In any competitive sport, some teams make it to the finals while others do not. There’s even a statistic that predicts such an achievement in professional baseball leagues. It’s called the POFF baseball stat.
What is POFF in baseball? What does the term stand for? POFF simply indicates the odds of a team making it to the playoffs after the regular baseball season. It is expressed in percentages and reflected across all divisions and leagues.
POFF Baseball Meaning Defined
To understand the baseball POFF definition better, it is crucial to first know what the playoffs are.
The regular MLB season starts in spring and lasts for about six months until late September or early October. A total of 162 games are played over this period, with the winner in each of the six divisions automatically advancing to the playoffs.
Playoffs are postseason games that will ultimately determine the winner of the annual MLB championship, better known as the MLB World Series. In the past, ten teams would compete in the playoffs—six from each division and two wild cards each from the American and National Leagues.
Wild cards are teams that have accumulated the best regular season records without necessarily winning in their respective division. They begin the playoffs by facing each other in single-elimination matches.
From 2022, however, twelve teams will square off in the postseason games with the addition of a third wild card in each of the leagues. The single-elimination wild-card game will switch to a best-of-three format, with the winner advancing to the Division Series.
The Division Series is the second official playoff sequence, equivalent to the quarterfinals. It constitutes a best-of-five game series among the six division winners and the winning wild card teams.
Teams that win at least three games in the Division Series qualify for the semi-finals or the League Championship Series (LCS). The LCS comprises best-of-seven games among the top teams of the American League and the National League.
Lastly, the two LCS winners face each other for the finals in another best-of-seven series. The team that wins four games first is declared the champion of the MLB World Series.
How is the MLB POFF Determined?
POFF in baseball is determined by predicting the average number of runs each team will score against all its opponents in a regular season. It takes into account several factors that affect game outcomes such as tiebreakers, home vs. away performances, the strength of schedule, etc.
POFF forecasters use historical baseball statistics dating back to as far as 1903, when the MLB World Series was first held. Year in and year out, data is inputted into a modified Pythagorean model to come up with winning projections assessed against actual game outcomes.
Figures used to determine POFF are generated from over 160,000 baseball matches since the beginning of the 20th century. That alone makes POFF a pretty reliable statistic when it comes to predicting which teams will make it to the playoffs.
Throughout the regular season, one can see changes in the MLB playoffs odds after each of the 162 games is played. Towards the end, several teams will start registering a higher percentage of entering the finals. This is simply the sum of their chances of winning the division or the wild card.
Where Can One Find MLB Standings in Terms of POFF?
Coolstandings is one popular MLB playoffs odds website baseball fans frequently visit. You can use it to see where your favorite team stands in terms of making it to the World Series championships.
FanGraphs is another great site one can use to access real-time MLB power rankings and determine the odds for MLB playoffs. Its particular POFF model even takes minute details like roster changes, acquisitions, and player injuries into consideration when coming up with percentages.
Things get even more detailed if you visit the ESPN website. It’s very easy to view current ESPN MLB standings in the division, wild card and league levels.
POFF ESPN figures even include winning percentages, home and away records, run differentials, current streaks, and last 10 game records.
Is the Baseball Magic Number the Same as POFF?
In a sense, the baseball magic number and the POFF both represent how close a team is to qualify for the playoffs. The only difference is how the numbers are expressed.
POFF is indicated in percentages, with 100% representing a sure chance of entering the postseason. The baseball magic number, on the other hand, combines the number of games a team has to win with the number of games its closest competitor needs to lose.
The baseball magic number calculation is done by first adding 1 to the total number of games played in a regular season (usually 162). From this number, you just need to subtract the difference between a team’s total losses and the losing stat of its closest competitor. The resulting figure is the team’s magic number.
A team’s magic number never increases after wins and will only decrease with every remaining game played. When a team’s magic number reaches zero, it means the squad has made it to the playoffs.
What are the odds of the Blue Jays making the playoffs?
The 2022 playoffs are set to start on October 7, and as it stands, the Blue Jays have a 100% chance of making it into the competition.
Will the Reds make the playoffs?
With only 60 wins and 96 losses, the Cincinnati Reds have zero chance of making the playoffs in 2022.
Can the Tigers make the playoffs?
The Detroit Tigers won’t qualify for the 2022 postseason games with 95 losses and only 66 wins nor will they clinch a wild card spot.
Together with the MLB magic number, POFF is another useful statistic both baseball experts and fans refer to when predicting the lineup of the post-regular baseball season.
Knowing what is POFF in baseball can help determine the odds of a particular team qualifying for the postseason playoffs.
By simply making projections based on historical data and other statistics, forecasters can predict which teams will square off for the MLB World Series championships.
A powerful swing and the ball is flying across the field, just one hit, and we might never forget the thrill it brings. I do not know about you, but I never do. Every baseball game is the chance to compete with others and cooperate with your teammate. It is among my biggest passions.