We have hit the halfway mark in the MLB season in 2021. Here are the teams with the best outlook to finish strong in the back half of the year.
No. 1 San Francisco Giants (57-32)
The Giants have been the most surprising team in the MLB this season with the best record in baseball. San Francisco is a top one of the best divisions in the league going against the likes of the Dodgers and Padres.
They have an impressive trio with Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeScalfani and Alex Wood that do wonders for the Giants on the mound. Gausman had been dominating hitters this year with a 1.73 ERA along with his first appearance in the All-Star game.
The bullpen has also gotten some assistance with Jake McGee. The left-hander has 17 saves on the year with a 2.72 ERA working with an accurate fastball and nasty slider.
The pitching paired with the revival of seven time All-Star Buster Posey. Posey is batting .328 with 12 homers this year. Brandon Crawford has also been fantastic at the plate making his third All-Star game.
Crawford has a .289 batting average which has improved since last year. Crawford mentioned that the hitting coaches worked with him to keep his bat in the zone longer.
San Francisco looks like they are on a roll as one with a strong shot at winning the World Series this year at +1600 odds. This is up from +8000 at the beginning of the year.
No. 2 Los Angeles Dodgers (56-35)
The reigning World Series champs have continued to roll into 2021. The Dodgers boast one of the best lineups in all of baseball.
Julio Urias has been on a tear this year with a league leading 11 wins. The 24-year-old has a 3.64 ERA and 119 strikeouts on the year.
As is the case with most teams coming off a title the Dodgers have battled through multiple injuries and departures. Corey Seager and Dustin May have gone down with injuries along with Trevor Bauers recent sexual assault allegations removing him from the lineup.
Despite this, LA has been playing as strong as ever behind their five All-Stars; Mookie Betts, Walker Buehler, Max Muncy, Chris Taylor and Justin Taylor. The depth of this team is what made them a favorite to repeat and still rings true now.
Justin Turner has been in a grove this season with the 11th best batting average at .305 with 15 home runs.
The Dodgers opened this year at +350 to win it all which has fallen to around +375 but still remain the favorite in a highly competitive division.
No. 3 Boston Red Sox (55-36)
Boston has been picking up steam as the year rolls on including a stretch where they won eight games in a row just before the All-Star break including a sweep of the Yankees.
The Red Sox have a stacked lineup and a strong bullpen that ranks eighth in all of baseball with a 3.57 ERA.
Nathan Eovaldi is playing well as the ace in an average rotation that might need one more piece for a push in the postseason.
Three time All-Star Xander Boegarts has anchored the infield for the Red Sox at short stop. He ranks in the top five of hitters in the majors with a .321 batting average and 27 doubles which is second in the MLB.
Rafael Devers has been a stud at third base for Boston. Devers has the eight highest fangraphs defensive rating and led all big league third basemen in homers (22), RBIs (72), slugging percentage (.564) and Fangraphs WAR (3.5).
Boston is getting in a groove heading into the All-Star break and are one of the serious contenders. The Red Sox are +1000 to win the crown which is up from +5000 at the beginning of the year.
No. 4 Chicago White Sox (54-35)
The White Sox are currently in first place in the AL Central winning seven of their last 10 heading into the All-Star break.
Chicago has had their fair share of injuries but have spent just two weeks outside of the top 10 in the MLB all year.
They have gotten unexpected contributions in the lineup from guys like Brian Goodwin, Gavin Sheets and Adam Engel.
The real strength of this team is top tier pitching behind Carlos Rodon and Lance Lynn.
Since being drafted, Rodon’s career ERA has been 3.88 in seven seasons but this year he is down to a 2.31 ERA.
The 28-year-old lefty is extremely accurate with his fastball that has hit a career high 95.9 MPH. His slider has been leaving hitters lost with a 56.8% strikeout percentage.
The White Sox are currently sitting at +800 to win the World Series and could put themselves in a nice position if Eloy Jimenez can return to the lineup soon.
No. 5 San Diego Padres (53-40)
The Padres are one of the best teams in baseball but they have one problem, they play in the NL West. They are the third best team in the NL but also third in their own division,
San Diego is sitting six games back of the Giants going into the break.
Their starting pitching is among the best staffs in the MLB, headlined by five time All-Star Yu Darvish. Darvish has a 3.09 ERA with a 7-3 record this year striking out 82% of the hitters he faces.
Unfortunately, Darvish was just placed on the IR alongside Blake Snell with left hip inflammation.
The bullpen has been strong in relief with a league leading 2.85 ERA.
Fernando Tatis Jr. has taken the MLB by storm as one of the biggest superstars this season. Tatis was selected for his first All-Star game this year and decided to rock a $200k ‘El Nino’ chain.
Tatis is tied for second in the majors with 28 home runs and tied for 11th with 60 RBI’s.
The Padres have a dangerous lineup paired with solid pitching which makes them a contender even if they have to go on the road for a wild card game.
San Diego is +800 to take home the crown this year.