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MLB Futures: Best Bets for NL Pennant Winner (2020)

by April 9, 2020

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The Favorite: LA Dodgers (+155)

The Dodgers’ offense led the National League with 886 runs scored in 2019 but will be even more explosive this season with the addition of Mookie Betts. Betts will bring his career .374 OBP to the leadoff spot and set the table for the likes of Max Muncy, Corey Seager, and All-Star Cody Bellinger. This will be the deepest lineup in the NL and pose consistent problems for opposing pitching staff’s all year long.

Aces Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw return to lead a pitching staff that led the MLB last season with a 3.37 ERA. While the rotation lost former stalwarts Rich Hill and Hyun-jin Ryu, the Dodgers brought in David Price and Alex Wood. Price should fair better making the switch to the NL and leaving the loaded AL East. Additionally, they possess high-upside arms in Julio Urias, Dustin May, and Brusdar Graterol.

On paper, this team is the no-brainer favorite but use caution as they keep finding ways to come up short.

Best Value: Cincinnati Reds (+1400)

No one had a busier offseason than the Reds this past winter. Consistently quiet in free agency, the organization opened up its wallet and went on a spending spree. The team signed free agents: Mike Moustakas, Nicholas Castellanos, and Japanese import Shogo Akiyama. Additionally, they added Trevor Bauer last season at the trade deadline, which makes their rotation even deeper.

Offensively, the Reds are loaded. Adding Moustakas and Castellanos will only strengthen the middle of this lineup and provide further protection for Eugenio Suarez who bopped 49 home runs in 2019. Joey Votto will look to rebound from a down year and provide veteran leadership for youngsters Nick Senzel and Aristides Aquino.

The rotation will be one of the best in the NL, as well. Led by Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and the aforementioned Bauer. Bauer is coming off a subpar 2019 where he registered a 4.48 ERA. However, if he can return to his 2018 form when he posted a 2.21 ERA with 221 strikeouts, this staff will compete with anyone.

The one weakness this team has lies in its bullpen. Closer Raisel Iglesias was shaky last season and their only upgrade in the offseason was Pedro Strop. Amir Garret has the stuff to be a shutdown reliever but has yet to show the maturity and consistency to do so. If the Reds can parse together even an average bullpen, they’ll be a major threat in 2020.

Best Longshot: Arizona Diamondbacks (+2500)

The D’backs are currently succeeding in what many teams have failed to do in recent memory, rebuild without tanking. Coming off a surprise 85-win season in 2019, this team made a few big splashes in the offseason by signing three-time World Series Champion, Madison Bumgarner and five-tool stud Starling Marte.

Last season the offense saw surprise breakouts from Ketel Marte and Eduardo Escobar. Escobar finished the year with 118 RBI – good for Top-5 in the MLB. Marte seemingly came out of nowhere to finish fourth in NL MVP voting after posting a .329 BA with 32 home runs and 6.9 WAR. The addition of the other Marte, Starling, will make the top of this lineup even stronger as the speedster has a penchant for getting on base and scoring runs. They also added veteran Kole Calhoun to shore up outfield depth. He’ll provide some pop too after hitting 33 homers in 2019. If youngsters Carson Kelly and Christian Walker continue to make strides, this offense will be even more impressive in 2020.

The team’s biggest move was acquiring Bumgarner. They’ll look for him to lead a promising rotation consisting of left-handed strikeout artist, Robbie Ray, and promising youngsters Zac Gallen and Luke Weaver. The bullpen will consist of former Cubs closer Hector Rondon, promising rookie Kevin Ginkel – who struck out sixty-five batters in 35 innings last year in the minors, and closer Archie Bradley who thrived in the role in the second half of last season.

While this team may not have the overall firepower the Dodgers possess, I believe they’ll give them a run this upcoming season. They may not win the NL West, but I believe this team is a true Wild Card contender. I’ll personally be placing a couple of futures on this squad as I think they’re being mightily overlooked considering their current odds.

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Jordan Anderson is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Jordan, check out his archive.