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Under normal circumstances, we would be two weeks into the 2020 MLB season while still feeling out the likes of contenders and pretenders. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we do not have an official start date just yet. While the commissioner’s office, team owners and the players association mull their potential options; let’s take a look at World Series futures while the odds at BetMGM remain stagnant due to this delay. You can also view our consensus odds across all sportsbooks for the MLB’s 2020 World Series winner.
NYY: Adding Gerrit Cole to compliment James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka makes this rotation one of the best in the American League. Couple this with their powerful offensive lineup that hit 306 home runs last season and you have disputably the best team in the majors.
LAD: The addition of Mookie Betts to this offense that led the NL in runs scored last season makes this lineup downright terrifying. Their rotation, led by Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw, led the entire MLB with a 3.37 ERA in 2019. This past offseason they brought in five-time All-Star David Price while adding further depth by signing Alex Wood. Just like their AL foes above, the Dodgers possess one of the deepest lineups in the majors making them yet again a World Series favorite.
While anyone can lay the chalk – no one is going to fault you for backing either of these two teams.
The 2020 season is likely to be abbreviated so we should experience more variance than usual in the standings. Let’s discuss two teams that I believe can make a serious run while providing much more value than the favorites above.
Cincinnati Reds (+2800)
Last season the Reds finished 25th in runs scored with 701. Look for them to make a considerable jump offensively as they added free agents Mike Moustakas, Nicholas Castellanos and Japanese import Shogo Akiyama. This trio will bring much needed protection to third baseman Eugenio Suarez who hit 49 home runs in 2019. If Joey Votto rebounds from a down year and top prospect Nick Senzel is healthy, this lineup will be as deep as anyone’s outside of the Dodgers.
The pitching trio of Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Trevor Bauer has the upside to be one of the best in the majors. Castillo took a big step forward last year posting a 3.40 ERA while Gray rediscovered his stuff after reuniting with college pitching coach Derek Johnson. Bauer had a down year splitting his time between the Cleveland Indians and Reds, posting a 4.48 ERA but struck out 253 batters. If he can recapture his 2018 form when he went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA, the sky is the limit for this rotation.
Tampa Bay Rays (+2000)
Per usual, the Rays had a relatively quiet offseason where they didn’t make a big splash but instead made a myriad of under-the-radar moves. The offense was league-average last season but finished 21st overall in home runs with 217. To remedy the power issue, they brought in outfielder Hunter Renfroe who hit 33 bombs in only 440 AB’s last season. Additionally, they added lefty-masher Jose Martinez and former top-prospect/speedster Manual Margot to help shore up the outfield defense. While these moves won’t excite anyone, just know the analytic-driven Rays will utilize this trio to maximize every matchup to improve this years’ offense while providing further protection for All-Star Austin Meadows.
The true strength of this team lies in the rotation and bullpen. With the departure of Gerrit Cole from the Astros, the trio of Charlie Morton, Blake Snell, and Tyler Glasnow may be the best in the AL. Last season, Glasnow was on a torrid pace before succumbing to a forearm strain – in 60 2/3 innings, he pitched to the tune of a 1.78 ERA and 0.89 WHIP with 76 strikeouts. Morton finished third in AL CY Young voting and although Blake Snell struggled, his underlying metrics signify he was simply unlucky. Trade deadline acquisition Nick Anderson will return after posting godly 41.7% strikeout and 19.5% swinging-strike rates in 2019, he’ll lead a bullpen consisting of power-arms Diego Castillo, Jose Alvarado and Colin Poche. While they may not get the recognition, the synergy of this rotation and bullpen may prove to be the best in the majors this season.
Jordan Anderson is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Jordan, check out his archive.