MLB Projected Win Totals
The 2013 MLB season was one of surprise. The Boston Red Sox went from worst to first within their division last season. They were coming off a 69-93 campaign, but miraculously went 97-65 in ’13 to capture the AL East crown and home-field advantage throughout the postseason. They wouldn’t stop there as they went on to beat the Rays, Tigers, and eventually the Cardinals in the World Series.
Amazingly, oddsmakers in Las Vegas set Boston’s win total at 79.5 games last year, so ‘over’ backers were counting their chips by August. This just goes to show you that anyone can get hot in any season and win it all. Now, let’s take a look at my favorite five MLB win totals for the upcoming 2014 season. I also list how many games I expect each team to win at the bottom of this article along with their win totals.
Top 5 MLB Win Totals for 2014
Tampa Bay Rays OVER 88 – All the Rays do is overcome expectations and compete for AL East titles. Quietly, they have won 90-plus games in four consecutive seasons, yet they are never in the discussion for being one of the best teams in baseball year in and year out. The 2014 season seems to be no different. The Rays have one of the best rotations in baseball, led by David Price, Alex Cobb, Matt Moore and Chris Archer. The lineup boasts a nasty 2-4 in Ben Zobrist, Wil Myers and Evan Longoria. That pitching, coupled with just enough offense, will have Tampa Bay winning 90-plus games for a fifth straight season.
Kansas City Royals OVER 83 – Sure, it’s easy to discount the Royals considering their 86 wins in 2013 resulted in their first winning record since going 84-78 back in 1993. They also have not been to the postseason since their 1985 World Series title. However, the farm system is finally paying off, and the Royals are a legitimate threat to win the AL Central in 2014. They quietly filled their needs this offseason, adding right fielder Norichika Aoki and second baseman Omar Infante to the top of the lineup, which had previously been an area of weakness. Both Aoki and Infante have a knack for getting on base, which will set things up for Hosmer, Butler, Gordon and Perez to have monster seasons. I also like the addition of left-hander Jason Vargas to the rotation to form a solid 1-2 punch with ace James Shields.
Chicago White Sox UNDER 74.5 – The White Sox went just 63-99 last season and finished in last place in the AL Central. While I do expect them to be improved and win somewhere around 70 games in 2014, I cannot possibly foresee them improving by 12-plus wins to top this total. I like the additions of Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu to the offense, but this is still one of the worst lineups in baseball. I also have no faith in the rotation outside of Chris Sale. There are question marks surrounding the other four projected starters in John Danks, Jose Quintana, Erik Johnson and Felipe Paulino. The South Siders will be battling the Twins for last place in a top-heavy AL Central once again in 2014.
Arizona Diamondbacks OVER 82 – I really like this young, Diamondbacks team to challenge for the NL West title in 2014. They managed to go 81-81 in a down year in 2013, and have still averaged 85.3 wins over the past three years. This may be their best team yet during that time frame. They traded for proven power bat Mark Trumbo, who will compliment one of the best young hitters in baseball in Paul Goldschmidt. Closer Addison Reed should help firm up what was a shaky bullpen a year ago. The rotation features three of the most underrated starters in baseball in Patrick Corbin, Trevor Cahill and Wade Miley. If Brandon McCarthy can rebound, look for Arizona to challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers for the division crown in 2014.
San Diego Padres UNDER 78 – The Padres seem to have a high win total every year despite their struggles. Sure, they are just four seasons removed from winning 90 games in 2010, but this team has been a joke every other year. The Padres have won 76 or fewer games in five of the past six seasons, averaging 75.2 victories per season even when you factor in that 90-win aberration. The lineup is still one of the worst in baseball, and while the rotation has some promise in Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, it also features Josh Johnson and Ian Kennedy. Johnson will never be the same dominant starter he once was, and Kennedy will never be a 20-game winner again.
2014 MLB Win Totals & Projections
**Note – I used the William Hill lines for my projected win totals