As we method the one-month marker within the MLB season, extra questions have been requested than answered in a schedule many thought could be severely affected by COVID-19 protocols. Will the league-wide offense ramp as much as a extra anticipated stage when the climate heats up? Which Cy Young Award candidates will rush to the forefront? When will Yermin Mercedes come all the way down to earth?
After 20-25 video games, it’s an ideal level to take a step again and assess numbers, as a result of although the pattern dimension is small, it’s sturdy sufficient to make a number of season-long judgments.
Red Sox 20-1 to win World Series, 10-1 to win AL pennant, +250 to win AL East (DraftKings)
The Red Sox had as many unanswered questions as any staff within the majors heading into 2021, together with the bounce-back potential of J.D. Martinez. The pitching employees has largely overperformed, permitting 99 runs with a plus-20 run differential, however the offense has been the spine of the AL East leaders. That contains an MLB-leading 199 runs scored, .279 staff batting common, .460 slugging proportion and .798 OPS.
Though Martinez seems to be to be again to his near-MVP stage, Xander Bogaerts was quietly second in MLB with 30 hits, and Rafael Devers and Alex Verdugo every had posted an OPS north of .900. The MLB common was .740 in 2020.
The Red Sox’s beginning pitching could be suspect, however with no timetable on Chris Sale’s return, the stress can be on newcomers Nick Pivetta and Garrett Richards to carry down the again finish of the rotation till after the All-Star break. The Red Sox can be beneath stress, as a result of the Blue Jays ought to return to just about full well being by the start of May and the Yankees will finally understand you need to rattle off some wins within the common season to make the playoffs. Keep a watch on Red Sox futures.
Reds 25-1 to win World Series, 15-1 to win NL pennant, +325 to win NL Central (DraftKings)
After essentially the most disappointing playoff exit of any staff within the insanity that was the 2020 season, the Reds opened this 12 months with combined expectations, however some optimism given the unsure nature of the NL Central. And the Reds have hit at an virtually league-best fee — posting the second-best staff OPS (.774), second-best runs scored (119) and MLB-leading 33 dwelling runs.
The important knock has been Cincinnati’s efficiency away from the bandbox that’s Great American Ball Park. Though the Reds led all golf equipment in run differential at dwelling at plus-29, they ranked among the many backside seven on the highway at minus-18. This may very well be solved by including a powerful Sonny Gray, if he can return to his 2019 All-Star type. If the Reds’ beginning pitching and shaky entrance finish of the bullpen can carry out at even league-average ranges the remainder of the best way, they need to be a playoff staff, and I might strongly take into account a Reds NL Central futures ticket on the very least.
Tyler Glasnow +650 to win AL Cy Young
With the addition of a usually used third pitch, a slider that has led to an virtually 40 p.c complete strikeout fee, the Rays’ hurler is an intriguing tertiary candidate for AL Cy Young Award. Through 5 begins, he was fifth in MLB in strikeouts, fifth within the AL in ERA and had averaged greater than six innings per begin. The final of these numbers stands out essentially the most, because it counters the notion of Rays beginning pitchers not going deep into outings.
Mike Trout +225 to win AL MVP
Stop me if you happen to’ve learn this earlier than: Trout is the odds-on favourite to take dwelling his fourth MVP. The Angels celebrity led MLB in WAR, on-base proportion and OPS+, with an astonishing 270 quantity (the league common is 100). For some other participant, the small-sample-size argument would trump every little thing, however that is Trout. That’s why a Trout AL MVP ticket at something over 2-1 odds nonetheless has value. With solely teammate Shohei Ohtani inside shouting distance for the award, it’s Trout or bust.
Kris Bryant 50-1 to win NL MVP
From practically a positive factor to an extended shot, Bryant is an outlier to maintain within the high of your thoughts because the climate heats up and the ball begins to hold. Depending on how one views the free-agent-year narrative, the perceived further motivation for Bryant stems from a disappointing 2020 by which he was restricted to 34 video games. Coming out swinging, actually, in 2021, the Cubs third baseman had registered a first-pitch-swing proportion of 37, the best since his 2016 MVP season. That, mixed with a superb OPS+ and batting common and a career-low 15.4-degree common launch angle, which has resulted in additional line drives off the bat, are possible causes Bryant’s MVP market could be just a little undervalued.