With no topic to discuss in this week’s “MLB Thoughts”, I thought it was a good time to update on the season win totals series from prior to the season. If you’ll recall, or if you’re a new reader to the site, we ran a season win total series prior to the start of the season in which all 30 teams were discussed with around 2,000 words worth of thoughts, opinions, projections, sabermetrics, and more to come to a conclusion on a team’s win total.
When these were last updated on August 15, the consensus was that 11 were winners, 10 were losers, and nine were yet to be decided. About a month later, as teams are coming down the home stretch, it’s a good time to take another look at how those win totals are doing.
Pick: Under 81
A nice and easy winner to start off the list. This was more of a lean than a sure pick prior to the start of the season, but the Diamondbacks were a .500 team for a long time after a bad start to the season. Paul Goldschmidt’s injury and front office reshuffling have led to a lot of losses of late.
Pick: Over 86.5
This one is a loser. The Braves need to win out for 87 wins and that’s not going to happen. In my defense, this pick and the analysis was submitted before the Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy injury news. It may not have mattered, as the Braves offense was terrible.
Pick: Over 78
A very, very easy winner here. The Orioles have been one of the league’s best teams for quite some time. Without Manny Machado and Chris Davis, winning the American League seems like a long shot, but you never know.
Boston Red Sox
Pick: Under 88.5
Won’t get one to come any easier than this. The Red Sox were brutal from start to finish this season and also lost Jon Lester to trade and subsequently free agency. Red Sox fans can take in the fact that the last time the Red Sox lost 90 games, they won the World Series the following season.
Pick: Over 68
Going to assume that the Cubs can do better than 2-10 over their final 12 games, so this one should come in nicely. The Cubs’ future is very bright with Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, Addison Russell, and they may have found something with Jake Arrieta and Jacob Turner.
Chicago White Sox
Pick: Under 78
Not many people got the White Sox at this number, so it’s unfair to grade on 78. Most people have anywhere from 75.5-76.5, so those people are still on pins and needles with the White Sox win total. The White Sox play Kansas City, Tampa Bay, and Detroit in their remaining 12 games.
Pick: Over 84
A big swing and a miss here. The pitching was there for the Reds, but Joey Votto has been hurt virtually all season and the bullpen was without Aroldis Chapman for a while. The Reds’ wins went to the Brewers, but more on that in a minute.
Pick: Over 80
This one looked a lot better when the Indians were 76-69, but four straight losses have turned this into a major sweat as the Indians look as bad as their four-game losing streak suggests. They’re basically out of the playoff race, so this may not be a team interested in playing for pride. A 5-8 record will get over bettors there for one of my strongest opinions of the preseason.
Pick: Under 76.5
The Rockies started hot and everybody got scared, but the injury bug returned with a vengeance as Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, Nolan Arenado, Michael Cuddyer, and Justin Morneau all missed time. The pitching staff was also horrid.
Pick: Over 89.5
The Tigers should get over this number and 6-6 over their final 12 games will do it, but we’ll consider it undetermined to be safe. With the addition of David Price, the Tigers should have soared over this number, but Miguel Cabrera is hurt and the bullpen has been spotty at best.
Pick: Under 62.5
A clear-cut misread on the Astros for this season. Dallas Keuchel morphed into a pretty good starting pitcher and a change of leadership has turned the Astros into an interesting team for the future. Given the top of the AL West, it’s surprising how much better the Astros have played than their preseason win total. Amazingly, Houston is 33-37 within the division.
Kansas City Royals
Pick: Over 82
The Royals are comfortably going over this number with 82 wins and 13 games left to play. They had some sustained runs of great play and the bullpen has been elite most of the time. A nice, easy winner here.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Pick: Under 87.5
One of the rare huge misses in this win total series as the Angels have the best record in baseball by quite a bit. Players like Kole Calhoun and Collin Cowgill really emerged and the Angels have stayed healthy for the most part outside of the Garrett Richards injury.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Pick: Under 93.5
With 12 games left to play, the Dodgers need to go 8-4 in that span to go over. It could certainly happen, but the under is a play I’d make again and again if they do. An injury to Clayton Kershaw earlier in the season was a blessing for this win total pick and the Dodgers may still go over. They’re a quality team.
Pick: Over 68.5
Without Jose Fernandez, there’s no way I’d have picked the over here, but the Marlins have played really well all season long and seem to have something to build on for next season. Help is coming from below as well, even if Fernandez misses the first couple months of the 2015 season.
Pick: Over 79
This one got really dicey for a bit there, but the Brewers did enough early in the season to go over this number. They need to win two of their final 12 games and they’re still playing hard since the NL Wild Card isn’t completely out of reach.
Pick: Under 70.5
The Twins fell apart late in the season as their lack of depth has been a contributing factor. Ron Gardenhire has to be on the hot seat after another season full of struggles and the Twins need to find some starting pitching really badly.
New York Mets
Pick: Under 73.5
The Mets have certainly exceeded expectations and seem to have a player to build on in Jacob deGrom, who has been spectacular. With Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard in the minor leagues, this has the makings of a pretty good rotation next year and beyond. This was a pick against the steam and the steam was right.
New York Yankees
Pick: Under 87
Go ahead and call this ticket a winner as the Yankees are not going 12-1 or 11-2 to end the season. Injuries to the rotation really made this an easy winner as Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia were two key cogs that the Yankees could not afford to lose.
Pick: Over 88.5
An easy winner became a tremendous sweat thanks to a prolonged stretch of terrible play by the Athletics. A 6-7 finish will cash this ticket, but it shouldn’t even be that close.
Pick: Under 76.5
Unless the Phillies manage to go 8-4 down the stretch, this one is a winner. An aging team full of disgruntled, big money contracts should be an auto under bet. It worked in this case.
Pick: Over 83.5
The Pittsburgh Pirates control their own destiny for the NL Wild Card spot and that should be good enough to push them to five more victories. The write-up for this one was one of the most sabermetrically-influenced picks of the series.
San Diego Padres
Pick: Over 78
The injury bug bit the Padres really, really hard once again this season and it shows. The offense was positively awful in the first half and the Padres could never recover, although they got within four games of .500 at one point.
San Francisco Giants
Pick: Under 86.5
The Giants were much better than anticipated this season. Matt Cain was projected as a key to the season and he wound up not mattering as he pitched poorly and got hurt twice. The Giants were 44-24 over their first 68 games. They’re 38-44 since. This probably wasn’t a bad pick, more of a bad luck pick.
Pick: Under 80.5
On the other hand, this one was a bad pick. The Mariners have some good young arms and there may not be a better 1-2 punch in the American League than Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. The offense came around just enough, but the pitching staff has been historically good.
St. Louis Cardinals
Pick: Over 91.5
The Cardinals have quietly put together another solid season, but their slow start doomed this play from the beginning. A 9-3 ending isn’t out of the question, but it’s highly unlikely.
Tampa Bay Rays
Pick: Over 88
Continuing the bad run towards the bottom of the alphabet, the Rays were terrible for the early part of the season and dug way too deep of a hole. A David Price trade later and Tampa Bay had no chance at reaching this number.
Pick: Under 87
The Rangers couldn’t stay under 87 losses to make this the easiest winner on the card. The Rangers could legitimately lose 100 games with the way they’re playing.
Toronto Blue Jays
Pick: Under 80.5
The Blue Jays have to go 3-9 to stay under this win total and that seems unlikely. An 18-3 stretch in May and June is the only reason that the Blue Jays are going over this win total as they are 10 games under .500 otherwise. That’s an unfortunate circumstance to lose a bet.
Pick: Over 89.5
Nice to end with a winner as the Nationals need only four more victories to cash this ticket. They’ve got arguably the best pitching staff in the National League and they’re a legitimate World Series threat.
The final tally? 14 wins, 11 losses, and five that are undetermined. The final couple weeks of the MLB season certainly hold some important value to anybody holding one of those five undetermined team win totals. It’s been fun to follow along with these and there will be one more postseason update on these 30 win totals.