2018 Sabermetrics Futures Model: NL Best Bets

Mark Lathrop

Monday, March 26, 2018 11:47 AM UTC

Monday, Mar. 26, 2018 11:47 AM UTC

Our MLB handicapper Mark Lathrop presents the 4th season of his sabermetrics-based MLB projection model. He's laid out the best bets for the National League as a result of the model.

It’s the 4th year of putting together my sabermetrics-based futures model for MLB, and this time I’m going to show you all of the consolidated results for each league in one place. After the model hit at nearly 80% in 2015, it followed up with two 67% seasons in 2016 and 2017. Last year was especially good for 'Overs,' which hit 7-for-8 and an 88% clip. We’ll start with the National League, and all rosters have been adjusted for injuries and signings up to March 25.

The projection models this year are optimistic by 2 games over the odds available. What I mean by that is that the total wins projected by the models is 2 wins more than the wins needed to cover futures totals. One reason for this is that the models have a hard time projecting for missing time due to injuries. This results in a range of teams that should be passed on, as the projections are too close to the lines to have an edge. In addition, I have included this year a strength of schedule adjustment calculated over at Fangraphs.

TEAM Projected Wins O/U (Bovada) FG SOS ADJ Diff. Lean
PIT 80.13 73 0.4 7.53 Over
SD 77.12 69.5 -0.7 6.92 Over
STL 90.32 85.5 1.5 6.32 Over
CHC 98.08 94.5 2.4 5.97 Over
NYM 85.76 81 1.1 5.86 Over
PHI 79.45 75.5 1.1 5.05 Over
CIN 77.61 73.5 -0.3 3.81 Over
ATL 77.03 74.5 0.8 3.33 Over
WAS 92.45 92.5 2.8 2.75 Pass
SF 84.01 81.5 0 2.51 Pass
MIA 66.74 64.5 -0.7 1.54 Under
LAD 96.33 96.5 1.2 1.03 Under
COL 80.91 82 -0.4 -1.49 Under
ARI 84.50 85.5 -0.5 -1.51 Under
MIL 81.68 84.5 0.4 -2.42 Under

San Diego Padres: Over 69.5 Wins

You’ll see that 3 teams from the NL West are 'under' leans in my model, and that the Padres are the only 'Over' call in that division. Their signing of Eric Hosmer and trade for Chase Headley this winter have raised the floor for the team, and those wins will come at the expense of the other teams in the division due to the unbalanced schedule. While it is very likely that the Dodgers win the NL West, teams 2-5 in the division look to be much closer in talent than the futures odds present.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Over 73 WinsMilwaukee Brewers Under 84.5 Wins

These wagers are paired for the following reason; even though the model suggests that Pittsburgh and Milwaukee will be within 2 wins of each other by the end of the season, the futures markets have their win totals set 11.5 games apart. In fact, it looks like the entire NL Central could exceed expectations in the futures market due to this discrepancy, as the Cubs, Reds and Cardinals are also 'Over' leans in the model. Christian Yelich helps the Milwaukee offense considerably, but their rotation isn’t up to snuff.

St. Louis Cardinals: Over 85.5 Wins, NL Central +375

Another team that fleeced the Marlins over the winter is the Cardinals, who are projected to win around 90 games against a futures total of 85.5. Marcell Ozuna is the big addition to a lineup of batters who are all above average. Their starting rotation is also solid and the bullpen will lessen the load for them. The Cardinals will fight for a wild-card spot with the 2nd-place team in the NL West and also have value as a division champion at +375 at Bovada.

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