But that’s NOT what we want; too many sub-.500 records are hard on the constitution. Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs has just posted a piece offering WAR-based strength-of-schedule predictions for 2014. The Orioles have the toughest schedule, while Washington plays the weakest opponents. The Blue Jays have the third-toughest schedule.
The bad thing is that this confirms that the Jays have their work cut out for them. The AL East is as strong as usual. The decline of the Yankees is offset by the ascendancy of the defending World Champion Red Sox (ugh), the usually-strong Rays, and the strong off season moves by the Orioles. If the Orioles sign Ervin Santana, the Jays are almost assuredly a lock for 4th or 5th place in the division.
The good thing about this is, well, um…ah…what I mean to say is…crap. There isn’t much good about this. It’s not very encouraging at all.
Anyways, keep this in mind as you watch the standings during the season. A strong schedule will suppress win totals somewhat artificially, while an easy schedule will tend to inflate win totals, again somewhat artificially. The impression I have from watching/following sports over the decades is that teams with artificially-inflated win totals don’t do well in the postseason. At least they frickin’ make it to the postseason though…