By Roger Snell
The Los Angeles Dodgers are strong favorites to win the 2015 World Series, according to projections using current rosters for all playoff teams.
The Kansas City Royals are projected to win the American League pennant and return to the World Series for a second consecutive season, based on 162-game, head-to-head sims.
Out of the Park Baseball 16 allows head-to-head sims that imitate an entire season against only one competitor, the likely opponent in the playoffs. The sims use current rosters, honor current disabled lists and a pitching rotation.
The Dodgers beat the Royals 99 out of 162 games and outscore them 750 to 576 runs, a substantial win percentage and run differential, making the Dodgers overwhelming favorites.
Cubs barely win NL wild card
The Cubs are so closely matched to the Pirates that this is very much a toss-up, but the Cubs are a slight favorite, winning 83-79 in 162 games simmed head to head. Here's how close this match-up is: The Cubs outscored the Pirates 595-590 runs in 162 games.
Cards beat Cubs in NL division
The Cardinals finish 85-77 against the Cubs and outscore them 666-610. Before the 2015 season, OOTP projected the Cubs to make the playoffs as a wild card one out of 10 times and they actually went all the way to win the World Series in that sim. But that sim was before trades, roster changes and injuries for all MLB teams during the season. The Cubs just don't have enough yet, but they are definitely contenders for years to come.
Dodgers have no hassles with Mets or Cards
The Dodgers easily handle the Mets 95-67 and beat the Cards just as soundly 98-64. The Dodgers are overwhelming favorites to win the NL title.
Yankees beat Angels in AL wild card
The Yankees easily beat the Angels 99-63, with a 120-run differential.
Blue Jays top the Yankees
Toronto is stronger than the Yankees 86-76 but the run differential is slight with the Jays scoring 768 runs and the Yanks at 719.
Royals beat Rangers (barely) and Blue Jays (easily)
The match-up between the Royals and Rangers is very close. But if the Royals get past the Rangers, they will handle the Blue Jays easily.
The Royals beat the Rangers 82-80, outscoring them 754-729.
The Royals match up much more strongly against the Blue Jays, 90-72, and outscore 755-662.
(Snell is a long-time beta tester for Out of the Park Baseball and author of the book when the Cubs made it to the World Series in 1929. See his web site, Root for the Cubs.)