The MLB season is right around the corner, with Opening Day slated for April 1. We now have one week to get our MLB Future bets in, so let's look at my two favorite National League Win Totals on PointsBet.
San Diego Padres Over/Under 94.5 Wins
San Diego had a busy offseason trying to improve on its breakout 37-23, 2020 campaign. The signing of Manny Machado last year set a buzz through San Diego and entering 2021, the Padres have the third-highest win total at 94.5 wins.
For hitters, the Padres brought back Jurickson Profar, traded for Victor Caratini, signed Ha-seong Kim and, of course, the biggest move of all. San Diego and Fernando Tatis Jr. agreed to a 14-year extension, locking him and Manny Machado up under contract until at least 2029 together.
San Diego certainly went all in to renovate a pitching staff in order for a big 2021. However, the health of the rotation will determine most of this team's success. Going from a shortened 60 game schedule to a full 162 games will be a challenge for most teams in their preparation.
San Diego is one team that could be a little worrisome with its pitching staff, but the hitters will bring it.
The Padres hitters finished ranked first in steals (55), third in RBIs (312), third in runs (325), fourth in home runs (95) and 10th in batting average (.272). San Diego also ranked top 10 in doubles (T-8th), triples (T-3rd), slugging percentage (3rd) and on-base percentage (8th).
Five different hitters totaled nine or more home runs and six earned 49 or more hits. Eight different hitters posted a .250 average with at least 50 at bats in a shortened season. The hitters will not be the issue in 2021 for San Diego and if the trio of Machado, Tatis and Will Myers continues to hit home runs, the Padres offense will keep them in a majority of games.
Versus the NL West, the Padres went 24-15 (61.5%) last season, going .500 versus the Diamondbacks and 4-5 against the Dodgers. San Diego lost four of its five games to Arizona by one run.
Vs Diamondbacks: 5-5 (started 5-2)
Vs Dodgers: 4-5 (started 3-2)
Vs Giants: 8-2
Vs Rockies: 7-3
San Diego will have to beat up on San Francisco, Colorado and Arizona this season to hit 95 wins, but I believe they have the talent to do it.
Arizona lost 17 of its last 23 games versus NL West teams. Colorado has lost 31 of its last 46 games and San Francisco split 29 of its last 58 games per NBC Sports Edge's top trends.
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Seven teams won 95-plus games in 2019, six in 2018, and four in 2017 compared to 10 total in three years prior (2014-2016). The league is becoming more top-heavy and I expect San Diego to be one of the five best teams in 2021.
In order to win 95 games, San Diego will need to maintain a 58.6% winning percentage. Last season, the Padres were on pace for 100 wins at 61.7%. Six teams posted a 59% winning percentage or better last season and eight with 58.3% or higher. I expect San Diego to be on pace with that number in 2021.
Pick: Over 94.5 Wins (-105)
Pittsburgh Pirates Over/Under 58.5 Wins
As if it could get any tougher to root for the Pirates, the organization went ahead and traded Josh Bell, one of the few exciting players left. In return, Pittsburgh received pitchers Wil Crowe and prospect Eddy Yean from Washington for the first baseman.
Entering 2021, Gregory Polanco, Adam Frazier and Ke'Bryan Hayes will be the leading hitters Pittsburgh relies on - Kevin Newman, too if his bat stays hot after Spring Training. Once again, though, Pittsburgh is opting to save bankroll instead of production and the roster shows. The 2020 pitching staff featured 13 different players that earned a win, but not one pitcher earned more than three in the shortened season.
The pitching rotation will look different heading into 2021 with Crowe, Trevor Cahill, JT Brubaker, Tyler Anderson, Mitch Keller, Chad Kuhl, Steven Brault, plus a few more old and new faces. The Pirates have six pitchers win 10 or more games in the last five years and none of them are on the team. Not even Joe Musgrove from last season's Buccos.
Musgrove was the ace for this Pirates staff in 2019 and battled injuries in 2020. Pittsburgh received five prospects from the Padres and Mets for Musgrove in a three-team deal. The five prospects were C/OF Endy Rodriguez, OF Hudson Head, LHP Omar Cruz, RHP Drake Fellows, and RHP David Bednar. While that is quite a haul, they are all future MLB players, none expected to make the Opening Day Roster, so the trade does not impact the Over/Under win total - if anything the team takes a hit without Musgrove.
Hayes showed a ton of promise in only 85 at bats, earning 32 hits, 17 runs and 11 RBIs. Frazier tied with Colin Moran for the Pirates leader in RBIs (23), one ahead of Josh Bell. Only Frazier had more than 200 at bats and no Pirate had more than 50 hits. Look for Frazier to have his best season yet. I predict this is the season the Pirates move on from Gregory Polanco or Frazier if he has a breakout year.
The Pirates have steadily got worse over the last five years and if not for a short season, Pittsburgh would have more than likely finished Under 58 wins. The roster did not get better entering 2021.
PIRATES RECORD YEAR-BY-YEAR - LAST 5 SEASONS
With the Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, and Reds all finishing within five games of each other last season, expect the four of them to be head over heels better than the Pirates. If I get odds for Pittsburgh to have the worst record in all of baseball, I will take a swing at that too on PointsBet.
Pick: Under 58.5 Wins (-110)
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