The 2014 MLB season saw the San Francisco Giants remarkably capture their third World Series title in the past five years. They have just been an every-other-year type of team. They haven’t made the the playoffs the last two years following a World Series win.
Oddsmakers believe this trend will likely continue in 2015 as they have set San Francisco’s season win total at 83.5. Will they have another letdown this year and not make the postseason? I believe so, which is why I would side with the UNDER as I have them projected to win 81 games.
There were several teams last year that exceeded expectations drastically in terms of season win totals set by oddsmakers. The top overachiever was the Orioles, who won the AL East and 96 games despite having a win total of 80.5. Another was the Angels, who won 98 games with a win total of 85.5.
There were also plenty of teams that failed to meet expectations in 2014 in terms of season win totals. The biggest was the Rangers, whose injury-plagued 2014 campaign led to 67 wins and under the 86.5-win total. Another was the Red Sox, who went from World Series champs to 71 wins despite having a win total of 87.5 prior to the season.
In the National League there were quite a few under-performers. The Diamondbacks won 64 games with an 81-win total, the Rockies won 66 games with a 75.5-win total, the Reds won 76 games with an 86-win total, and the Braves won 79 games with an 87.5-win total.
In the table at the bottom of this article, you’ll find the season win totals for all 30 teams heading into the 2015 season. I have also listed my projected win totals for all 30 teams. The five that are the furthest off have made my Top 5 2015 MLB win totals list. Let’s take a look.
Jack’s Top 5 MLB Season Win Total Bets for 2015
1. Cincinnati Reds OVER 77.5
My Projection: 87 Wins
The Reds are my favorite sleeper pick of the entire 2015 season. I believe they will challenge for the NL Central crown in 2015. They are coming off a 76-win season last year, which has tempered their expectations to the point where there is a ton of value in backing the OVER 77.5. They were much better than their record would indicate as they lost a league-high 38 games by exactly one run. Remember, they had won 90-plus games in three of four seasons prior to last year. Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips were hurt last year, and Jay Bruce had an uncharacteristic down year. With the emergence of Billy Hamilton, Devin Mesoraco and Todd Frazier last year, the Reds really have all the pieces as long as Votto, Phillips and Bruce can stay healthy. Throw in the newly-added Marlon Byrd, who hit 25 homers last year, and this is one of the most potent lineups in baseball. The top four of the rotation is also solid with Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Mike Leake and Tony Cingrani. I have the Reds exceeding their 77.5-win total by 9.5 wins with an 87-75 campaign in 2015.
2. Washington Nationals OVER 93.5
My Projection: 101 Wins
Yes, the entire world is in love with the Washington Nationals this season, and why wouldn’t they be? The Nationals won 96 games last year, and they somehow managed to get better in the offseason. They signed the top free agent on the market in Max Scherzer to a seven-year, $210 million deal. He’ll be the ace of the best rotation in baseball that features Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister. Washington starters combined to go 70-49 with a 3.04 ERA in 2014 last year, and it should have no problem matching or exceeding those numbers now with Scherzer on board. The lineup is loaded with Denard Span, Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon and Ian Desmond all coming off career years. Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos are all due for breakout years as well. The books have not set the Nationals’ total high enough. I have them winning 101 games and exceeding their 93.5-win total by 7.5 games.
3. San Diego Padres OVER 84
My Projection: 90 Wins
The San Diego Padres had the best offseason in baseball. After winning just 77 games last year and being stuck in mediocrity, first-year general manager A.J. Preller said enough is enough. He brought in Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Derek Morris and Will Middlebrooks to rejuvenate an offense that hit an MLB-worst .226 last year. Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner and Ian Kennedy helped San Diego starters to a very solid 3.27 ERA last year, which was the second-best mark in the National League. Now, the Padres have added ace James Shields to their staff, and he should thrive in the National League. The bullpen had a 2.73 ERA last year, which was the second-best mark in baseball. The Padres have all the pieces to a championship team now, and oddsmakers haven’t caught up to them. I have San Diego winning 90 games in 2015 to exceed its 84-win total by 6 games.
4. Toronto Blue Jays OVER 82.5
My Projection: 88 Wins
The AL East used to be dominated by the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, but that is the case no longer. This division is as wide open as it has ever been in 2015. I look for the Toronto Blue Jays to finally put an end to their 21-year playoff drought and to win the division. They added catcher Russell Martin this offseason, and he should help bolster a pitching staff that was better than expected last year. They also added Josh Donaldson, who has been a perennial MVP candidate the last few years. This is now the best lineup in baseball in my opinion and Donaldson and Russell join Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. The bullpen is what let the Blue Jays down last year, and it can’t be any worse after posting a 4.09 ERA. The Yankees, Rays, Red Sox and Orioles all have issues. I believe, without question, that the Blue Jays have the most loaded roster in the AL East. I have them winning 88 games and eclipsing their 82.5-win total by 5.5 games.
5. New York Yankees UNDER 82
My Projection: 77 Wins
Oh how far the mighty have fallen. The Yankees committed nearly $500 million to new players alone prior to the 2014 season. They actually took a step back last year in spite of it, finishing 84-78 to miss the playoffs for a second consecutive season. They still have the flashy names, but the fact of the matter is that almost all of their big names are past their primes. Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriquez and C.C. Sabathia are all on their last legs. The bulk of the roster has injury concerns as most of these players cannot be trusted to stay healthy. That goes for three of their top starting pitchers in Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda. The Yankees’ win total is inflated this season just because of their history. I believe this is the worst team in the AL East in 2015. I have the Yankees winning 77 games to fall short of their 82-win total by 5 games.
2015 MLB Win Totals & Projections
**Note – I used a consensus of the 3 books for recommendations