A month ago, we highlighted three teams that provided value in the World Series futures given that they were likely to add talent at the MLB Trade Deadline.
Toronto, which was 27/1 then, is now 9/1 after acquiring David Price and Troy Tulowitzki.
The Pirates have gone from 22/1 to 16/1 after continued strong play and small additions like J.A. Happ, Aramis Ramirez, Joakim Soria, and Michael Morse.
Meanwhile the Orioles are now 40/1 after being priced at 22/1. Baltimore made small moves at the deadline adding Gerardo Parra and Junior Lake, but now appear to be the third-best team in their division.
All three continue to offer value, but not as much as they did in early July. What other teams are worth taking a look at after the deadline? There are three teams at 12/1 that look undervalued to me.
Washington (12/1) – Last year, the Nationals bullpen was a problem. This year, they acquired Jonathan Papelbon at the trade deadline providing a great 1-2 punch with Drew Storen in the late innings. The Nats are one of seven teams vying for six playoffs spots in the NL, and have every opportunity to win the East – despite the Mets’ recent hot streak. While their hitting has been just average this year, the pitching staff has the potential to rival the Braves during the Maddux-Smoltz-Glavine era, even though it only ranks tenth in the majors in ERA right now. Getting Stephen Strasburg back in the next couple of weeks will certainly help.
Houston (12/1) – The Astros first reached a dozen games over .500 on May 17. While there have been ebbs and flows, they’ve basically maintained that position for the past three months. Even with the Angels continuing to contend in the AL West, the ‘Stros should go to the playoffs for the first time since 2005: they have the third-best run differential in all of baseball, the third-most runs in the league, and are eighth in team ERA. Houston added two solid arms in Scott Kazmir and Mike Fiers at the deadline, and also picked up Carlos Gomez to solidify the batting order.
San Francisco (12/1) – Somehow the Giants, who have won three World Series titles in the past five years, are rarely in the discussion at this point of the season. Their record right now is nearly identical to where it was at this stage during each of their last two championship seasons, and their run differential is third-best in the National League. They lost some pieces from the offense, most notably Pablo Sandoval, but the team can still score runs, sitting seventh in the majors in runs scored. The pitching has been solid but not spectacular (12th in team ERA), but you know Bumgarner has the potential to be the best pitcher in baseball come October. Adding a red-hot Mike Leake to a winning roster looks like another winning move from Brian Sabean.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as “Stephen Strasburg”) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)