Teams are starting to report for Spring Training, and that means baseball is just around the corner. Now, there are a few big names left out there, which make the lead-up to the season rather interesting. There are a lot of teams trying to throw themselves into the upper echelon of the game, which should make for a very interesting season.
The Big Three
Let’s get into the big three. The Astros, Red Sox, and Yankees are CLEARLY the best three teams in baseball, and I believe that the Yankees and Astros are the top two teams. The Red Sox won the World Series last year, but they are losing the strongest piece of their weakest unit and I think this will really hinder a team that I believe pretty drastically overperformed. Their best players ALL had career seasons, and it is uncommon to see that happen. Their best players were also relatively healthy all season, which always helps.
These teams are all at 6/1, with the Dodgers in 4th at 7/1. Yes, I know, the Dodgers’ odds are similar. You are kidding yourself if you think the Dodgers are as good as these three teams, and it shows in the odds. These three AL teams are ALL ahead of the Dodgers, who have much less competition in their league. One of the three AL teams can’t even get out of the Division Series, but they all have better odds than the top National League team, which is very telling.
Yankees are the Favorite
My favorite pick of the bunch is the Yankees because I am simply betting on regression with the Astros slightly behind. The Yankees won 100 games last season with Aaron Judge out 50 games, Gary Sanchez out even longer and hitting .189 for the entire season, and their best pitcher tipping his pitches the entire second half of the season. Giancarlo Stanton also started the season off horribly. They lost David Robertson, and Didi Gregorius will be out 3-4 months, but I think this team got better and will also get better production this year. They added D.J. LeMahieu, who is a fantastic defender and much-improved hitter last season, along with Troy Tulowitzki for infield depth. They also added an ace-caliber pitcher in James Paxton and an elite reliever in Adam Ottavino. This team plans on throwing Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and JA Happ in the postseason. This will rival any rotation in baseball, with Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Zack Britton, and Adam Ottavino functioning as the best bullpen out there. The Yankees are loaded and the best roster in baseball as it stands today.
Phillies are a Good Sleeper Pick
My favorite “sleeper” pick is the Phillies. Why? Upside. We have heard all along that the Phillies want to spend some money. We haven’t seen it come to fruition yet, but I think they will do it to at least some degree. I have seen rumors that ideally, they want Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel, and Craig Kimbrel. If they can pull that off, I think that they instantly come into the picture as a top 5 team in baseball, and you can get them in the easier league at 12/1 right now. This team has 4 young starters in Nola, Pivetta, Eflin, and Velasquez that I like to varying degrees, and I think that their lineup will be really good as they mature with Bryce Harper in the middle. Now, If you want to wait for the Harper news to hit and risk the price getting hit down, that is fine, but I think they will still spend their money somewhere. I expect this team to basically force improvement, even if they can’t lock in one of the two massive names.