FanGraphs 2015 Staff Predictions

Before the season’s soft opening on Sunday night and grand opening on Monday, we are compelled to to offer you our staff predictions. We attempted to pull in as many of our authors as possible from across our family of blogs, because the only thing better than predictions is predictions by a ton of people!

We’re usually not so good at this sort of thing. Or, more to the point, we’re not any better at it than anyone else. But we enjoy doing it, because it marks the start of a new season. Last season was no different. Boston and Oakland were pegged as division winners, and Tampa Bay was pegged as a Wild Card. Prince Fielder and Jason Kipnis got MVP nods, and Xander Bogaerts got plenty of Rookie of the Year love. Only Boston as a division winner really sticks out as hilarious, but all of these missed the mark by a great deal. Nevertheless, we press on! We also conducted a more in-depth staff survey, and we’ll dig into that on Monday morning.

American League Postseason Teams
East: Boston (20), Baltimore (7), Toronto (7), New York (2), Tampa Bay (2)
Central: Cleveland (24), Detroit (14), Chicago (0), Kansas City (0), Minnesota (0)
West: Los Angeles (22), Seattle (14), Oakland (2), Houston (0), Texas (0)
Wild Card: Seattle (12), Toronto (10), Detroit (9), Chicago (6), Oakland (4), New York (1), Tampa Bay (1), Boston (14), Cleveland (11), Los Angeles (7)

The AL East is wide open enough that every team got a vote, something that didn’t happen in either the 2013 or 2014 editions of our staff predictions, in any division. Outside of that, the divisions are fairly unininteresting aside from the two votes for Oakland. Note that the three consensus division winners are listed at the end of the Wild Card votes, since it would be confusing if they won multiple things.

Even though you’re good enough at math to add up totals from division and wild card winners, let’s total up and check out who the overall postseason favorites are.

Total AL Predicted Playoff Appearances
Cleveland: 35
Boston: 34
Los Angeles: 29
Seattle: 26
Detroit: 23
Toronto: 17
Baltimore: 7
Chicago: 6
Oakland: 6
New York: 3
Tampa Bay: 3
Houston: 0
Kansas City: 0
Minnesota: 0
Texas: 0

Is Cleveland the best team in the American League? Our staff thinks so, just barely. Just like last season, 11 of the 15 teams got at least one postseason nod. The teams are a bit different though. Last season, Chicago, Houston, Minnesota and Toronto got goose eggs. This year, Kansas City and Texas swap in for Chicago and Toronto. No one has any faith in Houston or Minnesota, which isn’t really a surprise. What is a bit of a surprise is that no one has any faith in the defending AL champion Royals, who aren’t that far behind Cleveland and Detroit in our projected standings, and they have the exact same projected record as sleeper pick White Sox. Nevertheless, they got shut out.

National League Postseason Teams
East: Washington (38), Atlanta (0), Miami (0), New York (0), Philadelphia (0)
Central: St. Louis (25), Pittsburgh (10), Chicago (3), Cincinnati (0), Milwaukee (0)
West: Los Angeles (37), San Diego (1), Arizona (0), Colorado (0), San Francisco (0)
Wild Card: Pittsburgh (24), Chicago (11), Miami (10), San Diego (7), New York (5), San Francisco (4), Cincinnati (1), Milwaukee (1), St. Louis (10), Los Angeles (1)

The NL Central remains the most interesting division, unless your curiosity leans more toward the morbid, and then you may be fascinated with the spectacle that is the bottom of the NL East. The division winners are hardly surprising, though Dave made the case this week for a Cardinals collapse. Again, note that consensus division winners are at the end of the wild card voting since they can’t win two things.

Total Predicted Playoff Appearances
Washington: 38
Los Angeles: 38
St. Louis: 35
Pittsburgh: 34
Chicago: 14
Miami: 10
San Diego: 8
New York: 5
San Francisco: 4
Cincinnati: 1
Milwaukee: 1
Arizona: 0
Atlanta: 0
Colorado: 0
Philadelphia: 0

Just as in the AL, the staff is less than optimistic about defending pennant (and World Series) winner San Francisco. Unlike the AL, there is a much wider gap between the top dogs and the rest of the pack, as the staff thinks that Pittsburgh is pretty clearly one of the four playoff teams, with the rest of the pack fighting for the fifth and final spot.

Let’s go to the awards.
AL Awards
MVP: Mike Trout (31), Miguel Cabrera (2), Robinson Cano (2), Michael Brantley (1), Hanley Ramirez (1)
Cy Young: Felix Hernandez (19), Chris Sale (8), David Price (4), Corey Kluber (3), Carlos Carrasco (1), Jeff Samardzija (1)
Rookie of the Year: Taijuan Walker (8), Carlos Rodon (8), Daniel Norris (6), Steven Souza (4), Dalton Pompey (3), Devon Travis (3), Rusney Castillo (2), Steven Wright (1)

The MVP and Cy Young Awards include all of the usual suspects, but unlike last year when only four players received votes here for Rookie of the Year, eight do this year, with five of them being pitchers. It’s a wide open field, but at least the extra names increase the chances of at least one of us being correct!

NL Awards
MVP: Andrew McCutchen (14), Giancarlo Stanton (9), Bryce Harper (5), Yasiel Puig (2), Ian Desmond (1), Paul Goldschmidt (1), Jason Heyward (1), Clayton Kershaw (1), Buster Posey (1), Troy Tulowitzki (1)
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw (24), Max Scherzer (6), Johnny Cueto (3), Matt Harvey (2), Stephen Strasburg (1), Michael Wacha (1)
Rookie of the Year: Kris Bryant (20), Joc Pederson (7), Jorge Soler (6), Jung-Ho Kang (1), Noah Syndergaard (1), Rasiel Iglesias (1)

The consensus that exists for the AL MVP does not exist in the NL. Three players get at least five votes here, as opposed to the AL, where only Trout receives more than two votes. Kershaw is close to a consensus at Cy Young, though the votes for others are a reminder that no pitcher is infallible. And while Kris Bryant won’t start the season in the majors, the staff isn’t letting that stop them from standing behind him.

And now, for your mocking pleasure, here are the voting grids.

2015 American League Staff Predictions
Author East Central West Wild Card Wild Card MVP Cy RoY
Alan Harrison Toronto Cleveland Seattle Boston LA Trout Kluber Walker
Alex Chamberlain Toronto Cleveland LA Seattle Boston Trout Hernandez Rodon
August Fagerstrom New York Cleveland LA Boston Chicago Trout Sale Rodon
Brad Johnson Baltimore Cleveland LA Seattle Boston Trout Carrasco Walker
Bradley Woodrum Tampa Bay Detroit Oakland Boston LA Trout Kluber Norris
Brett Talley Boston Cleveland LA Seattle Chicago Trout Hernandez Rodon
Bryan Cole Baltimore Detroit LA Cleveland Seattle Trout Hernandez Pompey
Carson Cistulli Toronto Cleveland Oakland Boston LA Trout Sale Travis
Chad Young Boston Cleveland Seattle Toronto Detroit Trout Hernandez Walker
Chris Mitchell Toronto Cleveland Seattle New York Boston Trout Sale Norris
Colin Zarzycki Boston Detroit Seattle Toronto Cleveland Trout Hernandez Walker
Craig Edwards Boston Detroit LA Cleveland Oakland Trout Price Souza
Dan Farnsworth Tampa Bay Detroit LA Boston Chicago Cabrera Hernandez Rodon
Dave Cameron Boston Detroit LA Seattle Cleveland Trout Hernandez Castillo
David G Temple Boston Cleveland LA Seattle Chicago Trout Hernandez Rodon
David Laurila Baltimore Cleveland LA Boston Chicago Cabrera Price Wright
David Wiers Boston Cleveland LA Toronto Oakland Trout Hernandez Souza
Dustin Nosler Boston Cleveland LA Seattle Oakland Trout Price Walker
Eno Sarris Boston Detroit Seattle Cleveland Toronto Trout Price Pompey
Greg Simons Baltimore Detroit LA Cleveland Boston Brantley Hernandez Walker
Jason Linden Baltimore Detroit LA Boston Oakland Trout Hernandez  
Jeff Sullivan Boston Cleveland Seattle Toronto LA Trout Hernandez Norris
Jeff Zimmerman Baltimore Detroit LA Cleveland Boston Trout Kluber Souza
Joe Distelheim Boston Cleveland Seattle Detroit Chicago      
John Paschal Toronto Cleveland Seattle LA Detroit Cano Hernandez Walker
Jonah Pemstein Boston Detroit LA Seattle Cleveland Trout Hernandez Rodon
Mike Petriello Boston Cleveland Seattle Detroit Baltimore Trout Sale Norris
Miles Wray Boston Cleveland LA Seattle Tampa Bay Trout Sale Souza
Nathaniel Grow Boston Detroit Seattle LA Cleveland Trout Sale Travis
Neil Weinberg Boston Cleveland LA Detroit Toronto Trout Hernandez Rodon
Owen Watson Toronto Cleveland LA Seattle Boston Trout Hernandez Walker
Patrick Dubuque Toronto Cleveland Seattle Detroit LA Trout Hernandez Norris
Paul Sporer New York Cleveland Seattle Detroit Boston Trout Samardzija Castillo
Paul Swydan Boston Cleveland LA Seattle Toronto Ramirez Sale Travis
Sean Dolinar Boston Cleveland Seattle Toronto Detroit Trout Sale  
Seth Keichline Baltimore Detroit LA Boston Toronto Trout Hernandez Norris
Shane Tourtellotte Boston Detroit LA Seattle Cleveland Cano Sale Pompey
Zach Sanders Boston Cleveland Seattle Detroit Toronto Trout Hernandez Rodon

2015 National League Staff Predictions
Author East Central West Wild Card Wild Card MVP Cy RoY
Alan Harrison Washington St. Louis SD Pittsburgh LA Stanton Scherzer Pederson
Alex Chamberlain Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh San Diego McCutchen Harvey Soler
August Fagerstrom Washington St. Louis LA Chicago Miami Harper Strasburg Bryant
Brad Johnson Washington Pittsburgh LA St. Louis Miami Stanton Kershaw Bryant
Bradley Woodrum Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh Chicago Stanton Kershaw Bryant
Brett Talley Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh New York McCutchen Scherzer Bryant
Bryan Cole Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh SF Harper Kershaw Pederson
Carson Cistulli Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh Chicago Tulowitzki Kershaw Bryant
Chad Young Washington St. Louis LA SF Pittsburgh McCutchen Scherzer Bryant
Chris Mitchell Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh Chicago Posey Kershaw Pederson
Colin Zarzycki Washington Pittsburgh LA San Diego   McCutchen Kershaw Pederson
Craig Edwards Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh Miami McCutchen Kershaw Bryant
Dan Farnsworth Washington Pittsburgh LA St. Louis Milwaukee Goldschmidt Cueto Kang
Dave Cameron Washington Chicago LA Pittsburgh St. Louis Harper Kershaw Soler
David G Temple Washington St. Louis LA San Diego Chicago Yasiel Puig Kershaw Bryant
David Laurila Washington Pittsburgh LA St. Louis Miami Stanton Cueto Pederson
David Wiers Washington Pittsburgh LA St. Louis Miami McCutchen Scherzer Pederson
Dustin Nosler Washington Pittsburgh LA St. Louis Miami Stanton Kershaw Soler
Eno Sarris Washington Pittsburgh LA St. Louis New York Puig Scherzer Soler
Greg Simons Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh New York Desmond Kershaw “Bryant
Jason Linden Washington St. Louis LA Chicago Pittsburgh McCutchen Cueto Bryant
Jeff Sullivan Washington Chicago LA St. Louis Pittsburgh McCutchen Kershaw Bryant
Jeff Zimmerman Washington Pittsburgh LA Cincinnati Miami   Kershaw Iglesias
Joe Distelheim Washington Chicago LA St. Louis        
John Paschal Washington St. Louis LA San Diego Pittsburgh McCutchen Kershaw Bryant
Jonah Pemstein Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh Chicago Stanton Kershaw Bryant
Mike Petriello Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh New York Harper Kershaw Bryant
Miles Wray Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh San Diego Stanton Kershaw Bryant
Nathaniel Grow Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh Miami Stanton Kershaw Pederson
Neil Weinberg Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh Chicago McCutchen Harvey Bryant
Owen Watson Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh Chicago McCutchen Kershaw Bryant
Patrick Dubuque Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh San Diego Kershaw Kershaw Soler
Paul Sporer Washington St. Louis LA San Diego New York Harper Wacha Syndergaard
Paul Swydan Washington Pittsburgh LA Chicago SF Heyward Kershaw Soler
Sean Dolinar Washington Pittsburgh LA Chicago St. Louis McCutchen Kershaw  
Seth Keichline Washington St. Louis LA SF Pittsburgh McCutchen Kershaw Bryant
Shane Tourtellotte Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh Miami McCutchen Scherzer Bryant
Zach Sanders Washington St. Louis LA Pittsburgh Miami Stanton Kershaw Bryant

We hoped you liked reading FanGraphs 2015 Staff Predictions by Paul Swydan!

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Paul Swydan is the managing editor of The Hardball Times, a writer and editor for FanGraphs and a writer for Boston.com. He has written for The Boston Globe, ESPN MLB Insider and ESPN the Magazine, among others. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan.

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Matt
Guest
Matt

I like the phillies chances of winning the NL east

Jason G
Guest
Jason G

Indicating that you’re a fan of one of their division opponents.