

NL East

It already seemed like the Braves’ run of six straight division titles was in jeopardy before losing last year’s NL MVP Ronald Acuna Jr. for the season. The Philadelphia Phillies entered play Wednesday with a 5.0-game lead on Atlanta and our model sees that stretching to nearly 10 by the end of the year. It would be Philadelphia’s first NL East crown since 2011.

Behind Ranger Suarez (53.5) and Zack Wheeler (55.7), who are fourth and fifth in RV-, respectively, the Phils own the best starters RV- (83.9) in all of baseball. Our supercomputer has them at an NL-best 100.3 projected wins and an 88.2% chance of winning the division. Atlanta is at 90.5 victories and an 11.7% probability of stretching its division streak to seven, but should be back in the postseason with a 91.8% chance of getting at least a wild-card berth.  

Similar to the Orioles in the AL, the Braves only have an 11.0% chance of winning the NL pennant because they’d have to work their way through the wild-card round if they can’t catch Philadelphia for the division title.

NL pennant chances

The Washington Nationals (77.1 projected wins), New York Mets (71.6) and Miami Marlins (65.9) aren’t likely to be a factor in this two-team division race.

NL Central

The Milwaukee Brewers were one of those teams that most people expected would take a step back after losing their manager (to the rival Chicago Cubs), Corbin Burnes (traded to the Orioles) and Brandon Woodruff (shoulder surgery). Instead, the Brew Crew has a 3.5-game lead over the Cubs and the highest probability of winning any division at 91.0%.

Milwaukee (92.9 projected wins), which is sixth in TRACR, and 11th in both offensive RV and bullpen RV- even without Devin Williams, is projected to earn the No. 2 seed in the NL by taking the Central by double-digit games over the Cincinnati Reds (81.6).

NL win probability differential
(Entering May 28 Games)

This looked to be one of the strongest divisions in baseball early on, but the Cubs (76.8), St. Louis Cardinals (75.2) and Pittsburgh Pirates (74.4) are all predicted to finish below .500.

NL West

Can anyone catch the Dodgers? Los Angeles has won the West in 10 of the past 11 seasons and owns a 5.5-game lead entering Wednesday’s action. With Mookie Betts (171.8 RV+), Shohei Ohtani (209.9), Freddie Freeman (123.6) and Will Smith (137.5) atop the order, Los Angeles ranks second in Major League Baseball in offensive RV (121.4). The Dodgers haven’t been dominant overall – fifth in MLB in winning percentage and seventh in TRACR – but the model gives it 92.3 projected wins and a 71.6% chance of winning the division.

The San Diego Padres are also a playoff team with 86.7 projected wins and a 78.1% probability of reaching the postseason. In fact, three teams are expected to come out of the West with the San Francisco Giants sneaking past the Reds for the final postseason spot with 81.8 projected wins and a 40.8% chance of getting in. Cincinnati was given 81.6 projected victories and a 39.1% playoff probability by the supercomputer.

And it doesn’t believe the Arizona Diamondbacks will put together another improbable run to the World Series in 2024, projecting them to finish fourth at 79-83.

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