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Yankees ranked as World Series, division favorites in latest season projections

The Yankees have become appointment television this May, and the latest odds and figures suggest they’ll receive plenty of airtime in late October.

With a record of 24-10, New York currently has a 93-percent chance of making the postseason, and a 55-percent chance of clinching the AL East (best odds in the division), according to FiveThirtyEight’s most recent season projections. The Yankees are also given a league-best 16-percent chance of winning baseball’s Fall Classic.

Based on win-loss simulations, FiveThirtyEight expects New York to finish with 103 wins — a five-win difference from last week’s projections (April 30). Two weeks ago on April 23, the Yankees were marked to finish with 92 wins, but a stretch of 15 wins in their last 16 games has pushed the club to the top of the rankings. The Yankees have won five consecutive series, and since rookie infielder Gleyber Torres made his major league debut on April 22, the team has outscored opponents, 89-36.

While the Yankees trail the Boston Red Sox (25-9) by just one game in the division standings, FiveThirtyEight projects the Red Sox to finish in second place (101 wins, 42-chance at winning AL East). Trailing in the division are the Toronto Blue Jays (83 wins, 2-percent chance), the Tampa Bay Rays (78 wins, <1-percent chance), and the Baltimore Orioles (60 wins, <1-percent chance).

The forecast also lists the Arizona Diamondbacks to finish with a National League-best 95 wins, followed by the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs tied with 92. In the American League, the defending champion Houston Astros are projected to win 96 games, and their 13-percent chance of winning back-to-back World Series is the second-highest mark in baseball.

FiveThirtyEight also incorporates a statistic called “Elo ratings.” 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. Currently, the Yankees’ Elo rating is 1,584 — the highest in baseball (Astros are second: 1,580, Red Sox are third: 1,572).

The Yankees will open a three-game series with the Red Sox on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. According to Elias Sports, it’ll be the first time the two teams play each other with the two best records in baseball since June 2002.

If you want to connect with Tom Hanslin, email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @tomhanslin.

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