Fangraphs Projects the Seattle Mariners to Win The AL West

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Courtesy of Fangraphs.com, below is are the projected team numbers for all 5 American West squads for the duration of the 2015 season: The Seattle Mariners, the Oakland Athletics, the Los Angeles Angels, the Texas Rangers, and the Houston Astros.

Take a look at the numbers:

2014 Year to Date2015 Projected Full Season
TeamGWLW%RDifRS/GWLW%RDifRS/GRA/G
Mariners1628775.537803.918973.547684.203.79
Athletics1628874.5431574.508478.519274.204.03
Angels1629864.6051434.778478.517254.284.13
Rangers1626795.414-1363.937884.482-284.304.48
Astros1627092.432-943.887884.479-324.174.37

Do you notice anything? The first thing I noticed is that the AL West will be deep and competitive in 2015: first and last place are separated by only 11 games in this projection. That means the Astros will be better, a lot better, and the Rangers will improve too, though not as much as they’d hope to.

Then, the Fangraphs projections have the Angels and Athletics both finishing tied for 2nd with 84 wins.

And, something Mariners fans are entirely unaccustomed to in recent seasons, the Seattle Mariners are projected to win 89 games and finish first in the American League West. Yes, the M’s are projected to win a division title.

Remember, projections don’t necessarily matter all that much because paper is paper and you have to play to win those 162 games. But, theoretically, the Mariners have the best team in the AL West.

Looking at the Runs Scored/Game and Runs Against/Game splits, it becomes clear why the Mariners are considered so highly: they’re the only team in the AL West projected to allow fewer than 4 runs/game. In fact, their 3.79 RA/G projection is a full .24 below the next highest projection, the 4.o3 RA/G for the Oakland A’s.

It’s not entirely surprising the M’s have such low runs allowed projections, as their rotation looks to be as good, if not better, than in was in 2014, led by King Felix Hernandez. And, the bullpen looks to maintain its league-best performance with most of last year’s squad returning for 2015.

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With both teams projected to score at the same clip– 4.20 RS/G for both the A’s and the M’s– that .24 runs allowed difference translates to almost 39 fewer runs scored against the Mariners in 2015.

This 4.20 RS/G projection is quite an improvement for the Mariners, who mustered a mere 3.91 RS/G in 2014. This improvement is in large part because of Robinson Cano‘s staying power, Kyle Seager‘s development, the addition of slugger Nelson Cruz, and the incremental offensive improvement of a number of young hitters.

The M’s project to have a +68 run differential in 2015, which is actually 12 fewer than they managed in 2014 with an 87 and 75 record.

If the season went as these numbers projection, the Mariners would be the only AL West team to see the 2015 postseason. It’d be the first division championship since 2001, and the first time the Mariners made the playoffs in over a decade.

So what do you think Mariners fans: are these projections accurate? Realistic? Will the M’s win the West in 2015?

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