There’s nothing like MLB predictions in December.

With a few months of offseason to go, Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs wrote a piece evaluating the state of baseball’s 2017 divisional races. He opines as of now, there is a hands-down favorite in every division who should make the postseason comfortably. In fact, the closest divisional race projected is the American League West, where the 90-win Houston Astros outpace the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by five games.

The data is generous to the Dodgers. FanGraphs has L.A. at 95 wins, a four-win improvement which ties the Chicago Cubs for the most in the Senior Circuit. The Cubs won 103 last season, so interestingly FanGraphs anticipates an eight-game dropoff from the world champions despite a young roster and no major departures.

Los Angeles is projected seven games better than the San Francisco Giants, who FanGraphs anticipates a one-game improvement to 88 wins. The National West shakes out as follows:

2016 Year to Date 2017 Projected Rest of Season 2017 Projected Full Season
Team G W L W% RDif RS/G RA/G G W L W% RDif RS/G RA/G W L W% RDif RS/G RA/G
Dodgers 162 91 71 .562 87 4.48 3.94 162 95 67 .587 128 4.56 3.77 95 67 .587 128 4.56 3.77
Giants 162 87 75 .537 84 4.41 3.90 162 88 74 .544 64 4.32 3.93 88 74 .544 64 4.32 3.93
Diamondbacks 162 69 93 .426 -138 4.64 5.49 162 78 84 .483 -26 4.31 4.47 78 84 .483 -26 4.31 4.47
Rockies 162 75 87 .463 -15 5.22 5.31 162 78 84 .482 -29 4.83 5.01 78 84 .482 -29 4.83 5.01
Padres 162 68 94 .420 -84 4.23 4.75 162 67 95 .411 -136 3.93 4.77 67 95 .411 -136 3.93 4.77
FanGraphs predicts overall progress from the Dodgers. An additional 41 runs are projected in run differential, while runs scored per game jumps from 4.48 to 4.56 along with a .17 betterment in runs against, which may seem minuscule, but is the opposite over the course of a season. The Giants get worse in all categories, including a 20-run decline in differential.
The Arizona Diamondbacks benefit most in the West, going from 69 wins to 78. That wouldn’t be overly surprising. Arizona caught every bad break possible last season in health and performance. Manager Torey Lovullo and bench coach Ron Gardenhire were highly praised additions, and rebounds from Zach Greinke, Shelby Miller and others should make for a much more formidable Diamondbacks squad.

Colorado at 78 wins is a modest guess. The Rockies have a number of growing players, along with the signings of Ian Desmond and Mike Dunn. Manager Bud Black brings a solid track record and savvy bullpen management, which was Colorado’s biggest weakness in 2016.

To no surprise, the San Diego Padres are expected to be one of the worst teams in the Majors. Barring a change in their process, the Padres likely won’t be a factor until 2019 at the earliest.

December predictions are what they are: educated guesses too early in the process. But it’s not a bad sign for the Dodgers if statistics favor them before adding a second baseman and any bullpen help.

The Dodgers’ renovations to their Dominican academy are nearing completion.

About The Author

News Desk

Gabe Burns is an award-winning journalist. He serves as a reporter and editor at the DodgersNation news desk. He additionally works as editor-in-chief of The Spectator, Valdosta State University's student paper. Gabe's work has been featured on a number of platforms, including Draft Breakdown and Pro Football Spot. His byline has been cited in media such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Aside from covering Dodgers baseball, Gabe enjoys watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Orlando Magic and Tampa Bay Lightning. He can be followed on Twitter at @GabeBurns_DN.

3 Responses

  1. JacksonEbner

    If Kershaw, Hill, and Urias can get 80 starts between them, as opposed to the 42 they had last year, those extra 4 wins should be pretty reasonable.

    Reply

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