Welcome to Opening Day! OK, that was Thursday. Unless you count the two memorable games in Japan, which you should, because they're in the standings. Whatever. This is my first chance to bid you a happy new season, so there you go. I am excited. Truly. I feel like this is going to be a special season, with so many stars locked into long-term homes, a packed National League and another season of multiple powerhouses atop the American League.
Last year at this time, we did a fun little exercise when I unveiled my start-of-the-season forecast, where we touched upon what every team -- yes, every team -- needed to do to win the title. I did that through the prism of the number of breakout seasons. This time, we're going to mix it up and look at run differentials.
Runs can come from any spot on the roster and any phase of the game. Offense. Fielding. Pitching. When we express a run differential, it's just one integral number, but there is so much that goes into it.
Today, we'll see if we can map out how each team can find the runs it needs to find its path to paradise.
1. Teams are listed in order of their average wins for 10,000 simulations of the 2019 MLB schedule. The basis of the simulations was the baseline projection for each team, noted in our initial power rankings.
2. Each team's baseline projected run differential is listed. As a very loose and very general rule of thumb, a team needs to finish at least plus-75 in order to generate about a 5 percent shot at winning the World Series in the simulations.
3. This number (plus-75) varies, of course, depending on how stratified the leagues are in a given season and how difficult a path each team faces to win their division, league pennant, etc. Nevertheless, we're listing each team's shortfall between projected run differential and plus-75. Obviously, a few elite teams already clear that bar.
4. Also listed are each club's odds to win its division, take the pennant or win the World Series. This is also based on the aforementioned run of 10,000 simulated seasons.