Finding Value in MLB Regular Season Win Totals: NL East
Philadelphia Phillies 2019 Win Total
The Phillies are not messing around; having already signed Andrew McCutchen and traded for Jean Segura, adding Bryce Harper capped off a coup for the Phillies this offseason.
Often the team that wins the offseason doesn't end up making much noise during the regular season, but the way the Phillies have gone about winning this offseason and how well their additions fit makes them clear contenders for a division title. Every position in the lineup is fixed in place. Andrew McCutchen, Odubel Herrera, and Bryce Harper form an excellent outfield, while Rhys Hoskins and newcomer Jean Segura highlight the infield. Hoskins provides the power, Segura the batting average and speed, while Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco form a similar but slightly less effective duo at second and third base. The Phillies also happened to trade for the best catcher in baseball, JT Realmuto, who should excel in his new home ballpark. The starting rotation is anchored by a legitimate ace in Aaron Nola and goes deep with quality arms from veteran Jake Arrieta to young guns with upside in Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin and Vince Velasquez. Of course, the Phillies also beefed up their bullpen with the addition of David Robertson at the back end, to compliment an already strong cast of characters. Seranthony Dominguez, Hector Neris, and Pat Neshek all pitched as capable closers in 2018, and each should be reliable again this year.
I see a scary team that has a legitimate chance of representing the National League in the World Series.
Conclusion: I believe this team is devoid of weakness. I see a scary team that has a legitimate chance of representing the National League in the World Series. I would have to put their win total if I was booking it at 94.5 games. I am shocked to see BetOnline still has them at just 89.5 games, that is a definite buy price for me, even with the -140 juice.
Atlanta Braves 2019 Win Total
The Braves were a surprise team last year due to a combination of factors going their way. The most notable was rookie phenom Ronald Acuna’s arrival in The Show. After being held down the obligatory two weeks for service time, Acuna was called up in late April and did pretty much everything. He hit for average, power, stole bases and remains on a trajectory that could land him as the best player in the game. Fellow phenom, second baseman Ozzie Albies started the season off on fire but wore down and saw his stats decline hardcore in the second half of the season. He remains a high upside offensive player and excellent defender. It wasn't just young players excelling either, as Nick Markakis made the first All-Star Game of his career, and of course, there's that Freddie Freeman guy just doing his thing at 1B as a perennial MVP candidate.
For 2019 the Braves have added former AL MVP Josh Donaldson to play third base and are still trotting out former #1 overall draft pick Dansby Swanson at shortstop. Behind the plate is the reliable Tyler Flowers, who joined by a familiar face in Brian McCann. The Braves not only had breakout performances on offense last year, but they also received a couple in the starting rotation. Mike Foltynewicz became the staff ace with an ERA of 2.85 in 183 IP while youngster Sean Newcomb emerged on the scene with a 3.90 ERA in 164 innings. I have a hard time imagining either of them repeating those numbers, but the Braves are loaded when it comes to young, high-upside arms. Touki Toussaint is the first name to mention as he is likely to make the starting rotation and has filthy stuff. Behind him are former #6 overall pick Kyle Wright, as well as Bryce Wilson, and Ian Anderson who all have mid-to-upper rotation upside.
Conclusion: I believe the Braves are a lock to go over .500 and compete for both the division and at the very least, a wild-card position. I would feel comfortable betting the over on 85 games, but I don't believe this is a 90-win team because I don't trust the top of their rotation. I am going to call this over/under at 86.5 games for my total. Finally, I agree with BetOnline, as they also have the Braves at 86.5 games. I can see this team going over more easily than I can see them going under, but at -125 juice on the over I would have to pass on this total.
Washington Nationals 2019 Win Total
The Nationals seem to be an overlooked team this year. They missed out on bringing back their star, Bryce Harper, a player the city had fallen in love with. From his arrival as a 19-year-old kid to his unprecedented MVP season as a 22-year-old, losing out on Bryce Harper made it feel like the Nationals had a substandard offseason. That couldn't be further from the truth. The Nationals improved their roster in every imaginable way, from the starting rotation to the bullpen to their minor holes on offense. In the rotation, Patrick Corbin was added, and while he may not be a household name, they gave themselves a third ace with his arrival.
The Nationals improved their roster in every imaginable way, from the starting rotation to the bullpen to their minor holes on offense.
Brian Dozier was brought in to replace Daniel Murphy at 2B, and while he had a poor 2017 season, he is just a year removed from multiple 30+ HR seasons with speed to boot. The other area of need for the Nationals was at catcher, where they brought in veterans Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki who should become a formidable combo. In the bullpen, Trevor Rosenthal and Kyle Barraclough were added to provide a bridge to elite closer Sean Doolittle.
Conclusion: I believe this is a team without any weaknesses, and with an elite starting rotation they should finish with a win total in the mid-'90s. I'd set their total at my fictional sportsbook at 94.5 wins. I am in awe of BetOnline right now, as they have the Nationals at just 88.5 wins. That is a shockingly low number for this team. I am all over the Over 88.5 wins.
New York Mets 2019 Win Total
I can’t help but like this Mets team. Maybe it’s my affinity for newcomer Jed Lowrie, combined with a love for Brandon Nimmo and respect for Michael Conforto. Amed Rosario has loads of talent at short, while Robinson Cano now takes over the keystone. Even Todd Frazier has some upside in his bat if you can squint hard enough. With Wilson Ramos at catcher, what's not to like? Then you get to their rotation, which features a 1-2 punch that rivals any other 1-2 combo in baseball. Jacob deGrom is coming off a Cy Young-winning season, and Noah Syndergaard could win the award any given year, and no one would be surprised. Zack Wheeler is an excellent #3, and a backend of Steven Matz and Jason Vargas is perfectly capable of getting the job done. In their pen, oh yeah, they traded for the best closer in baseball Edwin Diaz. The bridge to him will be formed by former closer Jeurys Familia, and the always reliable Seth Lugo.
Conclusion: I have this team down as easily over .500 and likely reaching close to 85 wins. I’ll set my personal over/under at 84.5 for this team. BetOnline has this one at 85.5, probably due to a little New York bias as the Mets fans slowly tick this total up.
Miami Marlins 2019 Win Total
One look at the Marlins roster and all I can think of is this:
The Marlins are a team that not too long ago had an outfield featuring Giancarlo Stanton, Marcel Ozuna, and Christian Yelich. That outfield now will trot out Curtis Granderson, Lewis Brinson, and Pat O'Brien. The infield is a similar collection of older vets and uninspiring prospects. Dare I say that the player with the most talent and expected value under 30 on this team is Starlin Castro? On the mound, the Marlins are equally bereft of talent. Their rotation is led by Jose Urena, Dan Straily and Wei-Yin Chen; three pitchers that would probably be lucky to be #5 starters on a decent team. Alright, that’s not fair to Chen or Straily. Chen has put up two straight years averaging 170 innings and a high-3’s ERA while Straily is a low 4’s ERA guy.
The problem is that with no stopper in the rotation, losing streaks could get out of control very quickly for this team, which should struggle to score runs on offense while fighting to prevent runs on defense. Behind the plate, the Marlins have a new catcher, Jorge Alfaro, who has immense power but not much else. He replaces the best catcher in the game JT Realmuto who was traded to the Phillies for Alfaro and top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez. There is no reason for the Marlins to rush Sixto to the big leagues, so I do not expect him to be much of a factor this year. Along with the downgrade to the lineup losing Realmuto, the bullpen also lost talent via free agency. At the back end is Drew Steckenrider, who is a capable reliever but won’t scare the opposition. Sergio Romo joins the team as another capable, yet uninspiring option.
Conclusion: Overall, this team has mostly downgraded from last year when they won 63 games. Some of the young talent may improve, such as Brinson in center field and Brian Anderson at 3B. I do expect to see the tiniest bit of improvement in year two with Don Mattingly as manager, and I’ll set their over/under this year at 64.5 games. I guess I was too generous, as BetOnline has them at 63.5 games with -115 juice both ways. This win total is a pass from me.