The On Deck Circle

Baseball History, Commentary and Analysis

American League Predictions for 2015

Now that the 2015 baseball season is just right around the corner, it’s time to once again take a look at which teams will be the pretenders, and which will be the contenders this year.

I normally have no idea how my predictions turn out from year to year, because I typically forget all about them by about April Fool’s Day.  So I decided to go back and take a look at last season’s predictions, and, strangely enough, I did pretty well.  Of the ten teams that made the playoffs last season, I correctly forecast eight of them:  Baltimore, Detroit, Kansas City, Anaheim, Washington, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles.

The ones I got wrong?  I picked Tampa Bay to win the A.L. East, and they turned out to be terrible.  Instead, the A’s made the playoffs as a Wild Card team.  In the N.L., I somehow thought the Reds looked strong enough to capture a Wild Card slot, but the Giants once again assembled just the right mix of players to vaunt all the way to the World Series, where Madison Bumgarner took things into his own hands.

With the Red Sox alternating horrible years with World Championship seasons, it’s always a challenge to predict where they will finish in the A.L. East, which then makes it difficult to slot the other divisional teams around them, but we’ll have a go at it anyway.

A.L. East

To begin with, I don’t think there’s a 90-win team in this division.  Whichever team wins this division will probably finish with around 87-89 victories.

1)  Red Sox (they finished last in 2014, so….)

2)  Tampa Bay (may win anywhere from 78-85 games.  I’ll go with 83 wins.)

3)  Toronto (will one win fewer games than the Rays.)

4)  Orioles (will finish right at .500.)

5)  Yankees (will win around 80 games.)

A.L. Central

The primary question here is whether or not the Tigers have enough left in the gas tank to pull out yet another divisional title.

1)  White Sox (Some nice moves over the winter, and a division ripe for the taking.)

2)  Tigers (Still enough left to win up to 85 games, but no longer the favorites to win.)

3)  Indians (Will look more or less like last year, a competitive team without enough horses.)

4)  Royals (Significant regression here.  Perhaps not even a .500 club.)

5)  Twins (Not quite a minor league team; we’ll call them a Four-A club.)

A.L. West 

Baseball’s best division.  The A’s might still have enough to steal a Wild Card, and the Astros will make a significant leap forward this year.

1)  Angels (Still the deepest team, and Garret Richards is coming back mid-April.  My early choice for A.L. Cy Young winner.)

2)  Mariners (Wild Card, but consider:  Only twice in his career has Nelson Cruz ever topped 130 games played.  Yes, he’ll mostly D.H., but guys like him find ways to get hurt.)

3)  A’s  (One of two teams in the Bay Area it is foolish to completely rule out.  More wins than losses again this year.)

4)  Astros (Could push 80 wins, but I’ll call it 79, nine more than last year.)

5)  Rangers (Seem to have declined in a hurry.  Sub-.500.)

 

Next time, my N.L. Predictions.

 

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9 thoughts on “American League Predictions for 2015

  1. Not seeing a major regression by the Royals.

  2. I’m a terrible prognosticator when it comes to sports, because my natural optimism steadily erodes my ability to dispassionately analyze teams’ relative strengths and weaknesses.

    Man, I hope you’re wrong about Anaheim. And I suppose a fourth-place finish would be something for Houston to look forward to.

  3. I forget which year you almost pegged Edwin Jackson losing 20 games, but I was like who predicts these things? I’m still amazed by that! If I had a thousand bucks to gamble i’d put some of it down based on your predictions Bill, but would probably drop another 10 bucks on the Astros. Wouldn’t it be nutty and awesome if they won more games than the billion dollar angels?

    • Thanks so much for saying so, man. Personally, I would love to see the Astros somehow run away with the western division. It would make a great story. George Springer will sock 35 moon-shots this season. You heard it here first.
      Take care,
      Bill

  4. I’m in agreement with you in a lot of areas. I think the O’s finish better than you have them finishing (they did win the division by a goodly margin, and that’s without Wieters and Machado for goodly stretches), and I think you may overstate the Rays, although if their pitchers have good health, they could surprise. I do think the Yankees have an excellent shot to finish last in the division; one wonders if the ghost of Bad George will visit them ? I wouldn’t argue the Central too much, although I think you can put the top four teams in a hat and shake ’em out in whatever order you choose, and I think you have the West pretty much spot-on, although I question the A’s playing .500 ball. Always a pleasure to see you out and about.

    • Hi WK, You could very well be right about the Orioles. They certainly weren’t projected (by most people) to do much last year, then ran away with the division. And the Rays have often disappointed over the past few seasons. I just don’t like that Orioles pitching staff, which I think over-achieved last season (3rd best ERA in the league), and although they get Machado and Wieters back, they also lose fully one-quarter of the home runs they hit last year with the departures of Nelson Cruz and Markakis. Still, they certainly have a chance to be better than the Yanks, who certainly have a shot at last place, and Toronto is an impossible team to ever get a handle on.
      Nice to hear from you,
      Bill

  5. I’m hoping the trend of teams who’ve done very little for years coming up to at least make the playoffs continues this year. That’d mean the Mariners, White Sox (or Astros), and Blue Jays getting in. It’s odd that Toronto, probably the best MLB franchise from ’84 through ’93, has done so little in the past 20 years.

    • It is a nice trend, and also provides a counter-example to the NFL in that, even without a salary cap, baseball has arguably more parity or competitive balance than does the NFL (regardless of the conventional wisdom otherwise.) No idea what’s up in Toronto, but then again, it his hard to believe that even the Dodgers haven’t won a World Series since the end of Reagan’s second term.
      Cheers,
      Bill

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