Three members of Covers’ editorial team – namely Andrew Avery, Andrew Caley and Justin Hartling – continue their tour around the bigs to take a stab at where oddsmakers will open win totals for each club.
The next stop is the National League Central.
Click here for the AL East, AL Central, AL West and NL East.
National League Central
St. Louis Cardinals
2014 record: 90-72
2014 win total: 91.5
Justin Hartling: The Cardinals did a good job fortifying a strength during the offseason by acquiring Jason Heyward. Defensively last season, the Cards only allowed 603 runs (seventh in MLB). More than anything though, the team needs to plate more runs this season as they only notched 619 last year (19 in MLB). It seems like you know what you are going to get with this team each year, I’d say a total of 89.5.
Andrew Avery: You’re exactly right. We do know exactly what we are going to get with this ball club. The Cards are probably going to win the division. The Pirates are going to push them, but this is still St. Lou’s division. I’m thinking oddsmakers will be a tad lower than you’re projecting, Justin. I’m going to say 87.5 wins for the Cards. How salty are you if you had the Cards’ Over last season though?
Andrew Caley: St. Louis always seems to be in the hunt for the Central title come September, and I don’t expect this year to be any different. I love the acquisition of Jason Heyward, it adds to the Cards’ already great depth and the rotation is solid. I think it takes 90 wins to take the division this year, so… Prediction: 89.5.
Andrew Avery: Actually you guys are right. There is no way this team doesn’t get 89.5.
2014 record: 88-74
2014 win total: 83.5
Andrew Avery: Offense and some fairly decent pitching drove the Pirates in 2014 and they we’re kind of an exciting team to track throughout the year. Andrew McCutchen is probably the second-best player in the game (not including pitchers) and we can all expect him to build on a sensational 2014. The Buccos were tabbed with 83.5 last year and won 88 ball games, so I like oddsmakers to slap them with something a bit higher than last year’s total, so I’ll say 85.5.
Justin Hartling: This is the team to pick if you’re playing MLB: The Show. Solid across the board and watching McCutchen play is honestly fun. This team played well last season, but they need to cash in runners when they get them on the base. The Bucs left 14.79 runners on the basepaths per game last season (26th in the MLB). Every time I look at the Pirates I see a bridesmaid and not a bride. The total will be high, and I’m guessing 86.5.
Andrew Caley: This is going to be a fun team to watch this year. Obviously McCutchen is one of the most exciting players in the game, but he just highlights what is a well-rounded lineup and I can’t wait to see how Gregory Polanco develops. I like Gerrit Cole to emerge as the ace in a staff featuring a good mixture of youth and experience. Prediction: 85.5.
2014 record: 82-80
2014 win total: 79.5
Justin Hartling: The Brew Crew were painfully average last season and with little roster turnover, I’m doubtful much will change. Carlos Gomez will post his usual 23 home runs and 73 RBI and continue to be one of the best in the bigs at getting on the bases. Number should be 76.5. And since I don’t have much else to say, here’s a gif of Gomez failing.
Andrew Avery: Yeah this team is bound to be average it seems. Jonathan Lucroy is obviously a fine player and they’ve got the usual suspects peppered throughout the lineup, so the Brew Crew will hit. The pitching though? I’ll guess a win total of 77.5 for this ball club. Here’s my gif contribution:
Andrew Caley: After getting off to a hot start last season, the Brewers came back down to earth. I like Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy, plus the addition of Adam Lind is nice, however this team screams mediocrity to me, especially in the rotation. But the big question surrounding this team is what kind of player will Ryan Braun be moving forward? Prediction: 78.5.
2014 record: 76-86
2014 win total: 84.5
Andrew Caley: The Reds may be looking at another season looking up at the contenders in the Central. They need to stay healthy and for Joey Votto to re-find his stroke. Billy Hamilton could be a great weapon if he could just get on base a little more (just 34 walks in 563 at bats). The rotation behind Johnny Cueto is questionable. Prediction: 79.
Andrew Avery: Yeah Hamilton is a terror on the bases, but the speedy Red needs to get that OBP up. Not that it is the key to the Reds’ season or anything, but it’ll certainly help. They were pretty terrible across the board with the bats in 2014, and the pitching staff potentially punched above their weight. Just the 76 wins for the Reds last season, so I’m gonna go around that number: 75.5.
Justin Hartling: This club just sucked with the bat. They scored a mere 595 runs, hit .238 and had an abysmal .296 OBP last season. The rotation only looks good because of Cueto. When you remove the ace the rotation had a 4.43 ERA combined, but they are all young so the Reds better pray to whichever pitching god will listen that these kids play better. Number shouldn’t be higher than 77.5.
2014 record: 73-89
2014 win total: 70
Andrew Caley: The Cubbies are currently 14/1 to win the World Series. Let that sink in for a second. Now, I love what Chicago has done this offseason, specifically with the hiring of Joe Maddon as manager, but the jump and hype surrounding the team for THIS season seems out of whack. Give them a year or two and watch out. But this year… Prediction: 80.5
Andrew Avery: Totally agree with you, Caley. The Cubs are a year or two away from being a real threat. But they’ve made some nice strides here, especially with Maddon. They are loaded with potential future stars like Addison Russell, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler to name but a few, but that doesn’t mean much for 2015. The World Series odds lead me to believe they’ll get something higher than what you’re suggesting, so I’ll say 83.5.
Justin Hartling: Optimism is high for the Cubs, but it may be too high. This is a team that was in the bottom-third in almost every single statistical category last year. Yes all the offseason additions are great, but most of this lineup consists of prospects. This will probably be the team with the most over-inflated win total this season because the public will back them big, but I wouldn’t expect more than a .500 season. The total this season should be 83.5, but a slightly down year could deflate this number greatly for next season to. Could be money to be made here.
What do you think? Leave your thoughts on win totals for the NL Central clubs in the comments section.