Let's compare the odds of winning the Powerball to the odds of unlikely baseball feats
There were no winners in last weekend's Powerball drawing, which means that the jackpot has ballooned to an incredible $1.5 billion. So, you could still win, right? Well, even if you choose numbers based on your favorite MLB lineup, your odds are still just 1 in 292,000,000.
To put that number in perspective, we decided to compare the likelihood of winning the Powerball to the likelihood of a few baseball feats. Let's put it this way: Miguel Cabrera getting a 57-game hit streak, Bryce Harper hitting five homers in a single game and Bartolo Colon somehow managing an inside-the-park home run are each more likely to happen than any one of us taking home more than a billion dollars in lottery money.
Here's a chart to help visualize what we're talking about. Let's think of all our events as planets. Miggy's possible 57-game hit streak is Jupiter and winning the Powerball is … just a pebble. Compared to the baseball feats we chose, picking the right combination of numbers to win the jackpot was so unlikely we had to magnify it just so it would be visible to human eyes. The biggest circle is the thing most likely to happen, and the smallest, well, we think you get it. Click on the chart below to enlarge.
Miguel Cabrera's 57-game hit streak
Based on his 2013 season, when hit .348/.442/.636, and assuming four at-bats per game, Miggy has a roughly 1-in-4,400 shot at getting a hit in 57 straight games.
Bryce Harper having a 5-HR game in 2016
In his 2015 season, Harper hit 42 homers over 153 games, with five plate appearances in 30 percent of those games and six plate appearances in 2 percent. That means that he had an approximately 1-in-917,431 chance of hitting five homers per game given five plate appearances, and a 1-in-163,048 chance with six plate appearances. With only a 32 percent chance of getting five PAs, there's a 1-in-2,652,855 chance for Harper to hit five dingers in any randomly selected game.
But let's spread it out across the season. With 162 chances to pull it off, he has roughly a 1-in-16,376 shot of getting that 5-HR game.
Bartolo Colon getting an inside-the-parker
Listen, we've all dreamed of the day Bartolo hits any kind of home run. But he's not exactly Dee Gordonwhen it comes to baserunning, so it seems pretty unlikely that we'll see an inside-the-parker from our favorite 42-year-old starter. But it's still more likely than winning the Powerball!
1 in 160 home runs are inside-the-parkers. Based on his speed score, we can expect that one of every 2,350 Bartolo Colon home runs to be of the inside-the-park variety. Just one per 4,000 plate appearances seems to be the limit for how, uh … unlucky a player can be at hitting home runs. That gives Bartolo a give-or-take 1-in-9.6 million shot to hit an inside-the-parker at any random PA. But, if we consider his actual number of career PAs, there's approximately a 1-in-39,662 chance that he'll bring us more joy than $1.5 billion ever could by getting that inside-the-park home run.