With the postseason just a week away, all eyes are starting to shift from the regular season to potential playoff matchups. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some sleeper picks to win the World Series.
San Francisco Giants (+700)
Ok, so the Giants aren’t exactly longshots to win the World Series, but this is based on the fact that they haven’t gotten much love all season despite holding the best record in the majors for most of it.
Even now, they have the best record in baseball, currently hold a two-game lead over the Dodgers for the top spot in the NL West, yet they still have just the fourth-best odds to win the World Series.
San Francisco did face some brutal news on Monday as it was confirmed that first baseman Brandon Belt suffered a fractured thumb. This season, Belt is hitting .274/.378/.597 with a team leading 29 home runs. He also has 59 runs batted in and 65 runs scored.
While his injury will likely only keep him out a few weeks, it could be a significant loss in a postseason run.
Still, on the offensive side, this season the Giants rank sixth in scoring (4.97 runs), seventh in batting average (.250), third in slugging (.443), and third in run differential (+197).
Defensively, the Giants are second in earned run average (3.28) and scoring defense (3.71 runs allowed per game).
Furthermore, if they can hold their lead in the division, they won’t have to play a play-in game, allowing them to set up their rotation the way they see fit for the first round.
Granted, their toughest matchup would likely be in the opening round, where they could face the World Series favorite Los Angeles Dodgers, but the MLB leader in winning percentage should be getting some more love heading into the postseason.
St. Louis Cardinals (+2500)
Sometimes the postseason is less about who the best team is and more about who is playing the best baseball at the time. If that is the case, the Cardinals’ have to like their chances.
Having won 17 games in a row entering play Wednesday, St. Louis has been on an absolute tear and has officially secured the second wild card spot.
In the month of September, the Cardinals are hitting .268/.322/.489 as a team with 47 home runs (second in MLB), 142 runs batted in (second), 148 runs (second), and 19 stolen bases (third).
On the pitching side, in September, they rank sixth in ERA (3.83), sixth in WHIP (1.21), sixth in batting average against (.237), and first in wins (20).
Their postseason will have a brutal start as they would face both the Dodgers and Giants in the first round, but with how they have been playing lately, that might not be an issue.
Especially at +2500, there is good value in the Cardinals.
Toronto Blue Jays (+2700)
This is the only team on the list that is currently without a playoff spot, making them a sure-fire sleeper right now.
Despite their current standings, the final week of the schedule leaves an opening for them to sneak into a wild card spot. They currently trail the Red Sox by a single game for the second wild card and trail the Yankees by three games.
While they dropped the first game of the series, the Blue Jays still host the Yankees for two more. They are 1076 against New York in their season series.
After that series, Toronto then hosts Baltimore, who is tied for the worst record in baseball, while New York has to host the AL East division clinching Tampa Bay Rays while the Red Sox take on the Nationals.
If they can get into the playoffs, they can certainly be dangerous.
Entering play Tuesday, Toronto ranks third in scoring (5.18 runs per game), second in batting average (.265), first in slugging percentage (.462), and first in home runs per game (1.59).
Furthermore, they have been solid on defense as their pitching is ranked eighth in ERA (3.88) and their defense is sixth in scoring defense (4.08 runs allowed per game).
In a loaded AL East, a division that has the potential to see three teams make the playoffs, nothing is guaranteed. However, if Toronto can sneak their way into the playoffs, watch out because they could easily contend for a World Series title.