Atlantis Race and Sports Book released win totals for MLB’s 2016 season yesterday. They envision an American League full of parity and a National League with some bad, bad teams. Here’s a look at the totals as well as some gut reaction.
Let me state up front that so much of this is gut feeling that doing a deep dive into statistics seemed a bit silly. Anyone who has ever placed a bet on a 162-game marathon knows staying healthy is of paramount performance and tough to predict.
American League East
- Baltimore Orioles 80.5
- Boston Red Sox 85.5
- New York Yankees 85
- Tampa Bay Rays 78
- Toronto Blue Jays 87
Overvalued: Tampa Bay Rays. There are four teams capable of winning this division. There is one that is not. Chris Archer is a force to be reckoned with but the Rays struggled to score runs last year (3.98 a game) and will look to Brad Miller and Logan Morrison to add pop. That and a reliance on Evan Longoria returning to form doesn’t instill much confidence. Playing in a division with three bandbox ballparks won’t help either.
Undervalued: Baltimore Orioles. Securing Yovani Gallardo to serve as an ace of a mediocre staff would be key. Should continue tradition of blasting home runs. Have more confidence they can slug with the big boys within the division. Manager Buck Showalter was fantastic in one-run games in 2012 and 2014. A similar even-year formula worked for the San Francisco Giants recently.
Don’t Touch: New York Yankees. Starlin Castro and Luis Severino help bring the Yankees’ average age down a bit but this team is old. There are safer bets than trusting a bunch of 35-plus former superstars to stay healthy for six months.
American League Central
- Chicago White Sox 80.5
- Cleveland Indians 84
- Detroit Tigers 85
- Kansas City Royals 87
- Minnesota Twins 77.5
Overvalued: Cleveland Indians. Starting rotation capable of dominating and racking up astronomical strikeout figures. Do not trust Rajai Davis. Do not trust Mike Napoli for a full season. Do not trust Abraham Almonte. Too many offensive holes.
Undervalued: Minnesota Twins. Expecting a breakout year from Byron Buxton and an even bigger one from Miguel Sano.
Don’t Touch: Detroit Tigers. Always look good on paper. Will be trying out a starting lineup with eight righthanders and one switch-hitter. Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez all need to increase their production from last year. The bright spot is a more trustworthy bullpen. Could see a 75-win campaign just as easily as a 95-win one.
American League West
- Houston Astros 85.5
- Los Angeles Angels 82.5
- Oakland Athletics 75.5
- Seattle Mariners 83
- Texas Rangers 86
Overvalued: Seattle Mariners. Had the lowest ERA in 2014 and finished 12th in the American League in the same category last year. The number suggests a 7-win jump from 2015. Felix Hernandez is great and all but there are three teams I like more in this division, meaning wins could be hard to come by.
Undervalued: Houston Astros. Vegas seems to think last year was a flash in pan. This is a young, hungry team that picked up a huge veteran piece in Doug Fister.
Don’t Touch: Texas Rangers. Have nothing to say about the Rangers.
National League East
- Atlanta Braves 65
- Miami Marlins 80.5
- New York Mets 88
- Philadelphia Phillies 66.5
- Washington Nationals 87
Overvalued: Miami Marlins. Teeming with potential and in possession of Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez. What’s not to like? Every fiber in my being suggesting the rebuilding projected is a long way from winning stage, for starters.
Undervalued: Atlanta Braves. Look, I don’t think the Braves will be particularly good this year. But I don’t think the Marlins or National League Central trio of contenders will be as dominant as predicted.
Don’t Touch: Washington Nationals. Bryce Harper may very well repeat as National League MVP. The loss of Jordan Zimmermann could be rougher than expected.
National League Central
- Chicago Cubs 89
- Cincinnati Reds 71
- Milwaukee Brewers 71.5
- Pittsburgh Pirates 87
- St. Louis Cardinals 87.5
Overvalued: Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates window has closed. John Jaso is not the answer.
Undervalued: Milwaukee Brewers. If one or two young prospects step up, a 90-loss season could be avoided. Jonathan Lucroy is undervalued and Ryan Braun is protected now by Chris Carter. Stranger things have happened.
Don’t Touch: St. Louis Cardinals. Big public team. Lost Jason Heyward to Chicago but always find a way to reach the playoffs.
National League West
- Arizona Diamondbacks 84.5
- Colorado Rockies 68.5
- Los Angeles Dodgers 87
- San Diego Padres 74
- San Francisco Giants 90
Overvalued: San Francisco Giants
Undervalued: … None
Don’t Touch: Any
… These all seem a bit wonky. Never fear, though, there’s plenty of other ways to lose your money.