FanGraphs 2017 Staff Predictions

Hello friends. With the countdown to the season tantalizingly close to zero, it’s time to tell you what we actually think is going to happen this season. We’re not always great at this, and I don’t think you’d want us to always be great at this, because frankly, that’d be terribly boring. But we do like to conduct the thought exercise of who is going to reach the postseason, because it’s good fun and also because it helps us frame our expectations for the season.

Last season, we were able to identify seven of the 10 playoff teams successfully, though not necessarily in their correct postseason positions. Will we do as well or better this season? Only time will tell. As is often the case, some teams got the overwhelming majority of the love, and some teams got coal in their baseball stocking.

Let’s get to it, shall we? We’ll start with the American League.

Staff Predictions: American League
Team East Central West WC 1 WC 2 Postseason
Cleveland 53 53
Boston 43 6 2 51
Houston 38 10 2 50
Toronto 6 18 9 33
Seattle 9 9 10 28
Texas 5 7 7 19
New York 2 2 13 17
Detroit 1 7 8
Baltimore 1 1 2 4
Tampa Bay 2 1 1 4
Los Angeles of Anaheim 2 1 3
Oakland 0
Chicago 0
Kansas City 0
Minnesota 0

The division winners are pretty clear cut here, though it is interesting that all five AL East teams got at least one vote. That happened once last year, with the AL Central, and it happens again this year. Speaking of the AL Central, everyone is pretty sure that Cleveland is going to walk away with the crown. Things are the least clear cut in the West, which is the only division of the six where at least three teams garnered at least five votes. Things are similarly spread out in the Wild Card voting, as six teams got at least eight votes.

Overall, the big winner here — if you can even win a staff predictions poll — is Seattle. Last year they garnered just two postseason votes, this year it’s 28, for a 26-vote improvement (we had 55 voters last year, and 54 this year). Cleveland also gained 19 votes, though they were still a popular pick last season. The big loser, in terms of votes, is Kansas City, who drop from 30 to zero. Toronto also lost 14 votes. The real loser though is probably Oakland, as no one had enough hope or faith to grant them a single postseason vote either this year or last. I feel so badly about it, I won’t even make a joke.

Staff Predictions: National League
Team East Central West WC 1 WC 2 Postseason
Chicago 53 1 54
Washington 47 5 1 53
Los Angeles 49 2 51
New York 7 19 14 40
San Francisco 2 14 13 29
St. Louis 1 6 8 15
Colorado 3 2 7 12
Pittsburgh 3 6 9
Miami 3 3
Arizona 2 2
Atlanta 1 1
Philadelphia 1 1
Cincinnati 0
Milwaukee 0
San Diego 0

Things are a bit more clear cut here, as all three division winners received at least 45 votes, as opposed to the AL, where only Cleveland did. Also, the second Wild Card team here — San Francisco — got 27 votes as opposed to just 19 for the second AL Wild Card team.

There wasn’t a tremendous winner in the NL — Colorado is the pick if you need one. After an 0-fer last year, the fighting Rockies garnered 12 votes this season, the highest positive difference in the league. Washington is +11, but they were still plenty popular last season. The big loser is Pittsburgh, who is down 19 votes from last season. And poor Cincinnati and San Diego, no votes either this year or last. Atlanta, Colorado, Miami and Philadelphia get off the schneide.

Staff Predictions: AL MVP

Baseball is so stacked with good, fun to watch young players, it’s really something. So what if Mike Trout doesn’t want to be LeBron James? Francisco Lindor could be, and there’s no shortage of charismatic players after him either.

This is one of two awards we voted on that didn’t have a clear consensus, and it’s not hard to see why. With the relief pitching renaissance happening in the game, it makes it harder for any one starting pitcher to stand out. There are a couple of unique choices here, and yes, there will be a Lance McCullers column coming soon.

Staff Predictions: AL RoY

It always feels a little weird to me when there is a consensus Rookie of the Year pick. Rookie play is generally so volatile that it seems odd to land on one player in particular, but in this case, it’s hard to argue. Benintendi came up last season, hit well, and wasn’t intimidated by the Green Monster or the postseason. The biggest knock on him seems to be that he might not hit as many homers as we’d like to see in a left fielder, and that’s a pretty thin criticism given how dramatically left field play has declined.

The lack of consensus here is also incredibly fun to me, especially since I could see all 10 of these guys having legit MVP cases. It’s going to be a good season.

Staff Predictions: NL Cy Young
Player Votes
Clayton Kershaw 37
Noah Syndergaard 11
Jacob deGrom 2
Carlos Martinez 2
Madison Bumgarner 1
Johnny Cueto 1

It’s my personal opinion that Trout and Kershaw need to be the picks for their respective awards until they show some sort of meaningful decline, but obviously not everyone shares that opinion. But there is at least a consensus second-place pick in Syndergaard.

For the record, there was one Andrew Toles pick, but I asked that person to change it. There has been some debate as to Toles’ rookie eligibility, and while he may still retain it, Baseball-Reference says he doesn’t, so we’ll stick with that ruling for now.

So there you have it. Another year of predictions for you to mock. Here, I’ll even help you get started.

Happy baseball!

2017 American League FanGraphs Staff Predictions
Author East Central West WC 1 WC 2 MVP CY RoY
Adam Dorhauer BOS CLE HOU TOR SEA Trout Sale Judge
Alec Denton BOS CLE HOU TEX DET Trout Archer Benintendi
Alex Chamberlain BOS CLE LAA HOU SEA Machado Carrasco Benintendi
Alex Remington BOS CLE HOU TEX TOR Betts Kluber Benintendi
Andrew Perpetua TOR CLE TEX BOS SEA Trout Tanaka Benintendi
Ben Kaspick BOS CLE HOU TOR TEX Trout Sale Benintendi
Benjamin Pasinkoff BOS CLE HOU TEX NYY Trout Verlander Benintendi
Bill Petti BOS CLE HOU TOR SEA Lindor Sale Benintendi
Birchwood Brothers TOR CLE SEA HOU BOS Trout Stroman Haniger
Brad Johnson TB DET LAA TEX SEA Trout Darvish Haniger
Brandon Warne BOS CLE HOU TEX TOR Trout Stroman Benintendi
Brice Russ BOS CLE HOU SEA NYY Trout Darvish Benintendi
Carson Cistulli BOS CLE HOU TOR NYY Trout Kluber Benintendi
Chris Gigley BAL CLE HOU BOS TEX Lindor Sale Moncada
Chris Mitchell BOS CLE TEX HOU SEA Trout Darvish Benintendi
Craig Edwards BOS CLE HOU TOR TEX Trout Kluber Benintendi
Dave Cameron NYY CLE HOU BOS TOR Correa McCullers Haniger
Dave Studeman TOR CLE HOU BOS NYY Lindor Kluber Benintendi
David Laurila BOS CLE HOU TOR DET Machado Sale Benintendi
Dustin Nosler BOS CLE HOU NYY SEA Correa Aa. Sanchez Haniger
Emma Baccellieri BOS CLE HOU TOR NYY Lindor Sale Benintendi
Eno Sarris BOS CLE HOU NYY DET Correa Darvish Cotton
Eric Longenhagen TB CLE HOU TOR BOS Machado Sale Benintendi
Greg Simons BOS CLE TEX HOU BAL Trout Sale Judge
Jason Linden BOS CLE HOU TOR SEA Trout Verlander Benintendi
Jeff Sullivan BOS CLE HOU SEA TEX Trout Sale Benintendi
Jeff Zimmerman BOS CLE TEX TOR HOU Trout Darvish Cotton
Joe Distelheim BOS CLE SEA HOU TOR Trout Kluber Benintendi
Joe Douglas BOS CLE HOU TOR SEA Betts Kluber Benintendi
John LaRue BOS CLE HOU TOR TEX Trout Sale Benintendi
John Paschal BOS CLE TEX SEA DET Lindor Darvish Benintendi
Jon Roegele BOS CLE HOU TEX NYY Trout Kluber Benintendi
Jonah Pemstein BOS CLE HOU TOR SEA Trout Tanaka Benintendi
Josh Shepardson BOS CLE HOU TEX TOR Trout Darvish Benintendi
Justin Mason BOS CLE SEA HOU DET Trout Carrasco Zimmer
Justin Vibber BOS CLE HOU SEA TB Trout Kluber Benintendi
Kate Preusser BOS CLE HOU SEA TOR Machado Kluber Benintendi
Marc Hulet NYY CLE SEA BOS HOU Machado Sale Mancini
Michelle Jay BOS CLE HOU TOR NYY Trout Sale Benintendi
Mike Podhorzer BOS CLE HOU TOR LAA Trout Kluber Benintendi
Neil Weinberg BOS CLE HOU TOR TEX Trout Sale Benintendi
Nick Stellini BOS CLE HOU SEA TEX Trout Tanaka Benintendi
Paul Sporer BOS CLE SEA HOU DET Correa Tanaka Cotton
Paul Swydan BOS CLE SEA HOU NYY Trout Sale Benintendi
Roger Cheng BOS CLE SEA TOR NYY Trout Kluber Benintendi
Ryan Pollack BOS CLE HOU SEA BAL Trout Sale Benintendi
Rylan Edwards BOS CLE SEA HOU NYY Betts Kluber Cotton
Scott Spratt TOR CLE HOU TB DET Trout Archer Benintendi
Sean Dolinar TOR CLE HOU BOS NYY Correa Kluber Benintendi
Shakeia Taylor TOR CLE HOU BAL NYY Lindor Carrasco Benintendi
Shane Tourtellotte BOS CLE HOU SEA TOR Trout Sale Benintendi
Stacey Gotsulias BOS CLE HOU SEA TOR Trout Sale Benintendi
Travis Sawchik BOS CLE HOU TOR NYY Trout Kluber Benintendi
Trey Baughn BOS CLE SEA HOU TOR Lindor Kluber Zimmer
2017 National League FanGraphs Staff Predictions
Author East Central West WC 1 WC 2 MVP Cy RoY
Adam Dorhauer WAS CHC LAD SF NYM Seager Kershaw Swanson
Alec Denton NYM CHC LAD WAS STL Posey Kershaw Swanson
Alex Chamberlain NYM CHC LAD WAS COL Arenado Syndergaard Gsellman
Alex Remington WAS CHC LAD NYM PIT Stanton Syndergaard Swanson
Andrew Perpetua WAS CHC LAD NYM SF Harper Kershaw Gsellman
Ben Kaspick WAS CHC LAD SF NYM Bryant Kershaw Swanson
Benjamin Pasinkoff WAS CHC LAD NYM SF Seager Syndergaard Renfroe
Bill Petti WAS CHC LAD NYM SF Seager deGrom Swanson
Birchwood Brothers WAS CHC COL LAD NYM Turner Kershaw Gsellman
Brad Johnson NYM STL COL CHC PHI Arenado Martinez Gsellman
Brandon Warne WAS CHC LAD NYM SF Harper Kershaw Gsellman
Brice Russ WAS CHC LAD NYM STL Bryant Kershaw Renfroe
Carson Cistulli WAS CHC LAD ARI NYM Harper Kershaw Margot
Chris Gigley WAS CHC SF COL Miami Arenado Bumgarner Swanson
Chris Mitchell WAS CHC LAD NYM PIT Harper Kershaw Margot
Craig Edwards WAS CHC LAD STL PIT Kershaw Kershaw Swanson
Dave Cameron WAS CHC LAD NYM STL Harper Syndergaard Gsellman
Dave Studeman NYM CHC LAD WAS SF Harper Kershaw Gsellman
David Laurila WAS CHC LAD COL PIT Arenado Kershaw Renfroe
Dustin Nosler WAS CHC LAD PIT NYM Bryant Kershaw Swanson
Emma Baccellieri WAS CHC LAD SF NYM Harper Kershaw Margot
Eno Sarris WAS CHC LAD NYM COL Harper deGrom Renfroe
Eric Longenhagen WAS CHC LAD NYM COL Arenado Syndergaard Swanson
Greg Simons NYM CHC LAD STL WAS Seager Cueto Gsellman
Jason Linden WAS CHC LAD NYM SF Bryant Kershaw Garrett
Jeff Sullivan WAS CHC LAD NYM SF Bryant Kershaw Swanson
Jeff Zimmerman WAS CHC LAD SF PIT Harper Kershaw Gsellman
Joe Distelheim WAS CHC LAD ARI NYM Rizzo Syndergaard Gsellman
Joe Douglas WAS CHC LAD NYM SF Harper Kershaw Gsellman
John LaRue WAS CHC LAD STL SF Bryant Kershaw Swanson
John Paschal WAS CHC LAD PIT COL Arenado Kershaw Swanson
Jon Roegele WAS CHC LAD STL SF Harper Kershaw Swanson
Jonah Pemstein WAS CHC LAD NYM STL Harper Kershaw Swanson
Josh Shepardson WAS CHC LAD SF NYM Harper Kershaw Gsellman
Justin Mason WAS CHC COL LAD SF Harper Kershaw Margot
Justin Vibber WAS CHC LAD SF NYM Bryant Syndergaard Swanson
Kate Preusser WAS CHC LAD NYM STL Stanton Syndergaard Swanson
Marc Hulet WAS CHC SF NYM COL Arenado Syndergaard Swanson
Michelle Jay NYM CHC LAD WAS Miami Posey Syndergaard Swanson
Mike Podhorzer WAS CHC LAD SF NYM Kershaw Kershaw Swanson
Neil Weinberg WAS CHC LAD SF STL Posey Kershaw Crawford
Nick Stellini WAS CHC LAD NYM COL Arenado Kershaw Swanson
Paul Sporer WAS CHC LAD SF NYM Arenado Kershaw Weaver
Paul Swydan WAS CHC LAD SF Miami Yelich Kershaw Bell
Roger Cheng WAS CHC LAD NYM SF Harper Kershaw Swanson
Ryan Pollack WAS CHC LAD SF NYM Bryant Kershaw Swanson
Rylan Edwards NYM CHC LAD WAS STL Seager Kershaw Bell
Scott Spratt WAS CHC LAD STL Atlanta Bryant Kershaw Swanson
Sean Dolinar WAS CHC LAD PIT NYM Harper Kershaw Swanson
Shakeia Taylor WAS CHC LAD SF PIT Bryant Syndergaard Margot
Shane Tourtellotte WAS CHC LAD SF STL Turner Kershaw Swanson
Stacey Gotsulias WAS CHC LAD NYM SF Seager Kershaw Swanson
Travis Sawchik WAS CHC LAD SF NYM Harper Kershaw Swanson
Trey Baughn WAS CHC LAD STL COL Yelich Martinez Meadows

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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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No votes for Rookie Davis for NL ROY? Shame!