MLB teams most likely to end postseason droughts in 2023

Last year, Major League Baseball’s two longest active playoff droughts ended.

The Phillies, who had gone more than 10 years since losing to the Cardinals in the 2011 NLDS, returned to the playoffs, got revenge on St. Louis and continued a streak that lasted into the World Series. And an even longer skid – the longest drought in the four major North American men’s sports – was broken by the Mariners, who hadn’t made the playoffs since their glorious 2001 season. playoff series, before Yordan Alvarez and eventual World Series champion Astros got them into the ALDS.

This eases the pressure for those two teams, but increases it for those who replaced them at the top of the Postseason Drought standings. There are now six clubs who have played at least six seasons since reaching the playoffs: two who have waited eight years, two more at seven years and two at six years. With the expanded playoff field now in place, their absences become even more stark. Surely they should be able to enter soon, shouldn’t they?

For some of these clubs, that moment could even come this year. So today we’re taking a look at the six teams with the longest active playoff droughts and ranking them by how likely they are to break through in 2023.

(Current playoff odds are from FanGraphs. All stats and odds are updated with Friday’s action. ^ Indicates team is in Wild Card position.)

1. Rangers
Last Appearance: 2016 ALDS (Lost to TOR)
Current record: 31-18 (1st in AL West)
Current post-season odds: 72.5%

Jacob deGrom has started just six games as a Ranger and is back on the injured list. Corey Seager missed 31 games on the IL before returning on May 17. The other three ambitious contenders in the division have over .500. You would think, given all these circumstances, that Rangers would be in trouble.

But they are not in trouble. Thanks to extensive training – they have eight regulars with OPS+ over 100 – a rotation that goes up to five without deGrom and a big season from the other big-money free agent of the past two years (Marcus Semien), the Rangers are in first place, semi-comfortably. The split is unlikely to get much easier (the other Western contenders are desperate to win right now), but their depth makes Rangers look like a team that’s here for the long haul. What if you could line up deGrom for a Game 1 playoff start? Seek.

2. Orioles
Last Appearance: 2016 Wild Card Game (Lost to TOR)
Current record: 33-17 (2nd in AL East^)
Current post-season odds: 51.0%

It won’t surprise you that there aren’t exactly any current Orioles who have also played for this 2016 postseason team — that feels like about 100 years. This Orioles club felt like it was barely on its last breath and finally suffered an infamous loss at the Wild Card Game in Toronto.

But this Orioles team feels the exact opposite: they’re just getting started. There are still questions about this team, especially their pitching, but they are absolutely loaded with young talent, and there are more on the way. The AL East is the top division in baseball, which means every day is going to be stressful for the Orioles all year, but it’s to their credit that they’re hanging on to the Rays, despite the historic departure of the leaders of the AL East. . Did they take the best shot from the Rays? Are they ready to throw theirs away? Call Me A Believer: This team is making it to the playoffs…and will be extremely tough when they get there.

3. Angels
Last appearance: 2014 ALDS (lost to KC)
Current record: 28-23 (3rd in AL West)
Current post-season odds: 30.1%

Will a team’s postseason fortunes be watched more closely by the rest of baseball? Right now, the Angels are hanging in there (one game on a Wild Card spot), largely for the reasons you’d expect: Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. (The bullpen and Patrick Sandoval haven’t been half bad, either.) But we’ve seen the Angels hang around the run before, only to crumble on them.

If that happens – and if Trout and especially Ohtani are still healthy – we could see a trade deadline-related feeding frenzy like we haven’t seen in since… well, okay, what we saw with Juan Soto last year. Trout has never won a postseason game, and you have to wonder, if that’s not happening this season, if he (and Ohtani) might have a shot at getting one with another team, and soon. The post-season odds quoted above are reasonable. But there may not be a team in the league that needs it to be 100% more than the Angels.

4. Pirates
Last appearance: 2015 NL Wild Card Game (lost to CHC)
Current record: 25-24 (2nd at NL Central^)
Current post-season odds: 11.3%

There hasn’t been a better story in the first three weeks of the season than the Pirates’ hot start. It’s one of the best fanbases in baseball – remember how loud PNC Park was during its playoffs nearly a decade ago, when the Reds’ Johnny Cueto even dropped the ball on the mound? Combine that with a young and friendly team alongside returning franchise favorite Andrew McCutchen and how could you not fall in love with it?

The Pirates have since come down to earth, but it’s worth remembering that .500 in NL Central still puts you very much in contention. The Brewers are already short on starting pitchers, the Cubs and Reds are a mess, and the Cardinals, for all their talent, have their own pitching issues and continue to climb out of the hole they dug themselves. If the hackers can keep hovering around 0.500, they can win as well as anyone. But can they continue to hover around 0.500?

5. Tigers
Last appearance: 2014 ALDS (lost to BAL)
Current record: 23-25 ​​(2nd in AL Central)
Current post-season odds: 5.4%

The first month of the season felt like 2023 was going to be the exact same kind of struggle as 2022 for the Tigers. They were 2-9 on April 12 and 10-17 on April 30. But then they went on to win five straight and, impressively, have been the AL Central’s top team ever since, climbing in two .500 games twice.

“Within two games of .500” may end up being the competitive threshold in the AL Central; they are only two games away. The Guardians and probably the White Sox will surely overtake them at some point, but the fact that the Tigers have generated some hope this year is certainly a dramatic improvement.

6. Royals
Last appearance: 2015 World Series (Beat NYM)
Current record: 15-36 (5th in AL Central)
Current post-season odds: 0.1%

The Royals, in a period of transition, knew it was going to be a long year. It’s been a long year so far. There are some good young hitters here, and potentially trade bait, but this is a team that is far from ending its playoff drought. The good news? Kansas City’s memory of last October, unlike every other team on this list, is excellent.

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