12 teams whose playoff odds have changed the most

April 26th, 2024

We're coming up on a month since this season began en masse on March 28, and a lot has changed across the Majors in a short time.

Only five of last year’s 12 postseason teams are currently in possession of a playoff spot. Meanwhile, a number of surprising clubs have positioned themselves to shake up races in the coming months.

Based on FanGraphs’ playoff odds, these are the 12 teams -- the six biggest risers and the six biggest fallers -- whose postseason chances have changed the most since the start of the season. (Odds are through Wednesday, and all other stats below are through Thursday.)

Biggest risers

1. Orioles: +29.8 (52.8% to 82.6%)
The O’s won 101 games and the American League East title in 2023, but the projections weren’t totally buying them as a top contender entering 2024. Prior to Opening Day, they had the third-best playoff odds of any AL East team and the sixth-best odds in the AL overall. Baltimore, though, has solidified its standing as one of baseball’s best teams, starting out 16-8 behind the AL’s highest-scoring offense and a pitching staff that has been buoyed by the additions of ace and closer .

2. Cubs: +17.6 (41.3% to 58.9%)
Despite losing ace to a left hamstring strain on Opening Day and right fielder to a right oblique strain in mid-April, the Cubs have gone 16-9 in their first season under new manager Craig Counsell. While Counsell has brought a fresh perspective to the dugout, fellow newcomers (0.84 ERA) and (6 HR, .865 OPS) have made a huge difference for the club on the field. Chicago’s mettle will continue to be tested after center fielder went on the injured list with two rib fractures on Wednesday afternoon.

3. Brewers: +17.4 (30% to 47.4%)
With Craig Counsell joining the rival Cubs as a free agent, Corbin Burnes going to Baltimore in a trade and pitchers and both sidelined for an extended period of time, the Brewers seemed likely to take a step back after making the postseason in four of the past five years. Instead, Milwaukee is in a familiar spot atop the National League Central. Milwaukee’s bullpen has continued to impress, even in the absence of Williams, and catcher (5 HR, 1.019 OPS) has been outstanding, propelling the Brewers to a 16-8 record.

4. Royals: +17 (13.2% to 30.2%)
Kansas City is one of this season’s most surprising teams, starting out 16-10 after losing 106 games in 2023. Fortified by a number of offseason additions, including (2.03 ERA), the Royals’ pitching staff is as good as it's been in years. Meanwhile, veteran catcher (7 HR, 25 RBIs, 1.036 OPS) is having a resurgent season at the plate, providing support for budding superstar and breakout candidate in the club’s lineup.

5. Yankees: +16.3 (72% to 88.3%)
The Yankees are without reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and have gotten modest production from 2022 AL MVP (.693 OPS) so far, but they have ripped off 17 wins in their first 26 games nonetheless, bearing little resemblance to the lackluster club that went 82-80 in 2023. Offseason addition (6 HR, 22 RBIs, .991 OPS) will get much of the credit for New York’s turnaround, and rightfully so, but the team’s rotation deserves some recognition as well. The Yankees’ starting staff owns a 3.06 ERA, the fourth-best mark in MLB behind the Red Sox, Phillies and Royals.

6. Guardians: +13 (33.4% to 46.4%)
The expectation coming into this season was that Cleveland’s playoff hopes would hinge on the performance of its rotation. Nearly a month in, is out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, is also sidelined with an elbow injury and , , and have combined for a 4.76 ERA in 20 starts. Yet, the Guardians have one of MLB’s best records at 18-7.

Cleveland’s success surprisingly has been driven by its offense, which ranks second in the AL in runs per game (5.36), one year after scoring the fourth-fewest runs in the Majors. The Guardians’ relief corps has stepped up as well, notching a 2.31 ERA and a 29.3% strikeout rate. Cleveland is now considered the likeliest team to win the AL Central, just ahead of the 11-13 Twins, who were heavy favorites (per FanGraphs) before Opening Day.

Biggest fallers

1. Astros: -41 (85.9% to 44.9%)
Houston continued its incredible run of success in 2023, winning the AL West for the sixth time since 2017 and making the AL Championship Series for the seventh straight year, but it’s been a different story so far in 2024. Besides ’s no-hitter on April 1, the Astros haven’t had much to celebrate this season. In fact, Houston is off to one of the worst starts in franchise history, going 7-19 through 26 games. It’s going to take a nearly unprecedented turnaround for the Astros to reach the postseason. You have to go back more than 100 years to find the only team in AL/NL history -- the 1914 Boston Braves -- to make the playoffs after tallying at least 19 losses through its first 26 games.

2. Marlins: -27.6 (28.8% to 1.2%)
The Marlins were an obvious regression candidate after going 33-14 in one-run games and reaching the postseason in spite of a negative run differential a year ago. That said, it was hard to imagine the dropoff would be this steep. Miami lost its first nine games of the season and hasn’t recovered, going 6-20 with a -47 run differential through 26 games. As a result, the club’s playoff odds are now just north of 1%.

3. Twins: -21.1 (65.3% to 44.2%)
FanGraphs projected the Twins to win the AL Central by a comfortable margin in 2024, much like the club did last season. However, Minnesota is in fourth place with a 11-13 record, even after sweeping a four-game series against the lowly White Sox at Target Field. The Twins’ offense, which has been without (right intercostal strain) since April 13, owns a .671 OPS and is averaging just 3.83 runs per game.

4. Cardinals: -16.6 (48.2% to 31.6%)
The Cardinals entered 2024 as the favorites to win the NL Central, per FanGraphs’ playoff odds, but they currently find themselves exactly where they finished the previous campaign -- in last place. While St. Louis’ pitching staff, which was bolstered with several offseason additions, has been better than it was last season, its offense has cratered. The Cards are one of the lowest-scoring teams in baseball (3.48 runs per game), with star sluggers and combining for just three homers and a .654 OPS.

5. Giants: -10.9 (43.4% to 32.5%)
The Giants reshaped their roster after finishing four games below .500 in 2023, but their moves haven’t had the desired effect to this point. Despite getting a 1.61 ERA from free-agent acquisition , San Francisco has recorded a 4.78 ERA overall, the fourth-worst mark in the Majors. That includes an 11.57 ERA from reigning NL Cy Young Award winner , who struggled in three starts before going on the injured list with a left adductor strain. Meanwhile, the team’s trio of marquee lineup additions -- , and -- has combined for a .708 OPS. Add it all up and the Giants have gone 12-14 through 26 games.

6. D-backs: -10.2 (51.2% to 41%)
The D-backs rank among the big league leaders in runs scored per game (5.73) and run differential (+35), but that hasn’t resulted in a winning record (12-14) for the reigning NL champions. As May nears, 's slow start is beginning to become more of a concern, even with the team's offense managing to withstand the outfielder's struggles to this point. Arizona also just lost No. 2 starter to a shoulder injury, offsetting the addition of , who made his D-backs debut on April 19.