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Analyzing the 2017 Projected MLB Standings, As Of Today

Do we agree with Baseball Prospectus?

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We’re deep enough into the season that the 2017 projected MLB standings mean something.

The expectations of what teams will do are based off of actual data rather than solely prediction. Granted, some teams are in first place now that nobody saw coming. The question is whether or not people think they will stay there.

We took a look at the expected final standings from Baseball Prospectus to weigh it against our own thoughts. They determine projected remainders of the season using PECOTA, or Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm. Just by reading that you may feel like you have to take a fractional calculus course, but the bottom line is our only concern. Therefore, we used their simulator-based “Playoff Odds Report” as the yardstick.

2017 Projected MLB Standings: American League

In the AL East, Baseball Prospectus projects the Yankees as an 89-win division winner. The Boston Red Sox come in second, three games back, while the Baltimore Orioles head for the toilet.

Perhaps surprising is that BP predicts Tampa Bay to settle in third at 83-79. You do have to admit, the Rays aren’t a flashy team but they’re not a pushover. They’ve been about as successful this year as the Cubs, a defending champion that should be much better than they are. This projection actually has Tampa Bay sneaking the second wild card, which seems a little much.

If the Yankees want to win the AL East in 2017, they’ll have to hope Boston doesn’t catch fire. 89 wins is perhaps on the high end of what fans would have expected from the Bombers this year. As such, Boston can’t catch up to their own expectations. Thanks to several key players falling flat, the Sox aren’t where they want to be, but by no means are they out of the race.

The AL Central projection shows the Cleveland Indians blowing past the Minnesota Twins. Nobody else is a contender. It’s already been a successful year for the Twins, coming back from their disastrous 2016. Few, however, feel like they will hold up in first place.

Thing is, where is this Cleveland team we thought we’d see in 2017? They are a middling .500 squad that looks nothing like the team that just barely lost the World Series last year. While advanced stats say Cleveland will go into high gear, every day they don’t bodes worse for their postseason hopes, before and during October.

As for the AL West, it’ll be Houston by ten miles. They already have a massive division lead and nobody else is in their zip code in terms of completeness. It should be a tight battle for second, about 15-20 games behind the Astros.

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