The Yankees have appeared in at least one World Series every decade since the 1920’s.
Will that historic streak be snapped in 2019?
According to FiveThirtyEight.com’s annual predictions and win-loss simulations, which were released on Wednesday afternoon, the Yankees’ odds of winning a title for the first time since 2009 are marked at 13-percent, tied for second-best in the majors with the defending National League champion Dodgers. The Astros, who won the 2017 World Series and have appeared in consecutive American League championship series as 100-game winners, have been given a league-high 16-percent chance to once again take home the Commissioner’s Trophy.
Although the Yankees aren’t the American League favorite heading into Opening Day, FiveThirtyEight does expect them to reclaim the AL East division crown. New York is projected to finish the regular season with a 97-65 record, which gives them a 48-percent chance to win the division and an 82-percent chance to reach the postseason. Trailing in the AL East are the defending World Series champion Red Sox (95-67, 39-percent chance to win division), Rays (86-76, 12-percent chance), Blue Jays (75-87, 2-percent chance), and Orioles (60-102, less than 1-percent chance).
Based on simulated wins and losses, FiveThirtyEight also predicts the Astros will obtain the best record in baseball at 98-64, followed by the Yankees in second place at 97-65. The Dodgers, Red Sox, and Indians are currently tied for third at 95-67.
Of the 10 teams that reached the postseason last October, FiveThirtyEight projects six of them to return in 2019. The four new teams are the Nationals (projected 89-73 record, 1st place NL East), Rays (86-76, 2nd AL Wild Card), Cardinals (85-67, 1st NL Wild Card), and Mets (85-67, 2nd NL Wild Card).
FiveThirtyEight also incorporates a statistic called “Elo rating.” According to their site, these ratings are a measure of “team strength based on head-to-head results, margin of victory and quality of opponent.” The system also accounts for starting pitchers, travel distance and rest, and the average team rating is marked at 1,500. This season, the Yankees’ “Elo rating” is 1,569 — the second-highest mark in baseball (Astros are first: 1,577).
The Yankees open the 2019 campaign with a three-game set against the Orioles (March 28-31) at Yankee Stadium, followed by another three-game home series against the Tigers (April 1-3) and a three-game road set against the Orioles (April 4-7) in Baltimore.