Updated Win-Loss Predictions for Every MLB Team for 60-Game Season

Jacob Shafer@@jacobshaferFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2020

Updated Win-Loss Predictions for Every MLB Team for 60-Game Season

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    The 60-game MLB season is nearly upon us. It will be an unprecedented sprint conducted under the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will feature statistical oddities.

    You can argue, as we have, that it isn't even a good thing for the game.

    That said, there will be baseball. We'll be watching. And here are our win-loss projections.

    These projected standings are generated by B/R and are obviously subject to the whims and vagaries of a truncated campaign, including injuries, unexpected hot streaks and further coronavirus-related opt-outs.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Projected record: 31-29

    The Arizona Diamondbacks inked left-hander and postseason legend Madison Bumgarner to front the rotation.

    The Snakes also acquired proven outfielders Starling Marte and Kole Calhoun. Returning assets such as Ketel Marte make them a potential playoff factor in the National League.

    They could stand to upgrade a bullpen that might not have enough behind closer Archie Bradley. Hanging with the stacked Los Angeles Dodgers will be a tall order.

    But don't count Arizona out as a wild-card hopeful.

Atlanta Braves

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    Projected record: 33-27

    The Atlanta Braves have a star-studded lineup led by Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies, though they could suffer from the indefinite loss of first baseman Freddie Freeman to a COVID-19 diagnosis.

    Their bullpen, meanwhile, is stocked with hurlers who have ninth-inning experience. Mark Melancon and Will Smith should handle late-inning duties, coming off seasons in which they posted 3.61 and 2.76 ERAs, respectively. 

    In the starting rotation, Mike Soroka has the stuff to emerge as one of the best pitchers in the game, and Kyle Wright is an up-and-coming arm to watch closely.

    They play in a deep division in which only the rebuilding Miami Marlins don't have realistic playoff aspirations, but this club is built to make the postseason and go on a serious run.

Baltimore Orioles

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Projected record: 20-40

    The Baltimore Orioles are in the midst of a rebuild and should again be doormats in the top-heavy American League East. Austin Hays and John Means, who made the AL All-Star team during a 4.8-WAR rookie season, can only elevate them so much.

    Their farm system, which we ranked No. 11, provides cause for optimism. Catcher Adley Rutschman, in particular, has superstar potential.

    But it'll be at least a few seasons until the O's reap those benefits, and Baltimore fans need to brace themselves for another last-place finish.

Boston Red Sox

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    Projected record: 30-30

    The Boston Red Sox are in a strange place, caught between rebuilding and retooling.

    The decision to trade franchise player Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers looks like a white flag for 2020, though the Sox netted a decent package fronted by MLB-ready outfielder Alex Verdugo, who could be an All-Star.

    That said, their starting rotation, led by Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi, is suspect with David Price also shipped off to L.A. and former ace Chris Sale lost to Tommy John surgery.

    Boston could make some noise this season, but it'll be hard-pressed to keep pace with the more-potent New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East.

Chicago Cubs

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Projected record: 31-29

    The Chicago Cubs aren't too far removed from their drought-busting 2016 title run. Key members of their offensive core—including Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo—remain in place.

    If veterans Jon Lester and Yu Darvish stay healthy, they could headline a more-than-respectable starting rotation.

    The bullpen is a question mark after closer Craig Kimbrel posted an ugly 6.53 ERA for Chicago last season. He's 32 years old, which means a bounce-back may not happen.

    New skipper David Ross will have his work cut out for him guiding the Cubbies back to the postseason in a deep division.

Chicago White Sox

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Projected record: 31-29

    Offseason additions such as catcher Yasmani Grandal, designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and left-hander Dallas Keuchel give the Chicago White Sox an infusion of experienced talent.

    They join a rising young core that includes infielder Yoan Moncada, outfielders Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, right-hander Lucas Giolito and others.

    Under normal circumstances, they would probably be a year or so away from full-fledged contention. But in a short season, the ChiSox seem like a club that could exceed expectations, especially if they get out of the gate hot.

Cincinnati Reds

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Projected record: 32-28

    The Cincinnati Reds have a deep rotation led by Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer, and they buttressed their offense by adding Mike Moustakas, Shogo Akiyama and Nick Castellanos, among others, this offseason.

    They also have a a soft early schedule.

    Add it up and the Reds could bolt out in front in a tough NL Central division and make noise if and when they reach the playoffs.

    One caveat: They'll need bounce-backs from closer Raisel Iglesias and setup man Pedro Strop, who have excellent track records but posted ERAs of 4.16 and 4.97, respectively, in 2019.

Cleveland Indians

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Projected record: 30-30

    The Cleveland ball club dealt Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers this offseason. Even though he's coming off an injury-marred down year, that hurt their starting rotation.

    Brad Hand was among the game's best closers in 2019 with a 2.80 FIP and 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings. Nick Wittgren, Oliver Perez, Adam Cimber and James Hoyt round out a pen that finished third in MLB with a 3.76 ERA last season.

    Then there's star shortstop Francisco Lindor, who anchors the offense alongside third baseman Jose Ramirez but who Cleveland should consider trading at the Aug. 31 deadline.

    Don't count this club out, but signs point to them missing the dance in 2020. Not only do they have a brutal interleague schedule against the NL Central, but they also have a young rotation fronted by Shane Bieber with a number of starters such as Mike Clevinger and Carlos Carrasco who have troubling injury histories.

Colorado Rockies

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Projected record: 27-33

    The Colorado Rockies employ Nolan Arenado, one of the best third basemen in the game. But he's been the subject of trade rumors, has butted heads with the front office and could be moved by Aug. 31.

    As ever, the Rockies have questions on the pitching staff, especially in the bullpen. Closer Wade Davis surrendered 41 earned runs in 42.2 innings last season, and other than Scott Oberg (2.25 ERA, 9.3 K/9), there aren't many in-house options to replace him.

    The Rox could stay out of the NL West basement thanks to the rebuilding San Francisco Giants, but their chances of staying with the Dodgers, D-backs and fast-rising San Diego Padres are slim.

Detroit Tigers

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Projected record: 24-36

    The Detroit Tigers have hope on the horizon with a No. 6-ranked farm system headlined by right-hander Casey Mize and third baseman Spencer Torkelson.

    The 2020 season could be an opportunity for Detroit to take a look at its possible stars of the future and dream big. Left-hander Matthew Boyd could be shopped at the trade deadline to a contender in need of a starting pitcher, and the offense only has so much upside while led by 37-year-old Miguel Cabrera and free-agent additions C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop.

    For the time being, the Tigers are a clear rebuilder whose biggest ambition should be posting a better record than the also-rebuilding Kansas City Royals and avoiding a last-place finish in the AL Central.

Houston Astros

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Projected record: 36-24

    Though the Houston Astros lost Gerrit Cole to the New York Yankees via free agency, they maintain a stout rotation led by Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke. 

    They also lost some key relievers in Will Harris, Hector Rondon and Collin McHugh, but they still boast a solid bullpen behind closer Roberto Osuna (2.63 ERA, 10.1 K/9) and setup men Ryan Pressly (2.32 ERA, 11.9 K/9) and Joe Smith (1.80 ERA, 7.9 K/9).

    Their lineup is loaded with weapons such as Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa.

    Say what you will about the sign-stealing scandal that could make them villains in 2020, but the 'Stros are a contender. Period.

Kansas City Royals

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Projected record: 25-35

    Whit Merrifield, Jorge Soler, Adalberto Mondesi and Hunter Dozier are the offensive headliners, along with a healthy Salvador Perez, but don't be surprised if top prospects Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar start to make an impact on the pitching side of things. 

    Though the Kansas City Royals have an exciting farm system, ranked No. 10, most of their young talent is at best ready for a brief showcase in 2020. Like the Tigers, they'll be a rebuilding club this season.

    Also keep an eye on 21-year-old right-hander Asa Lacy, who fell to the Royals at No. 4 in this year's amateur draft. He has the stuff to become a big league ace in the near future.

Los Angeles Angels

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Projected record: 29-31

    Mike Trout is the best baseball player on the planet, and the Los Angeles Angels gave him a capable wingman when they signed third baseman Anthony Rendon this offseason.

    Outfielder Jo Adell could soon join that twosome to form a potent middle-of-the-order trio for the Halos.

    The catch is pitching. Los Angeles simply didn't do enough to improve a staff that ranked 25th in baseball with a 5.12 ERA last season, and that will remain true even if Shohei Ohtani has a successful return to the mound and southpaw Andrew Heaney throws more than the 95.1 innings he posted in 2019. 

    A trade-deadline splash to acquire an ace-level arm or bullpen star will be needed if the Angels want to maintain contact with the Astros, A's and even the Texas Rangers in the NL West.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Projected record: 38-22

    The Dodgers added to an already potent lineup by acquiring Mookie Betts from the Red Sox. They also have Walker Buehler, an ace on the rise.

    Rotation stalwart Clayton Kershaw and closer Kenley Jansen might be entering the twilights of their careers, and Los Angeles could be hurt by the small-sample vagaries of a short season. But their quest for the franchise's first title since 1988 is on track. They have the resources, financially and on the farm, to swing a deal at the deadline if needed.

    This is the team to beat in the Senior Circuit and MLB as a whole.

Miami Marlins

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Projected record: 26-34

    The Miami Marlins' rebuild is progressing. Look out for exciting youngsters such as second baseman Isan Diaz and shortstop Miguel Rojas.

    But the Fish will be the team on which others feast this season as they face stiff competition in a loaded NL East and play interleague games against AL East contenders such as the Yankees and Rays.

    Miami fans should set their sights on the club's emerging talent and hope for contention in a few years.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Projected record: 32-28

    The Milwaukee Brewers lost key contributors to free agency, including Mike Moustakas, Yasmani Grandal, Eric Thames and Gio Gonzalez.

    But the Brew Crew still has 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich at the head of the lineup and a bullpen that is one of the best in the game behind bat-missing lefty closer Josh Hader.

    As for the rotation? Free-agent additions Brett Anderson and Josh Lindblom will team up with Brandon Woodruff and Adrian Houser to form a not bad but not great contingent.

    In the end, the Brewers face an uphill climb in a rough division.

Minnesota Twins

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    Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Projected record: 33-27

    The Minnesota Twins added a difference-making offensive piece by signing veteran third baseman Josh Donaldson, and they shored up their starting rotation with experienced arms in Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill.

    They've got a strong bullpen and power up and down the lineup one year after breaking the all-time single-season record with 307 dingers. Improving upon that mark might be tough, but sluggers Max Kepler, Miguel Sano, Nelson Cruz and Eddie Rosario will do their best alongside Donaldson.

    The Twinkies should repeat as AL Central champions and will be a fearsome opponent for anyone in the playoffs.

New York Mets

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Projected lineup: 33-27

    The New York Mets lost Zack Wheeler to free agency and Noah Syndergaard to Tommy John surgery, but they still have reigning two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom at the top of their starting five.

    The signing of free agent Dellin Betances boosts the bullpen, though it's troubling that closer Edwin Diaz surrendered 15 home runs in 58 innings last season and finished with a 5.59 ERA while setup man Jeurys Familia allowed 42 walks in 60 innings and posted a 5.70 ERA.

    On offense, the Mets have enough weapons to compete, such as 2019 NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso (53 HR, .941 OPS). But it will be an uphill battle in the NL East.

New York Yankees

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Projected record: 35-25

    The Yankees needed an ace, and they got one by inking Gerrit Cole. Their bullpen is one of the best in baseball despite closer Aroldis Chapman's COVID-19 diagnosis.

    Their lineup is bursting with fence-clearing artists who smashed 306 home runs in 2019, the second-most all-time behind the 2019 Twins.

    Health is a concern as stars such as Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have battled various injuries. But emerging standouts such as Gleyber Torres and Gio Urshela could take some weight off their shoulders.

    Bet on the Yanks to win the AL East. And if Cole adjusts to a new team and the expectations of a weighty contract, bet on the Bronx contingent winning title No. 28.

Oakland Athletics

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Projected record: 32-28

    Oakland won 97 games in 2019 and remains one of baseball's most inspiring small-market success stories.

    The Athletics offense is fronted by the duo of Matt Chapman and Matt Olson. Their bullpen is anchored by Liam Hendriks, who finished 2019 with 3.8 WAR, best among all relief pitchers, while posting a 1.80 ERA with 13.1 K/9 in 85 innings.

    Assuming Jesus Luzardo returns after a positive COVID-19 test, the youngster has the stuff to be an ace.

    The A's might not catch the Astros, but don't discount them as a major player in the 2020 playoff race.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Projected record: 30-30

    Bryce Harper fronts a solid Philadelphia Phillies lineup, and the team added Zack Wheeler to improve the starting rotation. 

    The biggest hole is in the bullpen, where closer Hector Neris posted a 2.93 ERA with 28 saves last season but has a suspect supporting cast. With Seranthony Dominguez waiting to undergo Tommy John surgery, the Phillies will need Jose Alvarez, Adam Morgan and others to make a substantial impact.

    If Philadelphia gets aggressive and adds talent at the deadline, it could make a move. But at the moment, the Phils are at risk of being a third- or fourth-place club in the NL East.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Projected record: 27-33

    The Pittsburgh Pirates are the only club in the NL Central with no real shot at contending.

    Mitch Keller is an exciting young arm who could be an ace-in-waiting. Their No. 13-ranked farm system has some interesting young pieces, and third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes could join Keller in the big leagues as soon as this season.

    At the moment, though, the Bucs are poised to deal whichever tradeable veterans they have on the big league roster and aim their sails for contention at a later date.

San Diego Padres

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    Projected record: 31-29

    The San Diego Padres have emerging young stars, including shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. They also boast one of the best bullpens in baseball.

    Like the White Sox, they could emerge ahead of schedule in the short 2020 run.

    That will probably depend on the health and effectiveness of right-hander Garrett Richards, who is still working back to full strength from Tommy John surgery. If he joins Chris Paddack as an effective piece at the top of the Friars' rotation...look out.

San Francisco Giants

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    Projected record: 27-33

    The Giants are in a rebuild and will be without the services of catcher Buster Posey, who opted out of the 2020 season.

    They have a number of onerous and possibly untradeable contracts on the books and should use the season to take a look at emerging prospects such as backstop Joey Bart.

    They might also be able to move guys with expiring contracts, including right-hander Jeff Samardzija, assuming they perform well enough to interest a contender.

    In the meantime, fans can hope for some warm memories from old friends such as outfielder Hunter Pence.

Seattle Mariners

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Projected record: 23-37

    The good news for Seattle Mariners boosters? The club has the No. 2-ranked farm system and loads of talent waiting in the wings.

    The bad news is that the M's will almost assuredly be the last-place club in the AL West this season and should try to trade veterans such as third baseman Kyle Seager at the deadline for salary relief and prospects.

    There is hope in the Pacific Northwest, but it's at least a few years away.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Projected record: 31-29

    The St. Louis Cardinals won the NL Central in 2019. They also finished 19th with 764 runs scored and 21st with a .737 OPS.

    Losing outfielder Marcell Ozuna to free agency didn't help, and the Cards made no significant additions to the offense this offseason.

    Young right-hander Jack Flaherty looks like an ace, and St. Louis' bullpen has elite potential, though Jordan Hicks' decision to opt out hurts.

    This is a club that could compete, but adding a bat and an arm or two at the deadline may be necessary.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Mike Carlson/Associated Press

    Projected record: 33-27

    The Tampa Bay Rays won 96 games in 2019. They should again nip at the Yankees' heels in the AL East.

    Their rotation is strong, and their bullpen is excellent behind 30-year-old Nick Anderson, who struck out 110 in 65 innings with the Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays and finished with a 2.35 FIP.

    They could use a power bat to augment a lineup that's deep but finished 21st with 217 homers last season. If they want to swing for the fences with a deadline deal, they could dip into a farm system that's ranked No. 1.

    That said, rising names such as shortstop Wander Franco and potential two-way star Brendan McKay should be off-limits. They're part of the present and future for the Rays.

Texas Rangers

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Projected record: 29-31

    If two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber bounces back, the Texas Rangers could have the deepest starting rotation in the game with Mike Minor, Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles also in the mix.

    On the other hand, their bullpen is suspect, and their offense finished a so-so 16th in 2019 with a .750 OPS.

    The Rangers could be sneaky players in the AL West. But they face stiff competition from the in-state rival Astros and the A's.

    The safe bet is a third-place finish, but we're willing to call Texas a dark horse that could exceed our projection.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Mark Blinch/Getty Images

    Projected record: 28-32

    A glistening young infield featuring second-generation players Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio should give Toronto Blue Jays fans a reason to tune in.

    The Jays also added to their rotation by signing 2019 NL ERA leader Hyun-Jin Ryu.

    But they just don't appear quite ready to compete with the Yankees and Rays in the AL East, and they won't while the standout youngsters are surrounded by players with lower ceilings. The rotation behind Ryu, for example, is filled with veteran innings-eaters such as Tanner Roark and Chase Anderson who elevate the team's floor without providing much upside.

    As talent continues to arrive from their No. 7-ranked farm, the Jays should eventually change that.

Washington Nationals

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Projected record: 33-27

    The defending champs lost Anthony Rendon to free agency, which will hurt the offense. But the Washington Nationals made a number of ancillary additions, including infielders Eric Thames and Starlin Castro.

    They also have emerging stars such as outfielders Juan Soto and Victor Robles and a rotation headed by Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin.

    The Nats will have to tussle with the Braves, Mets and Phillies in the deep NL East. Repeating a World Series win is notoriously hard, but they're equipped to be in the race till the end.

              

    All statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference.