The MLB regular season has reached the final week and with it, so does the MLB Thoughts column. Never fear, the preseason coverage will be back in Spring Training with another 30-team MLB win total series and thoughts on the upcoming season, including futures odds articles and more. Free picks will continue through the playoffs. It’s been a very exciting MLB season and my heartfelt thanks for reading throughout the season. I hope some of the topics have helped win money or have at least helped you gain a better understanding of the baseball market and sabermetrics.

As we move forward into the 2014-15 offseason, it’s important to look at teams that may be overvalued or undervalued entering the season before free agency starts. Year after year, there are teams that are expected to be good but fall completely flat. This year’s Boston Red Sox are a pretty good example, as are the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers. The season had no shortage of surprises with the Milwaukee Brewers’ big start, the Baltimore Orioles running away with the AL East, and the Washington Nationals doing the same in the NL East. The standings can be misleading at times and individual performances aren’t always going to be repeated. These will be covered in depth during the win total series, but it never hurts to do some research of your own.

For the first time since 2007, there will not be a team with 100 losses. The Houston Astros had lost 100 games in each of the last three seasons, but the worst they can do is 93 losses. The Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks each won on Monday night to avoid the chance at 100 losses.

Ron Washington resigned from a personal issue and Bo Porter was fired. Plenty of other managers are on the hot seat with Bud Black in San Diego, Ron Gardenhire in Minnesota, Kirk Gibson in Arizona, Walt Weiss in Colorado, and Fredi Gonzalez in Atlanta all at risk this offseason. The likeliest of firings look like Gibson and Gonzalez because of changes at the top of the organization. The same could happen with Black in San Diego, but he may get a pass for the injuries and the Padres are playing well at the end of the season.

There were six new managers in the Majors this season – Bryan Price with Cincinnati, Brad Ausmus with Detroit, Matt Williams with Washington, Rick Renteria with the Chicago Cubs, Lloyd McClendon with Seattle, and 2014 was the first full season for Ryne Sandberg as the Philadelphia skipper. Ausmus and Williams will likely be division winners. Price lost his team’s best player and limped to the finish. McClendon has the Mariners in the thick of the AL Wild Card hunt. Renteria has a very young ballclub and a ton of promising contracts. Sandberg has done a great job keeping the Phillies engaged in a lost season.

It’s been suggested that managers have a maximum effect of three wins or losses over the course of a season. Like anything else, their performance is only reviewed by fans and media when they do something either perceived to be wrong or something that doesn’t go as planned because the player failed.

Going into the playoffs, the MLB lines are really tight and also slanted towards the home teams. Be aware that most playoff games wind up being a battle of the bullpens because managers will jump ship on a starter at the first sign of trouble and burn out the bullpens because every game is so important. At this stage of the game, it’s not enough to look at how bullpens performed, but also how overworked they are. Oftentimes, relievers are going to be setting new personal records for innings pitched, appearances, or pitches thrown because of the year-to-year volatility of bullpens as a whole and individual relievers. Managers are also worried about pacing starters in case they need to be used on short rest at another point in time. It’s not unusual to see a reliever working three out of four or four out of six days this time of year. Factor that into your pregame handicapping.

One of the best things about the baseball offseason is that the advancements made in the statistical community help to evaluate everything about a player’s performance. We can see if trends are sustainable. We can see if a player’s improvement was a flash in the pan or something that can continue or possibly improve further. Not everything suggested by sabermetrics is going to happen, but it’s better than going into the season blind and taking certain numbers for granted. Studying baseball in the preseason doesn’t get nearly as much traction as doing the same with football, but it may the easiest sport to keep track of because of the relative lack of player movement and minimal impact of coaching changes.

Keep it tuned to BangTheBook.com for game previews and free picks throughout the playoffs. Also, once the regular season is done, we will recap the results our preseason 30-team win total series. Thanks for reading throughout the season. I hope it was profitable for you and that some of the concepts discussed in this week article were beneficial to you. Enjoy the playoffs!