Are you ready for the MLB Playoffs? It all gets started this Friday October 5th with the Wild Card Game in each league. Bud Selig decided it was time to add a second Wild Card from each league this year, and the move has been greeted with positive reviews from most people. The two wild card teams from each league will square off in a one-game playoff Friday. The Division Series will then get started on Saturday. Which teams look best positioned headed into the postseason? Let’s take a closer look at all the teams with a chance to win the World Series. All odds listed are from BetOnline.
Los Angeles Dodgers (+6,600 to win World Series) – The Dodgers are technically still alive in the Wild Card race in the National League. Los Angeles is two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals with two games remaining. It’s a long shot that this team will even be a part of the playoffs, so don’t bother looking for value here.
St. Louis Cardinals (+1,200 to win World Series) – The Cardinals have come from the Wild Card position before to win the World Series, so they can’t be taken lightly. Albert Pujols is no longer with the team, but the offense is still very good. St. Louis is averaging 4.77 runs per game this year, which is fifth best in the majors. The key to their long-term success will be the starting rotation. Can guys like Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright carry the team again?
Atlanta Braves (+1,200 to win World Series) – The Braves were a little unlucky to fall into the Wild Card spot this season. Washington was so dominant that the Braves were forced into the one-game playoff despite a great record. Atlanta’s offense has been extremely inconsistent this year, but they have the potential to be great. The Braves have one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball. This is a well-balanced team that is capable of doing damage in the playoffs.
San Francisco Giants (+650 to win World Series) – The Giants still have a very good pitching staff, but they are in this position because of the improvement in their offense. Buster Posey is a legitimate MVP candidate, and Hunter Pence has provided more depth in the middle of the order. If the Giants are going to go far, they’ll likely need Tim Lincecum to regain his old form. Lincecum has a 10-15 record and a 5.18 ERA this year.
Cincinnati Reds (+500 to win World Series) – The Reds have had a magical season in 2012. Cincinnati has managed to contend for the best record in baseball despite quite a few injuries. The starting rotation has improved quite a bit. Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, and Bronson Arroyo have all been pitching well late in the season. The Reds bullpen has consistently been the best in baseball all year. Joey Votto is one of the most consistent hitters in the league. Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart have been great in their rookie season’s.
Washington Nationals (+475 to win World Series) – Nearly everyone expected the Nationals to be better this year, but hardly anyone could have predicted they’d be this good. Gio Gonzalez was a great pickup in the offseason, and this starting rotation has been the best in baseball. Huge seasons from Adam Laroche and Ian Desmond have been crucial for the offense. Bryce Harper has proven to be a great spark for the team overall as well.
Baltimore Orioles (+1,400 to win World Series) – The Orioles have been the biggest surprise in baseball this year. Buck Showalter’s has really done an amazing job with a team that almost everyone picked to finish last in the AL East. They are still battling for the AL East crown, but they are currently in a Wild Card spot. It’s been a sensational season, but it’s still tough to imagine this team hanging with the best in baseball in the playoffs.
Oakland Athletics (+900 to win World Series) – If the Orioles are the biggest surprise in baseball, then the Athletics are the second biggest surprise. Moneyball is back this year, as the A’s young pitching staff and patchwork offense have brought the team terrific results. The offense was the worst in baseball at the midpoint of the season, but they have been much better in the second half. Young stars like Jarrod Parker, Tom Milone, and Ryan Cook lead the way for a great pitching staff.
Detroit Tigers (+750 to win World Series) – The Detroit Tigers have been seen as a disappointment for the majority of the season, but they came back and won the AL Central title. Still, Detroit has quite a few questions surrounding the team. Will the middle of the rotation be good enough behind Justin Verlander? Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder have been awesome, but the bottom of the Tigers order must be more productive.
New York Yankees (+500 to win World Series) – The Yankees were red hot earlier in the year, but they’ve had a real fight on their hands over the past few weeks. This team isn’t called the Bronx Bombers for no reason. New York relies heavily on the long ball, and everyone in the lineup can go yard at any point. The key here will be the pitching staff. Behind C.C. Sabathia there are a lot of questions. Can guys like Phil Hughes and Hiroki Kuroda star in the playoffs?
Texas Rangers (+400 to win World Series) – The Texas Rangers have lost in the World Series two straight seasons. Last year’s loss to the Cardinals was as painful as any in recent memory. No doubt, this team is extremely hungry to win it all. The offense is as strong as any in baseball from top to bottom. The starting rotation is the biggest question mark. Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Ryan Dempster, and Matt Harrison will have to pick it up a notch in the postseason.
MLB Prediction: Cincinnati Reds (+500) The Reds have a tremendous bullpen, and that will be very beneficial in the postseason. Cincinnati has a nice mixture of power hitters and clutch line driver hitters in their lineup. The starting rotation has been much better in the second half. At +500, I see quite a bit of value on a very balanced team like the Reds.