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MLB Preview: 2019 World Series Odds and Outlook

National League (46 wins) @ American League(64 wins )

  • Where: TBA. TBA
  • When: October 23, 2019 7:00 pm EST
  • Moneyline: Boston Red Sox +600 Houston Astros +600 New York Yankees +600 Los Angeles Dodgers +700 Philadelphia Phillies +1000 Chicago Cubs +1100 Milwaukee Brewers +1200

I have grown to relish the professional baseball stories I get to blog, because handicapping sites really can’t use that many of them.

It’s a question of timing. When regular season games (and most postseason ballgames) happen on a daily/nightly basis, there’s no worth in investing in web content that will be defunct by the time it’s indexed on search engines.

So the sportswriter who makes his living reporting bookmaker’s markets must look to work some hardball content into the cracks of a schedule. I’ve done volunteer work for local blogs in the Midwest, covering college baseball as well as the mean High School teams on the diamond in western Kentucky. (One KSHAA program recently posted a photo of several Varsity ballplayers scowling in the woods, holding hatchets.)

And of course we cover the division series, the pennant, and the World Series, usually 7 games at a time.

But February is the coolest, because that’s when we get to handicap the futures.

My first impression this time around? It’s been a long time since the Yankees have been to the Fall Classic…a long time in Yankee years anyway. But wouldn’t you know that it’s the Pinstripes’ arch-rivals who are also odds-on favorites to top all of baseball as the 2019 MLB season approaches.

Boston Red Sox ((+600) Odds-to-Win 2019 World Series)

The defending World Series champs are favored to become the first team to repeat in nearly 2 decades. Manager Alex Cora thwarted expectations in his debut season by dominating baseball with a 108-54 record.

Bats include the 1-2 punch of Andrew Benintendi and defending American League MVP Mookie Betts. Betts will seek to increase his 80 RBIs from a season ago and improve on a searing .346 batting average. All-Star J.D. Martinez returns after leading the team with 43 homers.

Center-field standout Jackie Bradley Jr. returns after reeling-in his first career Golden Glove. Betts is also a defensive fireball. But managing the pitching rotation will be a challenge for Cora. Chris Sale leads a 6-man rotation and is coming off a 12-win season with a 2.11 ERA.

Houston Astros (+600)

The past 2 seasons have been splendid in Space City. The Astros won the World Series in 2017 and have earned 2 consecutive AL West pennants.

Crucial replacements must be located to replenish the pitching rotation heading into 2019. Outside of Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, who combined for 31 wins, there are question marks.

Fielding has been above reproach, however, as the club committed the smallest amount of errors in the league and boasted the top fielding percentage in 2018.

3rd baseman Alex Bregman led Astro batters with 31 homers and 103 RBIs. Outfielder George Springer added 22 home runs on his way to an All-Star appearance.

Manager A.J. Hinch holds a record of 374-274 since taking over the club in 2015.

New York Yankees (+600) 

The Yankees lived up to their ‘Bronx Bombers’ moniker in 2018 with the most lethal bats in the Major Leagues. Leading the charge was Giancarlo Stanton with 38 home runs and 100 RBIs. Outfielder Aaron Judge posted a slugging percentage of .528.

The pitching rotation received an important boost when the team traded for James Paxton, previously a hurler for the Seattle Mariners, this offseason. The southpaw led the Mariners with 208 strikeouts, and will join Luis Severino who posted 19 wins a season ago.

But for a still relatively green Bronx team to reach the World Series, the club’s fielding must be cleaned up. The Pinstripes ranked 20th in the Major League with 93 errors in 2018.

Despite the shoddy defense, manager Aaron Boone led the Yankees to a 100-62 record and an appearance in the ALCS in his maiden year on the job.

Bryce Harper is also rumored to possibly play in New York this season. That would be a shot in the arm to the club’s prospects for October.

LA Dodgers (+700)

Manager Dave Roberts has led the Dodgers to the doorstep of a World Series in 2 consecutive seasons. The back-to-back National League champs have a record of 287-200 since Roberts took over in 2016 and an NL best +800 odds to win the 2019 title.

Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger lead the way for Dodger batting attack coming off a season with 60 combined home runs. The loss of the thrilling Yasiel Puig and his 23 home runs will leave a hole to fill in the lineup, and the Dodgers may not prove to be as dynamic without his bat.

Los Angeles has a young crop of talented pitchers in the rotation behind highly esteemed starters Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, but the bullpen needs an upgrade while the principal closer Kenley Jansen recovers from heart surgery.

Philadelphia Phillies (+1000)

New skipper Gabe Kapler led the Phillies to a smoking-hot start out of the gate in 2018, but the team sputtered to an 80-82 finish and missed the playoffs. Despite the tailspin to end the season, the Phillies have the shortest futures odds of any NL East team at 10-to-1 payoff.

The Phillies were an awful batting team in 2018. The club’s offense wound up finishing last in the Major League with a team hitting percentage of .234. That stat could lift quickly in 2019 as the Phillies are among the favorites to potentially sign Harper and/or Manny Machado.

Aaron Nola leads the pack in the pitching rotation, coming off a solid 17-win season with an ERA of 2.37.

Chicago Cubs (-1100)

The Cubs were one of the most dependable batting teams in the league in 2018 with a 4th-ranked average of .258. Shortstop Javier Baez lit-up his opponents for 34 home runs and 111 RBIs, but it was not enough to get the Cubs past the Wild Card playoff.

Star pitcher Yu Darvish had his season cut short because of injury, but Jon Lester had a marvelous summer with 18 wins and an ERA of 3.32. The club was 3rd in the Major League with an overall team ERA of 3.65.

After 10+ years as a manager with the Cubs and Rays, Joe Maddon seized his first World Series title with Chicago in 2016. Since he took over in 2015, the Cubs have compiled a record of 387-261.

Milwaukee Brewers (+1200)

Click to wager on the Milwaukee Brewers to win the 2019 World Series.

The defending NL Central champs are at somewhat astoundingly-long odds to prevail in autumn.

Manager Craig Counsell has posted a 316-308 record since taking over the club in 2015, but last season was the breakout year for the Brewers under Counsell’s guidance as the squad won the division crown for the first time since 2011 and was a lone win away from the World Series.

Part of the formula was a dependable pitching rotation that finished 5th in the league with a collective ERA of 3.73. Jhoulys Chacin led the way with 15 wins and a 3.50 ERA, but the Brewers are still searching for a lefty to add to the mix.

The Brewers were among the most dominant hitting teams of ’18 with 218 home runs. The 3-headed monster of Aguilar, Christian Yelich, and Travis Shaw combined for 103 home runs and added 304 RBIs.

Best MLB Futures Pick for 2019

We saved the best for last. I’m loving the Brewers as the club with the highest upside relative to their futures line. They’re a steal (of home plate, maybe) at 12-to-1.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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