March 29, 2017

2017 Season Predictions

Yes, this is a selfie, in case you wondered
 what "Baseball Ruben" looked like
Time for my sort-of-annual predictions post.

A quick pre-emptive note:  I realize how bad some of these will look at the end of the year. I’m sure I have some last place teams that will end up making the playoffs, and I have some division winners who won’t contend.  That’s ok. It happens to all the forecasters every year.  (here are last year's ESPN forecasters predictions.  None of the 31 got all the division winners. Six picked the Astros or Royals - neither of which made the playoffs - to win the World Series.  Almost half (15) had either the Indians or Cubs missing the playoffs. Somehow only FOUR of their 31 "experts" managed to correctly guess the Dodgers would win their division, Exactly one had Cleveland going to the Fall Classic.... and picked the Giants to beat them there)

My goal is to beat the default predictions of (1) using same records as last year and (2) assume everyone goes 81-81.  Sounds easy, but it’s tougher than you think.  A lot of “expert” predictions end up having the average margin of error being bigger than if they had just picked everyone to have a .500 record.  I welcome my readers to provide their predictions or links to where they are posted, and we can compare results at season’s end.

Projected final standings and comments: (playoff teams bolded)
AL East:
Boston 93-69
Toronto 87-75
Tampa 80-82
New York 79-83
Baltimore 74-88

Tampa Bay will be better than expected - challenging for second place in the division is not out of the question - even though most forecasts have them pegged for last.  I think in spite of making the playoffs last season, Baltimore is the worst team in this division.  The Yankees have some promising young players, but still a year or two away, and their front office will be smart enough (for a change) to not overpay for a midseason upgrade, and instead will stick with the youngsters through some growing pains.

AL Central:
Cleveland 94-68
Detroit 88-74
Minnesota 81-81
Kansas City 78-84
Chicago 67-97

Don’t count Detroit out just yet.  After losing 100+ games last year, the Twins may be one of the most improved teams in the league.

AL West:
Houston 90-72
Seattle 89-73
Texas 83-79
Oakland 72-90
Los Angeles 69-93

We will see a great pennant race between Houston and Seattle.  The loser will be battling Detroit and Toronto for the wildcard spots.

NL East:
Washington 97-65
New York 84-78
Atlanta 79-83
Philadelphia 74-88
Miami 70-92

The Mets won’t seriously contend although they’ll try for a wildcard.  Atlanta is improving quickly, the Nats will be the best team in the senior circuit.

NL Central:
Chicago 96-66
St. Louis 86-76
Pittsburgh 84-78
Cincinnati 68-94
Milwaukee 65-97

Not many surprises here

NL West:
San Francisco 91-71
Colorado 87-75
Los Angeles 87-75
Arizona 80-82
San Diego 60-102

Best and most well balanced division in the league. Colorado will make the playoffs, the Diamondbacks will be much improved. The Dodgers will need to fight to sneak into the postseason

My ultimate prediction: World Series - Houston over Washington
Actually, a picture of Mike Scott's no-hitter/playoff clincher.  But those uniforms, tho!

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