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Updated Win/Loss Projections for Every MLB Team at the One-Quarter Mark

Kerry MillerCollege Basketball National AnalystAugust 24, 2016

Updated Win/Loss Projections for Every MLB Team at the One-Quarter Mark

1 of 32

    Nobody's perfect.

    Few things in life are less worth the paper they're printed on than preseason predictions. But we all make them for the same silly reason that we all bought Powerball tickets on Saturday. Correctly predicting every team's record may not be worth $600 million, but it sure would make you feel like a million bucks if you accidentally picked the right numbers.

    A number of those preseason predictions—particularly those involving Toronto or either team from Los Angeles—have already gone horribly awry. With just over one quarter of the season in the books, there's no time like the present to revisit and refresh those predictions.

    (Officially, these weren't my predictions. They were the well-written musings of Adam Wells. However, with the exception of how high he was on Tampa Bay, I wouldn't have strongly disagreed with any of his predictions. As such, they will more than suffice as a reference point for previous projections.)

    Teams are listed in alphabetical order by division, starting with the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central. Because really, when was the last time any national discussion started with the White Sox?

    We'll take an optimistic look, a pessimistic look and a realistic look at every team to try to get a feel for what it might do over the final 120 games of the regular season.

    *All statistics are courtesy of ESPN.com and FanGraphs.com and are accurate through the start of play on Monday, May 20.

Chicago White Sox

2 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 77-85

    Current Record: 19-23

    Updated Prediction: 79-83

     

    The Optimist Says

    Gordon Beckham will be back soon to save us from the disaster that is Jeff Keppinger's .188 batting average with no home runs or stolen bases. Adam Dunn's batting average isn't great, but that's nothing new and he's going to hit 40 home runs as usual. Paul Konerko will eventually get his batting average above .230. The pitching is already good, and the hitting is coming.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    Konerko is finally too old to play this game every day, and both Jose Quintana and Dylan Axelrod are too young to trust for the long haul in the starting rotation. Hector Santiago's control on the mound is more hit or miss than Dunn at the plate, and there's no way Alex Rios is suddenly a 35 home run/25 stolen base type of guy at the age of 32.

     

    The Realist Says

    The White Sox are simply giving too many at-bats to guys who can't get the job done. Who would have thought that the departure of 36-year-old A.J. Pierzynski would be this detrimental? Tyler Flowers has looked relatively hopeless at the plate, and he's not even one of the worst regulars when it comes to batting average or on-base percentage.

    Chris Sale and Jake Peavy have pitched very well this season, but a quality start doesn't go as far in Chicago as it does in most places.

Cleveland Indians

3 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 80-82

    Current Record: 26-17

    Updated Prediction: 84-78

     

    The Optimist Says

    Justin Masterson and Zach McAllister are two of the best pitchers in baseball right now. Vinnie Pestano just came back from the disabled list, and Brett Myers shouldn't be far behind him.

    Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera have heated up after dismal starts to the season, and Michael Bourn is still one of the best leadoff hitters. Did we mention Carlos Santana and Mark Reynolds are having career years?

    The Tribe is back.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    "So what? They'll blow it in the playoffs. They will. They will. They'll blow it in the playoffs."—Major League 2

     

    The Realist Says

    The Indians are probably a day late and a dollar short. 2012 was the optimal year to be better than average and steal a playoff spot in the AL Central.

    They've looked pretty good thus far, but their best-case scenario is battling for one of the wild-card spots. Their most likely scenario, though, is missing out on the playoffs altogether when Masterson comes back to Earth and guys like Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir continue to disappoint.

Detroit Tigers

4 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 95-67

    Current Record: 23-19

    Updated Prediction: 95-67

     

    The Optimist Says

    Miguel Cabrera is headed for a second consecutive batting Triple Crown, while Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez are all in the running for the pitching Triple Crown. The best offense and the best pitching staff result in the best record and a World Series ring.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    Sanchez has never been an 11.0 K/9 type of guy, nor has he finished any of the past six seasons with an ERA below 3.55. His impending regression, coupled with Rick Porcello's incessant lack of value, will eventually cause this team to miss the playoffs. Also, we don't trust Jose Valverde at all.

     

    The Realist Says

    The Tigers might not be the most complete team in baseball, but they are the best team in what we all expect will be the least competitive division. Whether they win 90 games or 100, the Tigers are more than likely going to the playoffs, where they'll have arguably the best four-man pitching rotation out of all the teams involved.

Kansas City Royals

5 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 79-83

    Current Record: 20-20

    Updated Prediction: 84-78

     

    The Optimist Says

    The bats will be better than they've been thus far. Billy Butler is still heating up. Mike Moustakas is not a .178 hitter. Both Eric Hosmer and Jeff Francoeur will eventually hit more than one home run.

    Once those guys come around, James Shields, Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie will carry the Royals deep into a playoff race.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    They spent too much time and money on the pitching staff this offseason and failed to recognize all of the holes in their lineup. Hosmer's never going to hit like he did in 2011, and it doesn't take any advanced metrics like WAR to tell you that Francoeur's on-base percentage is a serious problem.

    When you can only trust one-third of the lineup and three-fifths of the rotation, you're in for a rude midsummer awakening.

     

    The Realist Says

    The Royals are much better than they've been for the past decade, but they're still getting there. Could they sneak into the playoffs? Perhaps, but it's not likely.

    They've got their roster of the future, though. Jeremy Guthrie and Bruce Chen are the only regular contributors over the age of 31.

    2013 might not be their year, but these guys could be a World Series favorite within two years.

Minnesota Twins

6 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 68-94

    Current Record: 18-22

    Updated Prediction: 71-91

     

    The Optimist Says

    At least we're finding out that Oswaldo Arcia is pretty good, and we've got another 400 at-bats to figure out whether or not Aaron Hicks can actually hit at the big league level.

    Maybe we should have figured that out before trading away Denard Span and Ben Revere for Vance Worley and a pair of minor league pitchers, but that's OK.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    Is there any chance that we could find out if Little Big League was based on a true story yet to be told? Any up-and-coming 12-year-olds in the Minneapolis area?

     

    The Realist Says

    I can't even tell if the Twins are trying to rebuild their roster or trying to foolishly make a run at the playoffs right now.

    Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Ryan Doumit and Josh Willingham are all in their 30s and are making a combined $48.5 million this season. That's all fine and dandy, but the rest of the lineup is a bunch of guys in their mid-20s who aren't exactly beating the cover off of the ball.

    The pitching staff isn't quite chock full of aces, either. Given what they've got, the Twins are doing fine, but you have to wonder if this might finally be the year they start listening to deadline offers on Mauer.

Baltimore Orioles

7 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 77-85

    Current Record: 23-20

    Updated Prediction: 80-82

     

    The Optimist Says

    Aside from second base, the Orioles might have the best lineup. Chris Davis is mashing baseballs at first base, J.J. Hardy is hitting plenty of home runs of his own at shortstop and Manny Machado is giving Bryce Harper a run for his money for the honor of most intriguing 20-year-old. The outfield is solid, and Matt Wieters is a beast behind the plate. 

     

    The Pessimist Says

    Notice the optimist didn't say anything about the pitching staff? Injuries to Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez have left the Orioles with a considerably suspect starting rotation. The once-revered bullpen is a bit more human after giving up 11 earned runs in a span of two games against the Rays this weekend. And come on, none of us actually expects Davis to hit 47 home runs this year, right?

     

    The Realist Says

    Baltimore is probably going to exceed our expectations for a second straight season, but it won't result in the playoffs this time. In my opinion, the bats are for real and the pitching situation is pretty dismal.

    Can the Orioles routinely win games by a score of 8-5? Sure. Why not? But they're also going to lose their fair share of games by a score of 7-1. It feels like they're headed for a roughly .500 season.

Boston Red Sox

8 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 85-77

    Current Record: 27-17

    Updated Prediction: 90-72

     

    The Optimist Says

    Everyone has done a little bit of something. Mike Napoli, David Ortiz and Will Middlebrooks all have at least seven home runs. Dustin Pedroia is batting .343. Jacoby Ellsbury has 13 stolen bases, and Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava are holding down the corner outfield spots.

    That's only the offense. Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester have delivered nine solid starts each, and Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa have been crucial contributors in the bullpen. Once Andrew Bailey returns to the fold this week, they'll have the most complete roster in the big leagues.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    How long can you actually count on John Lackey to deliver quality starts? And what exactly is the plan for the fifth starter in Boston? Alfredo Aceves, Felix Doubront and Allen Webster have all struggled when given opportunities. 

     

    The Realist Says

    Ortiz and Pedroia are the faces of this franchise, but they're performing way over their heads at the moment, batting a combined .349 with nearly three times as many hits as strikeouts. The dominance of their bullpen, however, has been very understated—probably hidden behind all that Joel Hanrahan drama.

    Give the Red Sox a lead in the sixth inning or later and they probably aren't giving it back. That's a strong reason to believe in their playoff potential.

New York Yankees

9 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 83-79

    Current Record: 27-16

    Updated Prediction: 98-64

     

    The Optimist Says

    If you think they're good now, just wait until a few of the 11 guys on the DL start coming back.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    Robinson Cano and perhaps Brett Gardner are the only people who can possibly keep up their current pace.

    Vernon Wells is not hitting 38 home runs. Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay will eventually go back to batting .230. Hiroki Kuroda's ERA will balloon by at least a run. Mariano Rivera can't still be this dominant. And who's to say that guys like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez will be able to come back without missing a beat?

     

    The Realist Says

    Hating the Yankees and wanting them to fail doesn't make what they've done any less impressive. Working with an extremely makeshift roster, they have the third-best record in the majors in a season in which a lot of people projected them to finish at the bottom of the AL East.

    There's certainly a long way to go, but they now look like the favorite to win the division.

Tampa Bay Rays

10 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 94-68

    Current Record: 23-21

    Updated Prediction: 84-78

     

    The Optimist Says

    Wil Myers. Wil Myers. Wil Myers.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    The pitching will eventually doom the Rays. Jake McGee and Fernando Rodney are completely unreliable out of the bullpen. David Price is on the disabled list, and Matt Moore walks way too many guys to maintain an 8-0 record and a 2.29 ERA.

    Also, if you think James Loney is batting .348 all season, today would be a good day to quit sniffing glue.

     

    The Realist Says 

    The Rays' current pace of 86 wins seems to make sense. Loney's stats are too good to be true, but Jeremy Hellickson's 5.82 ERA will eventually regress toward his career average of 3.40.

    Other than that, the only real surprise on this roster has been how ineffective Price was before going on the DL. But they got to 23-20 without him being himself. 

Toronto Blue Jays

11 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 89-73

    Current Record: 18-26

    Updated Prediction: 70-92

     

    The Optimist Says

    R.A. Dickey has a quality start in three of his last four outings, and Emilio Bonifacio is batting .250 with a home run and four steals over the last two weeks. If you had told Blue Jays fans in November that those things would be cause for optimism as we near the end of May, they wouldn't have believed you.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    Adam Lind and Rajai Davis, both of whom were justifiably lambasted as platoon players at best in this preseason article, are leading the Blue Jays in batting average. Edwin Encarnacion, J.P. Arencibia and Jose Bautista have hit their share of home runs, but the team on the whole cannot hit the ball.

    Considering Dickey's 4.83 ERA is best among the regular starting pitchers, that's not a good harbinger of forthcoming wins.

     

    The Realist Says

    Not surprisingly, combining the rosters of a 73-win team and a 69-win team hasn't led to a 142-win team. The Blue Jays have been unlucky with a few injuries, but for the most part, this is just a roster that wasn't meant to compete in the AL East. 

Houston Astros

12 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 57-105

    Current Record: 12-32

    Updated Prediction: 49-113

     

    The Optimist Says

    The pitching is downright dreadful, but at least the bats have a little bit of life and are getting a fair amount of work. Chris Carter, Matt Dominguez, J.D. Martinez, Justin Maxwell, Marwin Gonzalez and Jason Castro are all batting between .230 and .243. It's far from great, but it's better for your future to bat .240 at the MLB level than to bat .290 at Triple-A. Let's hope so, at least.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    There's always next year.

     

    The Realist Says

    If you're at all surprised by how poorly the Astros are playing, I would encourage you to start learning how to express your thoughts in 140 characters or less, because there's this thing called Twitter that's going to be big news a few years from the year in which you're apparently still living.

    The only question from the start of the season has been whether or not their dumpster fire would reach a historic level of losing. Jury is still out on that one.

Los Angeles Angels

13 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 89-73

    Current Record: 17-27

    Updated Prediction: 81-81

     

    The Optimist Says

    The pitching staff will come around. Jered Weaver should be back in action soon. Tommy Hanson has pitched sparingly due to a death in the family. Joe Blanton isn't pitching anywhere near as well as he should, nor is C.J. Wilson. There's still time to turn this staff into a wild-card team.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    The heart of their order (Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick) has combined to miss precisely one game all season. Hamilton is the only one you could legitimately say has been mired in a season-long slump. They're still 10 games under .500.

     

    The Realist Says

    It just really doesn't appear to be their year. The Astros and Marlins are more laughably bad, and the Dodgers and Blue Jays have disappointed upon even greater expectations, but the Angels definitely deserve an honorable mention in the "What happened to that team?" discussion.

    Except for Weaver and, technically, Peter Bourjos, the key pieces of the team have remained healthy. Pujols has plantar fasciitis and Hamilton isn't hitting the ball like he used to, but they've had all their big bats in the lineup on a daily basis. They're simply not getting the job done as a team, and there's no real indication that's going to change.

Oakland Athletics

14 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 84-78

    Current Record: 23-22

    Updated Prediction: 83-79

     

    The Optimist Says

    The A's were 12-4 before the injury bug ran rampant through the outfield. Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick and Chris Young have all been on the DL at some point this season, but they're finally starting to get back to something resembling full strength. Once Brett Anderson heals up and Jarrod Parker starts pitching like he did in 2012, this team will be tough to beat.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    What if Anderson doesn't come back? And what if Parker doesn't bounce back? And what if Bartolo Colon actually starts pitching like the soon-to-be 40-year-old that he is? Are A.J. Griffin and Tommy Milone really able to play a full season at the top of the rotation?

     

    The Realist Says

    In Billy Beane we trust. Josh Donaldson has come out of nowhere and would probably be an All-Star at third base if not for Miguel Cabrera and Manny Machado. Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss and Seth Smith have been revitalized after several disappointing years elsewhere.

    Somehow and some way, the Athletics are always relevant at the end of the season. They appear to be slumping right now, but they've made a habit of turning on the afterburners after the All-Star break.

Seattle Mariners

15 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 72-90

    Current Record: 20-25

    Updated Prediction: 72-90

     

    The Optimist Says

    Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma are two of the best starting pitchers out there right now, and Tom Wilhelmsen is among the best at closing out a lead in the ninth inning. They're just one more better-than-average starting pitcher away from a legitimate arsenal of arms. 

     

    The Pessimist Says

    There are way too many black holes in the lineup. Kyle Seager has shown some real promise, and Michael Morse has shown some real power, but aside from that, it's primarily guys batting below .250 with little to no home run potential.

     

    The Realist Says

    Same story, different year for the Mariners. This is far from the first time we've seen them provide no run support for a pair of very good starting pitchers.

    They need to operate under the assumption that Jesus Montero is their catcher, Seager is their third baseman, Michael Saunders is one of their outfielders and everyone else that regularly swings a bat is 100 percent expendable at the trade deadline. That might be their only chance at getting the necessary prospects to break out of this vicious cycle.

Texas Rangers

16 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 90-72

    Current Record: 29-15

    Updated Prediction: 102-60

     

    The Optimist Says

    As a franchise, the Rangers have never won more than 96 games in a season. They could break that record by at least a dozen wins.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    This isn't the power-hitting Rangers lineup of yore. Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre are obviously still quite good, and Mitch Moreland looks like he might be the real deal, but there's no other pop in this lineup unless Jurickson Profar starts raking immediately.

     

    The Realist Says

    Three of the 10 worst teams are in their division, and we're only throwing a bone toward Oakland as a potential threat because of how the A's have done the past few years. Not only is Texas going to the playoffs, but it should have the AL West all but clinched by Labor Day.

Chicago Cubs

17 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 74-88

    Current Record: 18-25

    Updated Prediction: 70-92

     

    The Optimist Says

    The starting rotation is among the best in the majors, and Anthony Rizzo is on pace for 40 home runs. It's too early to consider playoffs, but the Cubbies could go .500 this season.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    I live in Chicago, and I begrudgingly root for the Cubs. I invented pessimism.

     

    The Realist Says

    With the exception of Starlin Castro, Rizzo and Jeff Samardzija, every potential trade piece will be shopped between now and the trade deadline. 2013 isn't happening, but if they can get good 2014 value for what Scott Feldman and Travis Wood have done through 43 games, they'd be crazy not to answer the phone.

    They'll remain somewhat competitive for another month, but will drop off in the second half as they essentially hold tryouts for the 2014 Opening Day roster.

Cincinnati Reds

18 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 91-71

    Current Record: 26-18

    Updated Prediction: 93-69

     

    The Optimist Says

    Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo maintain an on-base percentage better than .450, while Johnny Cueto returns from injury to give Cincinnati the best starting rotation in the league. Jay Bruce catches fire and fulfills preseason projections that had him hitting 35 home runs, and even Zack Cozart becomes useful. The Reds will win 100 games for the first time since 1976.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    Choosing to demote Tony Cingrani instead of Mike Leake comes back to bite the Reds in the butt, as Leake sputters through a dozen consecutive sub-par starts before Cingrani gets recalled to stop the bleeding.

    Meanwhile, Aroldis Chapman's arm literally explodes on the mound, leaving the Reds to spend several months trying to decide whether they least distrust Jonathan Broxton or Sean Marshall in the ninth inning.

     

    The Realist Says

    It would take both a collapse by the Reds and some kind of inspired run by another National League team in order for this club to miss the playoffs. The middle relievers are questionable at best, but the Reds have one of the most potent offenses, one of the best closers and one of the best starting rotations in the game today.

Milwaukee Brewers

19 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 81-81

    Current Record: 17-25

    Updated Prediction: 75-87

     

    The Optimist Says

    We're finally seeing the real Carlos Gomez—the type of guy who can hit 25 home runs and steal 35 bases in a season. Aramis Ramirez has looked good since spending nearly a month on the DL, and Corey Hart will be returning soon to add another powerful bat to a lineup that's already full of them.

    If the pitching staff could lower its ERA from the mid-4.00s to a nice, round 4.00, it could spell playoffs for the Brew Crew.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    Ryan Braun is obviously for real, but Yuniesky Betancourt, Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura have played absolutely out of their minds and are headed for some serious regression.

    Even with those guys blowing up thus far, the team is eight games under .500 thanks to a starting rotation that is miserable and only getting worse. When Tom Gorzelanny is one of the most trustworthy names on the pitching staff, you know you're in trouble.

     

    The Realist Says

    Both the optimist and the pessimist make some compelling arguments. The Brewers are arguably the toughest team to read right now. You have to think they'll turn their season around to a certain extent—their current record projects to 65.6 wins over the course of a full season—but you also have to assume they're headed for fourth place in the NL Central behind the Reds, St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pittsburgh Pirates

20 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 78-84

    Current Record: 26-18

    Updated Prediction: 83-79

     

    The Optimist Says

    At long last, this is finally the year. The World Series? Don't be crazy. The Pirates are finally going to finish a season above .500!

    Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte are two of the most exciting players to watch in all of baseball right now. Pedro Alvarez has power for days. A.J. Burnett is a Cy Young candidate (no, seriously) and Jason Grilli is arguably the best closer in the game today. 

     

    The Pessimist Says

    These are still the Pittsburgh Pirates. Their bad luck, combined with Francisco Liriano's injury history, cannot possibly equate to more than half a dozen starts before some sort of surgery.

    Mark Melancon and Grilli both have a sub-1.00 ERA and sub-1.00 WHIP, despite never having a better ERA than 2.48 or a better WHIP than 1.14 in any season.

    There's not a single batter you trust other than Marte and McCutchen.

     

    The Realist Says

    This is a .500 ballclub that happens to have won 66 percent of its last 38 games. It's won games fueled by outfield collisions, John Axford implosions and Clint Barmes home runs. The Pirates' luck will eventually run out, but they should be able to ride this hot start to their first above-.500 season in over 20 years.

St. Louis Cardinals

21 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 92-70

    Current Record: 28-15

    Updated Prediction: 95-67

     

    The Optimist Says

    The starting rotation has the best ERA in baseball, and Carlos Beltran is on pace to hit at least 35 home runs for the first time in seven years. Once Allen Craig and David Freese start hitting home runs like they should, the Cardinals are poised to turn their plus-51 run differential into a plus-250 by the end of a regular season that could lead to another World Series title.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    Aside from Adam Wainwright, do you really trust anyone in this rotation? Jaime Garcia is often injured and is back on the DL already this season. Lance Lynn started out even better in 2012 than he has in 2013 before collapsing down the stretch. Shelby Miller is only 22 years old, and you have to wonder how well he'll hold up beyond 150 or so innings pitched. 

     

    The Realist Says

    This roster looks even more equipped for a deep run than the one that went to the NLCS last season. If Edward Mujica and Trevor Rosenthal can keep locking games down in the late innings, the Cardinals could well play their way into home-field advantage for the playoffs.

Atlanta Braves

22 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 91-71

    Current Record: 25-18

    Updated Prediction: 93-69

     

    The Optimist Says

    B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward have combined for 29 hits, five home runs and four stolen bases. Two-thirds of the dream outfield is being outperformed by Kelly Johnson. Yet the Braves are several games above .500. Once those guys start hitting and Brandon Beachy comes back from the disabled list, the Braves are going to be unstoppable.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    The injuries are piling up and will eventually take their toll. Craig Kimbrel is doing just fine, but virtually every other member of the Opening Day bullpen is on the DL. Eighth-inning staple Jonny Venters just underwent his second Tommy John surgery, and it's looking like seventh-inning staple Eric O'Flaherty is going to need one of his own.

     

    The Realist Says

    The Braves are right where we thought they would be. Perhaps Justin Upton has done much more than we expected and B.J. Upton has done much less, but the end product is a team that will remain at or near the top of the NL East for the entire season. They'll need to grab a bullpen arm or two before the trade deadline, but that's an easier fix than most teams will be facing.

Miami Marlins

23 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 62-100

    Current Record: 12-32

    Updated Prediction: 48-114

     

    The Optimist Says

    At least the Miami Heat are doing well.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    Giancarlo Stanton is going to milk this hamstring injury for all it's worth. He was furious with ownership after last November's housecleaning trade, and now he's using this injury to refuse to play. Without him on the field for the long haul, the Marlins might lose 120 games.

     

    The Realist Says

    The Fish gave up on 2013 while it was still 2012. This year's win total will be atrocious, but we all knew that was coming. On the bright side, Justin Ruggiano has looked great and Jose Fernandez looks like the ace of the future. Coupled with Stanton, at least they have some semblance of a nucleus to build around going forward.

New York Mets

24 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 67-95

    Current Record: 17-24

    Updated Prediction: 69-93

     

    The Optimist Says

    David Wright exceeds his current pace of 24 home runs and 41 stolen bases, Matt Harvey wins the NL Cy Young and Ike Davis actually starts hitting the ball as the New York Metropolitans come out of nowhere to steal one of the wild-card berths.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    Lucas Duda, Marlon Byrd and Rick Ankiel form the worst starting outfield in the National League. Wright and Harvey are literally the only pieces of this roster worth keeping between now and the end of July. That they've won roughly 40 percent of their games to this point is an outright miracle.

     

    The Realist Says 

    Matt Harvey has never pitched more than 136 professional innings in a season, and his .197 BABIP is bound to regress at some point. Even if the bats do eventually heat up, Harvey is the only starter with an ERA better than 5.00, and he's much more likely to slip towards that number than to improve upon his current 1.55 ERA.

    If they didn't have 16 games left against the Cubs and Marlins, they'd be lucky to win 60 games.

Philadelphia Phillies

25 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 78-84

    Current Record: 21-23

    Updated Prediction: 76-86

     

    The Optimist Says

    The Phillies were playing at about 70 percent through the first month of the season. Roy Halladay was trying to pitch through all sorts of structural damage, and Carlos Ruiz and Delmon Young were out of the starting lineup. Now that they are at full strength, they're ready to go on a tear.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    The youngest starting infielder is 33 years old, and the lowest-paid starting infielder is making $11 million this year. Not only are the Philllies not going anywhere this year, but—if they don't blow it all up and start anew at the trade deadline—their aging and expensive roster will give them trouble for years to come.

     

    The Realist Says

    With the exception of Halladay, they've been incredibly fortunate to avoid the injury bug thus far. Chase Utley is hitting the ball and stealing bases like its 2009 all over again. Cliff Lee has pitched well, and Kyle Kendrick is having the best season of his career.

    And yet, even with almost everything going right, the Phillies are two games below .500 and have only played three of their 38 games against the Braves and Nationals.

Washington Nationals

26 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 96-66

    Current Record: 23-21

    Updated Prediction: 92-70

     

    The Optimist Says

    The Nationals' two highest-paid players (Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman) have spent time on the DL. Their third-highest-paid player (Dan Haren) has the worst ERA in the rotation. Their fifth-highest-paid player (Adam LaRoche) is batting just .229. These established veterans are bound to get healthy and improve as the season goes along. And Danny Espinosa can't really bat .163 forever, can he?

     

    The Pessimist Says

    Bryce Harper is too reckless to survive an entire season. Jordan Zimmermann can't possibly maintain a 1.62 ERA. Ryan Zimmerman has inherited the throwing arm of Chuck Knoblauch and was only able to rediscover some power last season because of that cortisone injection. Stephen Strasburg is the only one on the team who might actually improve his statistics between now and October.

     

    The Realist Says

    Everyone went a little crazy with their projections after last season. One could argue that Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Gio Gonzalez and Adam LaRoche each had a season in 2012 that will be better than any other season they produce between now and their retirement from the game.

    This is definitely a playoff-caliber team, though. With the exception of Harper, the bats have been slow to get going. But one of the best pitching rotations in the game has kept the Nats above .500 and will help carry them into the postseason.

Arizona Diamondbacks

27 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 83-79

    Current Record: 25-19

    Updated Prediction: 88-74

     

    The Optimist Says

    All those Justin Upton trade rumors over the past two years were just weighing this clubhouse down. His 40-homer potential may be out of the lineup, but good riddance! His baggage is in Atlanta with him, and that trade opened up the door for guys like Paul Goldschmidt to really shine.

    When Adam Eaton makes his season debut and Ian Kennedy and Brandon McCarthy start pitching like they should, the Diamondbacks could be the best team in the National League.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    I'm simply not buying it. Eric Chavez suddenly batting better than .320 at the age of 35? Didi Gregorius hits three home runs in 21 games after averaging one home run for every 88 plate appearances in the minors? Patrick Corbin has eight straight quality starts and a 1.52 ERA? I'll start to believe it if they're still doing it three months from now.

     

    The Realist Says

    Arizona has been better than anyone could have fully expected, and that's even with some key parts struggling. Martin Prado has hit over .300 in four of the last five seasons, but he's below .250 at the moment. Miguel Montero isn't even batting .185 after five straight seasons at .255 or better.

    With the Dodgers struggling and the Giants' pitching rotation coming apart at the seams, perhaps the NL West is Arizona's for the taking.

Colorado Rockies

28 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 63-99

    Current Record: 24-20

    Updated Prediction: 79-83

     

    The Optimist Says

    Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki are all legitimate contenders for the NL MVP at this point in the season, leading the Rockies to the highest run total in the National League. The starting rotation is about as good as we could have expected after last season's stupid Project 5183. And with this lineup, they don't need to be aces—they just need to be adequate, which they have been.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    Project 5183 messed up this entire pitching staff. You can't expect guys to go from 75 pitches every four days to 100 pitches every five days without some sort of eventual backlash. Whether it's the starting pitchers melting down due to overuse or relievers losing potency due to underutilization, something is eventually going to snap that not even the highest-scoring offense can make up for.

     

    The Realist Says

    Coors Field has had literally no impact on this team. Its home-road splits for home runs and ERA are almost identical. Both the offense and pitching are showing up regardless of where the games are played.

    The Rockies will have their work cut out for them against the other contenders in the NL West, but it's looking like they're more likely to contend for third place in the division than battle San Diego for last place.

Los Angeles Dodgers

29 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 88-74

    Current Record: 17-25

    Updated Prediction: 82-80

     

    The Optimist Says

    Clayton Kershaw is the runaway favorite for the NL Cy Young, and Hyun-Jin Ryu is at least in the discussion for NL Rookie of the Year. With Zack Greinke back in the lineup and Kenley Jansen hopefully replacing Brandon League as the closer, the only piece of the puzzle standing between the Dodgers and a playoff race is Matt Kemp rediscovering his typical power.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    Maybe Kemp eventually turns it around, but Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez can't possibly keep up their current pace. Crawford isn't batting .300, nor is he even approaching the current projections of 20 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Gonzalez might bat around .290, but he can't keep hitting .330.

    And Hanley Ramirez was a terrible acquisition. When he hasn't been injured, he's only batting .279 in a Dodgers uniform.

     

    The Realist Says

    $200 million rosters are supposed to be great, but it's hard to win when nearly one-third of your team salary is on the disabled list. If Greinke bounces back without missing a beat, it'll be a huge step in the right direction, as Matt Magill and Stephen Fife were pretty useless in his absence. With a one-two-three of Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu, it's hard to imagine the Dodgers not at least clawing back to .500.

San Diego Padres

30 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 76-86

    Current Record: 20-23

    Updated Prediction: 74-88

     

    The Optimist Says

    Jedd Gyorko has been about as good as advertised at second base, and Everth Cabrera's speed at shortstop is second to none. If Yonder Alonso and Kyle Blanks can actually sustain the power that they have shown, that's a pretty solid nucleus of guys under the age of 27 to build around for the future. What? You were expecting optimism for the Padres in 2013?

     

    The Pessimist Says

    Mat Latos is 4-0 with a 2.91 ERA for the Reds. Edinson Volquez is 3-4 with a 5.55 ERA for the Padres. Brad Boxberger is in the minors. Yasmani Grandal hasn't played in a game yet this season because of PEDs. Alonso has been OK, but wouldn't it be nice if the Padres could undo that trade from December 2011?

     

    The Realist Says

    Chase Headley will be wearing a different uniform in August, leaving the Padres with possibly the least formidable lineup in all of baseball. Coupled with the fact that I wouldn't trust a single pitcher on the roster other than Luke Gregerson, 74 wins is probably generous.

San Francisco Giants

31 of 32

    Preseason Prediction: 91-71

    Current Record: 24-20

    Updated Prediction: 91-71

     

    The Optimist Says

    They've won two of the last three World Series and are several games above .500. It's hardly being optimistic to say there's nothing to worry about in San Francisco.

     

    The Pessimist Says

    There's something hopelessly wrong with this pitching staff.

    Madison Bumgarner has been better than OK, but I don't feel good in games that anyone else is starting. It'll take more than a few good starts for me to trust Barry Zito after what's felt like 10 straight awful seasons. Tim Lincecum is struggling for a second consecutive season, and his woes are nothing compared to what Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong have endured through seven weeks.

    There are a lot of reliable bats in the starting lineup to keep the Giants in any game, but the ERA of the starting rotation is more than a bit concerning.

     

    The Realist Says

    The starting rotation hasn't been what we've come to expect, but the bullpen has been solid, with George Kontos being the only reliever with an ERA over 3.00. Brandon Crawford, Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro have been pleasant surprises in a lineup that should help keep the team afloat while Cain and Vogelsong figure out how to pitch again.

Summary

32 of 32

    Here are all the predictions on one slide. And just to make sure they're completely wrong, I'll predict the Reds over the Tigers in the World Series.

    Division Team W L
    AL East New York 98 64
    Boston** 90 72
    Tampa Bay 84 78
    Baltimore 80 82
    Toronto 70 92

    AL Central

    Detroit 95 67
    Kansas City** 84 78
    Cleveland 84 78
    Chicago 79 83
    Minnesota 71 91
    AL West Texas 102 60
    Oakland 83 79
    Los Angeles 81 81
    Seattle 72 90
    Houston 49 113

    NL East

    Atlanta 93 69
    Washington** 92 70
    Philadelphia 76 86
    New York 69 93
    Miami 48 114
    NL Central St. Louis 95 67
    Cincinnati** 93 69
    Pittsburgh 83 79
    Milwaukee 75 87
    Chicago 70 92
    NL West San Francisco 91 71
    Arizona 88 74
    Los Angeles 82 80
    Colorado 79 83
    San Diego 74 88

     

    **Denotes Wild Card team

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