I write an e-mag that is nearly 200 pages ass a season preview. Lets look at the some of what was though about teams and where teams are so far through the 2021 season. We need to either dismiss what was thought, or understand that the long season does weed out the streakiness of MLB and that some teams are going regress or progress the rest of this season. Let’s try to look at that for some of theses teams.
The first thing is look a the preseason projected results. The next chart is showing the AL projected results from March 2021. The chart that follows will be the projected results from today.
In the East, The Yankees are still the favorite. They have gone from a 96 wins season projection to a 95 win season projection. They have the best RA/G 4.02 (runs against) of any team in the AL and the 5th best RS/G 4.75 (runs scored). It means their pitching is the best and the offense is in the top 3rd in AL. Their offense is showing to be the best in the AL over the remainder of the season just like their pitching, thus the winning projection in the EAST. The Red Sox have gone from an 89 win projection to now a 91 won projection which also makes them the 2nd place finishers in the EAST. Only the Astros show a better offense! With the Red Sox leading the division (actual results 29-18), how do they merit falling to 2nd place? The answer is in the 2nd column of the standings above. The remaining season is 115 games for them and they are projected to be a .540 team. This is below their .617 actual rate currently and produces the .562 win percentage for the end of the season. Their offense is expected to cool down from its torrid start. The Rays have gone from an 83 wins projection to an 88 wins projection! Big jump! They have surpassed TOR for a 3rd place outcome in the EAST by year’s end. As is the case most of the time, it is about pitching. Their preseason RA/G 4.61 is now 3.98 which dramatically increases their chances of winning games. The pitching is better than thought but is showing regression to 4.30 for the remaining part of the season. The offense has been better than expected too. A 4.87 RS/G actual is not expected to hold up though. It drops to a 4.49 RS/G for the remainder. It means they will have an offense only better than the bottom feeders of the AL. If they stay in contention, they could acquire a bat that could help produce the offense or they could bring up WANDER FRANCO the #1 prospect in baseball. The Rays could be in a good spot here as there are simple solutions to some of their issues. The Blue Jays go from an 88 win team to an 86 win team and from a 2nd place forecast to a 4th place forecast! The AL EAST has been tough for the first 50 games or so. They are all offense projected to be tied with BOS as the 2nd best in the AL with a 4.99 RS/G. They are a middle-of-the-pack pitching group (4.50 RS/G) but well behind their contenders in for the AL EAST. Their 4.16 current performance is projected to be 4.62 for the rest of the season and is a large variance. They are good on offense and still have not seen George Springer provide an impact due to injury, but they will need to pitch! The Orioles fall from a projected 67 wins to now a projected 66 wins. Their offense is not as good as the initial projection and their pitching is slightly better.
In the Central, the Twins have fallen from the projected division champ of 88 wins to now a projected 78 wins and a 3rd place finish! Their offense is RS/G 4.56 (2nd to CHW) but their pitching is RA/G 5.16 which only LAA have a worse one in the AL! They have gone to a project below .500 team and could be sellers at the trade deadline. They are projected to have the best winning percentage in the division the rest of the way .530 (CHW .529) but I can’t buy that if they are going to sell off assets. The White Sox were narrowly a 2nd place choice in preseason projection and are now the resounding choice to win the division! They show as nearly a triple-digit RDiff (+98) team and in the division, MIN +8 is the only other positive team! They are the dominant leaders to win. They have a .591 current win percentage but expected to be .546 (88 wins) at the end. It is only 1 game better than their preseason project which means their competition has fallen off more than they have improved over expectation. The pitching is expected to hold up but the offense is expected to cool down for the remainder of the season. When you lose two star outfielders, this should be what is expected. The Indians have moved up to 2nd. They were 3rd place projected at .500 (81 wins) to start the season. They are now .511 which is 83 wins and 2 game improvement. Their offense is 3.98 RS/G only SEA, and DET is worse. Their pitching is 3.95 RA/G and only NYY, and CHW are better. CLE is known for pitching and light hitting and it is playing out that way. The remainder of the season shows an improvement on offense and a decline in pitching but a 5 game edge over MIN for 2nd place. They are not expected to be a playoff team at this point without some help. The Royals projected at .484 and 78 wins and are now .481 and 78 wins. However, they are tied with MIN projections for the 3rd/ 4th spot in the CENTRAL. Their offense could see boosts with callups but they haven’t pitched well enough to make a run at the playoffs. They are a team that seems headed in the right direction and could compete for the 2nd place spot in this division. The Tigers were projected to win 70 games and now 69 games. They are the lowest-scoring team in the AL 3.69 RS/G. They are still developing but are competing at this point with no 100 loss projection.
The AL WEST had the Astros winning the division at the start of the season and still now in mid-May. HOU had an 88 game win projection and now has a 90 game win projection! They have the #1 offense in the AL (5.35 RS/G) but surprisingly their pitching (RA/G 4.04) has been better than thought. The remainder of the season is showing a loss of pitching performance and a continued strength of the offense. The A’s were shown as the 3rd place with an 81 game win projection but are now shown 2nd place with an 87 game win projection. Big jump. Their pitching has been solid 4.47 RA/G and is expected to slightly improve! Their offense is lower 3rd in the AL (4.26 RS/G) but is expected to be better as well. They should be in the playoff hunt at the end. The Angels are struggling. They were projected to win 85 games and give HOU a run for the WEST. They are now protected to win 78 games (12 behind HOU) and less than .500! They just are the worst pitching team in the AL. Their RA/G is 5.52! They are expected to improve (almost could not be worse) in their pitching but a near last AL pitching performance will not make them in the running for any playoff spot. The loss of Trout for 6-8 weeks is not going to help their offense either. This is a team that needs an ACE AND a front-line line guy. The Mariners were a 73 win projection team and are still that! They are expected to stay at a .445 win rate for the remainder of the season. Their offense really needs to improve and hopefully, their young stars can produce after their callups. The Rangers are were a 71 win projection team and they too are still that! They will certainly though sell off more at the trade deadline as many teams are interested in Joey Gallo.
The playoffs look to have the AL WEST as the most competitive at the top with only a 3 game margin for HOU. CHW looks to have the largest margin at the top with 5 games. AL East shows NYY winning by 4 games. The Wild Card race should be fun. Teams like BOS (91), TBR (88), and OAK (87) are all close and only two teams can go. TOR (86) is on the cusp.
Based on the remaining season projections, the NYY are going to be the hottest team. This makes sense though as their pitching is expected to remain top-notch, and their woeful hitting is expected to be the best of this stretch. Everything changes with injuries, trades, and callups so keep an eye out for where to spot some value or where the value had already gone!