(CBS Chicago)- After months of negotiations, a baseball season is now around the corner following an agreement between the league and players on health and safety protocols and a July 1 start to spring training. The league has imposed a 60 game season, which will see teams play 40 games against their division and 20 games against their regional interleague counterparts.
With the resumption of training beginning next week, some of the projections systems have begun to update their look at the season based on the new information we have. According to FanGraphs’ ZiPS projection system, the White Sox benefit the most from the 60-game season.
FanGraphs took a look at the percentage change in playoff probabilities between February and now and found that the White Sox probability of making the playoffs increased 18.3% to just over 36%. The ZiPS system has the team projected to finish third in the AL Central with a record of 31-29. With the new layout for the season, the team also has the 6th-easiest schedule in the league.
Despite that dose of optimism, the White Sox are still just below the threshold of being projected to make the postseason in a shortened year.
As for the Cubs, they are favored to win the NL Central and finish with a projected record of 32-28, just one game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds in a three-way tie for second. That said, the Central is as up for grabs as expected, with those four teams all between a 20 and 27% chance to win the division.
The Cubs playoff odds actually decreased by nearly six percent to 42.1% probability of making the postseason. That is a byproduct of the crowded Central where no team has better than 50% probability of playing in the fall.
Obviously, there is a lot that can change between now and September, but it’s interesting to see where Chicago’s clubs stack up according to projections now that we know what the season will look like.