Picks for Every MLB Team's Over/Under Win Total for 2021 Season
Hope springs eternal every Opening Day.
Until proved otherwise, every MLB team has a chance to contend when the first pitch of a new season is thrown, though some obviously have better odds than others.
The projected win totals for all 30 teams for the 2021 season were released by DraftKings in mid-February, and before the season gets underway, it's time to make the call on over or under for each club.
Included is a look at each team's win projection, a quick breakdown of its outlook for the upcoming season and then a verdict on over or under, with my own win-total projection included in parenthesis for context.
Let the debate begin.
Baltimore Orioles—64.5 wins
The O's have some intriguing young bats in Ryan Mountcastle, Anthony Santander and Austin Hays, and it's only a matter of time before catcher Adley Rutschman is in the mix. However, they simply don't have the pitching to be anything more than an outside threat to avoid 100 losses.
Verdict: Under (64)
Boston Red Sox—80.5 wins
The .400 winning percentage the Red Sox posted last season would be the equivalent of 65 wins over a 162-game schedule. Offense has never been a question, and they should score plenty of runs once again. The question will be how much they can get from Eduardo Rodriguez and Chris Sale and whether a rebuilt bullpen is up to the task.
Verdict: Under (79)
New York Yankees—95.5 wins
The Yankees rotation remains perhaps the single biggest X-factor in all of baseball. Jameson Taillon (missed all of 2020) and Corey Kluber are both coming off injury-plagued years, Luis Severino is returning from Tommy John surgery, and Domingo German is coming back from a season-long suspension. If they can pull their weight and the lineup is not decimated by injuries, this will be the team to beat in the American League. Those are sizable "ifs" though.
Verdict: Under (94)
Tampa Bay Rays—85.5 wins
Losing Blake Snell and Charlie Morton hurts, but the Tampa Bay organization is loaded with pitching. It'll squeeze what it can out of Chris Archer, Rich Hill and Michael Wacha, and if that doesn't work out, the Rays will have Luis Patino, Shane McClanahan, Brent Honeywell Jr. and others waiting in the wings. This team is no longer overly reliant on the pitching side of things with an offense that can do some damage as well.
Verdict: Over (90)
Toronto Blue Jays—86.5 wins
Until the starting rotation takes shape behind Hyun Jin Ryu, it's hard to buy into the Blue Jays as contenders in the AL East. That said, the offense is absolutely stacked, and while Toronto has question marks on the staff, it also has a wealth of MLB-caliber arms. The quantity over quality approach and a dangerous lineup should be more than enough to keep the Jays in the AL Wild Card hunt.
Verdict: Under (86)
Chicago White Sox—91.5 wins
The loss of left fielder Eloy Jimenez hurts, but it's not going to derail the White Sox as World Series contenders. The addition of Lance Lynn gives them three front-line starters, the offense is still loaded with impact bats and rookie Andrew Vaughn could go a long way toward replacing Jimenez. And the bullpen is going to be a dynamic weapon.
Verdict: Over (94)
Trading Francisco Lindor undoubtedly made Cleveland worse, but the team is still solid. The starting rotation will need to shoulder the load, which means Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale and Triston McKenzie are the big X-factors if they hope to return to the postseason. Don't sleep on Jose Ramirez for AL MVP honors.
Verdict: Over (83)
Detroit Tigers—68.5 wins
This Tigers team is still a year or two away from legitimate contention, but it made some nice under-the-radar moves this offseason. Robbie Grossman, Wilson Ramos, Jose Urena, Julio Teheran and Nomar Mazara are all solid upgrades on the fringe of the roster, and there is enough potential on the pitching side to think Detroit can exceed expectations.
Verdict: Over (70)
Kansas City Royals—72.5 wins
The Royals are a dark horse to contend for an AL Wild Card spot after a productive offseason that saw them add Carlos Santana, Mike Minor, Andrew Benintendi and others. If the young pitching takes another step forward and Bobby Witt Jr. makes a major impact in the second half, a run at a winning record is not out of the question.
Verdict: Over (76)
Minnesota Twins—88.5 wins
Signing J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker should help solidify the back of the Minnesota rotation, but does it really move the needle? Rebuilding teams like the Tigers and Royals are getting better, which means fewer wins to go around in the AL Central. This team is undoubtedly a contender, but it might be with a more modest win total.
Verdict: Under (86)
Houston Astros—86.5 wins
The Astros are in a bit of a transitional period. George Springer is gone, Carlos Correa has one foot out the door, and the pitching staff is getting younger around ace Zack Greinke. This team didn't come one win away from the World Series last year by accident, but it also didn't finish with a sub-.500 record by accident.
Verdict: Under (86)
Los Angeles Angels—83.5 wins
Remember when the Angels tossed too much money at Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill a few years ago in hopes of slapping a Band-Aid on a mediocre starting rotation? It's hard not to get the same sort of vibe from this winter's additions of Alex Cobb and Jose Quintana. With a stacked offense, they'll go as far as the pitching staff takes them.
Verdict: Under (82)
Oakland Athletics—87.5 wins
The Athletics have the best starting rotation and the best bullpen in the division, and that alone is reason enough to call them favorites to repeat as AL West champs. If young players like Jesus Luzardo, Sean Murphy and Ramon Laureano can take another step forward, this could be an even better team than it was a year ago.
Verdict: Over (90)
Seattle Mariners—72.5 wins
It might still be another year before the Mariners snap a postseason drought that stretches back to 2001, but expect things to start trending in the right direction. The youth movement should be in full swing by midseason, with top prospects Jarred Kelenic, Logan Gilbert and Cal Raleigh among the first expected to get the call. The future is bright, and the present will be better than expected.
Verdict: Over (78)
Texas Rangers—66.5 wins
The decision to designate Rougned Odor for assignment when he's still owed $27 million over the next two years was a clear indication the Rangers are committed to a full-scale rebuild. The 2021 season is going to be all about assessing their young in-house talent and trying to flip what's left of the veteran talent pool, including Joey Gallo and Kyle Gibson. It's the right move for the organization, but it's also going to mean some serious growing pains.
Verdict: Under (65)
Atlanta Braves—91.5 wins
For all the headlines the New York Mets grabbed this offseason, the Braves are still the team to beat in the NL East. Free-agent additions Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly, Mike Soroka's eventual return from an Achilles injury and a full season of Ian Anderson should make a starting rotation that used 14 pitchers last year a formidable group. The lineup is also still stacked with the re-signed Marcell Ozuna, so the only real question is about a bullpen that lost three key veterans.
Verdict: Over (94)
Miami Marlins—70.5 wins
It's not often a team makes the playoffs with a minus-41 run differential, and returning to the postseason is going to be a tall order for the Marlins. The teams around them got a lot better, and while they have a dynamic young pitching staff, the lineup stands to be among the worst in baseball. The future is still bright, but last year will be proved a fluke.
Verdict: Under (68)
New York Mets—90.5 wins
It's hard to find any major holes in the Mets. The fact that Carlos Carrasco is already sidelined, while Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard are coming back from significant injuries, raises a question about the stability of the rotation. But that's mostly nitpicking, as they look poised to push the Braves for the division title.
Verdict: Over (92)
Philadelphia Phillies—80.5 wins
The Phillies did well to retain J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius in free agency, and they added warm bodies to a historically awful bullpen, but did they do enough to keep pace with the rest of the stacked NL East? With a middle-of-the-pack rotation and a bullpen that still needs to take shape, expect residence on the fringe of wild-card contention.
Verdict: Over (81)
Washington Nationals—84.5 wins
With a healthy Stephen Strasburg in the rotation and acquired sluggers Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber bolstering the lineup, the Nationals are in great shape to bounce back from a forgettable season as the defending champions. But have they done enough to bridge the gap to the top of the division?
Verdict: Under (84)
Chicago Cubs—79.5 wins
It's easy to forget the Cubs won the division last year. The lineup should be just fine as long as Javier Baez and Kris Bryant remember how to hit, but the starting rotation is a major question mark. Can Jake Arrieta, Zach Davies, Trevor Williams and Adbert Alzolay pitch well enough for Chicago to contend? If they struggle early, expect the Cubbies to sell aggressively.
Verdict: Over (82)
Cincinnati Reds—82.5 wins
Even with Trevor Bauer gone, the Reds should still have a solid rotation once Sonny Gray gets healthy and joins Luis Castillo and breakout candidate Tyler Mahle atop the staff. The question is whether an offense that went silent in the playoffs can show significant improvement without any notable additions. Losing the designated hitter won't help, and Cincinnati has a number of middling defensive outfielders.
Verdict: Under (78)
Milwaukee Brewers—82.5 wins
With Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes fronting the rotation and the two-headed monster of Devin Williams and Josh Hader shortening games at the back of the bullpen, the Brewers might have the best pitching staff in the division. At the plate, they need Christian Yelich and Keston Hiura to return to their 2019 forms. If that happens, they could win the NL Central.
Verdict: Over (87)
Pittsburgh Pirates—59.5 wins
The Pirates are not just going to be the worst team in baseball; they're also going to be the worst team in years. It would be a major upset if they don't finish last in team ERA and last in runs, and that takes a special kind of terrible. At least rookie Ke'Bryan Hayes is fun to watch.
Verdict: Under (50)
St. Louis Cardinals—86.5 wins
The Nolan Arenado trade vaulted the Cardinals to the front of the NL Central pecking order, though questions remain about their pitching. If Miles Mikolas and Kwang Hyun Kim can get healthy, and Jack Flaherty can return to ace form, they'll be in great shape. The bullpen should be a major strength with Jordan Hicks, Andrew Miller, Giovanny Gallegos and Alex Reyes at the back end.
Verdict: Over (89)
Arizona Diamondbacks—74.5 wins
The D-backs are the epitome of mediocrity, and even if Madison Bumgarner rebounds and Zac Gallen gets healthy, it's hard to see a path to contention for them in the NL West. It's more likely they will sell off veteran pieces come July while they continue to wait on the development of a well-stocked farm system.
Verdict: Under (71)
Colorado Rockies—64.5 wins
The Rockies and Pirates are in a tier of their own in the race for the No. 1 pick in the 2022 MLB draft. This team was a mess before it traded Nolan Arenado for pennies on the dollar, and with a clueless front office, things are going to get worse before they get better.
Verdict: Under (59)
Los Angeles Dodgers—101.5 wins
After playing at a 116-win pace last year, it's hard not to take the over on the defending champs. Not only do they have the most talented roster in baseball, but they are also overflowing with quality depth, which should allow them to weather the storm of a 162-game season. This could be a 110-win team.
Verdict: Over (103)
San Diego Padres—94.5 wins
Remember 2001, when the A's won 102 games and settled for a wild-card spot because they played in the same division as the 116-win Mariners? The Padres could be in a similar position, as they are arguably the second-best team in baseball but happen to share a division with No. 1 on that list. The franchise record for wins in a season is 98 in 1998, and that total is not out of reach.
Verdict: Over (96)
San Francisco Giants—75.5 wins
The Giants are still reshaping the roster, and with nearly $100 million coming off the books next offseason, they are a year away from making a splash. For now, they have an interesting collection of aging veterans, scrapheap finds, bounce-back candidates and up-and-comers. The ceiling might be a winning record, but somewhere in the mid-70s is more realistic.
Verdict: Under (75)
Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.
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