- BetOnline and Bovada favor the New York Yankees to win the American League pennant
- The White Sox (+425) and Blue Jays (+900) are brimming with young offensive talent
- The Angels (+2200) and Mike Trout hope to end an ugly six-year postseason drought
The Yankees are +260 favorites to win the American League despite not playing in the World Series for the past 12 years. New York also cheaped out in free agency, opting to add Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon to the rotation instead of a NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer.
While the Bronx Bombers still have plenty of firepower in Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, etc., their thin pitching staff behind Gerritt Cole could open the door for other contenders this October.
With MLB spring training games underway in Florida and Arizona, let’s look at the latest odds to win the AL pennant.
Odds to Win the 2021 American League
|New York Yankees||+260||+250|
|Chicago White Sox||+425||+370|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+900||+800|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+1000||+900|
|Los Angeles Angels||+2200||+2000|
|Boston Red Sox||+2500||+2800|
|Kansas City Royals||+6600||+6600|
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White Sox in ‘win now’ mode
After losing to the Athletics in the wild-card round last October, the White Sox (+425) made the most surprising move of the offseason in bringing in 76-year-old Tony La Russa to manage a club dripping with young talent. Chicago’s front office then signed star closer Liam Hendriks and acquired a reliable veteran starter in Lance Lynn.
Reigning AL MVP José Abreu, former Silver Slugger Tim Anderson and 24-year-old star Eloy Jimenez give the South Siders an enviable lineup that will pile up runs. If the game hasn’t passed their three-time World Series winning manager by, the South Siders look like the best bet to knock off the Yankees in the American League.
Tim Anderson stokes White Sox-Twins flames: ‘We’re way more athletic.’ https://t.co/8fIVEkcnBg pic.twitter.com/VdWiEW0pdD
— theScore (@theScore) February 22, 2021
Other American League contenders
Looking to repeat as Central champs for a third straight year, the Twins (+900) still have the Bomba Squad intact, but didn’t do much to improve their bullpen or rotation this offseason. Similarly thin on starting pitching, the Blue Jays (+900) were baseball’s most-active team in free agency, spending $186.3 million on former Astros outfielder George Springer, infielder Marcus Semien, and others.
A cavalry of young studs — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (still only 21 years old), Bo Bichette (22) and Cavan Biggio (25) — makes the Jays an upside bet, but keep in mind that the team doesn’t even know where it will be playing the majority of its games this year with the Canadian border still closed.
Steve Phillips on Vlad Guerrero Jr. dropping 42 pounds, projections for season and more https://t.co/Q4HFve8Hli
— TSN 1050 Toronto (@TSN1050Radio) February 25, 2021
Houston, Oakland and Tampa Bay are all listed at +1000 to win the American League pennant after each club lost key contributors over the winter. The Astros will be without the aforementioned Springer, as well as Justin Verlander, who’s still recovering from Tommy John surgery; the Athletics lost Hendriks and Semien to AL rivals; and the reigning AL champions, the Rays, shed two excellent starters in Blake Snell (now in San Diego) and Charlie Morton (now in Atlanta).
The presence of Mike Trout alone probably makes the Angels the best longshot at +2200, however, the four-time AL MVP hasn’t even reached the postseason since 2014.
Still, with Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon in the lineup, Los Angeles is a worthy wager under the assumption they could add a quality starter before the trade deadline.
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