Updated Win/Loss Predictions for All 30 MLB Teams at the Three-Quarter Point

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2013

Updated Win/Loss Predictions for All 30 MLB Teams at the Three-Quarter Point

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    It's almost over.

    Amazingly, three quarters of MLB's regular season are in the books, with roughly 40 games remaining on the schedule for every team.

    Contenders will be looking to stay healthy and catch fire at the right time, while those not in the playoff hunt will revel in the chance to play the role of spoiler.

    With only one team, the Atlanta Braves, holding a double-digit lead over the rest of their division, the race to clinch one of the six available postseason spots in each league is going to be filled with an equal amount of awe-inspiring and heart-breaking moments, making the next eight weeks must-see baseball.

    While our ultimate goal is to predict what the final standings are going to look like, it's helpful to look back at how teams were perceived in the not-so-distant past. With that in mind, you'll see three sets of predictions for each team, all analyzed and broken down by some of my talented colleagues here at B/R.

    We've got Adam Wells' preseason predictions and Ben Klein's midseason forecast, along with my updated picks at the three-quarter point of the season.

    While their picks didn't influence mine, they give us a good idea of how perceptions have changed over the course of the season.

    Let's see how it's all going to shake out, shall we?


    *Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and are current through games of August 12.

AL East

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    Updated PredictionsPreseason PicksMidseason Picks
    Tampa Bay*92-70.56894-68.58085-77.525
    New York82-80.50683-79.51283-79.512

     **(Division winner), *(Wild-card berth)

    Predicted Year-End Finish (Current Record)

    1. Boston Red Sox (71-49)

    One of four teams in baseball with a triple-digit run differential, Boston continues to win despite the second-half struggles of Dustin Pedroia, who has hit .185 with a .555 OPS since the All-Star break. 

    Stephen Drew has been on fire since returning from the disabled list on July 20, hitting .324 with a .961 OPS in 21 games, while David Ortiz continues to put up MVP-caliber numbers, though he has no chance of winning the award.

    If Will Middlebrooks has rediscovered his swing while banished to the minor leagues (it looks like he may have), his recent promotion might be the move that puts Boston over the top in the division.

    The team's starting rotation could really use a healthy Clay Buchholz, who hasn't pitched since June 8 due to a sore shoulder. While he remains optimistic about returning to action, telling The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham "I'm on my way," there is no timetable for his return.

    2. Tampa Bay Rays (66-50)

    After going 21-5 in July, the best single-month record of any team in baseball this season, Tampa Bay is sliding fast, losing five straight games and seven of its last 10.

    Much of the blame can be placed on the shoulders of Evan Longoria and the injured Desmond Jennings, who are hitting a combined .204 with 11 extra-base hits (four home runs) and 12 RBI since the Midsummer Classic.

    The rest of that blame can be placed on the bullpen, which has only two pitchers—Joel Peralta (2.84) and Alex Torres (3.97)—with second-half ERAs below 4.00.

    Despite those ugly numbers, if we've learned anything, it's that you can never count a Joe Maddon-led team out of anything. Tampa Bay will do just enough down the stretch to clinch one of the two AL Wild Card berths. 

    3. Baltimore Orioles (65-53)

    Baltimore's playoff fate likely lies in a stretch of 15 consecutive games against contenders that begins Aug. 19 against Tampa Bay. Oakland follows the Rays to Camden Yards before the Orioles hit the road for three-game sets in Boston, New York and Cleveland.

    While Chris Davis and Adam Jones continue to rake at the plate, Manny Machado has struggled badly since making the first All-Star Game appearance of his young career, hitting only .228 with a .627 OPS. 

    The team's efforts to bolster its starting rotation have delivered mixed results, with Bud Norris (2-0, 2.65 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) looking great and Scott Feldman (2-3, 5.18 ERA, 1.30 WHIP) having great difficulty in getting batters out, though the latter is coming off of his best outing in an Orioles uniform.

    4. New York Yankees (60-57)

    The magic that Joe Girardi was able to weave over the season's first half has worn off, and a harsh reality has set in for the Yankees: This year's team just isn't all that good.

    Injuries are a part of the game, and while most teams would be ill-equipped to overcome the amount of talent that the Yankees lineup has lost to injury, that fact does nothing to help the team this season.

    Despite the returns of Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez from injury, the Yankees just don't have the firepower needed to catch up to the pack—or to overcome their issues in the starting rotation.

    After Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova, the Yankees don't have a starting pitcher that they can count on to give their beleaguered offense a fighting chance. Just check out the second-half stats:

    Rest of Rotation130-77.091.86663.006.00

    That's awful.

    With three teams to jump over in the AL East and four teams to get past in the race for a wild-card spot, the Yankees need a miraculous finish to the season to have any chance of making the playoffs.

    At a minimum, the team would likely need to win 30 of its next 41 games to give itself a reasonable shot—and make its season-ending series against the Astros mean something other than what it represents: the end of an era, with Mariano Rivera's retirement and Andy Pettitte likely to follow his lead.

    I just don't see it happening.

    5. Toronto Blue Jays (54-64)

    While the team's offense has been playing very well in the second half of the season, ranking fourth in runs scored (115) and third in team OPS (.715), it's simply not enough to overcome their terrible start to the season and get out of the deep hole in which they currently reside.

    The culprit is the pitching staff, which has posted an MLB-worst 5.41 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP that trails only Philadelphia in ineffectiveness since the All-Star break.

    Two of the team's biggest scapegoats in the season's first half, Mark Buehrle (5 GS, 2.88 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) and R.A. Dickey (5 GS, 3.68 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) have been substantially better as of late, but their efforts aren't enough to salvage what has been a lost, disappointing season for the Blue Jays.

AL Central

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    Updated PredictionsPreseason PicksMidseason Picks
    Kansas City82-80.50679-83.48877-85.475

     **(Division winner)

    Predicted Year-End Finish (Current Record)

    1. Detroit Tigers (69-48)

    Miguel Cabrera is on pace to shatter his Triple Crown-winning numbers from a year ago and repeat the feat, winning his second consecutive AL MVP, while Max Scherzer is closing in on the first AL Cy Young Award of his career. The Tigers are rolling along like a fine-tuned machine.

    Oh, and did I mention that Justin Verlander seems to have cured what ailed him for most of the season? Over his last three starts, the perennial Cy Young and MVP candidate has pitched to a 2.57 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, striking out 22 batters over 21 innings of work while walking only six.

    While there have been bumps in the road, it's nearly impossible to imagine Cleveland catching Detroit in the AL Central.

    2. Cleveland Indians (63-56)

    Cleveland has enough talent to overtake Kansas City for second place in the division, with only 12 of the team's last 42 games coming against teams with a winning record.

    Despite the second-half surge by the team's starting rotation—all but Zach McAllister have an ERA lower than 3.05 since the All-Star break—it's hard to have supreme confidence that Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir will be able to keep up their current level of play.

    Only three of the team's batters—Yan Gomes (1.239), Ryan Raburn (.939) and Michael Brantley (.761)—have mustered a post-All-Star break OPS above .690, leaving the team with nowhere near enough firepower to catch Detroit.

    3. Kansas City Royals (62-54)

    While the Royals are one of four teams with a winning record (5-3) against Detroit this season, they still have 11 games remaining against the division-leading Tigers. That's enough to derail the playoff hopes of any team, and it's why I have the Royals finishing just behind Cleveland in the standings.

    There's not much to dislike about the Royals other than that schedule.

    Mike Moustakas (.293 BA, .852 OPS) and Billy Butler (.353 BA, .946 OPS) have shaken off their early-season struggles, Eric Hosmer (.327 BA, .826 OPS) continues to swing a hot bat, and the pitching staff has been outstanding, with a 2.54 ERA and 1.19 WHIP since the All-Star break.

    4. Minnesota Twins (53-63)

    Minnesota's starting rotation continues to be the team's biggest issue, with only Samuel Deduno consistently able to give the team a chance to win when he takes the mound.

    Kevin Correia, Scott Diamond and Kyle Gibson have combined to pitch to a 6.44 ERA over a dozen second-half starts. That's not a recipe for success on any level.

    While Justin Morneau has rediscovered his power stroke, with seven home runs and 12 extra-base hits over his last 24 games, the veteran first baseman continues to struggle badly, hitting only .228 since the All-Star break. He looks to be limping toward what could very well be the end of his Twins career.

    5. Chicago White Sox (45-72)

    With the rebuilding process in full effect, the White Sox are ill-equipped to handle a schedule that finds them facing teams with a winning record in 31 of their last 41 games.

    The stretch run is all about continuing to evaluate whether the veteran pieces that remain can be part of the team's future and getting youngsters like Avisail Garcia and Andre Rienzo as much major league action as possible.

AL West

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    Updated PredictionsPreseason PicksMidseason Picks
    Los Angeles78-84.48189-73.54980-82.494

     **(Division winner), *(Wild-card berth)

    Predicted Year-End Finish (Current Record)

    1. Texas Rangers (69-50)

    Already one of the most talented teams in baseball, Texas' recent additions and the return of some injured players will put the Rangers over the top in the AL West.

    Alex Rios has gone 4-for-11 with a pair of extra-base hits and RBI to go along with three runs scored since arriving in Texas to replace the suspended Nelson Cruz, while Matt Garza has been solid in each of his four starts for the club, solidifying the starting rotation behind Yu Darvish.

    2. Oakland Athletics (67-50)

    A 12-game stretch that begins Aug. 23 on the road in Baltimore will ultimately decide Oakland's fate in the race for the AL West. After a three-game series against the Orioles, the A's travel to Detroit for four games before returning home for three games each against Tampa Bay and Texas.

    Oakland owns a combined 7-16 record against those four teams and has been outscored 120-76 in those 23 games. That's not good, and it spells poor results for the defending division champions in their quest to successfully defend their crown.

    3. Los Angeles Angels (53-64)

    With too big of a hole for the team to climb out of without Albert Pujols, the rest of the 2013 season is about getting playing time and major league experience for some of the team's young players, namely Kole Calhoun and J.B. Shuck.

    Mike Trout continues to play at a ridiculously high level, with a .367/.528/.595 second-half slash line, while Josh Hamilton continues to struggle, with a .220/.267/.402 line over the same time.

    4. Seattle Mariners (54-63)

    Seattle's offense has been significantly better since the All-Star break, averaging 4.5 runs per game, but the team's pitching has fallen off.

    Felix Hernandez is, well, Felix Hernandez, and Hisashi Iwakuma has overcome some bumpy starts to keep his second-half ERA under 3.00, but the rest of the rotation has been dreadful, with a combined 6.64 ERA and 1.67 WHIP in 12 post-All-Star break starts.

    5. Houston Astros (37-80)

    Despite walking more batters (17) than he's struck out (14) and having only one win in five starts, Jarred Cosart has pitched to a 1.36 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, giving the Astros some much-needed hope for their future rotation.

    With more reinforcements on the way when rosters expand in September, the rebuilding process in Houston is set to move into its next phase—the incorporation of young talent with upside into the starting lineup.

NL East

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    Updated PredictionsPreseason PicksMidseason Picks
    New York75-87.46367-95.41470-92.432

     **(Division winner)

    Predicted Year-End Finish (Current Record)

    1. Atlanta Braves (72-47)

    It took a while, but finally Atlanta's supremely talented outfield of Jason Heyward, B.J. Upton and Justin Upton is producing at the plate. The trio has combined to hit .317 with 20 extra-base hits (nine home runs), 29 RBI and 38 runs scored since the All-Star break.

    With Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson continuing their early-season success, only two teams—Detroit (123) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (121)—have put more runs on the board in the second half of the season than Atlanta's 120.

    On the mound, Alex Wood has filled in admirably for the injured Tim Hudson, while Brandon Beachy continues to improve with each start as he works his way back into form from 2012 Tommy John surgery.

    With a 14-game lead over Washington in the division, it would take a collapse of epic proportions—one that nobody sees coming—for the Braves to not be crowned NL East champions. 

    2. Washington Nationals (57-60)

    The Nationals offense is finally beginning to show some signs of life, but it's too little, too late.

    Atlanta has the division all but locked up, and while Washington is within shouting distance of Cincinnati and St. Louis for a wild-card berth, it needs to first get past Arizona, which has a three-game lead over the Nationals in the race.

    Washington is going to need an extended winning streak—and help from other teams—if its final six games of the season, against St. Louis and Arizona, are going to have a playoff berth resting on the outcome.

    That's asking too much from the baseball gods.

    3. Philadelphia Phillies (53-65)

    It's all about next season for the Phillies, who, at this point, can only hope that their key pieces can avoid a catastrophic injury between now and the end of the season.

    4. New York Mets (54-62)

    Like Philadelphia, it's all about the future in New York.

    Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler are the real deals in the rotation, but both will have their innings limited down the stretch. 

    Position players like Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores offer hope for the future, but they will face adversity as teams build up scouting reports and force the youngsters to adjust on the fly.

    With David Wright potentially out for the rest of the season, as reported by CBS Sports' Dayn Perry, the Mets are going to end the season with a whimper, not a bang.

    5. Miami Marlins (44-73)

    Stop me if you've heard this before: It's all about...the future.

    Like the Mets, the Marlins have a pair of big-time pitching prospects in their early 20s with Jose Fernandez and Jacob Turner. Christian Yelich looks to be the real deal and another building block, along with Giancarlo Stanton, around which the Marlins can sculpt a future lineup.

NL Central

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    Updated PredictionsPreseason PicksMidseason Picks
    St. Louis*91-71.56292-70.56893-69.574

     **(Division winner), *(Wild-card berth)

    Predicted Year-End Finish (Current Record)

    1. Pittsburgh Pirates (70-47)

    While Pittsburgh has 45 games remaining on the schedule, the team's playoff aspirations largely rest on the results of 15 of them—nine against St. Louis and six against Cincinnati, with both teams right on the Pirates' heels for the division lead.

    But this isn't your usual Pittsburgh club, and for the first time since Barry Bonds, Andy Van Slyke and Bobby Bonilla patrolled the outfield in Pittsburgh—20 years ago—the Pirates are going to win the division and make the playoffs.

    2. St. Louis Cardinals (67-50)

    The Cardinals have a brutal 17-game stretch coming up that sees them take on Atlanta and Cincinnati at Busch Stadium, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati on the road and then Pittsburgh again at home.

    St. Louis owns a combined 11-14 record against those teams this season, and even if they wind up with similar results, it's not going to negatively impact the team's playoff hopes.

    The rest of the schedule is easy enough—and the Cardinals are talented enough, especially when Yadier Molina returns from injury—to clinch the first NL Wild Card berth.

    3. Cincinnati Reds (66-52)

    Though it won't be easy, especially with six of its last nine games coming against Pittsburgh, Cincinnati will join St. Louis as a wild-card team.

    The Reds offense is as talented as any in baseball, and the team's pitching staff—both the rotation and bullpen—has been outstanding for most of the season. With Johnny Cueto and Sean Marshall eventually expected to rejoin the club, the Reds will get a boost just when they need one.

    4. Chicago Cubs (52-66)

    Slowly but surely, things are looking up in Chicago.

    Travis Wood looks like he's going to be a big part of the team's future rotation, while Junior Lake looks like he's going to do the same for the lineup. Anthony Rizzo has struggled this season, but there's no question he's the key to the team's future success, and his numbers have nowhere to go but up.

    When rosters expand in September, it's likely that we'll see third baseman Mike Olt and right-handed starter Justin Grimm, acquired from the Texas Rangers at the trade deadline, make their Cubs debuts, giving the Wrigley faithful some more hope for the future.

    5. Milwaukee Brewers (51-67)

    The Brewers will be happy when this season comes to an end and they're able to put Ryan Braun's suspension and Yovani Gallardo's regression behind them.

    Things aren't all doom and gloom, however. Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura established themselves as legitimate stars in the lineup, while Wily Peralta finally looks like a Brewers pitching prospect that is going to pan out.

    Since July 2, the 24-year-old has pitched to a 2.06 ERA and 1.01 WHIP over 52.1 innings, walking 17 while striking out 43. 

    A quick re-tooling this winter could find the Brewers back in contention next season.

NL West

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    Updated PredictionsPreseason PicksMidseason Picks
    Los Angeles**98-64.60591-71.56290-72.555
    San Francisco75-87.46391-71.56280-82.494
    San Diego74-88.45776-86.46976-86.469

     **(Division winner)

    Predicted Year-End Finish (Current Record)

    1. Los Angeles Dodgers (68-50)

    Over their last 37 games, the Dodgers have gone 30-7.

    It doesn't matter if it's on the road or at home; all they do is win.

    Just think: They've done most of this without their best player, Matt Kemp. He's going to be back sooner or later, and that makes the Dodgers a more dangerous team than they currently are.

    That's bad news for the rest of the National League.

    With no glaring weaknesses and a 7.5-game gap separating them from the Diamondbacks for the division lead, the Dodgers are going back to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

    2. Arizona Diamondbacks (60-57)

    Arizona is what it is, and that's a .500 ballclub that needs another big bat, another quality starting pitcher and reliable late-inning relievers to lean on.

    That the Diamondbacks have stayed in the playoff hunt as long as they have is a testament to the kind of job manager Kirk Gibson has done, and with some reinforcements next season—including the arrival of top pitching prospect Archie Bradley—the Diamondbacks should have a better chance of returning to postseason action.

    3. Colorado Rockies (56-64)

    While the years may change, Colorado's problems remain the same.

    Starting pitching.

    Until the team is able to acquire some front-of-the-rotation talent—top prospect Jonathan Gray could be that player, though he's at least two years away from making an impact—the Rockies will continue to struggle.

    It's a shame, really, because few teams have an offense as potentially potent as Colorado does, but without the arms to support it, the postseason is nothing more than a dream.

    4. San Francisco Giants (52-65)

    After winning two World Series titles in three years, San Francisco's luck has run out.

    Aside from Madison Bumgarner, the team's rotation—supposedly its strength—has been mediocre at best.

    San Francisco needs to add talent at multiple positions on offense, most notably in the outfield and at the infield corners, where the team needs to add at least one legitimate power hitter to help move the offense along.

    5. San Diego Padres (53-65)

    Wherefore art thou, Chase Headley?

    A year after putting up MVP-caliber numbers and leading the National League with 115 RBI, San Diego's third baseman has disappeared, hitting only .242 with eight home runs and 35 RBI on the season.

    The Edinson Volquez experiment in the starting rotation has been an abject failure, and while there is help on the way next season in the form of injured starters like Cory Luebke and Joe Wieland, the team needs to keep adding to the staff if they have any chance of contending in the NL West.