With August on the horizon, the odyssey that is the major league baseball season finally has an end in sight. The 60-game sprint has major appeal considering the volume of teams that still have to feel like they have a chance to make the postseason thanks to the second wild card.
Entering Monday’s games, the entire AL and 10 of the NL teams were within eight games of the final playoff spot. With the trade deadline coming Friday, a few teams are going to strengthen their chances, following the lead of AL-best Kansas City, which went out and got former Reds ace Johnny Cueto. A few others still in contention will wind up sellers, which makes this a great week to get in on MLB Futures.
We’ll post our pre-trade deadline recommendations for the American League this week and follow up with a comprehensive look at the senior circuit in this spot next week. (Odds via 5Dimes)
Baltimore (+1500 to win AL, +3500 to win it all): For the sheer value of it, the Orioles are most certainly worth investing in right now. Steve Pearce just hit the 15-day DL, but this is as healthy as they’ve been all season and the price is right since many have written them off.
Boston (+2500 AL, +5000 all): Coming off a 7 RBI-game from David Ortiz and their first post-All-Star series win, it’s now or never for the AL’s biggest disappointment. Flushing money down the toilet would serve the same purpose as backing this bunch.
Chisox (+4000 AL, +10000 all): Though they’re coming off a four-game road sweep of the Indians, this team has too many holes to legitimately get behind despite the enticing odds.
Cleveland (+1900 AL, +3500 all): The Tribe is rebuilding on the run as young players like Giovanny Urshela and Francisco Lindor gain valuable experience. That doesn’t serve our purposes.
Detroit (+1600 AL, +3000 all): You can’t responsibly buy right now, but if David Price remains on the roster following Friday, I’d suggest picking up a few shares here. Despite being a massive disappointment all season and lingering bullpen woes, they’re still in the wild card hunt. Miguel Cabrera should be back towards the middle of August.
Houston (+590 AL, +1400 all): Though still right there with the Angels in the AL West and atop the Wild Card standings, I recommend passing here. The bullpen is worth backing, but barring another significant addition like Scott Kazmir, the starting pitching remains spotty.
Kansas City (+270 AL, +630 all): Sign up here. In spite of Ned Yost’s maddening decisions, the Royals adding Cueto to a rotation that figures to improve with Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy coming along strengthens the probability that they will end up with home field throughout the postseason. Buy now while the getting is good.
LA Angels (+520 AL, +1200 all): There are still valid questions over an inconsistent starting rotation and a lineup that has been overly reliant on the brilliance of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. On blind faith that they add a piece this week and wind up holding off Houston, I’d take a conservative shot here.
Minnesota (+1800 AL, +4700 all): Currently the AL’s second Wild Card, it would be surprising to see them hold on to the spot. Their road record is indicative of a team that has played over their heads and is set to suffer a slide.
NY Yankees (+460 AL, +1300 all): There’s a genuine dilemma here. The Yanks are thriving and have seen their value take a hit due to a hot streak that has caught everyone’s attention, but waiting a few weeks for them to suffer through a cold spell may not work out. Better to get in now and hope Brian Cashman can land an Aroldis Chapman, Craig Kimbrel or Jonathan Papelbon.
Oakland (+3700 AL, +9000 all): As the Kazmir deal illustrated, Billy Beane is already selling off assets and cutting his losses on a lost season. There’s no reason to invest any energy in the AL West’s worst team.
Seattle (+3300 AL, +9000 all): With Felix Hernandez having given up four earned runs in the last 33 innings, he’s definitely locked in on leading his team back into contention. Young starters Hisashi Iwakuma, Mike Montgomery and Taijuan Walker have provided a boost of late. With James Paxton due back in September, the Mariners arms should hold up. Among the current longshots, this is definitely the one to get behind.
Tampa Bay (+1700 AL, +5000 all): A solid bullpen and some promising young bats have kept the Rays in contention, especially with Chris Archer emerging as a Cy Young candidate. That said, a losing home record and a lineup filled with guys who have no proven track record performing when the competition intensifies makes this a team to fade.
Texas (+4500 AL, +13500 all): The Rangers have more games remaining in Arlington than any team in baseball has left in their own park. Unfortunately, they have baseball’s worst winning percentage at home. Texas may play the spoiler role well, but don’t expect to see them in the postseason.
Toronto (+1300 AL, +3300 all): Their odds are similar to Baltimore’s and their record, .500 through 100 games, is actually superior. Unfortunately, despite one of baseball’s most explosive offenses, the pitching just isn’t there for me to endorse. Of Toronto’s next 19 games, 16 will be at home. The final push is likely to begin now.
Tony Mejia is a national sports writer and senior contributor at VegasInsider.com. He’s also the owner and operator of Antony Dinero, the most successful documented volume handicapper in the industry. View his analysis daily at VegasInsider.com. Contact Tony at [email protected].