Fangraphs projects Mariners to lead AL with 88 wins in 2015

The way to early projections for the 2015 MLB season are out on fangraphs, and your Seattle Mariners are projected to have the best record in the American League, 88-74. These projections were done shortly after the Mariners traded away outfielder Michael Saunders, and therefore after the signing of Nelson Cruz, so they do reflect the team’s current roster.

Seattle is projected to have the best record in the AL in 2015. Courtesy of The Columbian)

Seattle is projected to have the best record in the AL in 2015. Courtesy of The Columbian)

Seattle won 87 games in 2014, and missed out on the playoffs by one game. The Mariners success was primarily built off of an incredible bullpen performance that was able to mask some of the team’s offensive issues. It’s extremely unlikely Seattle is going to be able to repeat the performance. So the Mariners have focused on improving the offense during the off-season, as they signed outfielder/designated hitter Nelson Cruz; but traded away the team’s third best hitter in Michael Saunders for a mediocre starting pitcher J.A. Happ.

Following Seattle in the projected standings is the Detroit Tigers, also with an 86-76 record but a projected .534 winning percentage. Detroit’s defense of its AL Central title was built on the backs of its power bats that posted a 111 wRC+ and a .331 wOBA; and an impressive pitching staff that was rated as the third best pitching staff in baseball last season. During the off-season the Tigers have remained quiet, outside of extending designated hitter Victor Martinez.

The third and final team to top the AL in these projections is the defending AL West champion Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who are projected to win with 86-76. L.A.’s rise last season was kind of surprising after the previous two seasons of mediocre play for the team’s high payroll. Last season saw Anaheim’s expensive free agents somewhat live up to their talent level and guided the franchise back to the playoffs.

Kansas City, the defending AL Champions, are projected to experience a massive drop off in wins in 2015. Most of this drop in production has to do with the predicted loss of starting James Shields in the free agency market. Shields was the Royals No. 1 ace for the last to seasons, and played a major part in the club’s resurgence in 2014.

Projected 2015 AL standings

Rank Team Record Winning percentage
1) Seattle Mariners 88-74 .542
2) Detroit Tigers 86-76 .534
3) LA Angels of Anaheim 86-76 .529
4) Cleveland Indians 85-77 .527
5) Toronto Blue Jays 84-78 .520
6) Boston RedSox 84-78 .519
7) Tampa Bay Rays 84-78 .519
8) Oakland Athletics 82-80 .509
9) New York Yankees 82-80 .508
10) Kansas City Royals 80-82 .495
11) Baltimore Orioles 80-82 .491
12) Chicago White Sox 78-84 .480
13) Texas Rangers 77-85 .475
14) Houston Astros 76-86 .468
15) Minnesota Twins 75-87 .462

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