There might be visions of sugar plums in the air and bitter cold across most of the country, but it is never too early to start thinking about baseball. And in case you missed it, it has been an incredibly active off-season in the MLB already. Last year, the free agent and trade markets were slow to develop but that is certainly not the case so far this year. As we look towards betting odds to win the World Series, there are 3 sleeper teams that would be good buys at this point. Here is a breakdown of those clubs flying under the radar in Vegas:
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:
The made a huge splash by signing Anthony Rendon to be their third basemen for the next 7 years and teaming him with Mike Trout, but it is the small move they made early this week that could help them the most. The Angels signed veteran starter Julio Tehran who has been an innings eater throughout his career and will fit nicely into a fairly young rotation. They are also planning other starting rotation moves with rumors of a possible Dallas Keuchel signing in the coming weeks. The oddsmakers have them at 30-1 to win the World Series and that is a great buy, especially if they continue to add pitching. There is no doubt that their offense will be dominant, and they have a legitimate shot to compete with the Astros now that Gerrit Cole has moved on to the Yankees.
Another team at 30-1 odds to win the World Series, yet they are quietly building a very strong core of young talent both on the mound and in the field. They picked up Mike Moustakas and recently added Wade Miley as an end of the rotation starter. Sonny Gray had a strong season last year and should continue to perform well with additional offense around him. The Reds play in a fairly wide-open NL Central and could certainly get a playoff berth and make noise in October. Keep in mind that not many people had the Nationals winning the NL East last year, let alone winning the World Series.
Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay is also showing 30-1 odds to win the Fall Classic and, while they have had a quiet off-season, that hasn’t stopped them before from being a contender before. Tampa won 96 games last year in a very tough division and hung with the Astros in the playoffs. Their key will be making a splash at the trade deadline that can put them over the top offensively. Their young pitching is sound, but they could use another bat to get back to the World Series for the first time since 2008.
Looking Towards 2020
I suggest acting on these teams now before they make additional moves that could shift the betting odds. There is much more parity in baseball than there used to be with small market teams making hay and this just might be the year that one of them takes it all.
Other teams to keep an eye on are the Phillies and Braves both sitting at 16-1. They both made moves this off-season to improve and plan on doing more before Spring Training. One move could thrust them into Yankees 3-1 odds territory, so it is time to strike while they are still sitting back.
In a few short months, you could be unwrapping a big payout and those Santa ties will be a thing of the past. Enjoy the holidays and look ahead to sunny summer days and the crack of the bat in the air.