2018 MLB Over/Under Win Projections
New York Yankees: O/U 94. 5 Wins
The Yankees had a tremendous offseason and have concocted a lineup that projects to break the Seattle Mariners 1997 single-season home run record of 264. The trio of Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez combined for 144 home runs by themselves last season. Stanton, the reigning National League MVP, who hit 59 home runs for the Miami Marlins last season while playing in one of the worst hitter-friendly ballparks in the MLB, will move to a much more frequent home run venue in Yankee Stadium. Breaking Roger Maris’ home run record could be a definite possibility. Judge last season broke Mark McGwire’s rookie home run record with 52, but there are concerns that he and Stanton alone could combine for over 400 strikeouts. Still, the Yankees also signed an underrated Neil Walker veteran second baseman, Neil Walker, from the Milwaukee Brewers this offseason and will also have first baseman Greg Bird, one of the top young hitters in the game, back at full strength. There are still question marks about the starting pitching, but Luis Severino is one of the best young talents in the game, and there may not be a batter bullpen top to bottom in baseball. The Yankees dynasty is officially back and the expectation this season should be to immediately compete for a World Series title.
Prediction: Over 94.5 wins
Boston Red Sox: O/U 91.5 Wins
The offseason was so centered on the Yankees big acquisitions that everyone has seemed to have forgotten about their arch-rival. However, the Red Sox have all the tools to push the Yankees to the brink for the AL East crown. Boston’s biggest issues last season were lack of production at the third base position and an absence of power created by the void David Ortiz’s retirement left. However, the Sox have found their answer at third base with one of the best prospects in the game in Rafael Devers, who hit 10 home runs at a .284 average after the All-Star break last season. The 21-year old will begin his first full season in the big leagues. The Red Sox biggest offseason acquisition, however, was signing J.D. Martinez from the Diamondbacks. Martinez will not only be a major boost in the power department, but he is also one of the premier switch-hitters in the game as well. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts should also be better this year after playing injured for much of last season, while outfielder Andrew Benintendi could be one of baseball’s biggest breakout stars after an excellent rookie season. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia will start the year on the DL and starting pitcher David Price still has some lingering health concerns. However, the Sox have a very good all-around starting rotation highlighted by perennial Cy Young Award candidate Chris Sale. Starting rotation health will be the key.
Prediction: Over 91.5 wins
Toronto Blue Jays: O/U 80.5 Wins
Toronto will be the sleeper of this division. One reason is that the AL East will play the NL East in interleague play this year, which makes the strength of schedule very favorable for them. The Blue Jays also quietly had a very good offseason. They did not add any household names that will grab everyone’s attention around the league, but they added some valuable veteran supporting pieces like Curtis Granderson, Randal Grichuk, Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz. Is Justin Smoak can prove that his 2017 breakout season was no fluke, the Jays could have a dangerous lineup. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is one of the top prospects in the game and could make a serious impact after the All-Star break, and Josh Donaldson is a dark horse MVP candidate. The pitching staff does not boast a superstar but is loaded with quality options like Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez. The defense behind this staff is also solid. With a borderline top-ten pitching staff and one of the better offensive lineups in the game, the Jays could very well sneak their way into the playoffs.
Prediction: Over 80.5 wins
Tampa Bay Rays: O/U 74.5 Wins
The Rays appear to be in full tank mode, as they failed to re-sign any of their key free agents in the offseason. They also traded away all of their best hitters in Evan Longoria, Corey Dickerson and Steven Souza Jr. To add on to that, they dealt veteran starter Jake Ordorizzi, dropped to third-lowest payroll in baseball and lost top prospects Brent Honeywell and Jose De Leon to season-ending Tommy John surgery. However, despite projecting to score the third-fewest runs in the MLB, the Rays have an elite defense and project to have a top-ten pitching staff. Chris Archer is a legitimate ace starter, and the Rays have several young talented options in Blake Snell and Jacob Faria, along with an excellent bullpen. The big question will be whether the Rays continue to sell off the current pieces to their roster. The Rays will still lose a lot of games either way, but with the current team, the Rays’ top-ten pitching staff will prevent them from losing 90 games.
Prediction: Over 74.5 wins
Baltimore Orioles: O/U 72.0 Wins
The Orioles will once again be one of the worst pitching teams in baseball, but they will also score a lot of runs. Manny Machado is their only true star, but they also have a plethora of above-average hitters with good power around him. The Orioles also added several solid veteran complements in Colby Rasmus, Danny Valencia and prospect Austin Hays to the lineup. Caleb Joseph is a terrific pitch framer and will become their regular starting catcher this season to help a desperate pitching staff. The Orioles are not a playoff team, but their powerful offense and benefit of playing the NL East in interleague play this year will win them more than 72 games.
Prediction: Over 72.0 wins
Cleveland Indians: O/U 94.5 Wins
Things are pretty much the same for the Indians. They lost Carlos Santana, but they replaced him with Yonder Alonso. They lost a couple of solid relievers but still have an elite bullpen led by Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. All of the other pieces remain in place, including one of the game's four elite starters in Corey Kluber and the game's best defensive unit. Jose Ramirez will look to build on a sensational rookie season, while Francisco Lindor, one of the top young shortstops in the game, should bounce back after somewhat of a sophomore slump last season. A big wildcard for Cleveland will be the addition of rookie Francisco Mejia to the lineup. The Indians also have a fairly weak division, and the AL Central crown will be there’s to lose again.
Prediction: Over 94.5 wins
Minnesota Twins: O/U 83.5 Wins
The Indians are the clear best team in the AL Central, but the Twins could be one of the sneaky good teams in the league for the second year in a row. Their pitching staff is fairly mediocre outside of a pretty good bullpen, but their offense will be dangerous. It helps that they have a great home park for offense, they also just have a lot of great hitters. Logan Morrison had a breakout 2017, despite playing in a pitchers' park in Tampa Bay. With the huge park upgrade, he'll give the Twins three truly great hitters along with Miguel Sano and Brian Dozier. This is an offense without a glaring hole. The x-factor will be the offensive development of Byron Buxton. He is already an elite defensive center fielder, but if he can become more consistent at the plate, the Twins will continue to build on an unexpectedly successful 2017 campaign.
Prediction: Over 83.5 wins
Chicago White Sox: O/U 72.0 Wins
Vegas’s projection for the White Sox is very generous, to say the least. The White Sox traded away their only quality starting pitcher in Jose Quintana to its Chicago counterpart late last year. Carlos Rodon will begin the year on the DL, and Michael Kopech will likely start the year in the minors. They still have Jose Abreu anchoring their offense, but their third-best hitter is a catcher in offseason acquisition Welington Castillo, who is not great defensively. Their fourth-best hitter, Eloy Jimenez, may spend most of the year in the minors. There's plenty of young talent, including top prospect Yoan Moncada, and this team will be good in the future, but it's unlikely the window even begins to open in 2018.
Prediction: Under 72.0 wins
Kansas City Royals: O/U 69.5 Wins
Although the Royals managed to bring back Mike Moustakas, they lost arguably their two best players in Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain this winter. They also added one of the most underrated hitters in baseball in Lucas Duda. Vegas has the Royals projected as the second-worst team in baseball. The big problem is that the Royals also don't look like a rebuilding team. They're old and are around the league-average payroll. Their farm system is also one of the worst in baseball and their lineup looks like a team that's trying to win now. After winning the World Series just a few years ago in 2015, the Royals are back to full rebuild mode.
Prediction: Under 69.5 wins
Detroit Tigers: O/U 66.0 Wins
Detroit is in full rebuild mode. Justin Verlander, J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton and Ian Kinsler are out. They have one above-average pitcher in Michael Fulmer and two above-average hitters in Miguel Cabrera and Nicholas Castellanos. Cabrera was one of the best hitters in the game for a long time, but he is past his prime now and still deals with a chronic back injury that sapped his production for much of 2017. The main focus for Detroit this season will be looking to stockpile its farm system through high draft picks.
Prediction: Under 66.0 wins
Houston Astros: O/U 97.0 Wins
The Astros project to score the most runs in baseball while allowing the second fewest. Yet as good as they are, Vegas still seems to be underrating them a little bit. Reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve might be the best pure hitter in all of baseball, while Carlos Correa might be the best young shortstop in the game, and George Springer last season established himself as one of the game’s breakout stars. The Astros have plenty of other dangerous weapons all over the lineup outside these three. The Astros will also have Justin Verlander for the full season, and he looks as good as he ever has. Also, Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton’s health are a question mark, but they have the ability to go deep into games and round out a deep Astros rotation. The Astros could easily win over 100 games.
Prediction: Over 97.0 wins
Los Angeles Angels: O/U 84.5 Wins
Mike Trout is the undisputed best player in baseball right now, but the Angeles have never had the adequate pieces around him. However, they added a lot of quality players around him this winter, including an excellent defensive shortstop in Zack Cozart, an underrated Ian Kinsler, slugger Justin Upton and coveted Japanese prospect Shohei Ohtani. Plus, starting pitcher Garrett Richards finally may be healthy. Both he and Ohtani project to be top-20 pitchers, with the potential to become ace-caliber starters. Ohtani also projects to be a league-average hitter, which will be a huge advantage in interleague games if he is lined up to pitch in NL parks. The Angels have not won a playoff game this decade, but if the parts all fall into place, this could be a potential wild-card berth team.
Prediction: Over 84.5 wins
Seattle Mariners: O/U 81.5 Wins
The Mariners’ odd place in the AL was only amplified by what happened to them in spring training. Injuries illustrated the slim margin they have if they plan to contend for a playoff spot. They’re talented enough to compete for a wild card but not good enough to catch the Astros in the division. Pitching will be the x-factor. Seattle used a major league-record 40 pitchers last year and would like to avoid a repeat performance. James Paxton has the makings of an ace but has yet to show he can stay healthy for an entire season. Felix Hernandez had arm issues arise last year. Mike Leake was great after arriving from St. Louis, but will American League hitters adjust? And the final two spots have no proven options. The bullpen has promise, putting pressure on the rotation to stabilize and get deep enough into games. Right-handed reliever David Phelps needs Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire season, though. Offensively, the top of the lineup has a chance to be potent with the addition of a speedster in Dee Gordon. Ryon Healy missed most of the spring training after hand surgery, but if he’s productive Seattle could end up fielding its deepest lineup in years.
Prediction: Over 81.5 wins
Oakland Athletics: O/U 75.5 Wins
The A’s have followed up three straight playoff appearances with last-place finishes the past three seasons. There are signs of a potential turnaround but rebuilding will still take some time, especially in a division with the defending World Series champions and other possible contenders. The bullpen should be improved with the additions of Emilio Pagan, Yusmeiro Petit and Ryan Buchter. The strength of the team is power. Khris Davis leads the way with 85 homers the past two seasons, ranking second in the majors during that span to Giancarlo Stanton’s 86. Matt Olson made a big splash with 24 homers in 189 at-bats, a rate topped over a whole season only twice, when Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds each set the single-season home run record. The A’s added depth to the lineup this spring by signing Jonathan Lucroy. One of the most intriguing players will be Dustin Fowler, who played one inning in the majors for the Yankees before blowing out his knee and then getting traded to Oakland for pitcher Sonny Gray. Fowler adds needed athleticism and defense in the outfield as the A’s look to build a foundation for the future.
Prediction: Under 75.5 wins
Texas Rangers: O/U 75.0 Wins
The Rangers are coming off their second losing season in nine years. With most of their everyday lineup back, they should be able to hit and score runs again. However, in a division with the defending World Series champs and other improved teams, Texas must depend on a revamped rotation — maybe using six starters in some variation — and the hope that its bullpen will be drastically improved. The Rangers scored 799 runs last year and ranked third in the majors with 237 homers. Seven returning players had at least 17. That group is led by Joey Gallo, now the primary first baseman after playing three positions in his first full big-league season. Cole Hamels is the clear No. 1 starter now that Yu Darvish is gone, but he missed seven weeks in 2017 with an oblique strain and threw fewer than 200 innings for the first time since 2009. Martin Perez could unexpectedly be ready for opening day after breaking his non-pitching elbow in a mishap on his ranch in Venezuela before Christmas. Doug Fister didn’t pitch his first major league game last season until June, and Mike Minor hasn’t started since 2014 with the Braves. The Rangers will have another down year with a declining pitching staff and below average defense.
Prediction: Under 75.0 wins
Washington Nationals: O/U 94.0 Wins
The Washington Nationals have won the NL East rather easily the last two years and have four division titles in the last six seasons. And barring something crazy happening, they should have the division title wrapped up by mid-September this time around. Washington is loaded and may the best lineup in the league. Adam Eaton is coming back from knee surgery and all reports have him back by opening day. Trea Turner is a base-stealing machine and Bryce Harper figures to be in the MVP hunt. Ryan Zimmerman set a career-high with 36 homers at age 32 last year. Daniel Murphy continues to be one of the more underrated offensive players in the league, while Anthony Rendon posted a 7-WAR season in 2017. They are going to score a ton of runs. Rotation and bullpen. A rotation headlined by Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez has the potential to be as good as any in the league if they can stay healthy. Scherzer has been incredibly durable throughout his career with 200+ innings the last five years, but he will turn 34 in July. Strasburg has not always been able to stay healthy, but he’s pretty ridiculous when he is. Gonzalez will also turn 34 this year but remains a strong No. 3. Roark had a down 2017 but should bounce back as the team’s No. 4. The biggest concern with Washington compared to other elite teams around the league is the lack of great depth in the rotation. The bullpen is also still not great, but they brought over a handful of quality relievers, including Sean Doolittle, at the deadline to stabilize things. The unit had a strong 3.54 ERA in the second half. It would take something crazy for the Nationals to not win the division. Even if injuries hit hard there’s enough depth to overcome the Mets, Braves and Phillies. However, Zimmerman, Rendon Murphy, and Michael A. Taylor all played much better than projected, so regression is expected.
Prediction: Under 94.0 wins
New York Mets: O/U 83.0 Wins
The Mets are on the outside looking in for the second NL wild-card spot. They re-signed Jay Bruce, signed Todd Frazier and made some interesting low-risk signings of Adrian Gonzalez and Jason Vargas. However, ultimately the Mets are still a team with plenty of holes and numerous injury concerns. They finally made changes to their training staff, and if pitchers like Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey, as well as star outfielder Michael Conforto, can be healthy and effective, they could go over by several wins. On the other hand, Harvey has not been the same pitcher since 2015, posting ERAs of 4.86 and 6.70 in each of the last two seasons after three straight years of having an under 2.75 ERA. De Grom is still very good but is now 30 years old and beginning to decline, while Syndergaard just has not been able to stay healthy consistently. There is reason to believe that the Mets will struggle with health again this season, based on recent years, which will put a hard cap on their win output.
Prediction: Under 83.0 wins
Philadelphia Phillies: O/U 78.5 Wins
Of all the teams that have been rebuilding over the past couple of years, the Phillies look like the surest bet to follow the Astros and Cubs to the World Series. They've graduated young prospects into semi-stardom, namely Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Nola. They've got one of the top five farm systems in baseball, and tons of payroll flexibility, while also adding very good veterans. They were the youngest team in the league last year, and they weren't even that bad. The Cubs and Astros won 73 and 70 games, respectively, in 2014; they won 97 and 86 in 2015, each making the playoffs and blowing past their projections. The Phillies project to be around a .500 team this season. Like the Cubs and Astros, they could jump ahead of schedule and compete this year, especially after adding Jake Arrieta late in the winter. If they don't, they probably just have to make sure nothing breaks, and they'll head into next season as a trendy pick especially if the Nationals take big losses in the offseason. Although, the more likely scenario for this team is to hover right around .500 and be a bit under the Vegas projection.
Prediction: Under 78.5 wins
Atlanta Braves: O/U 75.5 Wins
They may be past their prime, but Matt Kemp and Matt Adams are still two of the most underrated hitters in the game, and the Braves let both of them go this winter. That leaves them with Freddie Freeman, who is basically the only player left that projects as much more than a league average hitter. Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies are both great prospects with tremendous potential, but expecting big years out of them in 2018 would be foolish. Julio Teheran has also declined so much that he's now the team's fourth best starter, and not because the other options are particularly good themselves. The Braves could call this season successful with a bounce-back year from Dansby Swanson with several prospects from their top-ranked farm system moving closer to the MLB level.
Prediction: Under 75.5 wins
Miami Marlins: O/U 63.5 Wins
It should come as no surprise that the Marlins are the worst team in the division. They cleaned house this offseason, trading away Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon. Justin Bour and J.T. Realmuto could also go before the trade deadline. The starting rotation is also a disaster. This might be the worst team in baseball, and given that the strength of schedule is tougher than Vegas is accounting for, they should finish a couple wins under the Westgate total.
Prediction: Under 63.5 wins
Chicago Cubs: O/U 93.5 Wins
The Cubs’ main advantage in the National League is their powerful lineup. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are as good as any power duo, and the rest of the cast behind them are all solid players. With Addison Russell, Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, and Kyle Schwarber sprinkled throughout the lineup, the Cubs bring a gauntlet of offensive firepower from the leadoff spot through the eight-hitter. With the addition of Yu Darvish, the Cubs rotation doesn’t look that different from the World Champion 2016 starting five. Despite a riskier profile due to age (Lester) and health (Darvish), the ceiling for this rotation to be one of the best in the National League. Also, against a fairly weak NL Central, the Cubs should have no problem winning the division by more than five games. Last season, the Cubs got out of the gate fairly slowly, trailing the Brewers in the standings until the summer. Chicago ended up leaving the Brewers in the dust, outplaying Milwaukee by 13 games in the second half to win the division fairly easily. The Cubs will continue to make noise in the National League, but Darvish is not quite as good as many think, and the bullpen will take a hit, meaning the Cubs could go slightly under the projection.
Prediction: Under 93.5 wins
St. Louis Cardinals: O/U 86.0 Wins
The Cardinals may have missed the playoffs last year, but many would argue it was a pretty successful season, with three surprising breakouts in the lineup, competitive baseball deep into September and 3.4 million fans in the stands. However, if they miss the postseason in 2018, it would be for the third year in a row, the longest drought for St. Louis since the late 1990s. It could happen and they could still claim a productive season. Alex Reyes is a Rookie of the Year candidate if he can stay healthy. It would also really help if Miles Mikolas is as good in the National League as he was in Japan last season and if Kolten Wong can add more power to the lineup. This Cardinals are a team with a lot of uncertainty, but also a lot of upside. How much will the 2017 breakouts like Tommy Pham, Jedd Gyorko, Jose Martinez and Paul DeJong sustain? How healthy is Matt Carpenter's shoulder? Ultimately though, the Cardinals consistently overachieve, so what might seem like a good year to a betting person, wouldn't to them.
Prediction: Over 86.0 wins
Milwaukee Brewers: O/U 84.0 Wins
The Brewers are one of the best young, upcoming teams in the league while also having one of the most prized farm systems. However, the Brewers' Vegas line looks like a bit of an overreaction to their active winter. They signed Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain and were involved in rumors for every big-name pitcher on the market. They had to settle for Jhoulys Chacin, Yovani Gallardo and Wade Miley, though, and own one of the bottom 10 rotations in the sport. Plus, as big of a name as Cain is, he's actually a worse hitter than both Domingo Santana and Eric Thames, who he will siphon at-bats from. Travis Shaw, Jesus Aguilar and Eric Sogard are all in for a regression after playing over their heads in 2017, and top catching option Stephen Vogt is already injured. This team has hopes of a wild-card spot, but this is a very clear under situation.
Prediction: Under 84.0 wins
Cincinnati Reds: O/U 74.5 Wins
The Reds had one of the top offenses in the NL last year, with breakouts from Scott Schebler (30 home runs), Scooter Gennett (27) and Eugenio Suarez (26). However, they had maybe the worst pitching staff. No pitcher topped 125 innings, and of the 14 who threw at least 50 innings, only three were better than average. Given another year of uncompetitive baseball to audition pitchers, pick up other teams' discarded scraps, be patient with young arms and develop prospects, it's not unrealistic that they will find three decent, reliable starters to build around. At which point they'll just have to hope the 2017 offense wasn't a collective fluke. Vegas sees a 68-win Reds team improving by 6.5 wins this season. Joey Votto is an elite hitter, but without him, this would be a downright bad offense. Luis Castillo had a strong 2017 season in the rotation, but his minor league numbers were bad enough that the best we can call him is above average right now (despite the stuff and upside to be much better), and he's the best starter they have by a wide margin. Not a single other is even average, and their traditionally awful bullpen is bad once again. Throw in one of the worst pitch framing committees in the league and the loss of elite defensive shortstop in Cozart, and this is a team that looks like a decent bet to go under.
Prediction: Under 74.5 wins
Pittsburgh Pirates: O/U 73.5 Wins
After three years of making the postseason (and two Wild Card game losses), the Pirates took a step back in 2016. Then they took another step back in 2017. The farm system is still pretty solid but there won’t be much help coming from the minors this season. This looks to be another mediocre campaign in Pittsburgh, and, if anything, the mid-70-win projections seem pretty optimistic, especially with Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole. With that said, the Pirates do have some upside, if their young big-leaguers fulfill their potential. A year ago, Josh Bell and Tyler Glasnow were both consensus top-100 prospects; they combined to earn 0.2 fWAR in 2017. Bell is working on hitting from the right side, which would complement his smooth lefty stroke, and Glasnow is starting the year in the bullpen. Those two have the potential to make waves this year as sophomores. If the Pirates lag around .500, they’ll probably sell off some players come July. Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco have the potential for a great return, but there are other players who are more obvious fits to be moved like Sean Rodriguez, whose contract expires at the end of the year, and Francisco Cervelli and Ivan Nova, who will be free agents after the 2019 season. These players could find themselves on the block if they live up to their expectations.
Prediction: Under 73.5 wins
Los Angeles Dodgers: O/U 95.5 Wins
The Dodgers are the top team in the National League with elite talent on both sides of the ball, including the best pitching in all of baseball. They have no fewer than 10 starters who project for an above average ERA, plus an elite bullpen. Manager Dave Roberts understands the third-time-through-the-order penalty well and doesn't allow most of his starting pitchers to go deep into games, instead leveraging that bullpen to maximum effect. Their two catchers, Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes, are two of the three best pitch framers in all of baseball, and they combine for nearly double the run-reducing impact of the next best team. Oh, and they also have one of the game's best fielding units. The Dodgers, however, will start the season without maybe their best hitter, third baseman Justin Turner, who suffered a broken wrist in spring training when he was hit by a pitch. But the Dodgers have six regular position players aged 27 or younger, highlighted by first baseman Cody Bellinger, the NL rookie of the year last season, and shortstop Corey Seager, the NL rookie of the year in 2016.
Prediction: Over 95.5 wins
Arizona Diamondbacks: O/U 84.5 Wins
They lost slugger J.D. Martinez to Boston in free agency and replaced him with gloveman Jarrod Dyson in the outfield. And Arizona will start the season without ace Zack Greinke (groin strain). The bullpen remains a question, but it was last season too when they finished with the third-best record in the NL. They also added a humidor this season, which will change the physical properties of the baseballs being used at Chase Field. They will get heavier, be less bouncy and have a lower exit velocity. When Coors Field added one in 2002, wOBA dropped by 5 percent, base hits by 7 percent and home runs by 22 percent. Because Arizona is more humid than Denver, to begin with, physicist Dr. Alan Nathan estimates the home run drop will be nearly 35 percent. This would change Chase Field from the second-best hitters’ park in baseball to a solid or potentially extreme pitchers park. This will affect both the Diamondbacks and their opponents, but seeing as how the Diamondbacks have just one fly ball starting pitcher in Robbie Ray and seven above average flyball hitters, the humidor may actually hurt the Diamondbacks in relative to their opponents, despite playing with the same conditions. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt remains one of the best players in the NL, and third baseman Jake Lamb had a breakout 2017 season, but Vegas seems to be overvaluing the D’Backs a bit.
Prediction: Under 84.5 wins
San Francisco Giants: O/U 83.0 Wins
The Giants made some moves this offseason to try to make one more run at the playoffs, adding the likes of Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen, but that's unlikely. This team is getting older, as they have the fifth-highest average age in baseball, and it's beginning to show. Buster Posey's pitch framing is falling off. Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto had career-worst seasons in 2017. Offseason addition Austin Jackson, at age 31, will be one of their younger hitters getting even semi-regular at-bats and their fifth-best hitter, despite a below average projected wOBA. Their best asset is a top-10 bullpen, but a good bullpen needs to be a supplementary piece to a great foundation, and the Giants just don't have that.
Prediction: Under 83.0 wins
Colorado Rockies: O/U 81.5 Wins
Despite calling Coors Field -- a park that is more than twice as good for the offense as any other park in baseball -- home, the Rockies barely project in the top 10 for runs scored this season. The recent re-signing of Carlos Gonzalez helps, but his health is hardly assured. Ultimately, this is an offense with two stars in Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon, and a lot of average hitters that will see their batting lines propped up by the park. The flip side of the park is the pitching, which projects to allow the most runs in baseball. They have some intriguing young starters, but too many innings figure to go to truly bad ones like Chad Bettis. The Rockies do seem to have a unique home-field advantage, likely due to their acclimation to the thin air in Colorado, that may not be fully quantified here, but there is a very good chance this team’s win cap is 80.
Prediction: Under 81.5 wins
San Diego Padres: O/U 72.0 Wins
The Padres made a splash this winter by signing Eric Hosmer from Kansas City, but Hosmer is a bit overrated. He's a good hitter, but not a great one, projecting for just the 53rd-highest wOBA in MLB this year. As a result, he won't do nearly as much to move the needle as Vegas seems to expect. Paired with Wil Myers, the Padres now have a grand total of two above average hitters. Cracking 70 wins is tough to do under those circumstances.
Prediction: Under 72.0 wins
Will Desautelle is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senior / Broadcast Journalism and Spanish