And so it is down to eight. After the flurry of action that was the Wild Card Round, the 16-team 2020 MLB playoff field has been cut in half. Which of the remaining squads have the best and the longest odds of winning the Fall Classic? Let’s answer that question, using odds from FanDuel and our own analysis.
From the long shots to the favorites, every surviving contender is now 11 wins away from hoisting a Commissioner’s Trophy. Some clubs are better positioned than others from a talent and/or health standpoint, and we’ll get into that. But if we’ve learned anything from this strange, singular season, it’s that virtually anything is possible.
The Miami Marlins entered their wild-card series with the Chicago Cubs with the worst regular-season run differential of any postseason team. A young squad that was supposed to be a year or two away from contention, Miami slipped into the playoffs with a 31-29 record and a second-place finish in the National League East.
Yet against a more experienced Cubs team that claimed the NL Central, the Fish won two straight games at Wrigley Field to sweep the best-of-three series. Veteran outfielder Starling Marte is questionable going forward with a fractured bone in his left hand suffered on a hit-by-pitch in Game 1 against Chicago. That leaves Jesus Aguilar and Matt Joyce as the only position players with previous postseason experience.
Miami’s pitchers, meanwhile, were superb, as they held the Cubs to just one run on nine hits over 18 innings, with youngsters Sixto Sanchez and Sandy Alcantara both throwing like playoff-tested aces. The Marlins have never lost a playoff series in franchise history, as their only two previous October forays in 1997 and 2003 ended in World Series wins. They’re a fun Cinderella story.