While it may not be as important to be accurate with all (or even most) predictions, I believe in a system to set them. If anybody was able to get their predictions even 90-95% accurate, they may as well have connections to sports bettors within the public because they clearly know something most do not. As stated in previous seasons, I start out by using the Las Vegas over/ under odds for the coming season (I used Atlantis of Reno, Nevada for this particular study). I then predict based off of the information I have, the chances of each team to win as many games as their number states. I probably use similar information most analysts do; momentum from last season, the moves made in the off season- additions/ subtractions, the minor league system, leadership, etc.
As proven in some of my past years' picks, the 30-1 MLB countdown team previews have taken it a step further. This step is not as foreign as it may seem. As any season starts, all thirty teams can dream of an ideal scenario. A scenario where everything clicks, all players stay healthy, all younger players play the role they are expected to, and all the moves made in the off season work out completely. Sometimes it all works out, but it is not always the teams that did well last season; it is not always the teams that the "experts" say will do well. It is sad how a good part of the baseball community has solely relied on an unproven system where a series of data is put into a computer, it is run through a formula, and the results are considered a fact as to how all baseball teams should look at themselves in the mirror.
Injuries are the only thing that cannot be predicted. If one is predicting random players getting hurt as part of their outlook for the season, I believe it is unfair. The only way injuries should factor into team predictions is if they are pre-existing. If a player was injured last year, he may not be expected to be the same player he was in his prime. If a player will miss time during the coming season because of an injury, that obviously has to be considered. As the 2017 season is about to start, I have one prediction- A MAJOR IMPACT PLAYER WILL GET HURT. But to randomly pick what player(s) will get injured prior to any evidence of that happening is just not in good taste.
One thing that gets understated in baseball is players depreciation. Similar to injuries, it is something that cannot be predicted. Sometimes aging sets in and the depreciation can be seen, but every season, it seems players start to break down that perhaps were not expected to. So, while injuries cannot be predicted to impact a team unless they are pre-existing, depreciation is something that can be a little more objective. We can use patterns of players in past seasons to come to a conclusion that they may never be the same as they once were. And that is where I may differ with some others opinions.
Teams that are deeper in talent obviously have the ability to counteract both injuries and depreciation. Depth can come in the form of extra veterans on a bench, in the back of the rotation, or in the bullpen and perhaps simply from their own talented, young minor leaguers, who are on the horizon- waiting for their chance to make an impact. That is also very subjective and explains where one person's opinion may be different that another's.
In regards to the wins and losses totals I put together each season, they come off the Las Vegas over/ unders mentioned earlier. I start out by stating whether I think a team will win more or less than their projected number. After that, I compare the talent of all 30 teams to how they contrast to each other. I then start penciling in projected win totals based off whether or not I expect the team to win more or less than the Vegas number. I then adjust the win totals based off the amount of expected games to be played over the course of a 162 game season (4860). Finally, I make sure that there is the same amount of wins (2430) as losses (2430) so long to create a more realistic feeling and so the projected season could be on par with one that has occurred in the past. Of course, there is always a chance some games do not get played (example- the Braves/ Marlins game that was cancelled last September after the tragic death of Jose Fernandez), or a 163rd game needed to decide which team makes the playoffs. Just like injuries, I choose not to predict how many games will be lost or added for the exception of a predicted tie for a final Wild Card spot (which would, of course, result in a one game playoff technically added to the 162 game schedule).
Finally, I use the win totals I have predicted to make a constructed list of the best and worst teams in baseball. I then start writing my team previews, starting with the team that has the lowest total of wins projected. Two years ago, I added an audio version of each team preview. I will do so again this year. Once this process is started, there is no turning back. So here is comes, the 2017 30-1 MLB countdown team previews, brought to you by www.johnpielli.com.