New User? Sign Up / Forgot Your Password?
All Live
Projections
    All Live Projections

    2015 MLB Preview

    Last Updated: 3/5/2015

    For our complete MLB 2015 Preview, please see our Power Rankings, Playoff Probabilities, Team Over/Under Season Win Total picks, World Series Futures Picks and Standings Projections and Division-by-Division Breakdowns. Picks packages for every MLB game on the money-line, over/under and run-line are now available in the shop. All-time on PredictionMachine.com, all highlighted, "normal" or better plays for Team Over/Under Season Win Totals are 41-14 (75% O/U).

    The Predictalator has already played the 2015 MLB season 50,000 times before it's actually played. The Washington Nationals win the World Series a league-high 16.4% of the time (8,214 of 50,000 times to be exact - last year's most likely champion won just 11.7%). The Los Angeles Dodgers (11.7%), Seattle Mariners (9.8%), St. Louis Cardinals (9.7%) and Boston Red Sox (8.2%) follow the Nationals in championship likelihood. In another wide open season, no team has a greater than one-in-six chance of winning it all and a total of 17 teams have a better than one percent chance of winning the World Series. Here, we break down every team division-by-division.

    How it Works
    Just as the Predictalator plays any individual game 50,000 before it's actually played, it can also play every game 50,000 times before it's actually played. That is what we have done for the 2015 MLB season. The actual regular season and playoff schedules have been played 50,000 times, allowing us to compute average records and the likelihood of a team making the playoffs, winning the league pennant and bringing home the World Series trophy.

    In this case, using the Predictalator is not as much of a concern to us as making sure that we have the best possible inputs for players' statistics, roles, health and playing time as well as teams' managerial styles and ballpark effects. Ballpark effects, managerial styles and health history are fairly well known, while calculating a player's statistical inputs provides the greatest challenge.

    In general, we apply ballpark and level-adjusted, relevant statistics from every game a player has played in his professional career to a fairly traditional player development curve that considers age and previous playing time. Not only does this curve help to set average inputs, it combines with health dictates the variance (boom or bust potential) of a player's inputs. In the team-by-team breakdowns below, the "most important" pitchers and positional players are the players, often due to their boom or bust likelihood/distributions, who will most drastically impact their teams. Obviously, a season-ending injury to Andrew McCutchen in the first game of the season will have a more significant impact on the Pirates' chances to win the World Series than if the same thing happened to Gregory Polanco. But, the variance for our expectations of McCutchen's playing time and performance is minimal. We "know" what the Pirates are getting with McCutchen. Polanco is a bit of a wild card as a player who has great talent, yet lacks consistency and, as young as he is, has a considerably wide range of possible outcomes this season. How closely to and for how long he can play at his ceiling is incredibly important to the Pirates' season. (Also below, Fantasy Sleepers are chosen based on our projected value relative to current average draft positions. The more relative value, the more likely to be a sleeper.)

    Playing time is more of an art than a science. We have done our best to estimate playing time for all players who are expected to see significant starting time in 2015. That being said, some gaps have been filled in by our best approximations of average bench and role players on teams. This has a very minor impact on average results, yet keeps us from being able to be comfortable providing comprehensive player projections for all players.

    After all of that math and analysis, importing a schedule and running the games 50,000 times each is simple.

    Season Summary
    With a historically great starting pitching staff, emerging star-caliber position players, the easiest division for a good team to win in baseball and no real, glaring weaknesses, the Nationals separate from the pack as this year's best team and most likely World Series champion. Washington is 92.8% likely to make the playoffs, which is the highest confidence we have ever published for baseball before the season. Often, teams built around pitching are susceptible to high fluctuation and volatility due to potential injuries, but there are going to be very good starting pitchers on this roster that do not even make the rotation. That depth, coupled with regression of other NL East teams makes the path to the postseason fairly easy for the Nationals. The Los Angeles Dodgers (67.9%), Boston Red Sox (54.5%) and St. Louis Cardinals (54.4%) are the only other teams that win divisions more than 50% of the time. Other teams that are more than 50% likely to make the playoffs include the Seattle Mariners (67.6%), Los Angeles Angels (59.2%), Pittsburgh Pirates (58.8%), Cleveland Indians (52.0%) and Kansas City Royals (51.4%). The Arizona Diamondbacks are the only team never to win a World Series in 50,000 season simulations (the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins also win fewer than 25 times each). The NL is 51.9% likely to win the World Series (though, with a margin that close, that, sadly, could depend on which team wins the MLB All-Star Game in Cincinnati).

    Based on the analysis, here is the projected MLB 2015 Playoff bracket. It should be noted however, that this exact bracket only occurred 211 of the 50,000 seasons played by the Predictalator:

    American League

    Wildcard: Los Angeles over Cleveland
    Divisional: Boston over Los Angeles
    Divisional: Seattle over Kansas City
    League: Seattle over Boston

    National League

    Wildcard: Pittsburgh over San Francisco
    Divisional: Washington over Pittsburgh
    Divisional: Los Angeles over St. Louis
    League: Washington over Los Angeles

    World Series

    Washington Nationals over Seattle Mariners

    NL East Preview

    Washington Nationals
    Power Rank: 1
    Division Standing: 1
    2014 Wins: 96
    2014 Losses: 66
    Playoff Probability: 92.8%
    Biggest Strengths: Starting Pitching (like Historically Great)
    Greatest Weaknesses: Defense (Relative to Rest of the Team)
    Most Important Pitcher: Drew Storen, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Yunel Escobar, 2B
    Fantasy Sleeper: Michael Taylor, LF

    Miami Marlins
    Power Rank: 20
    Division Standing: 2
    2014 Wins: 77
    2014 Losses: 85
    Playoff Probability: 20.6%
    Biggest Strengths: Young, Powerful Outfield
    Greatest Weaknesses: Defense (Especially in Infield)
    Most Important Pitcher: Jose Fernandez, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Dee Gordon, 2B
    Fantasy Sleeper: Carter Capps, RP

    New York Mets
    Power Rank: 21
    Division Standing: 3
    2014 Wins: 79
    2014 Losses: 83
    Playoff Probability: 16.6%
    Biggest Strengths: Young Starting Pitching Depth
    Greatest Weaknesses: Bullpen
    Most Important Pitcher: Matt Harvey, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Travis d'Arnaud, C
    Fantasy Sleeper: Noah Syndergaard, SP

    Atlanta Braves
    Power Rank: 28
    Division Standing: 4
    2014 Wins: 79
    2014 Losses: 83
    Playoff Probability: 2.2%
    Biggest Strengths: Bullpen
    Greatest Weaknesses: Lineup
    Most Important Pitcher: Mike Minor, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Christian Betancourt, C
    Fantasy Sleeper: Nick Markakis, RF

    Philadelphia Phillies
    Power Rank: 29
    Division Standing: 5
    2014 Wins: 73
    2014 Losses: 89
    Playoff Probability: 2.3%
    Biggest Strengths: Top of Rotation (for now)
    Greatest Weaknesses: Age/Health Concerns (and Pretty Much Everything Else)
    Most Important Pitcher: Aaron Harang, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Domonic Brown, LF
    Fantasy Sleeper: Ken Giles, RP

    NL Central Preview

    St. Louis Cardinals
    Power Rank: 3
    Division Standing: 1
    2014 Wins: 90
    2014 Losses: 72
    Playoff Probability: 80.2%
    Biggest Strengths: Balance - Do Just About Everything Well
    Greatest Weaknesses: Depth? (Not as elite in some areas, but no real flaws either)
    Most Important Pitcher: Michael Wacha, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Jason Heyward, RF
    Fantasy Sleeper: Marco Gonzales, SP/RP

    Pittsburgh Pirates
    Power Rank: 8
    Division Standing: 2
    2014 Wins: 88
    2014 Losses: 74
    Playoff Probability: 51.7%
    Biggest Strengths: Strong All-Around Lineup
    Greatest Weaknesses: Starting Pitching
    Most Important Pitcher: Gerrit Cole, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Gregory Polanco, RF
    Fantasy Sleeper: Jung-ho Kang, SS

    Chicago Cubs
    Power Rank: 11
    Division Standing: 3
    2014 Wins: 73
    2014 Losses: 89
    Playoff Probability: 47.4%
    Biggest Strengths: Young Talent (everywhere)
    Greatest Weaknesses: Patience (more so figuratively with prospects, but also at the plate)
    Most Important Pitcher: Jake Arrieta, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Kris Bryant, 3B/LF
    Fantasy Sleeper: Jorge Soler, RF

    Milwaukee Brewers
    Power Rank: 23
    Division Standing: 4
    2014 Wins: 82
    2014 Losses: 80
    Playoff Probability: 9.0%
    Biggest Strengths: Top of Lineup
    Greatest Weaknesses: Pitching
    Most Important Pitcher: Mike Fiers, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Jean Segura, SS
    Fantasy Sleeper: Mike Fiers, SP

    Cincinnati Reds
    Power Rank: 24
    Division Standing: 5
    2014 Wins: 76
    2014 Losses: 86
    Playoff Probability: 6.1%
    Biggest Strengths: Joey Votto and Defense
    Greatest Weaknesses: Lack of Depth and Health Concerns
    Most Important Pitcher: Tony Cingrani, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Jay Bruce, RF
    Fantasy Sleeper: Jumbo Diaz, RP

    NL West Preview

    Los Angeles Dodgers
    Power Rank: 2
    Division Standing: 1
    2014 Wins: 94
    2014 Losses: 68
    Playoff Probability: 85.2%
    Biggest Strengths: Top of Rotation and Heart of Lineup
    Greatest Weaknesses: Pitching Depth and Uncertainty of Youth
    Most Important Pitcher: Zack Greinke, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Yasmani Grandal, C
    Fantasy Sleeper: Brandon Beachy, SP

    San Francisco Giants
    Power Rank: 12
    Division Standing: 2
    2014 Wins: 88
    2014 Losses: 74
    Playoff Probability: 41.9%
    Biggest Strengths: Top of Rotation and Heart of Lineup
    Greatest Weaknesses: Bullpen
    Most Important Pitcher: Matt Cain, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Brandon Belt, 1B
    Fantasy Sleeper: Hunter Strickland, RP

    San Diego Padres
    Power Rank: 13
    Division Standing: 3
    2014 Wins: 77
    2014 Losses: 85
    Playoff Probability: 38.0%
    Biggest Strengths: Rebuilt Outfield (Literally and Figuratively)
    Greatest Weaknesses: Ballpark Fit (or Lack Thereof)
    Most Important Pitcher: Andrew Cashner, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Wil Myers, OF
    Fantasy Sleeper: Matt Wisler, SP

    Colorado Rockies
    Power Rank: 26
    Division Standing: 4
    2014 Wins: 66
    2014 Losses: 96
    Playoff Probability: 3.8%
    Biggest Strengths: Left Side of the Field and Bullpen
    Greatest Weaknesses: Everything Else (plus Injury History to Left Side of the Field)
    Most Important Pitcher: Tyler Matzek, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Troy Tulowitzki, SS
    Fantasy Sleeper: Nick Hundley, C

    Arizona Diamondbacks
    Power Rank: 30
    Division Standing: 5
    2014 Wins: 64
    2014 Losses: 98
    Playoff Probability: 1.2%
    Biggest Strengths: Talented Young Infield
    Greatest Weaknesses: Everything Else
    Most Important Pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Yasmany Tomas, 3B
    Fantasy Sleeper: Yasmany Tomas, 3B

    AL East Preview

    Boston Red Sox
    Power Rank: 4
    Division Standing: 1
    2014 Wins: 71
    2014 Losses: 91
    Playoff Probability: 72.9%
    Biggest Strengths: Lineup
    Greatest Weaknesses: Starting Pitching Depth/Consistency
    Most Important Pitcher: Rick Porcello, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Christian Vazquez, C
    Fantasy Sleeper: Rusney Castillo, CF

    Toronto Blue Jays
    Power Rank: 14
    Division Standing: 2
    2014 Wins: 83
    2014 Losses: 79
    Playoff Probability: 31.4%
    Biggest Strengths: Infield (Plus Jose Bautista) Firepower
    Greatest Weaknesses: Bullpen and Outfield Uncertainty
    Most Important Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez SP/RP (was Marcus Stroman)
    Most Important Position Player: Dalton Pompey, CF
    Fantasy Sleeper: Kevin Pillar, LF

    New York Yankees
    Power Rank: 15
    Division Standing: 3
    2014 Wins: 84
    2014 Losses: 78
    Playoff Probability: 30.6%
    Biggest Strengths: Bullpen
    Greatest Weaknesses: Hitting for Average
    Most Important Pitcher: Masahiro Tanaka, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Alex Rodriguez, 3B/DH
    Fantasy Sleeper: Michael Pineda, SP

    Baltimore Orioles
    Power Rank: 16
    Division Standing: 4
    2014 Wins: 96
    2014 Losses: 66
    Playoff Probability: 28.5%
    Biggest Strengths: Power and Defense
    Greatest Weaknesses: Injury Uncertainty (Position Players and Pitchers)
    Most Important Pitcher: Kevin Gausman, SP (or whichever prospect makes rotation)
    Most Important Position Player: Matt Wieters, C
    Fantasy Sleeper: Dylan Bundy, SP

    Tampa Bay Rays
    Power Rank: 22
    Division Standing: 5
    2014 Wins: 77
    2014 Losses: 85
    Playoff Probability: 7.7%
    Biggest Strengths: Defense and Bullpen
    Greatest Weaknesses: Lineup
    Most Important Pitcher: Drew Smyly, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Steven Souza, LF
    Fantasy Sleeper: Brad Boxberger, RP

    AL Central Preview

    Kansas City Royals
    Power Rank: 7
    Division Standing: 1
    2014 Wins: 89
    2014 Losses: 73
    Playoff Probability: 53.0%
    Biggest Strengths: Bullpen and Defense
    Greatest Weaknesses: Starting Pitching Depth/Consistency
    Most Important Pitcher: Danny Duffy, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Mike Moustakas, 3B
    Fantasy Sleeper: Kris Medlen, SP

    Cleveland Indians
    Power Rank: 9
    Division Standing: 2
    2014 Wins: 85
    2014 Losses: 77
    Playoff Probability: 52.6%
    Biggest Strengths: Power (Arms and Bats)
    Greatest Weaknesses: Defense
    Most Important Pitcher: Gavin Floyd, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Jose Ramirez, SS (or Francisco Lindor if he starts)
    Fantasy Sleeper: Danny Salazar, SP

    Detroit Tigers

    Power Rank: 10
    Division Standing: 3
    2014 Wins: 90
    2014 Losses: 72
    Playoff Probability: 46.1%
    Biggest Strengths: Top of Rotation and Heart of Lineup
    Greatest Weaknesses: Defense
    Most Important Pitcher: Justin Verlander, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Jose Iglesias, SS
    Fantasy Sleeper: J.D. Martinez, RF

    Chicago White Sox
    Power Rank: 18
    Division Standing: 4
    2014 Wins: 73
    2014 Losses: 89
    Playoff Probability: 9.9%
    Biggest Strengths: Top of Rotation and Heart of Lineup
    Greatest Weaknesses: Defense and Lack of Depth
    Most Important Pitcher: Jeff Samardzija, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Avisail Garcia, RF
    Fantasy Sleeper: Carlos Rodon, SP/RP

    Minnesota Twins
    Power Rank: 27
    Division Standing: 5
    2014 Wins: 70
    2014 Losses: 92
    Playoff Probability: 2.0%
    Biggest Strengths: Farm System and Bullpen
    Greatest Weaknesses: Major League Baseball
    Most Important Pitcher: Ervin Santana, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Danny Santana, SS
    Fantasy Sleeper: Miguel Sano, 3B

    AL West Preview

    Seattle Mariners
    Power Rank: 5
    Division Standing: 1
    2014 Wins: 87
    2014 Losses: 75
    Playoff Probability: 69.5%
    Biggest Strengths: Everything Except…
    Greatest Weaknesses: Lack of Power at Corners
    Most Important Pitcher: James Paxton, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Dustin Ackley, LF
    Fantasy Sleeper: Danny Hultzen, SP

    Los Angeles Angels
    Power Rank: 6
    Division Standing: 2
    2014 Wins: 98
    2014 Losses: 64
    Playoff Probability: 63.1%
    Biggest Strengths: Elite Lineup (when healthy)
    Greatest Weaknesses: Bullpen and Health/Age Concerns
    Most Important Pitcher: Garrett Richards, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Albert Pujols, 1B
    Fantasy Sleeper: Andrew Heaney, SP

    Oakland Athletics
    Power Rank: 17
    Division Standing: 3
    2014 Wins: 88
    2014 Losses: 74
    Playoff Probability: 19.5%
    Biggest Strengths: Versatility/Solid All-Around and Ballpark
    Greatest Weaknesses: Starting Pitching Health/Consistency
    Most Important Pitcher: Jarrod Parker/A.J. Griffin (whoever gets back first), SP
    Most Important Position Player: Brett Lawrie, 3B
    Fantasy Sleeper: Drew Pomeranz, SP

    Texas Rangers
    Power Rank: 19
    Division Standing: 4
    2014 Wins: 67
    2014 Losses: 95
    Playoff Probability: 9.5%
    Biggest Strengths: Top of Rotation and Heart of Lineup
    Greatest Weaknesses: Bullpen (and Left Field - WTF?)
    Most Important Pitcher: Derek Holland, SP
    Most Important Position Player: Rougned Odor, 2B
    Fantasy Sleeper: Rougned Odor, 2B

    Houston Astros
    Power Rank: 25
    Division Standing: 5
    2014 Wins: 70
    2014 Losses: 92
    Playoff Probability: 3.7%
    Biggest Strengths: Ground Ball Pitchers and Fly Ball Hitters
    Greatest Weaknesses: Defense and Lack of Depth
    Most Important Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel, SP
    Most Important Position Player: George Springer, RF
    Fantasy Sleeper: Samuel Deduno, SP

    For our complete MLB 2015 Preview, please see our Power Rankings, Playoff Probabilities, Team Over/Under Season Win Total picks, World Series Futures Picks and Standings Projections and Division-by-Division Breakdowns. Picks packages for every MLB game on the money-line, over/under and run-line are now available in the shop. All-time on PredictionMachine.com, all highlighted, "normal" or better plays for Team Over/Under Season Win Totals are 41-14 (75% O/U).

    Print This Article
    Want More Tips and Information? Click To Register!
    Ad

    The Predictalator

    6/28/2015 Highlight: Using the ResultsFinder for the week of June 21st-27th, one could find that all playable MLB money-lines and run-lines went 63-42 (60% ML and RL). Given the payouts associated with those plays, that generated a return of +$459 for the week for a normal $50 player using our play value recommendations.

    And, as we head into July, with just a few weeks before NFL and college football camps opening, it's worth noting a couple football highlights. Strong opinions in college football have consistently generated great returns, with the Locks of the Week on the site going 53-24 (69% ATS) over five seasons (24-8, 75% ATS in the last two seasons) and featured, "normal" or better totals (greater than 57% confidence in the pick) going 348-255 (58% O/U) all-time.

    Picking every NFL game over five years, playable against-the-spread picks are 591-487 (55% ATS) on the site (including better than 57% ATS in 2013 and .500 or better results every week in 2014 from Week 7 through the Conference Championship games).

    Recommended Features

    LOGIN

    LATEST ARTICLES

    Home Field Advantage - College Football
    Which teams have the best home field advantage in college football?

    MLB Playoff Probabilities
    2015 MLB Playoff Probabilities – odds to win the World Series.

    FIND US ONLINE


    Statistical Information Provided by: SportsData © 2012

    All registered accounts are subject to our General Terms Of Service. Content is intended for informational purposes only. This is not a gambling website.

    FSTA Member 2015
    Home | The Predictalator | Blog | Privacy |  Media Contact |  B2B Solutions |  Sitemap |  Job Opportunities |  Customer Support | 
    © 2010-2015 PredictionMachine.com, LLC. All rights reserved. | Site Designed by Randombell.com