Updated Win/Loss Projections for Every MLB Team at the One-Quarter Mark
The 2014 MLB season has been defined by injuries.
Ultimately, all of those health issues will play a key role in how the final standings will shake out. What follows are win/loss projections for all 30 MLB teams along with predictions regarding which clubs will land playoff spots and which ones will just miss the cut.
So, from the surging San Francisco Giants to the underwhelming Boston Red Sox, let's take a look into the future and see where each MLB team will end up at the end of Game 162.
Current record: 16-27; fifth in NL West
Projected record: 72-90; fifth in NL West
Already 11.5 games back in the division, the Arizona Diamondbacks are buried in the NL West.
However, the club has shown signs of improvement after a terrible start to the season. Headlined by Bronson Arroyo, the rotation has been substantially more effective in recent weeks, as the veteran right-hander has allowed just one run over his last three starts.
Current record: 22-17; first NL East
Projected record: 91-71; first in NL East
The Atlanta Braves have been hopeless against left-handed pitching in 2014. The club is hitting just .220 with a .625 OPS against lefties in the first quarter of the season, as noted by Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
Fortunately for manager Fredi Gonzalez's squad, the pitching staff has been absolutely dealing; the Braves check in with a 2.76 ERA as a team, which is the lowest mark in baseball.
That dominance on the mound will give the Braves the edge over the Washington Nationals in the NL East.
Current record: 21-18; first in AL East
Projected record: 89-73; second in AL East (second AL wild card)
So far, Nelson Cruz has been a monster for the Baltimore Orioles. The outfielder and designated hitter has already clubbed 12 home runs and owns a .905 OPS.
Ubaldo Jimenez, the club's other big offseason acquisition, is also rounding into form, as the right-hander has allowed just a single run in his last three outings after a rough start to the season. His turnaround will be vital for Baltimore, because the rest of the rotation has struggled over the first quarter of the season; as a starting staff, the Orioles have posted the eighth-worst ERA in baseball.
Boston Red Sox
Current record: 20-20; T-third AL East
Projected record: 92-70; first in AL East
The reigning World Series champions are definitely not off to a flying start in 2014.
The Boston Red Sox's offense would be in serious trouble if not for Mike Napoli and David Ortiz. Over his past 10 contests, Ortiz is batting .450 with six home runs. With Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. all floundering at the plate, the club will need to strongly consider adding an extra bat via trade.
However, in a wide-open division, the Red Sox still have the top rotation and the inside track to claim the top spot by season's end.
Current record: 13-26; fifth in NL Central
Projected record: 62-100; fifth in NL Central
The Chicago Cubs own the worst record in all of baseball, and there's no reason to expect things to get better.
There's a high probability that the club's most valuable trade chips—right-handers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel—will be dealt this summer. That pending fire sale along with the awful start to the season have made a 100-loss campaign nearly unavoidable.
Chicago White Sox
Current record: 20-22; fourth in AL Central
Projected record: 78-84; fourth in AL Central
The Chicago White Sox simply can't throw strikes.
The team's pitchers lead all of baseball in walks and subsequently have posted the second-worst ERA. Not even Jose Abreu can hit enough home runs to bail out the woeful White Sox pitching staff.
Current record: 18-21; third in NL Central
Projected record: 89-73; third in NL Central
Johnny Cueto has been unreal for the Cincinnati Reds in 2014, as the right-hander has posted a 1.25 ERA and held the opposition to just a .135 batting average so far. That performance has set the tone for a rotation that ranks second in the NL in ERA.
The Reds have also been playing standout defense in the first quarter of the season. Cincinnati has committed just 12 errors, which is the fewest in baseball. However, in these projections, the Reds will finish as the third-best squad in a loaded NL Central.
Current record: 19-22; fifth in AL Central
Projected record: 84-78; third in AL Central
The Cleveland Indians have not been sharp in the field in 2014, and the team leads all of baseball with 38 errors in 41 games. At the plate, Cleveland has received minimal production from key contributors like Carlos Santana and Nick Swisher.
However, despite the early season struggles, manager Terry Francona's squad remains just three games under .500.
Current record: 23-19; second in NL West
Projected record: 80-82, third in NL West
The Colorado Rockies have been ridiculous at the plate in the first quarter of the season.
Collectively, the Rockies are slugging .493 and have posted an .837 OPS. However, to expect the club to maintain such a high level of performance is not realistic. Players like Charlie Blackmon and Justin Morneau have already seen their offensive production drop off precipitously in recent weeks.
There's also the underwhelming starting rotation to consider. Colorado's rotation ranks No. 22 in the league in terms of ERA, and it simply doesn't match up with the staffs of the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.
Current record: 24-12; first AL Central
Projected record: 96-66; first in AL Central
With a six-game lead in the AL Central, the Detroit Tigers are already running away with the division.
The Tigers are one of the most well-rounded teams in baseball. Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander are leading the way in the rotation, and the club has also received a lot of quality innings from Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly so far as well.
At the plate, the Tigers have one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball. Victor Martinez has been remarkable, posting nine home runs and a .984 OPS. Plus, Detroit has been getting great production from role players like Don Kelly and Rajai Davis
The Tigers have the highest winning percentage in MLB at the quarter mark, and that should be no different at the end of the season.
Current record: 14-27; fifth in AL West
Projected record: 56-106; fifth in AL West
With the second-worst record in the AL, the Houston Astros are already 11 games off the pace in the AL West.
The club has been unable to score runs in 2014, ranking last in that category in the entire AL. Meanwhile, the bullpen hasn't been able to stop giving up runs, as the group ranks last in the league in ERA and has also served up 18 home runs, which is tied for the most in the league.
Admittedly, the rotation has been better than it was a season ago. Manager Bo Porter told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that he thinks Houston's starters "have done a tremendous job." That's a generous description, but the staff's 4.17 ERA is significantly lower than the 4.72 mark they posted last year.
Kansas City Royals
Current record: 20-20; second in AL Central
Projected record: 90-72; second in AL Central (first AL wild card)
Despite boasting an impressive core of young hitters, the Kansas City Royals have started slowly at the plate in 2014. The team has connected on just 18 home runs in its first 40 games, which is the lowest total in baseball.
However, with James Shields, Yordano Ventura and Jason Vargas leading the rotation, the club definitely has the pitching staff to grab a wild-card spot.
Los Angeles Angels
Current record: 22-18; second in AL West
Projected record: 83-79; third in AL West
The Los Angeles Angels have scored a ton of runs in 2014; at the quarter mark, the team ranks fifth in baseball in that category.
However, the Angels have had an extremely difficult time holding onto leads late in games. The club's bullpen ranks No. 23 in ERA, and the unit's inability to close out winnable contests could prove to be a major shortcoming for the Angels going forward.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Current record: 22-20; third in NL West
Projected record: 95-67; first in NL West
Even though Clayton Kershaw has only made three starts in 2014, the Los Angeles Dodgers have still had one of the more dominant staffs in all of baseball. Dan Haren, who owns a 2.84 ERA, has proven to be a shrewd signing for the club.
With the highest payroll in baseball, it wouldn't exactly be a shock to see the Dodgers decide to dish out some more funds in order to upgrade the squad before the trade deadline.
Current record: 21-21; third in NL East
Projected record: 81-81; third in NL East
Even with the loss of Jose Fernandez, the Miami Marlins still have a respectable rotation, which ranks No. 11 in MLB in ERA.
One aspect of the Marlins' season that is nearly impossible to explain is the team's record on the road. Away from home, the Marlins are 4-16, which is the worst mark in baseball.
Current record: 26-15; first in NL Central
Projected record: 90-72; second in NL Central (second NL wild card)
For the first time since 2011, the Milwaukee Brewers appear to be on their way to earning a playoff spot.
The Brewers hold a five-game lead in the NL Central but have cooled off over the past couple of weeks. One of the most important questions facing Milwaukee is how its rotation will hold up over the course of the season. At the quarter mark, the staff ranks No. 7 in baseball in terms of ERA.
Current record: 19-20; third in AL Central
Projected record: 74-88; fifth in AL Central
At the quarter mark, the Minnesota Twins are hanging around .500, but that's not a sustainable pace for the club.
Led by Kurt Suzkui, the team's offense has been surprisingly productive. However, the starting rotation has been horrible. Despite adding Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes in the offseason, Minnesota's starters have posted the worst ERA in all of MLB.
The lack of quality innings from the rotation has led to the team having the worst run differential in the AL Central, per ESPN.com.
New York Mets
Current record: 19-21; fourth in NL East
Projected record: 78-84; fourth in NL East
After a promising start to the season, the New York Mets are trending in the wrong direction, as the team has dropped seven of its past 10 contests.
The big issue is that the Mets just can't hit; the club ranks No. 28 in batting average and No. 29 in OPS.
New York Yankees
Current record: 21-19; second in AL East
Projected record: 82-80; third in AL East
The New York Yankees starting rotation has already been been decimated by injuries.
Now, the health problems are starting to spread to the lineup as well. Carlos Beltran could miss 6-12 weeks if his injured elbow requires surgery, per Erik Boland of Newsday.
The underlying issue is that the Yankees are old, and as the summer wears on, the injuries will likely only get worse.
Current record: 25-16; first in AL West
Projected record: 94-68; first in AL West
The Oakland Athletics rank No. 1 in all of baseball with a run differential of +71, per ESPN.com.
At the plate, the club's hitter's have been exceptionally patient, as they have drawn the most walks in baseball. On the mound, the starting rotation has thrived despite the fact that Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin are both out for the season.
However, one major problem spot has been the closer's role, where Jim Johnson has been a complete failure.
Current record: 17-21; fifth in the NL East
Projected record: 73-89; fifth in the NL East
The Philadelphia Phillies have the third-highest payroll in baseball, but the club sure isn't playing like it.
The teams's bullpen has posted the second-worst ERA in the NL. Meanwhile, at the plate, the Phillies simply can't score any runs. All of that has translated into the team sitting in last place in the NL East. In these projections, that's exactly where general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.'s club will ultimately end up.
Current record: 17-23; fourth in NL Central
Projected record: 78-84; fourth in NL Central
The NL Central is loaded this year, which is bad news for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The team is already 8.5 games off the pace in the division due to a terrible start to the season. Aside from Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton, the starting staff has been a disappointment and is inferior to those of the three clubs sitting ahead of the Pirates in the standings.
San Diego Padres
Current record: 20-22; fourth in the NL West
Projected record: 78-84; fourth in NL West
Petco Park is definitely not a hitter-friendly environment; just ask the San Diego Padres position players.
In the first quarter of 2014, the Padres rank last in all of baseball in OPS and runs. San Diego is also the third-worst team in the NL in terms of run differential, per ESPN.com.
San Francisco Giants
Current record: 27-15; first in the NL West
Projected record: 94-68; second in NL West (first NL wild card)
The San Francisco Giants are cruising through the 2014 season.
The club has one of the best bullpens in baseball, which has played a crucial part in helping the Giants win close games. San Francisco's rotation, which has been led by the 38-year-old Tim Hudson, has also been impressive.
However, even if the team goes on to win the second-most games in the NL, the Giants could still end up in a wild-card spot.
Current record: 20-20; third in AL West
Projected record: 86-76; second in AL West
Considering all the injuries the Seattle Mariners have dealt with, the club's rotation has been highly effective. Taijuan Walker and James Paxton are both on the shelf, and Hisashi Iwakuma has only made three appearances in 2014.
Conversely, the offense has been extremely poor, and the squad ranks last in the AL in terms of OPS. The Mariners are definitely trending in the right direction, but they will likely miss out on a wild-card spot by a few games.
St. Louis Cardinals
Current record: 21-20; second NL Central
Projected record: 92-70; first in NL Central
There's no doubt that the St. Louis Cardinals have endured a subpar start to the season.
However, a crucial factor in the club's early struggles has been that the Cardinals have played a ton of games on the road. Of the team's first 41 contests, 26 have been away from Busch Stadium.
With Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha leading the way, the Cardinals have the starting staff to eventually overtake the Milwaukee Brewers and lock down the top spot in the NL Central.
Tampa Bay Rays
Current record: 18-24; fifth in AL East
Projected record: 75-87; fourth in AL East
The 2014 season has not gone according to plan for the Tampa Bay Rays.
At the quarter mark, the Rays are the third-worst team in the AL in terms of run differential, per ESPN.com. The rotation has also been hit with an array of injuries, and of the current starting five, Erik Bedard is sporting the lowest ERA.
If Rays can't climb out of the cellar in the AL East, David Price could be running short on time in Tampa Bay.
Current record: 20-21; fourth in the AL West
Projected record: 78-84; fourth in AL West
The Texas Rangers have dealt with myriad injuries in the club's starting rotation.
Martin Perez is done for the year, as the left-hander is set to undergo Tommy John surgery, as noted by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Also, Matt Harrison could require spinal fusion surgery, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports. Meanwhile, Derek Holland has yet to even take the mound in 2014.
With such a deluge of injuries to key members of the rotation, it's simply not reasonable to expect the Rangers to contend in 2014.
Toronto Blue Jays
Current record: 21-21; T-third in AL East
Projected record: 73-89; fifth AL East
Six members of the Blue Jays have already connected on six home runs or more in the first quarter of the season.
However, Toronto's pitching staff doesn't have the look of a playoff-caliber group. Specifically, the starters have been walking way too many batters, as the starting rotation leads all of baseball in that category.
The Blue Jays could easily begin to rack up losses later in the season if the club falls out of the AL East race and subsequently decides to sell some of its power bats.
Current record: 21-19; second in NL East
Projected record: 89-73; second in NL East
The Washington Nationals have endured all sorts of injuries in the opening quarter of 2014, which has certainly played a role in the club's underwhelming start.
Another major factor, though, has been the team's poor play in the field. With 36 errors in 40 games, the Nationals are tied for the most in all of the NL. With the highly touted rotation not performing at the level expected of them (No. 15 in ERA), either, the Nationals appear destined for another disappointing finish.
If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter: @KarlBuscheck.