As the baseball season draws closer, it means that people are placing their over/under bets for win totals. The Kansas City Royals bar set by the Vegas odds makers is 69 wins.
Admittedly, this is not my wheelhouse. But, I can tell you that the Kansas City Royals have an exceedingly low bar. Pretty much any projection released for the 2019 season has the team winning more than Vegas thinks they will. Keep in mind that Opening Day rosters are not even relatively close to being set yet.
Starting with a high tech computer that CBS uses. Their system is the SportLine Projection Model that runs through the year 10,000 times. It predicts the Royals will win 76 games in the 2019 season.
SportLine is not alone. Two other well respected projections, Fangraphs and PECOTA, agree that the Royals will exceed 69 wins.
The Fangraphs projections predict the Kansas City Royals to finish tied with the White Sox for third place in the AL Central at 70 wins. The Tigers are projected last place with 69 wins. Where the Royals have the White Sox beat is a better run differential. Kansas City’s projected differential is -102 to the Chicago’s -113.
The depth chart projections have none other than Adalberto Mondesi leading the team with a 3.1 fWAR. He is followed closely by Salvador Perez (3.0) and Whit Merrifield (2.7). Then a huge drop off occurs for hitters with Billy Hamilton‘s 1.6 fWAR coming in fourth.
On the pitching side of things, Jakob Junis is the top dog with a 2.0 fWAR. Danny Duffy‘s 1.8 fWAR and Brad Keller‘s 1.2 fWAR follow. The bullpen is not good. The highest projected bullpen arm worth is 0.1 fWAR shared by Wily Peralta and Tim Hill. Everyone else is either zero or negative.
Baseball Prospectus is behind the PECOTA rankings. They have the Kansas City Royals finishing the year with 72 wins and sole possession of third place in the AL Central. The team is given a projection of 16.8 total WARP.
In this set of projections, Merrifield is the WARP leader with 3.3. Mondesi follows at 2.3, and Perez is third at 1.2. Hamilton is fourth once again, tied with Jorge Soler at 0.9. PECOTA is interesting because believes that Brett Phillips will get the bulk of the playing time in right field.
Pitching is pretty much the same as far as order. Junis is first with a 1.6 WARP, but Keller takes second at 1.2. Duffy lines up closely behind with a 1.1 WARP. The bullpen looks better with PECOTA, however. Peralta is the projected closer with a 0.7 WARP. Brad Boxberger and Hill follow as set up men with 0.6 and 0.4 respectively.
If you believe in projections, take the over on Vegas’ 69 win bar. There is no safe bet because anything can happen in the season. However, if everything were to remain perfect, which it won’t, then the Kansas City Royals will win over 70 games in 2019.
It is pretty universal that Vegas is wrong. Now, this is without several big names having a place to play. Once that happens then Vegas could look like geniuses. But as of today, take the over.