MLB win totals: Nationals bound to regress in 2020
BetAmerica is getting ready for the return of America's national pastime with a full slate of Major League Baseball win totals. Today we look at the defending World Series champion Nationals, as well as two clubs that finished below .500 in 2019.
Washington Nationals (89.5)
The Nationals eventually won the World Series, but they went just 93-69 in the 2019 regular season and were fortunate to make the National League Wild Card Game. Washington spent plenty of money in the offseason, but the loss of third baseman Anthony Rendon will be a significant factor.
The Nationals got off to a 19-31 start last year, and Rendon missed 14 of those games. While it’s true that Washington couldn’t realistically afford to keep both Stephen Strasburg and Rendon, the loss still hurts. Starlin Castro is a nice option to fill in at third, but he’s unlikely to replicate the 1.010 OPS Rendon put up in 2019.
The Nats will probably ask a lot of starters Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, and Strasburg again in 2020, as their bullpen remains weak, even after the addition of Will Harris. Harris was mostly flawless last year, but was the goat in Game 7 of the World Series, when he allowed the go-ahead home run to Howie Kendrick. It remains to be seen how he’ll recover from that.
MLB free pick: Under
Miami Marlins (64.5)
The Marlins’ rebuild may finally start paying off, after the club averaged 60 wins over the last two seasons.
Sandy Alcantara (6-14, 3.88 ERA) blossomed into a No. 1 starter in 2019, and Caleb Smith (10-11, 4.52 ERA) was right behind him before he tailed off in the second half. He should improve in 2020, with 153 1/3 innings under his belt. Jordan Yamamoto (.191 opponent batting average) flashed promise as a rookie, too. Miami’s top prospect, Sixto Sanchez, is also expected to make his MLB debut at some point this year.
The Marlins bullpen is by no means a source of strength, and it is likely to be strained once more behind their young starters. Adding Brandon Kintzler (3.37 career ERA) and Yimi Garcia (3.61 ERA in 2019), however, represents progress. A bounce-back campaign from Drew Steckenrider would be a boon.
The Marlins ranked at the bottom in most offensive categories last year, but they made meaningful additions, including outfielder Corey Dickerson (.304 average in an injury-shortened 2019) and first baseman Jesus Aguilar (one year removed from a 35-home run, 108-RBI campaign). They also traded with the Orioles for infielder Jonathan Villar (.792 OPS in 2019). This lineup will not be a pushover in 2020.
MLB free pick: Over
Colorado Rockies (73)
Rockies owner Dick Monfort made headlines over the weekend, when he predicted—based on information provided by his analytics department—that his club will win a franchise-best 94 games in 2020. Considering Colorado won 71 games in 2019, gave out zero big-league contracts in the offseason, and alienated franchise cornerstone Nolan Arenado by dangling him in the trade market, calling for even a .500 season seems ludicrous.
The Rockies have little reliable pitching depth behind Jon Gray and German Marquez. The projected third and fourth starters, Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela, both had ERAs above 6.00 last season. Colorado’s bullpen was 28th in the majors in ERA last year and will bring back mostly the same unit in 2020.
The Rockies were ninth in runs per game a year ago, but that comes with the usual caveat that they play 81 games at Coors Field. The Rockies plated 6.17 runs per game at home in 2019 but just 4.14 on the road. Last season showed that Colorado doesn’t have the depth to withstand injuries to key bats, like Daniel Murphy and David Dahl. If things start slowly for the Rockies—which is entirely possible with six of their first eight series against opponents in the beefed-up NL West—look for Arenado to get dealt to replenish a dwindling farm system and for this team to go into the tank.