Major League Baseball

Could we be witnessing the second coming of the Amazin’ Mets? Oddsmakers seem to be warming up to the idea. New York’s 2019 World Series odds have improved from +3625 on August 6 to +2250 on August 12 after a run of eight straight victories.

2019 World Series odds

TeamWorld Series Odds
Houston Astros+200
L.A. Dodgers+250
New York Yankees+450
Atlanta Braves+900
Chicago Cubs+1600
Minnesota Twins+1600
Cleveland Indians+1600
Tampa Bay Rays+2200
New York Mets+2250
Washington Nationals+2400

It’s been quite a turnaround for a team that appeared to be coming apart during the first half of the season. New York dropped seven straight games near the end of June and made headlines for all the wrong reasons on June 23 when manager Mickey Callaway and starter Jason Vargas lost it with a beat reporter after a defeat to the Cubs. Rookie general manager Brodie Van Wagenen added even more fuel to the fire two weeks later when he tossed a chair during a heated coaches meeting.

Not surprisingly, the Mets were at the center of nearly every juicy rumor heading toward the July 31 trade deadline. Pundits expected Van Wagenen to sell everything that wasn’t nailed down, but instead he did the opposite.

Mets beefed up at the deadline

Van Wagenen boldly acquired Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman, one of the most coveted starters on the market, and held onto Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler, a pair of hurlers who likely had their real estate agents on speed dial. He has since signed second baseman Joe Panik, a former all-star and Gold Glove winner who earned a World Series ring with the San Francisco Giants in 2014.

Van Wagenen’s aggressive approach has helped breathe new life into the Mets, who have won 14 of their last 16 games and are now just one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second National League wild-card spot.

New York’s offseason acquisitions have been non-factors

The Mets’ resurgence is all the more surprising because they’ve done it without much help from their most prized offseason acquisitions. Eight-time all-star Robinson Cano was batting just .252 before he tore his hamstring his August 4, infielder Jed Lowrie has yet to play a game this season as he deals with knee issues and coveted closer Edwin Diaz is 1-6 with a 5.40 ERA just a year after he led the American League in saves and finished eighth in Cy Young voting.

McNeil and Alonso are enjoying breakout seasons

Cano and Diaz have been unmitigated duds, but the Mets have managed to prosper thanks to the contributions of Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso, two players who were expected to be glued to the bench entering the 2019 season. The 27-year-old McNeil leads the NL with a .337 batting average and ranks ninth in offensive WAR. Alonso has already clubbed 38 homers and is on the pace to shatter New York’s franchise record for most home runs in a season. Their unexpected production has kept New York afloat and has the club eyeing a postseason berth for the first time since 2016.

Are the Mets a bona fide World Series contender?

As inspiring as New York’s run has been, the team still has some Gotham-sized holes, beginning with its overwhelmed bullpen. New York’s shellshocked relievers rank 26th in bullpen ERA at 5.09 and are surrendering 4.21 walks and 1.47 home runs per nine innings.

The Mets also rank well outside the top 10 in every major MLB offensive category and are 13th or worse in batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS. The only thing New York’s batters do especially well is get in the way of fastballs. The Mets have been beaned by pitches 67 times in 2019, which is just one shy of the league lead of 68 held by the Reds.

The smart money remains on the Dodgers, who have been just as hot as the Mets but with considerably less fanfare. L.A. has won seven of its last eight games and holds an insurmountable 19-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West. Sprinkle a little coin on their +250 odds before they get any shorter.

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