The MLB is in Upheaval. No Matter. Here Are Your Way Too Early 2020 World Series Odds
At this moment, snow covers 35.6% of the United States. Miami, Tampa Bay, and Houston are the only three MLB cities with temperatures over 70˚. College football has crowned a new champion, the NFL is deep in the playoffs, the NBA and NHL are starting to shake out the pretenders from the contenders as midseason approaches. These all indicate it is a perfect time for a way-too-early preview of the 2020 baseball season.
The Cream of the Crop for the 2020 World Series Odds… For Now
The New York Yankees were one of four teams to top 100 wins last season. They landed the blue-ribbon prize on the free agent market, Cy Young runner-up Gerrit Cole. They had growth and
development from young players out of their systems and expect to return a number of players that spent time away on the injured list last year. They upgraded off the field by bringing in a strength and conditioning guru.
And of course, they can spend whatever they want to fill any holes they desire. But they face some tough divisional competition from the Tampa Bay Rays, and no one knows if Cole will overcome the loss of his Samson-like hair and beard. The New York Yankees 2020 World Series odds are a league best +350.
The last seven seasons have seen the Los Angeles Dodgers win the NL West, twice with more the 100 wins, including 106 in 2019. The Dodgers represented the senior circuit in the World Series in 2017 and 2018, coming up short against the Astros and Red Sox (and maybe some cameras). Their lineup is stacked with stars and surprisingly young. They lost Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill from the rotation, but added Blake Treinen and Alex Wood to their staff.
They remain hungry for the first world championship since Kirk Gibson humped his way around the bases in the waning days of the Reagan administration. The Los Angeles Dodgers odds to claim the 2020 World Series are +550.
While the Houston Astros are leading the sports pages for banging trash cans, destroying video monitors, being wired with buzzers, and a whole host of what-did-they-dos and who-knew–whats, they remain a formidable team entering the season. Coming off three years at the top of the American League and one title, their core is young and powerful and their pitching staff maintains top-of-the-league talent, even with the defections of Cole, Will Harris, and Wade Miley. The biggest questions around the team area how well they can adjust to a new manager and GM, and how they react to the incriminations and accusations. The World Series odds for the Houston Astros to reclaim the championship are +600.
World Series 2020 Odds
A Small Band of Almost Elites and Their World Series Odds
Once you get past these three elite teams, the view from the offseason starts to get fuzzier when predicting who will find themselves playing deep into October. The Washington Nationals may well play the popular we-don’t-get-no-respect card, as the reigning champions. They lost postseason hero Anthony Rendon, and return much of the same roster, yet somehow “Los Viejos” have become más mayores, signing additional 30+ year-olds to fill out the roster. The Nationals odds for a World Championship are +1400.
The Braves (+1200), Phillies (+1800), and Mets (+2100) are all fighting for primacy with the Nats in the NL East and to make a statement in the postseason in what may turn out to be the most competitive division in baseball. The Cardinals (+2000) hope maintain their perch at the top of the NL Central, but face a tough pair of divisional foes in the Cubs (+2400) and Brewers (+2500). The Twins (+2100) were a surprise 100-win team last year taking the AL Central, and face a similar road versus the Indians (+2400) and White Sox (+3000). The 96-win Rays (+2100) have perhaps quietly become a contender without making headlines, and, unfortunately, without drawing fans to their satdium.
Baseball’s Middle Class. Which of These Teams Can Surprise the MLB
Was it only two years ago that the Red Sox (+2500) won the World Series? They underperformed greatly last year. The Sox now face their own repercussions from the sign-stealing scandal, need a manager, and hope that new GM Chaim Bloom can make sense of a roster filled with young talent and the dollars it will take to keep them.
The San Diego Padres (+6000) are a fashionable pick to compete for an NL Wild Card spot. They splashed with Manny Machado last year to add to the youngest roster in the majors, and made waves by not keeping Fernando Tatis, Jr. in the minors for service time considerations. They added veteran pitcher Drew Pomeranz this offseason.
Other middle class teams on the rise are the Cincinnati Reds (+5000), adding Miley and Mike Moustakas to their young core; the Oakland A’s (+2800) who hope to climb past the Wild Card game and have not–yet–jettisoned their young home-grown talent; and, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (+3500), who signed Rendon and added a few other pieces to join MVP Mike Trout, Shohei Otani, and a now 40-year old Albert Pujols.
While the middle class struggles to become top tier, plenty of wins will come to the stronger teams at the expense of the cellar dwellers. One need not spend much time as rebuilding builds on rebuilding for the Marlins, Tigers, Orioles, Royals, Mariners, Blue Jays, and more, all sitting at World Series odds of +10000.