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  • Writer's pictureJack Vita

2020 MLB preseason projections: over/under win totals

Over the course of the last five months, I've worked diligently on a Major League Baseball season preview series.

When the series began back in February, I had no idea that baseball season would not begin until July 23 and that the sport's usual 162-game season would be compressed to 60 games over a short, three-month sprint. Without this knowledge, I continued to project teams' win totals operating under the assumption that 162 games would be played by each team in 2020.

There wasn't too much rhyme or reason to my projections. I never calculated to make sure that teams' win and loss totals would equate to the correct number of wins and losses accumulated by 30 teams. I never ran an online simulation service. I simply just looked at each team's over/under win totals, courtesy of Odds Shark and estimated if each team would finish with a higher or lower win total than the given over/under total.

Upon completing my win total projections, I was hit with the cruel reality that this season wouldn't be like any other season. I decided to take my win total projections and run some cross-multiplication (I always liked math!) and configured what a 162-game win projection would correlate to in a 60-game season.

Obviously this isn't a perfect metric by any stretch of the imagination. Playing 60 games with limited travel is an entirely different animal compared to the usual hurdles that a 162-game season presents. With teams now limited to only playing teams in their own division and the other league's corresponding geographic division, this is far from an accurate exercise.

Still, the idea of figuring out how a 162-game win total mirrors a 60-game win total was a very compelling one to me. Is there any chance that my 100-win Tampa Bay Rays projection could reflect the Rays' 2020 record? The Rays would need to win 37 games in order for that to be the case. The math in most cases wasn't a perfect correlation, as most of the numbers required me to round to the closest whole number.

Having considered all of this, I present you with my 2020 win total projections translated to 60 games.

AL East

Tampa Bay Rays - Jack's 162-game projection: 100-62.

60-game projection: 37-23.

New York Yankees - Jack's 162-game projection: 99-63.

60-game projection: 37-23.

Boston Red Sox - Jack's 162-game projection: 78-84.

60-game projection: 29-31.

Toronto Blue Jays - Jack's 162-game projection: 64-98

60-game projection: 24-36

Baltimore Orioles - Jack's 162-game projection: 50-112

60-game projection: 19-41

AL Central

Minnesota Twins - Jack's 162-game projection: 92-70

60-game projection: 36-24

Chicago White Sox - Jack's 162-game projection: 87-75

60-game projection: 32-28

Cleveland Indians - Jack's 162-game projection: 84-78

60-game projection: 31-29

Kansas City Royals - Jack's 162-game projection: 65-97

60-game projection: 24-36

Detroit Tigers - Jack's 162-game projection: 49-113

60-game projection: 18-42

AL West

Oakland Athletics - Jack's 162-game projection: 100-62

60-game projection: 37-23

Houston Astros - Jack's 162-game projection: 94-68

60-game projection: 35-25

Texas Rangers - Jack's 162-game projection: 85-77

60-game projection: 31-29

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Jack's 162-game projection: 77-85

60-game projection: 29-31

Seattle Mariners - Jack's 162-game projection: 61-101

60-game projection: 23-37

If the the American League were to play out as forecasted, these would be your eight AL playoff teams come October: 1) AL East champ: Tampa Bay Rays (37-23)

2) AL West champ: Oakland Athletics (37-23)

3) AL Central champ: Minnesota Twins (36-24)

4) Wild Card #1: New York Yankees (37-23)

5) Wild Card #2: Houston Astros (35-25)

6) Wild Card #3: Chicago White Sox (32-28)

7) Wild Card #4: Cleveland Indians (31-29)

8) Wild Card #5: Texas Rangers (31-29)

On to the National League...

NL East

Atlanta Braves - Jack's 162-game projection: 98-64

60-game projection: 36-24

Philadelphia Phillies - Jack's 162-game projection: 89-73

60-game projection: 33-27

Washington Nationals - Jack's 162-game projection: 88-74

60-game projection: 33-27

New York Mets - Jack's 162-game projection: 81-81

60-game projection: 30-30

Miami Marlins - Jack's 162-game projection: 61-101

60-game projection: 23-37

NL Central St. Louis Cardinals - Jack's 162-game projection: 91-71

60-game projection: 34-26

Cincinnati Reds - Jack's 162-game projection: 87-75

60-game projection: 32-28

Milwaukee Brewers - Jack's 162-game projection: 86-76

60-game projection: 32-28

Chicago Cubs - Jack's 162-game projection: 78-84

60-game projection: 29-31

Pittsburgh Pirates - Jack's 162-game projection: 68-94

60-game projection: 25-35

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers - Jack's 162-game projection: 101-61

60-game projection: 37-23

Arizona Diamondbacks - Jack's 162-game projection: 91-71

60-game projection: 34-26

San Diego Padres - Jack's 162-game projection: 75-87

60-game projection: 28-32

Colorado Rockies - Jack's 162-game projection: 74-88

60-game projection: 27-33

San Francisco Giants - Jack's 162-game projection: 59-103

60-game projection: 22-38

According to these projections, the following would be your eight National League playoff teams in 2020:

1) NL West champ: Los Angeles Dodgers (37-23)

2) NL East champ: Atlanta Braves (36-24)

3) NL Central champ: St. Louis Cardinals (34-26)

4) Wild Card #1: Arizona Diamondbacks (34-26)

5) Wild Card #2: Philadelphia Phillies (33-27)

6) Wild Card #3: Washington Nationals (33-27)

7) Wild Card #4: Cincinnati Reds (32-28)

8) Wild Card #5: Milwaukee Brewers (32-28)

It will be interesting to see how these projected records compare to the completed 60-game season in October. It's very possible that with positive COVID-19 tests and potential outbreaks, that not every team will play all 60 games on their schedule.

I still ended up with my top 16 teams making the playoffs. Despite our world's current uncertainties, one thing is for sure: baseball is back, baby.

For more entertainment and sports analysis, follow me on Twitter @JackVitaShow, and subscribe to the Jack Vita Show on iTunes or wherever podcasts are found.

(Image via Getty)


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