Slow start, sure. But Braves still have good postseason odds

Braves reliever Collin McHugh and catcher Travis d'Arnaud react after striking out Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki (not pictured) to end the top of the sixth inning Wednesday at Truist Park. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

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Braves reliever Collin McHugh and catcher Travis d'Arnaud react after striking out Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki (not pictured) to end the top of the sixth inning Wednesday at Truist Park. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

The Braves found their old selves for an evening Wednesday, completing a three-run comeback with a walk-off homer from unsung hero Orlando Arcia. It was the Braves’ first walk-off win of 2022, and it resembled the comebacks of which everyone had become so accustomed in recent seasons.

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Still, the Braves are 15-17, six games behind the Mets on Thursday’s off date. FanGraphs’ projections model is bullish on the Braves despite the team’s disappointing start, a reminder that 32 games doesn’t make a season (as if Braves fans weren’t aware after the events of 2021).

The Braves have a 72.7% chance at making the postseason, according to FanGraphs’ latest projections. Indeed, most view the Braves’ start as an underwhelming beginning rather than a sign of what’s to come. The Braves’ roster is far too talented to continue treading water. FanGraphs has the Braves pegged for about 89 wins, which it forecasts as the sixth-highest win total in the National League behind the Dodgers (96.3), Brewers (92.4), Mets (92.3), Padres (90.6) and Giants (89.1).

The system favors the Mets, who have an 88.7% chance to make the postseason and a 59.7% chance at winning the NL East. The Braves registered at 30.4% odds at winning the NL East and a 42.3% chance of claiming a wild card. Note that there are now three wild-card teams with MLB’s new postseason format.

The Dodgers are expectedly the overwhelming favorites to win the NL, given a 14.2% of winning the World Series. Behind them are the Brewers (9.8%), Mets (9.6%) and Braves (7.9%).

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Braves designated hitter Orlando Arcia is mobbed by teammates after hitting a two-run home run for a 5-3 walk-off win against the Red Sox on Wednesday night at Truist Park. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Braves designated hitter Orlando Arcia is mobbed by teammates after hitting a two-run home run for a 5-3 walk-off win against the Red Sox on Wednesday night at Truist Park. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

caption arrowCaption
Braves designated hitter Orlando Arcia is mobbed by teammates after hitting a two-run home run for a 5-3 walk-off win against the Red Sox on Wednesday night at Truist Park. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Of course, all this is fun to discuss but it’s ultimately meaningless. FanGraphs – like most – had the Braves buried last season. When the team fell to eight games back on June 16, FanGraphs gave the Braves, then 30-35, a 5.9% chance of winning the division. It projected the team to finish around .500.

At that time, the Braves had a 0.7% chance to win the World Series. The Mets, projected for 91 wins, had a 12.7% chance to win it all. Everyone knows what happened next.

Baseball is impossible to predict much of the time. The Braves have stumbled, and the Mets are rolling. That doesn’t guarantee the summer will play out the same way. Perhaps Wednesday was a step in the right direction for the Braves, who begin a three-game series against the Padres on Friday at Truist Park.

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