MLB Season Win Totals Predictions
Now that we are in the midst of spring training and we are starting to think about baseball again, most sportsbooks have posted their season win totals for major league baseball. These are by far my favorite season-long props. Not only are they a lot of fun and occasionally soft and profitable, but thinking about them also forces you to start thinking about baseball in a real way again so that you are ready for the season when it rolls around. As always, there are all sorts of the numbers that were interesting to me as I looked around and thought about them. Here's a look:
Arizona Diamondbacks - 86.5 - I keep hearing that the D-Backs are neck-and-neck with the Dodgers in the NL West, but I just don't buy it. I like Brandon Webb a lot, obviously, but there isn't another starter in the picture that fills me with warmth and trust. I also see at least as many questions and issues with the lineup as I do things to get excited about. I am enthusiastically on the under here.
Cincinnati Reds - 78.5 - There is a lot I like about this team. They have a very solid rotation with a couple of spots just oozing potential, and they have some young bats that could become something special. That being said, I think that this number is overly optimistic. I hope I am wrong for their sake, but if I had to take a side I wouldn't hesitate to go under.
Cleveland Indians - 85.5 - I'm not going to be this much of a pessimist the whole way through, but I'd go under again here. I don't think they have the depth they need to compete, and I don't trust their rotation at all. Fausto Carmona needs to prove he can bounce back, and Cliff Lee surely can't be the same super-human freak he was last year. They may be able to compete in the AL Central, but that isn't exactly going to be a strong conference this year.
Colorado Rockies - 77.5 - In my eyes this is the worst number on the board. With Jeff Francis on the shelf this team has very suspect pitching, Todd Helton is ancient, and their best power hitter is wearing different colors this year. I don't see much to like here, and I really don't see how they would win anywhere close to 78 games.
Florida Marlins - 75.5 - I don't have a particularly strong reason, but I would lean to the over here. Florida always finds way to get the most out of young talent, and given that this seems like a very reasonable number. Their rotation lacks star power, but it is young and full of potential. If one or two of those youngsters discovers their game then this team could flirt with .500.
Kansas City Royals - 75.5 - People seem to be jumping on this bandwagon, so I might as well join them and go over. The front end of the rotation - Zack Grienke and Gil Meche - is very good, and the pieces behind them could fall into place nicely. Young players like Alex Gordon and Billy Butler should take steps forward, and they are well supported with the addition of guys like Coco Crisp. I also really like manager Trey Hillman. It might be a lot to ask given how bad they have been for so long, but I could easily imagine this as a .500 team.
L.A. Dodgers - 84.5 - Given that I already determined that I don't like the Diamondbacks much, and that the Padres and Rockies are terrible, there are a lot of wins to be had in the NL West. The Dodgers, in my mind, are going to get more than their share. Their pitching is competent. More importantly, though, they have a good lineup. Manny Ramirez does remarkable things to protect hitters and provide opportunities for his teammates. His firepower in unmatched in the division, and I could easily see them win 90 games. That makes the over a nice play.
New York Mets - 89.5 - I was surprised by this number. They won 89 games last year, and that was with a late collapse. They have a bullpen that has gone from barely average to probably the best in the league, and they have a rotation that should be better with age. The power is still there, and they are solid defensively. That all adds up to a comfortable over in my eyes.
New York Yankees - 95.5 - The heavy action seems to be on the under here, so you can have the over at a nice discount. Call me contrary, but I'll go against the crowd. I don't expect Toronto and Tampa Bay to be as good as last year, Baltimore is terrible, and Boston didn't keep up with New York's improvements. That should lead to more division wins. They have the best rotation they have had in a long while, and the depth is ridiculous - even without A-Rod for a couple of months. The over seems to be worth a shot.
Philadelphia Phillies - 88.5 - I am not optimistic about the Phillies as they try to defend their title. For starters, it's extremely hard for a team to come back after a title and win as many games as they did the year before. The Phillies kept most of their lineup intact, but they did very little to get better. The teams around them, most notably the Mets and Braves, did more. I am not entirely counting the Phillies out, but I would lean to the under and a win total of something like 85-87 wins.