Pitchers and catchers report to Arizona and Florida in less than a week, and Las Vegas has started the annual ritual of providing gambling propositions (props) for the upcoming season. Danny Ferris of FOXSports.com reports that Las Vegas has favored the National League Championship Series participants as well as the 2014 World Series Champions as those expected to win the most regular season games.
Teams projected with most wins (via the Atlantis Race and Sports Book as reported by FOXSports
- 90 San Francisco Giants
- 89 Chicago Cubs
- 88 New York Mets
- 87.5 St. Louis Cardinals
- 87 Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Washington Nationals
On the bottom end, rebuilding National League teams lead the way
- 65 Atlanta Braves
- 66.5 Philadelphia Phillies
- 68 Colorado Rockies
- 71 Cincinnati Reds
- 71.5 Milwaukee Brewers
At first glance, the totals on either end seem short. That being that every year, several teams win more than 90 games (seven won 90 or more in 2015) while a couple of teams usually tease 100 losses (six teams lost 94 or more in 2015). However with the unpredictability of injury (see the 2015 San Francisco Giants) or underperformance (see the 2015 Washington Nationals) the Vegas props are a 50/50 mark for which it could go either way.
It is also a tale of two leagues, were the National League has a number of powerhouses (led by its Central Division which had the three winningest teams in baseball last year in the Cardinals, Cubs, and Pirates) and rebuilding teams (having the three worst teams in 2015: Reds, Braves, and Phillies). The lowest American League projected total is the Oakland Athletics at 74.5 wins.
Meanwhile in the American League, short of the World and Central Division Champion Kansas City Royals, there are few consensus Division favorites. The wild AL West last year featured three teams finishing within 3 games, and nothing was decided going into the final weekend of the season. And in the cash-rich AL East, contenders include defending champion Toronto Blue Jays, but perennial powers Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and New York Yankees all projected near .500 or better. When preview magazines hit the shelves in the next month, you could see three or four different champions forecast in those divisions.
It all makes for a fun 2016 season. If one thing is for sure, it's that the projections will not come 100% true. But, which way will your favorite team go?