2016 MLB Probabilities of Making the Playoffs (August 14th Edition)

With the Major League Baseball season creeping towards its finale on Sunday, October 2, there are a total of 684 remaining games over the next seven weeks. Currently most teams have played 116 games, leading to approximately 46 remaining games. Fortunately, this means no teams are currently eliminated from the playoffs (while the Braves are trying pretty hard to be eliminated before September). Currently the standings are as follows:


MLB Standings as of 14 August, 2016.

Here, we once again apply our simulation strategy based on previous match-ups over the course of the season. Applying a continuity correction and a Markov Chain Monte Carlo, we are able to simulate the wins and losses for each of the remaining 684 games.

Using a set of one million simulations, we obtain one million simulations of the remaining season in an attempt to identify the winners of each division; as well as wild card winners. Here are the resulting probabilities (along with current standings):


PWD = Probability of Winning Division PWC = Probability of Winning Wild Card PMP = Probability of Making Playoffs

Under the simulation scheme, we see some teams with “zero” probability of making the playoffs. The real probability is sub 0.0001; which will round down to zero. Some interesting results from the simulation indicate that the Marlins have a great chance of catching the Nationals for the NL East crown; while the Cardinals and Tigers are expected to fade out over the next seven weeks.

The playoffs are currently expected to be:

  • American League Wild Card:   Mariners vs. Orioles
  • American League Division Winners: Rangers vs. (Wild Card); Blue Jays vs. Indians


  • National League Wild Card: Nationals vs. Giants
  • National League Division Winners: Cubs vs. (Wild Card); Dodgers vs. Marlins

It should be noted that there are still nearly 700 remaining games and that the variation on the probabilities are relatively large; roughly 3-5 percent on the high probability teams. As the season progresses, we will continue to produce updates to the probabilities.


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