Teams blowing their playoff shot
You can't win a postseason berth in April, but you can lose one
Nearly a century ago, American poet T.S. Eliot described April as the cruelest month. He wasn't referring to baseball, but he could have given how the month dashes the hopes of teams in the new season. Nobody has ever won a playoff spot in April, but many have lost one. The favorites start at 0-0, just like every other team, and a bad first month is a good way to turn into the underdog.
Using the ZiPS projection system, I ran projections for every team after Monday night's games to compare how their preseason playoff projections compare to their up-to-date ones. ZiPS calculates new projections for players based on their projection and their stats so far and takes into consideration the changing of rosters; for example, Toronto no longer has the services of Jose Reyes until the All-Star break.
I've broken down the six teams who have done the most damage to their playoff odds thus far, and also provided a table showing how each club's playoff odds have changed since Opening Day. Let's start with the team that has seen its October hopes fade the furthest.
Toronto Blue Jays
Preseason playoff odds: 68.1 percent
Current playoff odds: 26.3 percent
The Blue Jays were favorites of many going into the season, with half of the ESPN staff picking the team to win the division and the Las Vegas oddsmakers agreeing. Toronto made some big additions to the team, remaking the rotation with R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, and Josh Johnson and bringing in additional bats, most notably Reyes. But so far little of that has worked. When J.A. Happ has the best ERA in your rotation by nearly a run, you know something very bad has happened.
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