Yankees favored to win American League pennant in 2021

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

January 13th, 2021

Oddsmakers have established the New York Yankees as the +260 favorites to do something they haven’t done since 2009 – win the American League pennant. The Yankees have failed to appear in a World Series since that fateful year, when they beat the Philadelphia Phillies for their 27th Fall Classic victory in franchise history.

Let’s go over the pros and cons on betting the Bombers, and see if there isn’t a wiser wager on the board.

American League 2021

Sun, October 17 2021, 10:00 AM

New York Yankees


Chicago White Sox


Tampa Bay Rays


Minnesota Twins


Oakland Athletics


Houston Astros


Toronto Blue Jays


Cleveland Indians


Los Angeles Angels


Boston Red Sox


Yankees’ offense led the AL in runs last season

As has been the case for many years in the Bronx, the Yankees are an offensively-minded unit. Despite sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton missing over half of the truncated 2020 campaign, New York managed a league-high 5.39 runs per game. First baseman Luke Voit was a revelation, as he hit 22 homers, good for the MLB lead in that department.

The Bombers’ 33-27 record was good enough for second place in the AL East, and the Wild Card berth that came with it. They crushed the Cleveland Indians in the Wild Card round before falling in five games to the AL East champion and eventual 2020 AL pennant winners, the Tampa Bay Rays.

Negotiations with LeMahieu, Tanaka trudge on

Deals with second baseman DJ LeMahieu – who led the majors in batting average (.364) in 2020 – and starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (78-46, 3.74 ERA in seven seasons as a Yankee) have been slow to develop. Both free agents were assumed to be heading back to the Bronx by many, but each player has threatened to take their talents elsewhere – be it another MLB team or even a Nippon League squad – as negotiations have effectively ground to a halt.

Someone has to get on base in order for the Yankees to capitalize on their home run hitting prowess, and someone has to keep the other team off the scoreboard and eat up innings. So New York needs to think long and hard about keeping these former All-Stars.

Will the White Sox ascend in 2021?

If New York falters – whether it’s because they let LeMahieu and/or Tanaka walk away or not – the Chicago White Sox (+425) might be the team that picks up the pieces.

They weren’t quite ready for primetime in 2020, as they were eliminated by the Oakland A’s in the Wild Card round. Catcher James McCann is gone, but Adam Eaton is back in the fold on a one-year deal, adding to the White Sox arsenal on offense that includes 2020 AL MVP Jose Abreu. Chicago also bolstered their bullpen this week by inking former A’s closer Liam Hendriks to a three-year, $54 million contract.

The White Sox are chock-full of young superstars with room to grow, namely Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, and Yoan Moncada. Tim Anderson and Yasmani Grandal add to their embarrassment of riches. This could be the year it all comes together for Chicago.

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