Updated Win/Loss Projections for Every MLB Team at the Midseason Mark
There's an absurd amount of parity in MLB.
In 2014, there likely won't be any 100-game winners or 100-game losers, but there will be a ton of teams in the playoff hunt as the season wears on. What follows are win/loss projections for all 30 MLB clubs. The projections are broken down by division, and there's a heavy emphasis on run differential and starting rotations.
Which dark horse will make it to October, and which favorites will be going home early? Let's find out.
Projected AL West Final Standings
- Oakland Athletics
- Los Angeles Angels
- Seattle Mariners
- Texas Rangers
- Houston Astros
Current Record: 34-46; fifth in the AL West
Projected Record: 73-89; fifth in the AL West
After a 9-19 start, the Houston Astros appeared on track for a fourth 100-loss campaign in a row. That's all changed with the arrival of George Springer, who has already cracked 15 home runs since hitting the big leagues in mid-April.
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel is also worth a mention. The 26-year-old owns a share of the American League lead with three complete games. The way the Astros have been playing, the club could easily challenge the Texas Rangers for the fourth spot in the AL West.
Current Record: 35-43; fourth in the AL West
Projected Record: 74-88; fourth in the AL West
The Texas Rangers' season has been torpedoed by injuries.
Currently, the club has 14 players on the disabled list. The health problems have had a particularly dramatic effect on the pitching staff, which checks in with the second-worst ERA in baseball (4.62).
The losses will really start to pile up for manager Ron Washington's squad if the club ends up selling off some of its high-priced veterans. Outfielder Alex Rios, who is playing on the final season of his contract, could become a top trade target.
Current Record: 42-37; third in the AL West
Projected Record: 86-76; third in the AL West
The Seattle Mariners have been one of the major surprises of 2014.
The addition of Robinson Cano has helped revitalize the club's offense. The story of Seattle's season, though, has been its remarkable pitching staff. Felix Hernandez is a prominent contender to lock up the Cy Young Award, which would be his second such honor.
As a group, Seattle's pitchers have the second-lowest ERA (3.27) in the AL. Still, a wild-card spot will be out of reach for the Mariners in 2014.
Los Angeles Angels
Current Record: 44-33; second in the AL West
Projected Record: 91-71; second in the AL West
The Los Angeles Angels are on their way to the club's first playoff appearance since 2009.
The club's high-powered offense ranks near the top of the leaderboard in nearly every major category. While the team's rotation has been more effective than anticipated, adding a starting pitcher via trade would certainly help.
Either way, the Angels have the talent to claim the first wild-card spot in the AL.
Current Record: 48-30; first in AL West
Projected Record: 95-67; first in AL West
The Oakland Athletics' run differential is simply ridiculous.
The mark stands at plus-129, which is 78 runs better than any other club in baseball. Oakland's success is no secret. The team has one of the stingiest pitching staffs in the game and can score runs up and down the lineup. Plus, it doesn't hurt that manager Bob Melvin has a knack for getting the most out of all 25 of his players.
Projected NL West Final Standings
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- San Francisco Giants
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Colorado Rockies
- San Diego Padres
San Diego Padres
Current Record: 34-45; fourth in the NL West
Projected Record: 68-94; fifth in the NL West
There's just one word to describe the San Diego Padres offense in 2014: painful.
The Padres rank last in runs with 238 in their first 79 games. For context, the Oakland Athletics and Colorado Rockies are already on the verge of topping the 400-run mark.
The bullpen, headlined by closer Huston Street, has been by far the most productive group on the team. Regardless, the club has the second-worst run differential in the National League (minus-57) and is set to finish with one of the worst records in baseball.
Current Record: 35-44; third in the NL West
Projected Record: 74-88; fourth in the NL West
Following a promising start to the season, the Colorado Rockies have been struggling since the beginning of May. The last month has been particularly rough, as the team has a minus-46 run differential in June.
There's no doubt that the Rockies have been hurt by an unusually high number of injuries. An array of pitchers have landed on the disabled list, and the lineup has lost Nolan Arenado, Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Gonzalez.
The biggest problem has been that the starting staff has surrendered too many runs. Colorado's rotation ranks last in all of baseball in ERA (4.93).
Current Record: 33-48; fifth in the NL West
Projected Record: 75-87; third in the NL West
After a nightmare start to the season, the Arizona Diamondbacks are quietly trending upward.
The Diamondbacks began the year 9-22 but have since turned in a 24-26 record. Manager Kirk Gibson remains upbeat about how the second half will turn out, as he explained via Vince Marotta of Arizona Sports. "I still believe there's going to be a good run in this team and we'll get back to .500," Gibson said.
Climbing all the way to .500 doesn't look likely, but there is enough time in the season for Gibson to prove to chief baseball officer Tony La Russa that he deserves to manage the team in 2015.
San Francisco Giants
Current Record: 46-33; first in the NL West
Projected Record: 92-70; second in the NL West
The San Francisco Giants have been sliding.
The team has dropped 12 of its past 16 contests, and its lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West has dwindled to two games in the process. Second base remains a problem spot for San Francisco, but the rotation is the club's central concern.
Outside of Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco's starting staff has been wildly inconsistent. For no pitcher is that more true than Tim Lincecum, who is equally capable of getting shelled or tossing a no-hitter (which he did for the second time on Wednesday) in any given outing.
Manger Bruce Bochy will guide the squad back to October, but it will be as the first wild card, as the Dodgers will eventually overtake the Giants.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Current Record: 45-36; second in the NL West
Projected Record: 94-68; first in the NL West
The Los Angeles Dodgers are on the rise.
After trailing the San Francisco Giants by as many as 9.5 games in the NL West, the team has sliced the number to just two.
The factor that will ultimately give the Dodgers the edge over their northern rivals is their rotation, which is downright dynamic. Currently, three starters have sub-3.00 ERAs (Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Josh Beckett), and Hyun-Jin Ryu owns a mark of 3.06. Plus, the Dodgers have the moola to make a blockbuster addition in advance of the trade deadline.
Projected AL Central Final Standings
- Detroit Tigers
- Kansas City Royals
- Cleveland Indians
- Minnesota Twins
- Chicago White Sox
Chicago White Sox
Current Record: 36-44; fifth in the AL Central
Projected Record: 73-89; fifth in the AL Central
Jose Abreu is one of the most exciting players in baseball.
Unfortunately, there's only so much that the rookie slugger can do for the the Chicago White Sox. One of Chicago's major ailments is that its pitching staff just isn't throwing strikes. White Sox pitchers have dished out the most free passes in baseball (301), which is never a solid strategy.
Chicago should win 10 more games than a season ago, but a last-place finish is still on tap.
Current Record: 36-41; fourth in the AL Central
Projected Record: 75-87; fourth in the AL Central
At first glance, it's easy enough to see what's wrong with the Minnesota Twins.
The starting rotation just isn't getting enough outs. The pitching staff as a whole ranks third-to-last in the AL in ERA (4.38). Over the past month, though, Minnesota's starters have been considerably more effective. In particular, Kyle Gibson and Kevin Correia have both stood out with ERAs below 3.00 during that stretch.
Even with those improvements, the Twins will have a difficult time keeping pace with the wild-card leaders. Should Minnesota tumble out of the race, veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki could make for a valuable trade chip.
Current Record: 38-40; third in the AL Central
Projected Record: 84-78; third in the AL Central
The Cleveland Indians have rebounded nicely after an 11-17 start in March and April.
Manager Terry Francona's club is four games over .500 since the beginning of May. Carlos Santana has been on a tear as of late. The first baseman has clubbed four home runs and posted a .395 average in the past 10 games to help pull Cleveland back into the wild-card hunt.
The Tribe's downfall, however, will be its starting staff. Cleveland's rotation, which ranks No. 25 in ERA, just isn't playoff-caliber.
Kansas City Royals
Current Record: 40-38; second in the AL Central
Projected Record: 90-72; second in the AL Central
The Kansas City Royals don't have a lot of power. The team is last in baseball with just 45 home runs in its first 78 contests.
While Kansas City is lacking in the power department, the key to success for the Royals has been the club's strong but unheralded rotation. Nobody has been better than Danny Duffy, who owns a 2.69 ERA and has limited the opposition to a .189 average. Meanwhile, James Shields actually has the highest ERA of the team's five starters at 3.79.
The Royals are on their way to the franchise's first postseason appearance since 1985, and they'll do so as the second wild-card winner. That means there will be just one playoff participant from the AL East.
Current Record: 43-32; first in the AL Central
Projected Record: 92-70; first in the AL Central
The Detroit Tigers have all sorts of question marks that need to be answered.
What will become of Justin Verlander? Can the disastrous bullpen get back on track? Is Eugenio Suarez really the answer at shortstop?
Still, somebody needs to win the AL Central, and right now the Tigers look like the team with the best chance of doing so. With Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera in the lineup, Detroit's underwhelming pitching staff has room for error.
NL Central Projected Final Standings
- Milwaukee Brewers
- St. Louis Cardinals
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- Cincinnati Reds
- Chicago Cubs
Current Record: 33-44; fifth in the NL Central
Projected Record: 66-96; fifth in the NL Central
Even though the Chicago Cubs are sitting in the cellar in the NL Central, there's plenty of reason for optimism.
Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo have enjoyed big seasons at the plate, and both could earn spots on the NL All-Star team. The club has also received tons of production out of its rotation with Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel and Jake Arrieta all excelling.
The Cubs should avoid a 100-loss campaign, but it could get ugly—especially if arms like Samardzija and Hammel are dealt.
Current Record: 40-38; third in the NL Central
Projected Record: 80-82; fourth in the NL Central
There are four quality teams in the NL Central.
Unfortunately for the Cincinnati Reds, they're No. 4 on that list. The Reds have received tons of offensive production from catcher Devin Mesoraco and third baseman Todd Frazier, both of whom are deserving of All-Star spots. However, right-fielder Jay Bruce and first baseman Joey Votto have both been major underachievers in 2014.
With those two stars struggling, the Reds will have a difficult time climbing the standings in a crowded division.
Current Record: 40-39; fourth in the NL Central
Projected Record: 84-78; third in the NL Central
After a mundane start to the season, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been playing much better baseball over the past two months.
While Andrew McCutchen has been having a characteristically strong year (.315/.420/.529, 12 HR, 48 RBI), the addition of Gregory Polanco has also provided the club with a boost. Through his first 16 games, the rookie outfielder is hitting .338 (16-for-68) with two home runs and 10 RBI.
Still, if Charlie Morton is going to be Pittsburgh's most reliable pitcher, it won't be easy to finish higher than third in the standings.
St. Louis Cardinals
Current Record: 43-37; second in the NL Central
Projected Record: 88-74; second in the NL Central
With the exception of Matt Adams, the St. Louis Cardinals have endured all sorts of struggles at the plate in 2014. The club ranks No. 24 in runs scored with 303 total and has connected on the second-fewest home runs in all of baseball (46).
The pitching staff is also dealing with some serious health issues. Jamie Garcia and Michael Wacha landed on the DL recently with shoulder injuries and are both out "indefinitely," according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.
Unless the Cardinals make a big move for a front-line starter like David Price, the team will miss out on the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
Current Record: 49-32; first in the NL Central
Projected Record: 92-70; first in the NL Central
As the MLB season reaches the halfway point, the Milwaukee Brewers remain atop the standings not just in their division but in the entire NL.
The Brewers have one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball. Six players on the roster have an OPS north of .800, and the team ranks second in the NL in home runs (86).
There are doubts about whether the Brewers have a strong enough pitching staff to maintain their impressive pace. The acquisition of a veteran starter before the trade deadline would help to quiet those concerns.
AL East Projected Final Standings
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Baltimore Orioles
- New York Yankees
- Boston Red Sox
- Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay Rays
Current Record: 32-48; fifth in the AL East
Projected Record: 69-93; fifth in the AL East
At the midway point in the season, the Tampa Bay Rays not only have the worst record in the AL but also in all of MLB.
Manager Joe Maddon's team has been consistently poor throughout the campaign, as the Rays have been at least five games under .500 in each of the first three months.
The biggest storyline surrounding the club now is whether the front office will finally ship out Price, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. The left-hander has definitely been raising his trade value as of late. Price has racked up at least 10 punchouts in five starts in a row.
Boston Red Sox
Current Record: 36-43; fourth in the AL East
Projected Record: 74-88; fourth in the AL East
There will be no repeat for the Boston Red Sox in 2014.
The reigning World Series champions have been an under-.500 team in May and June and have looked lost at the plate. The outfield in particular has been remarkably unproductive.
Boston's rotation has also been highly unreliable. The staff ranks No. 24 in baseball in ERA. When October rolls around, the Red Sox will be nowhere to be found for the fourth time in five seasons.
New York Yankees
Current Record: 40-37; third in the AL East
Projected Record: 82-80; third in the AL East
The New York Yankees are just three games behind the first-place Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East.
However, the underlying numbers aren't good. The Yankees own a minus-34 run differential, which is the fourth-worst mark in the AL. Plus, the club is 12-3 when Masahiro Tanaka starts and 28-34 otherwise.
GM Brian Cashman told Ken Davidoff of the New York Post that he plans "to make a trade (or trades) by the July 31 deadline." Even if Cashman does make an addition or two, it won't be enough to get New York back into the postseason.
Current Record: 41-36; second in the AL East
Projected Record: 85-77; second in the AL East
The Baltimore Orioles have received an incredible return on their one-year, $8 million investment on Nelson Cruz. The right-handed hitter has a share of the MLB lead with 24 home runs in the first half of the season.
The decision to hand out a four-year, $50 million contract to Ubaldo Jimenez hasn't worked out nearly as well. The veteran starter owns a 2-8 record with a 4.70 ERA. His performance is indicative of the club's subpar starting staff.
The Orioles have the best record in the AL East in June and are on track to finish with the second-best record when the season is done. That won't be enough to earn a playoff spot.
Toronto Blue Jays
Current Record: 45-36; first in the AL East
Projected Record: 90-72; first in the AL East
The Toronto Blue Jays appear set on powering their way into the postseason.
The AL East front-runners have gone yard 104 times in 2014, which is the most in all of baseball. Six of Toronto's hitters have already made it to double digits.
The club's offensive attack has been unstoppable, but the starting staff still has room for improvement. If GM Alex Anthopoulos can land a veteran starter before the July 31 deadline, the Blue Jays will cement their spot atop the AL East.
NL East Projected Final Standings
- Washington Nationals
- Miami Marlins
- Atlanta Braves
- New York Mets
- Philadelphia Phillies
Current Record: 36-42; fourth in the NL East
Projected Record: 72-90; fifth in the NL East
The Philadelphia Phillies have been surprisingly competitive in the first half of the 2014 season. Even though the club is in fourth in the NL East, the Phillies are just five games behind the division-leading Washington Nationals.
The gap is sure to grow, however, considering how unproductive the lineup has been outside of Chase Utley and Marlon Byrd. The team ranks No. 27 in baseball in OPS. The Phillies have also posted a minus-26 run differential, which is substantially worse than the team projected to finish right ahead of it in the division.
New York Mets
Current Record: 36-43; fifth in the NL East
Projected Record: 76-86; fourth in the NL East
Despite the fact that the New York Mets are seven games under .500, the club actually has a run differential of plus-one. That's thanks to the effectiveness of the starting rotation. Bartolo Colon in particular has been standing out. The 41-year-old has allowed two runs or less in seven consecutive starts.
Like the Philadelphia Phillies, New York's offense has been dismal. The team ranks No. 28 in baseball in OPS (.674).
Current Record: 40-38; second in the NL East
Projected Record: 86-76; third in the NL East
After a 17-9 run in March and April, the Atlanta Braves have been stumbling for two months.
The fundamental issue is that the club just can't score runs. The Braves rank second-to-last in all of baseball in that category with 276. The team remains in second for now, but with a minus-14 run differential the Braves are due for a drop in the standings.
Current Record: 39-40; third in the NL East
Projected Record: 89-73; second in the NL East
When the Miami Marlins lost Jose Fernandez for the season, it looked like the club's out-of-left field playoff run was over. As it turns out, that hasn't been the case for manager Mike Redmond's squad.
The Marlins are a game under .500 but just 2.5 games out of first place in the NL East. The team also has a run differential of plus-one. Each year, there's one unexpected team that ends up in October, and this year the Marlins look like a club that could fulfill that role.
With Henderson Alvarez leading the pitching staff, and Mike Stanton and Marcell Ozuna anchoring the lineup, the Marlins will snag the second wild-card spot in the NL.
Current Record: 41-37; first in the NL East
Projected Record: 94-68; first in the NL East
It took a while, but the starting rotation of the Washington Nationals is finally starting to live up to its towering preseason expectations.
The Nationals have three starters with ERAs under 3.00, and none of them are named Stephen Strasburg. Washington's bullpen has also been dominant, as the club's relievers are currently tied for the lowest ERA in baseball.
With such a loaded pitching staff, the Nationals are well positioned to make a playoff run.
If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.
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