Final Win-Loss Predictions for Every MLB Team in 2019

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2019

Final Win-Loss Predictions for Every MLB Team in 2019

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    Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    The 2019 MLB season is officially underway, with the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics clashing Wednesday at the Tokyo Dome in Japan.

    After that brief two-game showcase wraps, teams will put the finishing touches on their 25-man rosters, and the entire league will be in action for the first time March 28.

    So with the leaguewide Opening Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to take one final stab at predicting each team's win-loss record for the upcoming season.

    Ahead is a division-by-division look at how each race will shake out, complete with win-loss record predictions for all 30 teams and full divisional analysis. The plus/minus represents the projected difference from last season's win total.

AL East

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    Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    Projected Final Standings

    TeamRecordW +/-
    Boston Red Sox101-61-7
    New York Yankees98-64-2
    Tampa Bay Rays89-73-1
    Toronto Blue Jays68-94-5
    Baltimore Orioles57-105+10

    2018 Standings: BOS, NYY, TB, TOR, BAL

                               

    Overview

    The Boston Red Sox have the weapons to repeat as World Series champions.

    An untested group at the back of the bullpen following the offseason departures of Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly has been frequently identified as a potential weakness. That said, Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier are more than capable of stepping into more prominent roles.

    Offensively, all the key pieces are back from the highest-scoring offense in baseball, while the rotation should benefit from a full season of Nathan Eovaldi. Until proven otherwise, this still looks like the team to beat.

    The rival New York Yankees will once again be their biggest competition.

    Adding James Paxton and signing J.A. Happ during the offseason temporarily bolstered the starting rotation, but they're already without Luis Severino and CC Sabathia to start the year, which led the signing of veteran Gio Gonzalez.

    With a high-powered offense and a stacked bullpen, the Yankees will go as far as their starting rotation allows.

    As usual, the Tampa Bay Rays will be relying on their pitching staff to shoulder the load.

    Free-agent signing Charlie Morton and breakout candidate Tyler Glasno give the rotation a bit more stability behind reigning American League Cy Young winner Blake Snell, while the other two spots will again be filled with an "opener" after they found success with that philosophy last year.

    Did they do enough to address the offense? A breakout season from Willy Adames and the arrivals of Brandon Lowe (129 major league at-bats for Tampa in 2018), Nate Lowe and others could go a long way.

    It looks like a rebuilding season for the Toronto Blue Jays, though the additions of Matt Shoemaker and Clay Buchholz alongside a healthy Marcus Stroman could make for a vastly improved starting staff.

    If nothing else, the arrival of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will give fans a glimpse of the future.

    And then there are the Baltimore Orioles.

    It's not a question of whether they'll lose 100 games again. It's whether they'll exceed last year's 115 losses. It's hard to lose that many games, but this team may be up to the challenge.

AL Central

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    Brian Davidson/Getty Images

    Projected Final Standings

    TeamRecordW +/-
    Cleveland Indians95-67+4
    Minnesota Twins88-74+10
    Chicago White Sox74-88+12
    Kansas City Royals63-99+5
    Detroit Tigers62-100-2

    2018 Standings: CLE, MIN, DET, CWS, KC

                     

    Overview

    The Cleveland Indians' window to contend for a title is wide-open.

    They have the best starting rotation in baseball and two MVP-caliber talents leading the offense in Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez.

    However, the front office's inability or unwillingness to spend caused Cleveland to swap or release the likes of Yan Gomes, Michael Brantley, Cody Allen, Andrew Miller and Lonnie Chisenhal while bringing in Kevin Plawecki, Jake Bauers, Hanley Ramirez, Carlos Gonzalez, Alex Wilson and Tyler Clippard.

    That's not the aggressive approach of a team looking to win a World Series. At the same time, the Indians are head-and-shoulders above the rest of the AL Central.

    After snagging a wild-card spot in 2017, the Minnesota Twins will be looking for a bounce-back season and a return to contention.

    Adding Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop, C.J. Cron and Marwin Gonzalez should make the offense better, especially if Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano can also rebound. The pitching looks like a problem, though, especially in the bullpen, where Trevor May and Blake Parker are battling for the closer job.

    The rest of this division is clearly in rebuilding mode.

    While the Chicago White Sox whiffed on signing Manny Machado, they added some solid pieces in Ivan Nova, Kelvin Herrera, Alex Colome, Yonder Alonso and Jon Jay. They're not ready to contend, but they should finish comfortably in third place, especially if prospects like Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease can make an immediate impact.

    The Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers both did some quality bargain shopping in free agency as they continue the early stages of reworking their rosters.

    The Royals added Martin Maldonado, Billy Hamilton, Chris Owings, Homer Bailey, Jake Diekman and Brad Boxberger, while the Tigers signed Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer, Tyson Ross and Matt Moore. Any of those guys could turn into viable trade chips between now and July.

AL West

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Projected Final Standings

    TeamRecordW +/-
    Houston Astros99-63-4
    Oakland Athletics84-78-13
    Los Angeles Angels82-80+2
    Seattle Mariners74-88-15
    Texas Rangers64-98-3

    2018 Standings HOU, OAK, SEA, LAA, TEX

                              

    Overview

    Can anyone catch the Houston Astros in the AL West?

    After six losing seasons, the 'Stros finally broke through in 2015 with a wild-card berth. That was followed by a World Series title in 2017 and a franchise-record 103 wins last season.

    Even after losing Charlie Morton and presumably Dallas Keuchel, the starting rotation still has a chance to be one of the best in baseball. Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole will be leading the way, and Collin McHugh is returning to a starting role alongside newcomer Wade Miley and whoever wins the No. 5 job.

    Offensively, a bounce-back season from Carlos Correa would trump any outside addition, though Michael Brantley also has a chance to make his mark after signing as a free agent.

    The best bet to chase them down may once again be the Oakland Athletics.

    They may be hard-pressed to win 97 games again this season, especially with a patchwork starting rotation led by Mike Fiers, Marco Estrada and Brett Anderson. That said, prospects Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk will be along at some point, and the A's found a way to make it work with guys like Trevor Cahill and Edwin Jackson last year.

    With Khris Davis, Matt Olson and Matt Chapman leading the way, the offense should again be potent, and one of the best bullpens in baseball a year ago also returns more or less intact.

    Good for the Los Angeles Angels for locking up Mike Trout. Now if only he could pitch.

    Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill look like Band-Aids on a bullet hole, while Andrew Heaney is already dealing with a sore elbow. This team might be good enough to hang around in the wild-card picture, but the pitching just isn't there.

    The Seattle Mariners finally blew up the roster after years on the periphery of contention, leaving behind a team that might be hard-pressed to finish above .500. The farm system is vastly improved, though, and the future looks bright.

    As for the Texas Rangers, it doesn't look like they've fully embraced the idea of rebuilding. Once they do, it will be interesting to see which players hit the trade block. Extending closer Jose Leclerc is no guarantee he won't be dealt, just as the San Diego Padres did with Brad Hand in 2018.

NL East

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    Mark Brown/Getty Images

    Projected Final Standings

    TeamRecordW +/-
    Philadelphia Phillies95-67+15
    Atlanta Braves92-70+2
    Washington Nationals90-72+8
    New York Mets85-77+8
    Miami Marlins52-110-11

    2018 Standings: ATL, WAS, PHI, NYM, MIA

                                  

    Overview

    The Bryce Harper signing moves the needle enough that the Philadelphia Phillies climb to the top of what figures to be an ultracompetitive National League East.

    While the Harper signing was the marquee move, the outfielder was far from the Phillies' only offseason addition. J.T. Realmuto, Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, David Robertson and Jose Alvarez are also new faces in the locker room.

    Those newcomers, coupled with the breakout potential of Nick Pivetta and Zach Eflin in the starting rotation, make it difficult not to be optimistic about the 2019 squad.

    That said, the Atlanta BravesWashington Nationals and New York Mets all have legitimate hopes of contending as well.

    The Braves won the division last season, and another year of experience for their young core and more prospects arriving on the scene give them a rosy outlook. Josh Donaldson has a chance to be one of the biggest bargains of the offseason after signing a one-year, $23 million deal, and don't underscore the impact veteran catcher Brian McCann could have with a young pitching staff.

    The Nationals waved goodbye to Harper and hello to Patrick Corbin, Yan Gomes, Anibal Sanchez, Brian Dozier, Trevor Rosenthal, Kyle Barraclough, Kurt Suzuki, Matt Adams and Tony Sipp.

    If Juan Soto can back up his ridiculous rookie season and this year's rookie phenom Victor Robles can live up to the hype, along with a bounce-back season from Dozier, the offense might not miss Harper much.

    Finally, the Mets, after years of sitting on their hands in free agency, announced they were going to have a busy offseason with an early blockbuster deal to acquire Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz from the Mariners.

    Wilson Ramos, Jed Lowrie, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson and J.D. Davis were among the other winter pickups, while top prospect Pete Alonso figures to be hitting in the middle of the lineup by May.

    As usual, the team's success will hinge greatly on the health of the starting rotation, which has a chance to be one of the best staffs in baseball. But it's somewhat thin in terms of depth if the injury bug bites again.

    The Miami Marlins are the afterthought in the division as they continue to play with a roster they've stripped to the studs. The franchise record for losses is 108 in 1998, and that number could be in jeopardy.

NL Central

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Projected Final Standings

    TeamRecordW +/-
    Chicago Cubs90-72-5
    St. Louis Cardinals88-74+0
    Milwaukee Brewers83-79-13
    Cincinnati Reds81-81+14
    Pittsburgh Pirates75-87-7

    2018 Standings: MIL, CHC, STL, PIT, CIN

                               

    Overview

    A lot went wrong for the Chicago Cubs last year, and they still won 95 games.

    Yes, it was a quiet offseason. The big additions will come from improved in-house production. Healthy seasons from Kris Bryant and Yu Darvish would go a long way, while a full season of Cole Hamels should help bring some stability to the back of the staff.

    The fact that Brandon Morrow and Pedro Strop are both headed for the injured list is a troubling turn of events for the relief corps. Steve Cishek has plenty of ninth-inning experience, though, and Carl Edwards Jr. can be electric.

    Mired in a three-year postseason drought for the first time since 1999, the St. Louis Cardinals went out and acquired perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt to bolster the offense.

    The continued development of Jack Flaherty atop the rotation and a healthy Alex Reyes will be X-factors on the pitching side of things, while free-agent signing Andrew Miller is the key to the bullpen.

    There's a ton of talent on this Cardinals roster. There are also some questions about how all the pieces fit together, though.

    That brings us to the Milwaukee Brewers, the reigning NL Central champions.

    They'll again ask the bullpen to shoulder the load after failing to add any impact starters while also losing Gio Gonzalez and Wade Miley. The bullpen was up to the task last year, but that's a risky approach.

    That inherent risk, coupled with a number of potentially unsustainable career years on the offensive side, could mean some slight regression. The addition of Yasmani Grandal has a chance to be huge, though, and the Brewers will still be right in the thick of things.

    The Cincinnati Reds took a surprisingly aggressive approach to the offseason by adding Alex Wood, Tanner Roark and Sonny Gray to the rotation, along with Yasiel Puig to the outfield. The impending debut of Nick Senzel will also make a major impact.

    Will that be enough for them to avoid a fifth straight year at the bottom of the NL Central?

    The Pittsburgh Pirates swung deals to acquire Chris Archer and Keone Kela last summer with an eye on contending in 2019 and then sat on their hands during the offseason, settling for low-cost additions of Erik Gonzalez, Melky Cabrera, Lonnie Chisenhall, Jordan Lyles and Francisco Liriano.

    While that penny-pinching approach could land them in the cellar, the Pirates still have enough talent for a run at a wild-card spot.

NL West

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Projected Final Standings

    TeamRecordW +/-
    Los Angeles Dodgers95-67+3
    Colorado Rockies86-76-5
    San Diego Padres82-80+16
    Arizona Diamondbacks76-86-6
    San Francisco Giants62-100-11

    2018 Standings: LAD, COL, ARI, SFG, SDP

                     

    Overview

    The Los Angeles Dodgers have won the NL West title six years running, and there's no reason to bet against them in 2019.

    The health of Clayton Kershaw will be a major X-factor. That said, the rise of Walker Buehler could give the team a new ace this season, and the return of Corey Seager will also provide a major spark on the offensive side.

    Don't overlook the additions of A.J. Pollock and Joe Kelly either. Both players have chances to make major impacts.

    The Colorado Rockies took the Dodgers to Game 163 last year, and with an up-and-coming starting rotation led by German Marquez and Kyle Freeland, they appear to be built for sustainable contention.

    Extending Nolan Arenado also shows the front office is serious about winning. Now the Rockies just need to find a way to replace the departed Adam Ottavino in the bullpen. It would go a long way if high-priced veterans Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee play up to their salaries ($8.5 million base salary for each in 2019).

    Even before adding Manny Machado, the San Diego Padres were a team on the rise.

    That signing could push up the Padres' timetable of contention and could mean early promotions for prospects such as Fernando Tatis Jr., Chris Paddack, Logan Allen and Cal Quantrill.

    If some of their young pitchers can make an immediate impact, they might have an outside shot at a wild-card berth.

    The Arizona Diamondbacks stopped short of a full rebuild after trading Paul Goldschmidt, and they added a pair of MLB-ready pieces by acquiring Carson Kelly and Luke Weaver in that deal.

    The D-backs still have a lot of talent on the roster with Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray fronting the pitching staff and Ketel Marte primed for a breakout season offensively. It's hard to see them improving on last season, though, without Goldschmidt.

    Finally, we have the San Francisco Giants, who balked at trading Madison Bumgarner but opted against any more ill-advised, high-priced veteran additions. If the Giants fall out of contention early, a midseason fire sale centered around Bumgarner and bullpen pieces like Will Smith and Tony Watson could be forthcoming.

                             

    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.