The baseball season is approaching the final stretch. We’re getting a clearer picture of the contenders – and a growing list of teams have no realistic playoff hopes – but so much is yet to be determined.
One thing we do know, and have known for a while now, is that Ichiro Suzuki is one of the greatest hitters of all time. The Japanese superstar cemented his legacy as a baseball legend this year by notching his 3,000th Major League hit, a triple off the right-center field wall at Coors Field. Ichiro turns 43 in October but he can still swing the bat and wants to keep playing. How much more can he accomplish in the game?
I set the odds on that, below, but first, I take a look at the updated World Series and awards futures as we enter the stretch run.
MLB Odds and Props
Odds to win the 2016 World Series:
Chicago Cubs: 5/1
Cleveland Indians: 8/1
Texas Rangers: 8/1
Washington Nationals: 8/1
Boston Red Sox: 10/1
San Francisco Giants: 10/1
Los Angeles Dodgers: 15/1
Toronto Blue Jays: 15/1
Baltimore Orioles: 20/1
Houston Astros: 20/1
Detroit Tigers: 30/1
Seattle Mariners: 40/1
St. Louis Cardinals: 40/1
Pittsburgh Pirates: 60/1
New York Mets: 75/1
Miami Marlins: 100/1
New York Yankees: 100/1
Colorado Rockies: 300/1
Chicago White Sox: 1000/1
Kansas City Royals: 1000/1
Los Angeles Angels: 5000/1
Philadelphia Phillies: 5000/1
Atlanta Braves: 10000/1
Arizona Diamondbacks: 10000/1
Cincinnati Reds: 10000/1
Milwaukee Brewers: 10000/1
Minnesota Twins: 10000/1
Oakland Athletics: 10000/1
San Diego Padres: 10000/1
Tampa Rays: 10000/1
The Cubs and Nationals have separated themselves from the pack a little bit in the National League. However, the Giants have great starting pitching and a knack for winning titles in even numbered years. Recent history has taught us that anyone qualifying for the postseason has a puncher’s chance of winning it all.
The A.L. has eight teams fighting for five playoff spots. A clear favorite is unlikely to emerge in what’s going to be a wild pennant race. The league is loaded with high octane offenses which should make for exciting and unpredictable postseason match-ups.
Odds to win A.L. MVP:
Jose Altuve (Houston Astros): 7/5
Manny Machado (Baltimore Orioles): 9/5
Mookie Betts (Boston Red Sox): 10/1
Josh Donaldson (Toronto Blue Jays): 13/1
David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox): 30/1
This is turning into a two-man race with Altuve holding a slight advantage. The Astros 2B is having a dream season and shows no signs of slowing down. However, if he falters at all, Machado could easily end up winning the award. The Baltimore slugger is the centerpiece of one of the most dangerous lineups in the league.
Odds to win N.L. MVP:
Kris Bryant (Chicago Cubs): 2/1
Anthony Rizzo (Chicago Cubs): 5/2
Daniel Murphy (Washington Nationals): 3/1
Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies): 10/1
Corey Seager (Los Angeles Dodgers): 25/1
It would be tough to deny Murphy the award if the season ended today. He has defined “valuable” by carrying the Washington offense through the heart of the summer. Chicago teammates Bryant and Rizzo have been the modern version of the bash brothers, leading the Cubs to the best record in baseball. Arenado is terrific but it’s tough to imagine him overtaking the three guys playing for contending teams.
Odds to win A.L. Cy Young:
Cole Hamels (Texas Rangers): 3/1
Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox): 7/2
Aaron Sanchez (Toronto Blue Jays): 5/1
J.A. Happ (Toronto Blue Jays): 8/1
Corey Kluber (Cleveland Indians): 12/1
Sale was tops on this list since the preseason but has recently been overtaken by Hamels. The Texas left-hander has been steady and solid all year and has his Rangers poised for a division title.
Odds to win N.L. Cy Young:
Stephen Strasburg (Washington Nationals): 1/1
Johnny Cueto (San Francisco Giants): 5/1
Jake Arrietta (Chicago Cubs): 8/1
Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco Giants): 12/1
Jose Fernandez (Miami Marlins): 12/1
Kyle Hendricks (Chicago Cubs): 12/1
If Strasburg stays healthy, he should win the award. He’s been dominant all season with just one short trip to the disabled list. His career has been riddled with injuries, but he appears to be healthy for the pennant stretch. It will be interesting to see if he holds up in high-stress innings.
Odds to win A.L. Manager of the Year:
Terry Francona (Cleveland Indians): 3/2
Buck Showalter (Baltimore Orioles): 2/1
Jeff Banister (Texas Rangers): 5/1
John Farrell (Boston Red Sox): 20/1
Scott Servais (Seattle Mariners): 25/1
This one should come down to Francona and Showalter. Both have been terrific in turning .500 teams into division leaders. (The O’s finished last season 81-81; Cleveland was a game over .500.) The Indians are more likely to close the season strong thanks to an easier schedule and stronger staff, which makes Francona the favorite.
Odds to win N.L. Manager of the Year:
Dusty Baker (Washington Nationals): 1/1
Joe Maddon (Chicago Cubs): 5/2
Don Mattingly (Miami Marlins): 10/1
Dave Roberts (Los Angeles Dodgers): 12/1
Bruce Bochy (San Francisco Giants): 20/1
Dusty Baker simply wins baseball games. As mentioned, the play of Daniel Murphy has been integral to the Nats’ success, but the biggest difference between the 2015 Nationals and this year’s version is the attitude in the clubhouse. Dusty will likely be rewarded, although it’s tough to count Joe Maddon out. The Cubs’ skipper had to deal with ridiculously high expectations heading into the season. His team has answered all the hype.
Odds to win A.L. Rookie of the Year:
Tyler Naquin (Cleveland Indians): 2/1
Michael Fulmer (Detroit Tigers): 3/1
Nomar Mazara (Texas Rangers): 3/1
Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners): 8/1
Max Kepler (Minnesota Twins): 10/1
This one is still up for grabs. Any of the top three candidates could still earn the award by getting hot down the stretch. Each will be playing in plenty of important games.
Odds to win N.L. Rookie of the Year:
Corey Seager (Los Angeles Dodgers): 5/8
Trevor Story (Colorado Rockies): 9/2
Aledmys Diaz (St. Louis Cardinals): 5/1
Junior Guerra (Milwaukee Brewers): 12/1
Kenta Maeda (Los Angeles Dodgers): 12/1
The top three spots will likely all go to shortstops. Seager has taken command in the second half of the season. The Dodgers’ slugger keeps getting better and is the only shortstop to stay healthy. Diaz has been terrific offensively but must improve his defense to be considered an elite player. The 31-year-old Guerra has quietly been one of the nicest stories of the season.
Over/Under career hits for Ichiro: 3,262
He’s not going to be an everyday player anymore but that could preserve his body into his mid-40s and beyond.
Odds Ichiro will retire after the ______ season
2022 or later: 9/1
The bi-continental legend has stated that he’d like to play until he’s 50. He’s an underdog to last that long but he could reasonably be used as an effective pinch-hitter for several more seasons.
Odds on the next player to reach 3,000 hits:
Adrian Beltre (Texas Rangers): 1/3
Albert Pujols (Los Angeles Angels): 5/1
Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers): 20/1
Robinson Cano (Seattle Mariners): 25/1
Carlos Beltran (Texas Rangers): 50/1
If Beltre stays healthy he should reach the 3,000-hit mark around the All-Star break next year. Pujols and Cabrera also have legitimate shots of eventually reaching the milestone.
Featured image: Arturo Pardavila III on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.