Soft remaining schedules might lift White Sox, Padres

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

June 7, 2022 11:16 PM
USATSI_18175604

Market expectations entering a season are swayed by many factors. Teams that “win the offseason” by making splashy trades or signing high-dollar free agents often see their season win totals increase and their futures odds slashed. Meanwhile, the opposite is true for teams that have quiet offseasons.

Obviously, betting action also impacts how those markets end up, but perception plays a big role. You always have some teams that created a lot of buzz fall short and others that were barely discussed take a huge step forward.

With about a third of the MLB season behind us, it’s a good time to take a look at how teams stand relative to their preseason season win totals.

Here is the record and pace for all 30 teams (through Monday).

Preseason vs. now

Yankees — Season win total: 91.5; Pace (record): 117-45 (39-15)

Blue Jays — Season win total: 92.5; Pace (record): 96-66 (32-22)

Rays — Season win total: 89.5; Pace (record): 91-71 (31-23)

Red Sox — Season win total: 85.5; Pace (record): 82-80 (28-27)

Orioles — Season win total: 62.5; Pace (record): 67-95 (23-33)

AL Central

Twins — Season win total: 81.5; Pace (record): 91-71 (32-24)

Guardians — Season win total: 76.5; Pace (record): 79-83 (24-25

White Sox — Season win total: 91.5; Pace (record): 78-84 (24-25)

Tigers — Season win total: 78.5; Pace (record): 63-99 (21-33)

Royals — Season win total: 74.5; Pace (record): 52-110 (17-36)

AL West

Astros — Season win total: 91.5; Pace (record): 103-59 (35-20)

Angels — Season win total: 83.5; Pace (record): 78-84 (27-29)

Rangers — Season win total: 74.5; Pace (record): 76-86 (25-28)

Mariners — Season win total: 83.5; Pace (record): 74-88 (25-30)

Athletics — Season win total: 68.5; Pace (record): 58-104 (20-36)

NL East

Mets — Season win total: 88.5; Pace (record): 108-54 (38-19)

Braves — Season win total: 91.5; Pace (record): 82-80 (28-27)

Phillies — Season win total: 86.5; Pace (record): 75-87 (25-29)

Marlins — Season win total: 77.5; Pace (record): 69-93 (22-30)

Nationals — Season win total: 71.5; Pace (record): 61-101 (21-35)

NL Central

Brewers — Season win total: 89.5; Pace (record): 95-67 (33-23)

Cardinals — Season win total: 84.5; Pace (record): 94-68 (32-23)

Pirates — Season win total: 65.5; Pace (record): 75-87 (24-28)

Cubs — Season win total: 75.5; Pace (record): 68-94 (23-32)

Reds — Season win total: 74.5; Pace (record): 57-105 (19-35)

NL West

Dodgers — Season win total: 98.5; Pace (record): 105-57 (35-19)

Padres — Season win total: 89.5; Pace (record): 99-63 (33-21)

Giants — Season win total: 86.5; Pace (record): 89-73 (29-24)

Diamondbacks — Season win total: 67.5; Pace (record): 75-87 (26-30)

Rockies — Season win total: 68.5; Pace (record): 69-93 (23-21)

“Pace” is a simplified record because some teams have played stronger schedules than others.

Using FanGraphs’ Strength of Schedule Values, here’s what teams have left, from lowest SOS to highest by opponents’ win percentage (through Monday).

Remaining strength of schedule

— White Sox: .477

— Astros: .487

— Blue Jays: .487

— Guardians: .491

— Mariners: .491

— Padres: .492

— Brewers: .493

— Tigers: .494

— Rangers: .495

— Angels: .496

— Giants: .497

— Cardinals: .497

— Royals: .498

— Twins: .498

— Reds: .501

— Dodgers: .502

— Braves: .502

— Red Sox: .503

— Yankees: .503

— Phillies: .504

— Cubs: .506

— Rays: .508

— Diamondbacks: .508

— Mets: .509

— Pirates: .510

— Athletics: .510

— Marlins: .512

— Orioles: .513

— Nationals: .518

— Rockies: .518

We will have some second-half win total lines posted at the All-Star break, plus some sportsbooks offer in-season running win totals. Strength of schedule is important, as some teams have played more games than others against stronger division foes. The unbalanced schedule will likely go away next season, but it can still be a valuable handicapping tool for the rest of 2022.

Some Teams to Watch

Chicago White Sox: The White Sox have the weakest remaining schedule, with a lot of games left against the Guardians, Royals and Tigers. The Twins have already gotten some of their division games, specifically those against the Tigers, out of the way. The White Sox play a remarkably weak slate in the second half, as the only current playoff contenders they face will be the Twins, Astros and Padres. Injuries have derailed their season, but keep an eye on the Sox as some of those players return.

Miami Marlins: The Marlins have been running a positive run differential most of the season, yet they are on pace for only 69 wins. They’re playing more like a 27-25 or 26-26 type of team but sit eight games below .500 because of a lack of luck and execution in one-run games. It doesn’t get any easier for the Marlins, as they play one of the hardest schedules left, due in large part to having all 19 games left against the Mets.

San Diego Padres: Even with 16 head-to-head meetings remaining against the Dodgers, the Padres have the sixth-lowest strength of schedule by opponents’ win percentage. The Padres have not played the Rockies yet. The Dodgers still have 17 games left with the Giants. I’m not saying the Padres, with a bad offense, can sustain this and run down the Dodgers, but they have no excuse for falling short of the playoffs with their remaining schedule.

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