FanGraphs released their preseason playoff odds on Wednesday and the Atlanta Braves received one of the best, if not the best, projections ever (at least in the projections-publishing era). Their model takes individual player projections from ZiPS and Steamer, averages those, and then combines them using assumptions about playing time to get a level of team quality, as Ben Clemens explains here. These team quality levels are then run through a schedule and postseason 20,000 times, and the odds reflect the likelihood that something happens across the 20,000 trials.
The Braves are projected to run away with the NL East again, with 98.2 wins. The Phillies are second at 85.5. Atlanta has an 87.8 percent chance to win the division, and their playoff odds are at 98.6 percent, which is far and away the highest such probability. FanGraphs gives the Dodgers a 95.5 percent chance of reaching the postseason. The Astros are a distant third at 85.9 percent.
What is most impressive, though, is that FanGraphs’ model gives the Braves a 24.9 percent chance of winning the World Series. This is an absurdly high number for any projection system, and is really just a testament to how strong this roster looks right now. The Dodgers are second at 16.9 percent and are followed by the Astros at 10.8 percent. Historically, going back to 2016, only the 2018 Astros and 2021 Dodgers have had anything close; those teams won 103 and 106 games, respectively, but both fell in the Championship Series.
Yeah, the Braves are ridiculous. We think they’re the best team in baseball by a wide margin. Their offense is ludicrous, of course. They lit the majors on fire in 2023. But their pitching should be better this year with a full season of Max Fried and some valuable innings from Chris Sale. They even shored up their bullpen, which now ranks among the best in baseball. Last year was no fluke; this team is just stacked across the board.
No one else is realistically playing for first in the NL East. That’s not because the Phillies are awful; we think they’re more likely than not to make the playoffs thanks to a top 10 offense. But they’re just not the equal of Atlanta, at least in the regular season. You can tell that the Braves agree; their offseason was built around addressing their lack of dominant postseason pitching. I also enjoy the Marlins/Mets face-off in the middle of the division; we think both teams will get to .500-ish records in extremely different ways.
Projections are just projections and things definitely have to play out on the field. Still, these and the PECOTA projections from Tuesday illustrate just how stacked this Braves roster is.