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|
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.