This is the first time I’ve ever done something like this. You can use it to predict my projected standings for this upcoming season, which are below the over/unders.
Arizona Diamondbacks: PECOTA Projection: 78 wins Verdict: OVER
I am not being a homer here. Sure, there’s some spots that are a little concerning. Wellington Castillo is not an ideal catcher, though its not like Tuffy Gosewich is a better option. The best thing the Diamondbacks can hope for at catcher is that their revamped rotation will guide it, as Arizona signed Zach Greinke to a mega-deal and traded (a lot) for Shelby Miller. You could argue the DBacks have three aces in their rotation, though you still have to be cautious with Patrick Corbin.
PECOTA doesn’t like them because they overachieved last year. This is a balanced team with a very good rotation, and pitchers who aren’t gonna underperform. I would like to pick them to win way more than the projection, as I expect Arizona to contend for a playoff spot this season, but again, I don’t want to be a homer. OVER.
Atlanta Braves: PECOTA projection: 69 wins Verdict: UNDER
I can’t believe this projection was this high. Maybe those couple extra projected wins come from the outfield, which actually isn’t that bad! I feel like I might miss Ender Inciarte, especially if Yasmany Tomas gets demoted again. Nick Markakis got totally overpaid last Winter but might be one the best players on the team, and Hector Olivera is really intriguing!
No matter what, this team is trying to be as bad as they possibly can. They want to win next year, and they’re gonna have the talent to do it. The Braves have mimicked the 76ers, but not by losing games intentionally, but by purposely being bad. There’s a difference. Atlanta has sold every piece they have besides Freddie Freeman, which who knows, could be next. Philadelphia (switching sports here), is purposely losing games. That is what the NBA doesn’t like. Its two different strategies, under the same logic, to achieve the same goal. UNDER.
Baltimore Orioles: PECOTA projection: 74 wins Verdict: OVER
That doesn’t mean this team is going to be good. I still think they’re the worse team in this division. But Manny Machado is amazing. Adam Jones is a very productive player. Matt Weite… annnnndd this is where it starts to go downhill. Chris Davis and Yovani Gallardo got massive amounts of money. Hey though, at least Dexter Fow… OH WAIT.
See, this is barely an OVER. I think the two guys I praised before I started making fun of the team combine for a good amount of wins.
Boston Red Sox: PECOTA projection: 87 wins Verdict: UNDER
Position player-wise, this is a 90 win baseball team. The youth will flourish. Mookie Betts is amazing. Jackie Bradley Jr. is exciting. Xander Bogaerts was great last season. Boston has a productive outfield, offensively and defensively. The infield is much more concerning. First, Hanley Ramirez has to stay healthy. You’d think this would be easier, since he is moving to 1st base, which in itself is concerning. Pablo Sandoval just got benched for Travis Shaw, which is not ideal considering the Panda’s contract. I expect Boston to start shopping Panda, even though there may not be a market for him.
PECOTA’s love for this team probably comes in the outfield. The only sure thing in the rotation is David Price, though the case for guys like Rick Porcello and Steven Wright is there. Pitching will be needed to beat the Rays. Boston doesn’t have that. That doesn’t mean they won’t be decent. They’ll stick around late in the season. I don’t see a failure like last year. UNDER.
Chicago White Sox: PECOTA projection: 84 wins Verdict: UNDER
The whole AL Central needs to be taken with a grain of salt since PECOTA spit out 79 wins for the defending champion Royals, like they do every year.
On the White Sox… I’ve criticized this front office before, and have been baffled by their moves once again. My question: Why make moves like Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie with a surrounding cast like this? Do they not realize its not a strong enough roster? Like, Jimmy Rollins is playing shortstop for this team! Austin Jackson is starting in the outfield!
Now, I do like what is behind home plate. Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro is great tandem, and Chicago should hope that they can improve a rotation that seems pretty sketchy. Chris Sale is a true ace, and is one of the best pitchers in the league. Jose Quintana and Carlos Rodon have to be taken with caution, though improvement by Rodon is foreseeable. Maybe this catching staff can improve it?
The division doesn’t help Chicago, a sketchy team. If some things break right within the division, then the White Sox could get on a run and enter the playoff race. UNDER.
Chicago Cubs: PECOTA projection: 94 wins Verdict: OVER
I may be insane with this, but consider:
- I think the Cardinals are going to regress, opening up the top spot for the Cubs
- This team won 97 games last year and added Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward
- Are we sure the Pirates are that good?
I think the Cubs could win 100 games, and maybe more. There is no weakness anywhere on the roster, and the division is seeming to get easier and easier. OVER. DEFINITELY OVER.
Cincinnati Reds: PECOTA projection: 73 wins Verdict: PUSH
The Reds are in a weird spot. They’re stuck between rebuild and having decent, big name veterans left on their roster. They clearly want to rebuild, but haven’t been able to find trades for everyone. I do think this team will be better than the Brewers. The Brewers just kicked off a massive rebuild, finally get rid of guys who really needed to go. Cincinnati has more proven guys, and that gives them the edge. PUSH.
Cleveland Indians: PECOTA projection: 91 wins Verdict: UNDER
I really want to pick this Indians squad to win the AL Central, but a recent slue of injuries have plagued this team yet again. This has suddenly became an underwhelming Opening Day roster, with Francisco Lindor and Corey Kluber as bright spots. You’d hope that the defense improves, and it should since Jose Ramirez will be limited in playing time. Still, 91 games is just too much, even if they win the division. I’ve never heard of the centerfielder for the Indians, and Marlon Byrd is another starting outfielder. Yikes! And the reigning World Series champions are in the same division. UNDER.
Colorado Rockies: PECOTA projection: 74 wins Verdict: OVER
Not by much. This Rockies team is so frustrating. I couldn’t imagine being a fan of them. Colorado has a good infield, arguably a great one, and posses a talented outfield. If only they had some pitching. Seriously, I’ve heard of one guy in this rotation. Its been an issue for years, and its been written about over and over. They can’t develop pitching, and its killed them, and with this talent they currently posses, it still will. OVER.
Detroit Tigers: PECOTA projection: 79 wins Verdict: OVER
This division, man. PECOTA really screwed it up, as I said above.
Its going to be really competitive in the AL Central this season. This Tigers team has grown on me as I examine them more. Their biggest issue (as it has been for years) has been their bullpen. Mark Lowe was a good addition, but besides that its a little frightening. OK, K-Rod was a nice addition too. But what should we really expect? This is the Tigers we’re talking about! They’ve never had a good bullpen.
Thats the only true weakness on this team, besides the inability to stay healthy. It plagues them every year.
The Tigers spent a lot of money this offseason, and it will pay off. The Royals are the main competition in this division. Detroit can give them a challenge, but their weaknesses can’t affect them too much. OVER.
Miami Marlins: PECOTA projection: 76 wins Verdict: PUSH
While Miami has some really big holes in their roster (Catcher, 1st base and shortstop), this could be a really fun team. First, THAT OUTFIELD THOUGH. Lets all hope Giancarlo Stanton is healthy. Its better for the game when he is. And lets hope the Marlins front office doesn’t piss him off. I’ve always loved Christian Yelich, and think he’s in for another good year. And Marcel Ozuna, who almost got traded this offseason, but is in Miami and completes a fantastic young and talented outfield. Also, Jose Fernandez will be fully back! Miami improved their rotation, getting Wei Yen Chen as their 2nd starter. Jarred Cosart winds out the rotation of guys I know, which is a little concerning.
Anyways, this Marlins team will be one to have the highest highs and lowest lows. Though, Don Mattingly’s presence can hopefully give some great experience to the young guys and keep this team under control when ownership is a mess. PUSH.
Houston Astros: PECOTA projection: 87 wins Verdict: PUSH
Its more about the surroundings for the Astros. The Rangers are locked and loaded for this season, while Houston lost Chris Carter (I think this will have a bigger impact than most think, even though last season was horrendous for him). He’s not an Astros-mold. Hank Conger left, which again, doesn’t seem too important now, but may have an impact down the road. The case against Hank Conger leaving is that this pitching staff is loaded, rotation and bullpen. Its probably the best thing about this team, in fact.
Its gonna be the 2nd season of Carlos Correa, and it will be fantastic. He makes this team even more watchable than they already are.
Still, I think the Rangers are gonna take this division. Houston is a still a team to take seriously, especially if the Rangers are injury-riddled. Thats why this is a push. Houston will be good, but just not good enough. This should hint to how I feel about the Rangers later.
Kansas City Royals: PECOTA projection: 75 wins Verdict: OVER
We discussed it above. This division is flawed by PECOTA’s standards, especially this team. No one knows why it doesn’t like Kansas City. Baseball Prospectus doesn’t know, Sam Miller (BP EIC) doesn’t know, none of the brainiacs at BP know. The only person who may know is Nate Silver, but he has other things to worry about, especially when he doesn’t have anything to do with PECOTA anymore.
The gamble the Royals have taken with team building has paid off majorly. Two World Series the past two seasons and one ring. They’re certainly on pace for that again. Sure, there are challenges in the division this year, but those are only taken seriously if the Royals falter or those teams improve their weaknesses, which are pretty large.
Its hard to see anyone falling off for the Royals. The rotation may pose questions by some, but there’s enough talent elsewhere to make up for it.
This was too easy. OVER. DEFINITELY OVER.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: PECOTA projection: 77 wins Verdict: OVER
Not by much though. This division is way too strong. The Andrelton Simmons trade seemed a little uncecsarry, and only helped the Braves down the road.
This very well may be a team that is hurt more by their division by anything else. Anaheim finally found their third outifielder in Daniel Nava, but there is a heavy consequence if that goes poorly. Nava is great when productive, and horrible when not, with WAR values as high as 3.4 and as low as -0.3 in his career.
The Angels will be lacking Albert Pujols to start the season; someone who has came back to life over the past two seasons. It really does remain the same with him: Healthy and amazing, injured and putrid. With the way this season has began, you can’t expect the best, but anyone might be a better option than C.J. Cron.
I think the rotation is underrated, though there isn’t a great catching staff to help them out. If the Rangers have another bad injury season (as floated above), then the Angels may be able to sneak into the playoff race. OVER.
Los Angeles Dodgers: PECOTA projection: 94 wins. Verdict: UNDER
I wrote about the Dodgers in the division questions column, and how I think they’re in for a regression, mostly due to offseason losses and the new competitiveness in the division.
I remember doing this last season. Thinking that they’d regress, then reexamining the roster and realizing they’re still so good.
The rotation and outfield still remain the talking points of this team’s issues. After losing Zach Greinke, it seemed like the Dodgers did all they could to fix their rotation. Some good moves, like Alex Wood (he was actually a trade during last season), and Scott Kazmir, and some bad ones, like the confusing signing and contract of Kenta Maeda, and losing Hisashi Iwakuma to the Mariners.
The Dodgers finally have some depth in their rotation, something they’d lacked when they possessed the two-headed monster of Greinke and Clayton Kershaw.
The ever so crowded outfield is somewhat solved, though Andre Either is going to miss time. Yasiel Puig generates people to become hot-take machines, including me, so here is mine: How is Puig not an upgrade over Andre Either? He is a spark, on and off the field, and could be in for progression this year. Either’s injury hurts their depth, but may not have an impact on the field.
There’s still a lot to like. Corey Seager is awesome. Adrian Gonzalez is gonna produce. 2nd and 3rd base could be concerning, but the Dodgers will make a move if necessary.
I don’t exactly know who is going to win this division, but I think the Dodgers’ regression will be due to the increase in competitiveness within the NL West. UNDER.
Milwaukee Brewers: PECOTA projection: 77 wins Verdict: UNDER
This team sucks. Ryan Bruan and Jonathan Lucroy have to become trade targets for other teams at some point, because they just don’t belong. This is year one of a massive rebuild for the Brewers. Its gonna be ugly. I have no explanation for why PECOTA even got to 75 wins for this team. UNDER. DEFINITELY UNDER.
Minnesota Twins: PECOTA projection: 79 wins Verdict: OVER
Writing about the Twins this season is gonna be much easier. Last year, we all said they would suck. Like really suck. And they won 83 games.
Now, its acceptable for PECOTA to be skeptical. PECOTA was wrong last year and its probably not happy about it. Plus, there are some huge problems with this team. Their overloaded with power in the lineup, and their rotation and bullpen is horrendous. HOWEVER, they might have the most exciting and young outfield in the league. And yes, I am supportive of Miguel Sano in right field.
The Twins last year were good early and slowly declined throughout the year, and were out of the playoff picture with around three weeks left. This season, I think they hang around longer. Byron Buxton will be fulling contributing now, and that will be huge (PECOTA agrees). Minnesota’s biggest problem and worst case scenario is all their power guys slumping, because then there’d be no one to get on base. Pitching is going to enough of a problem, so the offense better produce.
Still, I trust the youth and Brian Dozier. And thats about it. But no one else has youth this talented. OVER.
New York Mets: PECOTA projection: 90 wins Verdict: PUSH
As I wrote in the division questions column, this team is this division’s only hope. I don’t think there is a dominate team in this division, though I can’t go less than 90 because of this rotation. PUSH.
New York Yankees: PECOTA projection: 84 wins Verdict: OVER
This division is going to be ridiculous. Its plausible that three teams contend for winning it, including this Yankees team.
The Starlin Castro trade was a win-win for the Cubs and Yankees. He solidifies 2nd base, creating a very solid left side of the infield, something the Yankees lacked last year. I think PECOTA’s projection was very fair, but honestly am surprised it wasn’t higher due to this loaded bullpen. Now, two of three super relievers in that bullpen may not be ready for Opening Day. Aroldis Chapman is suspended, but its not like the Yankees were stunned by that. And just the other day, Andrew Miller sustained a chip in his wrist. It sounds like he’ll pitch through it, which is huge for the pairing of him and Dellin Betances.
New York has found themselves in a position they didn’t expect: This bullpen suddenly being weak. Its the only real concern with this team. The biggest question is whether they can matchup with teams like Tampa Bay and Toronto. Still, 84 seems low for a team with this much stability. OVER.
Oakland Athletics: PECOTA projection: 76 wins Verdict: PUSH
I covered the A’s quite a bit in that division questions column, and how them and Seattle could be fun teams to watch this year, but won’t have a ton of success. Oakland definitely stays under .500 this year, mostly due to a weak infield and rotation (I still love you Sonny Gray!). PUSH.
Philadelphia Phillies: PECOTA projection: 66 wins Verdict: PUSH
The two worst teams in baseball exist in the NL East. This is definitely a fair projection, mostly because I’ve heard of four players in their lineup. Thats a problem. However, going below 66 wins just seems mean, and I think they’re trying, unlike Atlanta. PUSH.
Pittsburgh Pirates: PECOTA projection: 82 wins Verdict: OVER
There’s a lot to like about this Pirates team and a lot to not like. Pittsburgh greatly improved their rotation this offseason, with Gerrit Cole leading as always. Jon Niese’s addition was underrated, and I think is in for a better season than last (at least, you’d hope so).
However, Pittsburgh’s infield is very underwhelming. John Jaso is playing 1st base, and David Freese is playing 3rd. The corners are not in great condition here. To make up for it though, the Pirates posses one of the best outfields in the game, and have a great amount of depth in those positions too. 82 wins was way too low, but it will take everyone’s production to make the playoffs in this tight division. OVER.
San Diego Padres: PECOTA projection: 76 wins Verdict: PUSH
The Padres biggest impact this season may be as sellers. San Diego has three rotation spots locked down, and two of those guys have high probabilities of getting traded this season. James Shields almost did. Tyson Ross is going to be a hot commodity around the trade deadline, and who knows, maybe some of these outfield pieces get moved. It is their most solid position, but will also retain the highest trade value.
San Diego has a serious issue in the middle infield, which isn’t good when there are pitching issues. This team might be painful to watch at times, with defense still looking like it will be a problem. However, going lower than 76 seems a little harsh, especially since they are in a rebuild. PUSH.
San Francisco Giants: PECOTA projection: 84 wins Verdict: OVER
The reason PECOTA didn’t like the Giants this year was because of their underperformance last season. You also can’t blame PECOTA for being afraid of their revamped rotation. Spending as much money as they did on Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzja was concerning and certainly didn’t make me too pleased. While there is a lot of sketchy in the rotation, its not like there isn’t a spot locked down.
The Giants have no weaknesses with their position players, and have plenty of depth. Expect them to contend with the Dodgers for the NL West. OVER.
Seattle Mariners: PECOTA projection: 84 wins Verdict: UNDER
I like a lot of pieces on this team, but am skeptical of them coming together this year. They’re like last year’s Padres without the expectations. Jerry Dipito has reasonable but not lofty goals for this team. Again, its only the first year of this squad being together. I’m not fond of the bullpen, and need to see it from Ketel Marte before I believe it. This is a tough division, and while Seattle may come on strong at some point, I don’t think this is the year they make the playoffs. UNDER.
St. Louis Cardinals: PECOTA projection: 81 wins Verdict: OVER
This is not the type of regression I see the Cardinals having. The whole basis of their regression was on how much the Cubs improved, not the Cardinals’ offseason losses. This is still a mighty good team. OVER. DEFINITELY OVER.
Tampa Bay Rays: PECOTA projection: 90 wins Verdict: PUSH
Toronto and New York are certainly going to challenge Tampa Bay for the division, so anything above 90 seems a little unreasonable. The Rays have an excellent rotation and are stellar defensively. The only thing holding them back is their competition. PUSH.
Texas Rangers: PECOTA projection: 79 wins Verdict: OVER
Another case of PECOTA not liking a team for no reason. Texas is the favorite for this division, as they have great offensive capabilities and a solid rotation. This is the year it comes together for them. OVER. DEFINITELY OVER.
Toronto Blue Jays: PECOTA projection: 86 wins Verdict: OVER
Not by much though. The AL East is going to be a log jam, so I don’t see Toronto hitting 90 wins. I’m worried about the right side of their infield, but think their rotation will be much better this year. If the rotation is better, imagine how good they’ll be compared to last year. Then again, there will be more competition with Tampa Bay, New York, and maybe even Boston. OVER.
Washington Nationals: PECOTA projection: 87 wins Verdict: UNDER
Remember how last year’s Nationals were supposed to win 100 games? Yeah, I’m not making that mistake again. I do think this team is talented, but its too hard to pick against the Mets and that rotation. Dusty Baker could turn this clubhouse around or ruin it, though after the player’s review of Matt Williams, you’d think anyone would be better.
Even if the Nationals exceed 87 wins, they’ll be shut out from the playoffs. The NL is too competitive this year for playoff spots, mostly due to how good the Central is. No matter what, this Nationals season should go much better than last’s.
Season prediction time! I guarantee all of these predictions will be 100% at the end of the year.
Here goes nothing. These do correspond to what I wrote above (almost 3800 words!).
- Tampa Bay Rays 90-72
- Toronto Blue Jays 87-75
- New York Yankees 85-77
- Boston Red Sox 81-81
- Baltimore Orioles 78-84
- Kansas City Royals 90-72
- Cleveland Indians 86-76
- Detroit Tigers 84-78
- Minnesota Twins 84-78
- Chicago White Sox 80-82
- Texas Rangers 93-69
- Houston Astros 87-75
- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 82-80
- Seattle Mariners 81-81
- Oakland A’s 76-86
- New York Mets 90-72
- Washington Nationals 86-76
- Miami Marlins 76-86
- Philadelphia Phillies 66-96
- Atlanta Braves 65-97
- Chicago Cubs 104-58
- St. Louis Cardinals 87-75
- Pittsburgh Pirates 86-76
- Cincinnati Reds 73-89
- Milwaukee Brewers 69-93
- San Francisco Giants 91-71
- Los Angeles Dodgers 87-75
- Arizona Diamondbacks 85-77
- Colorado Rockies 80-82
- San Diego Padres 76-86
- Texas Rangers
- Kansas City Royals
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Houston Astros
- Chicago Cubs
- San Francisco Giants
- New York Mets
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- St. Louis Cardinals
AL Wild Card: Astros over Blue Jays
NL Wild Card: Cardinals over Dodgers
ALDS #1: Astros over Rangers in 5
ALDS #2: Royals over Rays in 4
NLDS #1: Cubs over Cardinals in 4
NLDS #2: Giants over Mets in 3
ALCS: Royals over Astros in 5
NLCS: Cubs over Giants in 7
World Series: Cubs over Royals in 6