How Have Overperforming MLB Teams Performed In The Playoffs?

How Have Overperforming MLB Teams Performed In The Playoffs?
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

Few MLB teams have hit the ground running this season quite like the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are a half-game up in the NL West and in solid shape to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2017.  

Despite a projected win total of 75.5 at most AZ sportsbooks, the D’backs currently hold a playoff spot and are on pace to win 89 games. BetArizona decided to take a look back at every team with a projected win total under .500 to reach the playoffs since the MLB expanded to two wild cards in 2012, and how they fared.

We utilized records from and the preseason win total from

One detail to note: We did not include data from 2020 due to the shortened season and expanded playoff format. Keep it here at BetArizona for more research items such as this, plus all news around Arizona betting apps.

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Year TeamProjected Wins Final Record Playoff Result
2012 Baltimore Orioles 69 93-69 Lost in ALDS
2012 Oakland A's 72 94-68 Lost in ALDS
2017 Minnesota Twins 74.5 85-77 Lost AL Wild Card Game
2018 Atlanta Braves 75 90-72 Lost in NLDS
2015 Texas Rangers 75.5 88-74 Lost in ALDS
2018 Oakland A's75.597-65 Lost in AL Wild Card Game
2021SF Giants 75.5 107-55Lost in NLDS
2015 Houston Astros 76.5 86-76 Lost in ALDS
2013 Pittsburgh Pirates77 94-68 Lost in NLDS
2013 Cleveland Indians 77.5 92-70 Lost AL Wild Card Game
2017 Arizona Diamondbacks 77.5 93-69 Lost in NLDS
2016Baltimore Orioles 79.5 89-73 Lost in A Wild Card Game
2015KC Royals80.595-67 Won World Series
2017Colorado Rockies 80.5 87-75Lost NL Wild Card Game
2021 Boston Red Sox 80.5 92-70 Lost in ALCS
Totals 5 Lost in Wild Card Game; 8 Lost in Divisional Series; 1 Lost in Championship Series; 1 Won World Series

Where 2023 D-Backs Rank Among Recent MLB Surprise Stories

The D’backs’ current +13.5 on their preseason win total would slot the club in as 14th biggest overachiever of the last decade, sandwiched between the 2017 Rockies (+16.5) and the 2021 Red Sox (+10.5).  

The overall leader in the surprising teams standings since 2012 is the 2012 Orioles, who finished with a record of 93-69 after having a preseason win total of 69 — netting the O’s a +24 finish overall. 

Other notable MLB Cinderella stories were the 2021 Giants (+31.5 from their preseason win total), the 2012 A’s (+22) and the 2018 A’s (+21.5) — giving Arizona something to aim for as the second half of the MLB regular season unfolds. Before you place action on the D'backs, check here for Arizona sportsbook promos

One reason for the D’backs’ 2023 success so far has been the performance of their hitters under longtime manager Torrey Lovullo, with superstar rookie Corbin Carroll leading the team in WAR production (3.6) and Arizona ranking sixth overall in runs scored (437) and slugging percentage (.430) this year.  

One thing that the D’backs will have to keep an eye on down the stretch is the team’s loaded schedule, with the sports outlet Tankathon giving Arizona the 10th hardest strength of schedule in the league — at .506.  

If Carroll can return quickly from the shoulder injury he suffered during Thursday night’s 9-0 rout at the hands of the Mets and the team can continue its winning ways, then the D’backs are primed to make some history this fall.  

Until then, at least Lovullo and company can enter the All-Star break knowing they’ve positioned themselves to be one of the biggest surprises in the Majors in 2023 across Arizona MLB betting sites.



Christopher Boan

Christopher Boan is the lead writer at after covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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