Everyone knows there are two leagues, right?! CG Technology just released their updated win totals for the 2016 MLB season, and all of the biggest moves come from the American League. No National League team has moved by more than one game in either direction, but there’s been plenty of movement on the other side. Let’s take a look at what could be motivating some of those moves…
Minnesota Twins from 74.5 Wins to 77.5 Wins – Opposing pitchers better learn the names Miguel Sano and Byung-ho Park pretty quickly. Sano hit 18 home runs and drove in 52 runs in just 80 games last season after making the jump directly from AA ball. Park was acquired by the Twins during the offseason from the Korea Baseball Organization where he was a two-time Most Valuable Player Award winner with the Nexen Heroes. He hit 105 home runs with 270 RBIs in 268 games over the past two seasons. Add those two bats to a lineup that already has Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer and Kurt Suzuki, and you’ve got a pretty formidable offense. Clearly, bettors agree.
Cleveland Indians from 82.5 Wins to 84.5 Wins – The Indians have been a sexy pick to emerge from the AL Central and make a run for a couple years now, but just haven’t gotten over the hump. Cleveland was on the cover of Sports Illustrated before last season with the headline: “Why the Tribe Will Win Its First Series Since 1948”. I Google’d “Cleveland Indians” this morning, and the second link was from Bleacher Report titled: “Cleveland Indians Could Be AL’s Sleeping Giant in 2016”. The Indians finished 32-21 over the last two months of last season, generating a lot of expectations and promise for this year. FanGraphs projects Cleveland to win the AL Central and win 86 games behind the arms of Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, plus a bullpen that had the second-lowest ERA in the AL last season.
Tampa Bay Rays from 78 Wins to 79.5 Wins (With the Over juiced to -200) – Bettors just refuse to believe that the Rays will be a sub-.500 team. Tampa Bay has finished below 80 wins just once since 2007 and has remained fiercely competitive in the AL East. FanGraphs projects the Rays to finish 2016 at 81-81 with strong performances on the mound from Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and Drew Smyly. The infield combination of Evan Longoria, James Loney and Logan Forsythe won’t put up big power numbers, but they are dependable, everyday hitters that will put pressure on opposing pitchers. The Rays will have to feast on their out-of-division schedule to pick up a lot of wins, because every team in the AL East is projected to reach the 80-win mark.
Marco and Sports Cheetah filmed two MLB previews at the end of February: One for the Oakland A’s and another for the Kansas City Royals. The line for both teams has moved contrary to our position, giving us a little more value on our plays if you haven’t placed your bets yet. We like the A’s to go over their projected total, and the line has dropped from 76.5 to 75.5 with the small juice of -105 on the over. We also like the Royals to go under their total, which has risen from 84 to 84.5 with no juice on the under. Both are still strong plays, in our opinion.