Even Without Wainwright, Cardinals Still Team to Beat

In this post, I pointed out that we tend to overestimate the impact of any one player, even a player as wonderful as Adam Wainwright. And in this post, I suggested that the Reds' chances of reaching the playoffs would be 5 or 10 percent higher with Wainwright out of action for the whole season.

Well, it sure is wonderful when somebody actually checks, and even more wonderful when I was right ...

Our friends at Baseball Prospectus have rerun their Playoff Odds Report without Wainwright in the Cardinals' depth chart, and while the difference is significant ... it might not be as serious as you think.

What surprises me is that before Wainwright went down, the Cardinals were big favorites to win their division: 51 percent chance, with the Brewers (27 percent) and Reds (13 percent) well behind. (No, I don't know why PECOTA doesn't like the Reds, but I'll be writing about them tomorrow morning.)

Without Wainwright the Cardinals take a hit ... but they still show up as the favorites, winning the Central 38 percent of the time and still ahead of the Brewers (33 percent) and Reds (19 percent). And this is before St. Louis makes a single move to replace Wainwright with someone better than their No. 6 starter.

So yes, it's a tough blow. But no, it's far from devastating. Based on the numbers, the Cardinals are still in pretty good shape.

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