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MLB Projected Standings, Week 13

Happy Independence Day! What's more American than watching baseball? Watching baseball with HOT TAKES about contenders and pretenders! Who reigns supreme this week in the projected standings?

You can read about the model here, or keep on reading for the updated standings (change in win total from last week in parentheses, playoff teams underlined).

MLB Projected Standings, Week 13:

AL WestAL CentralAL East
Rangers, 90-72 (0) 0 GBIndians, 95-67 (+3), 0 GBOrioles, 88-74 (+1), 0 GB
Astros, 87-75 (+1) 3 GBTigers, 85-77 (+2), 10 GB     Blue Jays, 87-75 (+1), 1 GB
Mariners, 83-79 (+2), 7 GBRoyals, 82-80 (+1), 13 GBRed Sox, 87-75 (-2), 1 GB
Athletics, 72-90 (0), 18 GBWhite Sox, 78-84 (-2), 17 GBYankees, 82-80 (0), 6 GB
Angels, 72-90 (-2), 18 GB     Twins, 64-98 (0), 31 GBRays, 71-91 (-4), 17 GB
.
NL WestNL CentralNL East
Giants, 95-67 (-1), 0 GBCubs, 100-62 (-3), 0 GBNationals, 97-65 (+2), 0 GB
Dodgers, 94-68 (0), 1 GBCardinals, 87-75 (-1), 13 GBMets, 90-72 (-1), 7 GB
Rockies, 74-88 (-1), 21 GB     Pirates, 82-80 (+2), 18 GBMarlins, 84-78 (0), 13 GB
Diamondbacks, 73-89 (-2), 22 GB    Brewers, 71-91 (-1), 29 GBPhillies, 69-93 (+3), 28 GB
Padres, 70-92 (0), 25 GBReds, 63-99 (-3), 37 GBBraves, 59-103 (-1), 38 GB

Wild card play-in games: Red Sox at Blue Jays, Mets at Dodgers
ALDS match-ups: play-in vs. Indians, Orioles vs. Rangers
NLDS match-ups: play-in vs. Cubs, Giants vs. Nationals

Some musings:
  • The Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Astros are separated by .3 wins. The wild card is a true wild card at the moment.
  • Cleveland's 14 game winning streak sure helped them out in the projected standings. Shocking. However it's also worth noting they were the projected champion of the AL Central and projected to be one of the best teams in the AL. Still, is Cleveland all of a sudden title town?
  • The Orioles still hold on to first place in the AL East and rise in the standings even with their four game sweep in Seattle included.
  • The Cubs have some competition at the top of the NL for the first time this year. Chicago has sunk while the Washington Nationals have risen. This could very well be a fluky weak where one team's low and another team's high intersect, or it could be something more. It doesn't matter all that much anyway. These are both teams well on their way to the postseason.
  • The handful of teams I would say have tough choices between buying or selling at the trade deadline: Mariners, Royals, Yankees, Cardinals, and Marlins. Everyone else is fairly securely in the playoff hunt or out of it. I would guess that the Royals and Cardinals will buy, given their recent playoff history. The Yankees seem to be wavering according to press reports. The Mariners and Marlins will be interesting given their playoff droughts.

MLB Projected Standings, Week 12

Teams will start hitting 81 games played around this time next week, meaning the actual halfway point of the season is almost here. Pretty soon this model will be more about what has happened than what is about to unfold.

You can read about the model here, or keep on reading for the updated standings (change in win total from last week in parentheses, playoff teams underlined).

MLB Projected Standings, Week 12:

AL WestAL CentralAL East
Rangers, 90-72 (+2) 0 GBIndians, 92-70 (+4), 0 GBRed Sox, 89-73 (0), 0 GB
Astros, 86-76 (+3) 4 GBTigers, 83-79 (0), 9 GB     Orioles, 87-75 (+1), 2 GB
Mariners, 81-81 (-2), 9 GBRoyals, 81-81 (+1), 11 GBBlue Jays, 86-76 (-1), 3 GB
Angels, 74-88 (-1), 16 GBWhite Sox, 80-82 (-1), 12 GBYankees, 82-80 (0), 7 GB
Athletics, 72-90 (+1), 18 GB     Twins, 64-98 (+1), 28 GBRays, 75-87 (-4), 14 GB
.
NL WestNL CentralNL East
Giants, 96-66 (+2), 0 GBCubs, 103-59 (-1), 0 GBNationals, 95-67 (-3), 0 GB
Dodgers, 94-68 (+3), 2 GBCardinals, 88-74 (0), 15 GBMets, 91-71 (-2), 4 GB
Rockies, 75-87 (-1), 21 GB     Pirates, 80-82 (-4), 23 GBMarlins, 84-78 (+2), 11 GB
Diamondbacks, 75-87 (+3), 21 GB    Brewers, 72-90 (-2), 31 GBPhillies, 66-96 (-2), 29 GB
Padres, 70-92 (+2), 26 GBReds, 66-96 (+1), 37 GBBraves, 60-102 (+3), 35 GB

Wild card play-in games: Blue Jays at Orioles, Mets at Dodgers
ALDS match-ups: play-in vs. Indians, Red Sox vs. Rangers
NLDS match-ups: play-in vs. Cubs, Nationals vs. Giants

Some musings:
  • The Astros have 85.5 projected wins and the Blue Jays 86.4, so the Blue Jays hold on to the final AL Wild Card spot for the time being.
  • With that said, nobody is talking about the Astros and everyone should be. They were the favorites in the AL West to start the year, got off to a horrible start, but have turned their season around.
  • The Mariners current scuffle certainly sucks, but the bigger problems they face are the simultaneous rises of both the Rangers and Astros simultaneously. The Mariners are back to being a projected .500 team and honestly haven't strayed much beyond that all season. Meanwhile, the Astros are back to their preseason projection and the Rangers are well beyond what was expected.
  • Misery likes company. For you Mariners fans feeling bad out there, take a look at the Pirates swoon and feel better.

Mariners Order Another Round, Pitch in a Lefty Too

Tom Wilhelmsen, the Bartender
The Mariners added two new arms after another frustrating loss last night - though one of the arms is a very familiar face. They signed RHP Tom Wilhelmsen off the free agent market, and acquired LHP Wade LeBlanc from the Blue Jays for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Wilhelmsen will be in Detroit, but that's probably about it. Bob Dutton has all the gory roster rule details, but long story short Wilhelmsen must go through waivers to get sent down to Tacoma. He is a safe bet to pass through waivers, and once he does he will go down and open up a spot for a new pitcher on Friday, conveniently when the M's need a starter to cover for Taijuan Walker's bum heel. That starter seems likely to be LeBlanc.

Let's start with The Bartender. He was last seen in Safeco wielding a lethal power fastball, knee-buckling curve ball combination. Sometimes he struggled to throw the combination for strikes, but he had enough command to be a solid reliever overall with spectacular hot stretches. Wilhelmsen would easily be a bullpen upgrade if he was the pitcher last seen in Mariners blue.

The problem is that Wilhelmsen imploded in Texas. He gave up dingers on a quarter of his fly balls. He simply got annihilated every time he toed the rubber. Wilhelmsen's fastball velocity has not dropped much but it might be below whatever threshold allows him to be effective. There is a reason the Rangers cut him loose and that he is likely to pass through waivers. Still, Wilhelmsen has a good arm and a track record of success in Seattle. He's had a couple horrific months after six solid years. There are reasons to think this move could work out, and it comes at virtually no risk anyway.

Wade LeBlanc
LeBlanc is new to the Mariners but not new to Jerry DiPoto. He acquired LeBlanc as the Angels GM and now has acquired him again. LeBlanc is hardly a prospect at 31 years old, though he only has 446.2 innings in the majors (about 2 or 3 seasons worth). LeBlanc is a "pitchability" lefty, meaning he does not throw all that hard but makes do with command and deception. In fact, pitch f/x data suggests that LeBlanc's fastball sits in the 86-87mph range, which is rather slow by modern MLB standards. However, LeBlanc has never posted disastrous strikeout rates and is enjoying a terrific season in AAA thus far with an ERA under 2.00 as a starter. Still, LeBlanc is the definition of replacement level, though Safeco might do a nice job of hiding his weaknesses.

Frankly, these are moves that only happen when a team is desperate. The Mariners have a critically crippled pitching staff at the moment, one so crippled that nobody can reasonably complain about a lack of depth. They literally have over half of their pitching staff on the DL. These moves are the MLB equivalent of bailing water out of a sinking ship which is unfortunately what the Mariners need to do in the storm they find themselves in. Still, these are the kinds of players that for whatever reason Jack Zduriencik never acquired, and we watched some positions become black holes over the years. These are the kinds of moves the give teams a chance to whether particularly crushing stretches.