The MLB has had one heck of an off-season. The Houston Astros were caught cheating and lying and of course, nothing happened to any of the players. The Astros won the World Series in 2017 and were finally caught. The World Series remains Houston’s and that’s that.
The Washington Nationals began last season with +2100 odds to win the World Series. By June 17, the Nationals were +5500 to win it all. To win the World Series, you need solid pitching depth and a bunch of young hitters with veteran leaders. The Nationals were a Wild Card team that beat a 106-win Dodgers team and a 107-win Astros team to win the World Series.
Can a Wild Card team win again?
It took until 1995 to add a wild-card team into the playoffs. Then the system was modified in 2012 where the MLB added another wild-card team in the mix to play a one-game playoff. Since 1995, there have been 13 wild-card teams to reach the World Series. Only seven of those wild card teams have won the Championship. 2002 and 2014 were the only two years where two wild-card teams made the World Series.
Only seven teams have won the World Series as a wild card team in 25 years. Therefore, a wild card team has only won the World Series 28 percent of the time.
As we look to predict a World Series champion, we’re going to be looking at teams that can win over 100 games this season. Teams with solid pitching depth, big time starters, and plenty of hitting with young talent. Also, only four rookie managers have won the World Series.
A team like the Mets, who hired a rookie manager Luis Rojas to be their manager, will likely not win the World Series. The odds are stacked against first year rookie managers. You can also eliminate the Cubs who added former catcher and player, David Ross as their new manager. He’s had no experience as a manager either. The Padres have been intriguing during their off-season pursuits. But again, they’ve hired a new manager in Jayce Tingler.
Who are the Favorites?
Currently, the New York Yankees, Las Angeles Dodgers, and Houston Astros are favorites to win the World Series this season. But could you imagine if the Astros actually won it this year? It’s super hard to imagine the Astros will win this season after all the drama that took place. The cheating obviously helped Houston win more games. Let’s be real!
Also, relief pitchers actually matter in the playoffs. Those pitchers just need to get hot in playoff time. Starting pitchers are crucial to setting the tone but relief pitching have had a remarkable effect on figuring out who will win the World Series. Last year for example, the Washington Nationals’ bullpen was brutal but so was the Astros’ bullpen. In over 21 innings, the Astros had an ERA of 5.91 and that lost them the World Series after being very good in the regular season.
Predicting the outcome of the World Series is extremely hard at the start of the season. There’s 162 games and a full year of things that can happen. But here we go.
The Yankees went out and made a big splash signing star ace pitcher Gerrit Cole to a long-term contract. Signing Cole made the Yankees as dangerous as ever and that’s why they’re the favorites to win it all.
The Yankees finally have a core of young talented players that can take over the city. Most of the team is tightly connected and have won together throughout a couple years now. As long as teams have strong chemistry and a great bond, the sky’s the limit. This team has fun and they’re about as close as a group of guys that you’ll see in baseball now.
Before we get to Gerrit Cole and what his contributions can mean for this team, the lineup that the Yankees have built is strong on paper. As long as it’s strong at Yankee Stadium, this team could break the home-run record in the MLB. The lineup consists of DJ Lemahieu, who hit for an average of .327 and had 26 home runs along with 102 RBI’s. Then add a healthy Aaron Judge to the lineup, and you’ll get at least 40 homers on the season. Gleybar Torres hit for a career high’s 38 home runs and 90 RBI’s last season while Gary Sanchez hit a career high 34 home runs last season.
The Yankees also feature power sluggers like Giancarlo Stanton (who was absent in 2019), Luke Voit along with Brett Gardner. The Yankees hit 267 home runs and are built around plenty of depth and young talent.
The Yankees starting rotation obviously got a lot better with the addition of Gerrit Cole. This was an area where the Yankees struggled. They needed more consistent pitching for their rotation. Teams like the Astros and Nationals had much better pitching staffs and that carried them further along in the playoffs.
The Minnesota Twins are projected to win the AL Central but due to the fact that the Yankees and Astros are greater favorites in the AL, the Twins odds are pretty low for a team coming off 101 wins. The Twins will have to get through a Cleveland Indians team that got much better during the off-season.
The Twins really haven’t got much better over the off-season. Minnesota is already the forgotten team coming into spring training. The addition of third baseman Josh Donaldson was interesting as that will move Miguel Sano to first base, and it gives the Twins a solid, balanced lineup. The bullpen should also be very solid. The questions surround the starting rotation. José Berríos and Jake Odorizzi will need to pitch like aces to get the Twins to the postseason. The Twins can also make moves by the trade deadline for another arm if they’re in the race.