As we pause to take a deep breath for the MLB All-Star break, here are three World Series future bets to ponder.
Houston Astros +375
The Astros once again look like the most complete team in the American League, despite George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa all spending extended periods on the IL this season.
Michael Brantley was a great offseason pickup for Houston, as he’s played to an .885 OPS. Alex Bregman has been the team leader, though, with a career-high .934 OPS. Young outfielder Yordan Alvarez (1.123 OPS) has been another pleasant surprise since the 22-year-old was called up June 9.
Houston’s rotation is led by AL Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander (10-4, 2.98 ERA) and Gerrit Cole (9-5, 3.09 ERA). The Astros bullpen can be counted on when necessary, as they’ve pitched to the fourth-best ERA in baseball, but don’t be surprised if they add another reliever at the trade deadline.
Los Angeles Dodgers +275
The Dodgers are the class of the senior circuit at the moment and have no apparent flaws.
Los Angeles has National League Cy Young favorite Hyun-Jin Ryu (10-2, 1.73 ERA) and three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw at the top of its rotation, with Kenta Maeda and Walker Buehler providing depth. The Dodgers’ bullpen, led by closer Kenley Jansen (23 saves), is fifth in the NL by ERA.
NL MVP candidate Cody Bellinger is the big bat in L.A.’s lethal lineup, which is third in runs per game in the NL at 5.22. He sports a .336 batting average with 30 home runs and 71 RBIs at the break.
Atlanta Braves +750
The Braves will be a tough out in the playoffs, especially if they can secure home-field advantage.
SunTrust Park is a hitter’s haven and boasts the third-highest park factor in baseball. Atlanta is behind only the Rockies, who play at Coors Field for half the year, in runs per game in the NL at 5.40. Veterans Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis lead a lineup loaded with young talent that includes Ronald Acuna Jr. (.882 OPS), Austin Riley (.873 OPS) and Ozzie Albies (.836 OPS).
Bringing in Dallas Keuchel should go a long way to address the Braves’ starting-pitching concerns. Rookie Mike Soroka has been Atlanta’s only consistent starter in 2019, though Julio Teheran is great when he’s in form. The Braves’ bullpen has been strong in the last 30 days, with an MLB-best 2.66 ERA.
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