Posted 03/24/2014 at 05:18 PM
2014 MLB Season Win Total Best Bets
BEST BET: UNDER 87½ – Atlanta Braves: The Braves had an impressive 96-win season last year but things look much less promising in 2014. Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen are both out for the season and Mike Minor will at a minimum miss the first month to take a huge toll on the rotation. Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm have also left the rotation for NL West teams. That leaves 23-year old Julio Teheran as the ace of the staff as he looks to follow up a great 2013 season. The Braves made an expensive spring gamble signing Ervin Santana to bolster the pitching staff but youngsters David Hale and Alex Wood will need to make major contributions to keep the Braves in the playoff chase. Replacing Brian McCann won’t be easy in the clubhouse and there are too many inconsistent hitters in the lineup. The bullpen also has more question marks than last season for the innings leading up to Craig Kimbrell. The division also looks tougher with improvement from the Mets and Marlins likely and Washington and Philadelphia capable of bouncing back after down years in 2013.
BEST BET: OVER 90½ – St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals had the NL’s best record last season and went to the World Series and there appears to be a clear gap between St. Louis and the rest of the division. The Cardinals have a starting rotation that could be the best in the league and there are deeper options if injuries occur. The lineup should remain similarly productive with the addition of Jhonny Peralta at SS perhaps adding even more scoring potential. Pittsburgh could see a year of regression after last season’s breakthrough and Cincinnati and Milwaukee don’t appear to have the healthy pitching to compete with the Cardinals. This is a high number, but considering St. Louis has averaged over 90 wins the last five years and the competition in the division looks as weak as it has been in several years, the Cardinals are capable of pulling away in the Central.
BEST BET: UNDER 80½ Wins – Arizona Diamondbacks: This number has not been adjusted substantially despite the 0-2 start down under and the Diamondbacks will have a hard time reaching 81 wins for the fourth straight season. Patrick Corbin could miss the entire season to take a huge bite of the rotation and the health of Brandon McCarthy, Bronson Arroyo, and Daniel Hudson, leaves a lot of questions for the pitching staff. The Arizona bullpen improved last season but early season strain seems likely. The Dodgers could be better than last season if they play like they did in the second half of the season and the Giants and Padres both appear to be serious threats in this division as well. Banking on another MVP type season from Paul Goldschmidt is asking a lot and this is a lineup that will produce a lot of strikeouts in a very tough pitching division. Arizona is a popular ‘over’ team this season with some young stars in the lineup but this looks like the toughest division in the NL and wins won’t come easily going against the great pitching in the division.
BEST BET: UNDER 80½ – Toronto Blue Jays: A lot of things went wrong for the Blue Jays as the off-season spending led to only a one-win improvement as the Jays were one of the most disappointing teams in baseball. Toronto had the opposite type of off-season this year, doing very little to improve the team. R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle can continue to eat innings but they are average pitchers in this division and the back of the rotation still has huge question marks. Jose Reyes is already injured to start the season, as is closer Casey Janssen. There is great power in the lineup but the pitching staff looks unlikely to compete in this very difficult division featuring four playoff contenders. The other teams in the division appear to have much better deeper options to address the pitching situation if guys like J.A. Happ and Drew Hutchison are unable to cut it, not to mention deeper pockets to make an acquisition mid-season.
BEST BET: OVER 80½ Wins – Cleveland Indians: The Indians made a huge leap to the playoffs last season but the quick exit has left a motivated squad. Detroit is the clear favorite in the Central but many are projecting Kansas City to pass the Indians this season. Cleveland appears to have a higher ceiling on the pitching staff with Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco getting chance to start the season in the rotation and the Cleveland lineup could again be very successful, especially with Carlos Santana moving away from catching. The Twins and White Sox both appear to be still in rebuilding mode as there will be some easy wins to be had in the Central against weak pitching and Detroit and Kansas City could see small steps backward with both of those pitching staffs over-performing the numbers last season. Matching last season’s 92-win season might be a stretch but the Indians are not going away anytime soon.
BEST BET: UNDER 86½ Wins – Los Angeles Angels: The Angels have topped 86 wins just once in the last four seasons and yet expectations are very high again this season. The Angels do not appear to have the pitching depth that the other contenders in the West have and C.J. Wilson will have an awfully tough time matching the 17 wins he posted last season. Jered Weaver is a question mark in terms of returning to form after injury and the division could be much tougher with Seattle making some big moves and Houston unlikely to be as bad as last season. The Angels will be counting on Mike Trout continuing the historic start to his career but too much money is tied to aging stars that are not going to be able to produce at the level they are being paid. The bullpen also is already torn with injuries and with a young back of the rotation this is a team that could really have a tough start to the season and Los Angeles could find itself buried in a competitive West.