It’s time to update Major League Baseball’s postseason odds for the last time. These things sure are a lot easier to project in September than they were in April (or July for that matter)!
Many numbers have changed swiftly in recent weeks. The Dodgers managed to play their best ball of the season with ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list and now L.A. has soared in the World Series futures. Skipper Dave Roberts also finds his name on the list of candidates for NL Manager of the Year.
On the downside, the health of Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg is a serious question mark as the postseason approaches. Without its co-ace, Washington has little chance to thrive in October and the odds reflect the Nats’ vulnerable position.
The 2016 baseball season has had more than it’s share of unpredictable twists and turns, and we’re certain to have several more dramatic developments leading into the postseason. One of the few things that’s been consistent from wire to wire has been the outstanding play of the Chicago Cubs. We’re about to find out if this talented squad can perform in October like it did all summer. They’re the most likely team to win the Series but still not an odds-on choice.
2016 World Series and MLB Awards Odds
Odds to win 2016 World Series
Chicago Cubs: 4/1
Boston Red Sox: 11/2
Los Angeles Dodgers: 6/1
Cleveland Indians: 8/1
Texas Rangers: 8/1
Washington Nationals: 12/1
Toronto Blue Jays: 14/1
San Francisco Giants: 20/1
Baltimore Orioles: 25/1
Detroit Tigers: 33/1
St. Louis Cardinals: 40/1
New York Mets: 50/1
Houston Astros: 60/1
Seattle Mariners: 60/1
New York Yankees: 75/1
Many contending teams are trending downward at the wrong time. The Red Sox and Dodgers are the two squads showing the most potential to contend for a title (besides the Cubs, of course).
Boston has the best offense in baseball and is now getting consistently strong starting pitching. The Red Sox have emerged as the most complete team in the American League but it will be difficult for anyone to come out of the A.L. playoffs. Every team in the field will have a dynamic offense capable of a red-hot postseason.
In the N.L, it’s looking like the Dodgers will hold off the Giants in the West (although the still play each other six times) and play the Nationals in the Divisional Series. If Washington doesn’t have a healthy Strasburg, L.A. becomes a favorite in this match-up. The Dodgers are peaking at the right time and will be a headache for anyone in a short series.
Odds to win N.L. MVP
Kris Bryant (Chicago Cubs): 2/5
Daniel Murphy (Washington National): 6/1
Anthony Rizzo (Chicago Cubs): 10/1
Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies): 25/1
Bryant has pulled ahead in what was a four-man race for months. The Cubs’ third baseman has had a brilliant offensive year and has dramatically improved defensively. Bryant has increased his value by playing multiple positions and thriving in different slots in the batting order. Cubs manager Joe Maddon has looked like a genius because of the different ways he has used his superstar. Maddon is a smart guy but it’s easy to look good when you have Kris Bryant.
Odds to win A.L. MVP
Jose Altuve (Houston Astros): 1/1
Mookie Betts (Boston Red Sox): 5/1
Manny Machado (Baltimore Orioles): 8/1
David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox): 12/1
Robinson Cano (Seattle Mariners): 20/1
Josh Donaldson (Toronto Blue Jays): 20/1
Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels): 20/1
The Astros 2B remains the favorite despite a hard charge from the Red Sox’ Mookie Betts. Houston is fading and may not be getting much national attention in the final weeks. A longshot could still win the award with a hot September. If any candidate from the East carries his team to the division title, he will earn strong consideration.
Odds to win NL CY Young
Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals): 9/5
Kyle Hendricks (Chicago Cubs): 13/5
Jake Arrieta (Chicago Cubs): 6/1
Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco Giants): 12/1
Jon Lester (Chicago Cubs): 12/1
Stephen Strasburg (Washington Nationals): 12/1
The injuries to Strasburg and Kershaw turned this race upside-down. Scherzer has been great in the second half and is now the favorite. With three Cubs on the list, voters in the Midwest will likely not unify behind one choice.
Odds to win AL Cy Young
Cole Hamels (Texas Rangers): 2/1
Rick Porcello (Boston Red Sox): 5/2
Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles): 4/1
Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox): 6/1
Corey Kluber (Cleveland Indians): 15/2
Orioles’ closer Zach Britton is the interesting name here. No A.L. pitcher is having a truly phenomenal season, which may leave the door open for a closer to get the award. Porcello has the best record, but Hamels has been the most consistently good starter from April through September.
Odds to win NL Manager of the Year
Joe Maddon (Chicago Cubs): 3/2
Dusty Baker (Washington Nationals): 7/3
Dave Roberts (Los Angeles Dodgers): 5/2
Don Mattingly (Miami Marlins): 75/1
Welcome to the conversation, Dave Roberts. The Dodgers have found a way to win with a MASH unit for a starting pitching staff. Incredibly, L.A. may be as healthy as it’s been all season in October. Maddon is back on top here because of the constant attention the Cubs are generating.
Odds to win AL Manager of the Year
Terry Francona (Cleveland Indians): 2/1
Jeff Banister (Texas Rangers): 5/2
Joe Girardi (New York Yankees): 5/1
John Farrell (Boston Red Sox): 8/1
Buck Showalter (Baltimore Orioles): 8/1
This one has been close between several guys all season but Francona and Banister look to be the top two choices. Each has his team leading its respective division.
Odds to win NL Rookie of the Year
Corey Seager (Los Angeles Dodgers): 1/20
Aledmys Diaz (St. Louis Cardinals): 50/1
Kenta Maeda (Los Angeles Dodgers): 50/1
This is the only award that’s really wrapped up already. Seager has exceeded expectations and has been a huge part of the team’s monster second half. The Dodgers’ shortstop is a five-tool guy who also possesses the skills necessary to be a leader in the clubhouse. He looks like a fixture in L.A. for years to come.
Odds to win AL Rookie of the Year
Michael Fulmer (Detroit Tigers): 2/3
Tyler Naquin (Cleveland Indians): 5/1
Gary Sanchez (New York Yankees): 8/1
Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners): 10/1
Yankees’ catcher Gary Sanchez is a late add to this list. The slugger was called up to the Bronx and went on a home run hitting barrage, but he’s still a longshot since he played less than half the year. Fulmer is on top. The right-hander is a solid #2 man in the Tigers rotation and clearly deserves the award.
Photo credit: EricEnfermero [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.