- See updated Division-winner odds for all 15 American League clubs
- The Rays (+350) and Athletics (+300) have the pitching to potentially upset the favored Yankees (-300) and Astros (-190) in their respective divisions
- The White Sox (+350) will need their highly-touted prospects to produce in order to top the Twins (-150) in the AL Central
MLB’s Opening Day was originally supposed to be this Thursday, but instead of peanuts and crackerjacks, we’re all stuck at home wondering if baseball will ever come back.
With the season not slated to start until mid-May at the earliest, let’s pass the time by going over the best bets in each American League division.
ODDS TO WIN AL EAST
|New York Yankees||-300|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+350|
|Boston Red Sox||+900|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+3300|
TALKING UP TAMPA BAY (+350)
An aura of invincibility surrounds the powerhouse Yankees (-300), but there are a few chinks in their armor. New York has already lost starting pitcher Luis Severino for the season after it was announced the 26-year-old would undergo Tommy John surgery, and it’s a safe bet that slugger Giancarlo Stanton will miss games somewhere along the way.
Meanwhile, it’s reasonable to expect the Rays’ starting rotation to be even better in 2020 given sneaky Cy Young contender Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell each missed multiple months with injuries last summer. Their bullpen also finished with a majors-best 3.66 ERA last season.
10 AB, 10 K, 30 pitches, 30 strikes.
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) January 24, 2020
With the addition of 33-home-run guy Hunter Renfroe, Jose Martinez and Manuel Margot in the outfield, Tampa’s woeful hitting against lefties should improve. +350 is good value for a club that won 96 games last season.
ODDS TO WIN AL CENTRAL
|Chicago White Sox||+350|
|Kansas City Royals||+12500|
WHY NOT THE WHITE SOX (+350)
The Twins (-150) have World Series-sized expectations after adding third baseman Josh Donaldson to a lineup that shattered an all-time MLB record with 307 long-flies last season. Minnesota’s pitching staff, led by Jake Odorizzi and Jose Berrios, also looks strong after striking out a franchise-record 1,463 batters in 2019.
A trendy pick among the baseball cognoscenti, the White Sox (+350) spent $140 million this offseason to add catcher Yasmani Grandal, lefty starter Dallas Keuchel and DH Edwin Encarnación to a young lineup featuring shortstop Tim Anderson (who hit an AL-best .335 in 2019) and third baseman Yoán Moncada.
— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) March 1, 2020
Chicago will also be relying on two top prospects in outfielders Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert, the co-favorite to win AL Rookie of the Year alongside teammate Michael Kopech, who should provide a big boost to the starting rotation once he returns from Tommy John surgery this summer.
While Minnesota is rightfully the heavy favorite, the White Sox aren’t a bad bet in case injuries torpedo the Twins.
ODDS TO WIN AL WEST
|Los Angeles Angels||+600|
CASH IN WITH THE ATHLETICS (+300)
If you ever watched Murder She Wrote, Columbo or any TV detective show really, you know the killer is always the person who benefits most from the crime. And if that’s the case, the Astros (-190) absolutely have to be questioned about this whole COVID-19 situation because no one’s heard a peep about the team’s cheating ways since the virus locked us all in our homes.
While I’m of course kidding, I’m still fading Houston in favor of the Athletics (+300). After suffering no notable losses off last year’s 97-win operation, Oakland will be adding three of the top prospects in baseball to this year’s club.
Half of the new #Athletics Top 30 Prospects list has a chance to contribute to the A’s effort to win the AL West in 2020, most notably the team’s top 3 (Jesus Luzardo, Sean Murphy & A.J. Puk) all of whom are among #MLB‘s Top 100.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 2, 2020
Jesús Luzardo, our pick for AL Rookie of the Year, and lefty A.J. Puk will join their rotation, while catcher Sean Murphy returns after missing most of 2019 with knee injuries. Billy Beane’s boys will also welcome back righthander Frankie Montas, who was 9-2 with a 2.63 ERA last season before testing positive for a performance enhancing drug.
With a young, deep and much-improved pitching staff, we like the A’s to serve the cheating ‘Stros their just deserts in the AL West.