We take a moment to analyze the MLB Futures odds from a value perspective, share our tips for predicting the winner of the American League pennant in 2015.
MLB Futures Odds to Win American League
For the American League pennant the lowest odds right now are with the Kansas City Royals around +400 depending on the book you use. Pinnacle has the best price at +1167. I want to grab some value whenever I'm looking at a play for the future so although the Royals look like the team to beat in the American League I think there is some good value on three other teams. A quick disclaimer on this, I am simply looking at the overall value in comparison to how I think the team will project the rest of the season.
First, let me mention really quick four teams I will not be backing and why. The Astros (+700), already we are starting to see their regression take place, fun story so far but they are two quality starters and a year away. The Tigers (+1200), outside of David Price their pitching is very weak, even when Cabrera comes back the lack of pitching will be their downfall. The Twins (+1800), although their stats are actually pretty decent and they have been the Cinderella story of the first half along with the Astros, they are due for a regression in the second half and have the biggest odds against them compared to every other winning team in the American League. Bah, never mind what I just said about the Twins at +1800 you can't go wrong, go ahead and take a shot! The Yankees (+700), outside of the fact that no one really wants to back a Jeterless Yankees (kidding), this is pretty low odds on a team that has the 10th-ranked ERA of starting pitchers in the American League, most likely they'll make a move before the trade deadline which means I probably should have added them to the list below.
Case for the Angels
Surprisingly the team with the next lowest MLB odds, and a team I really like, are the Los Angeles Angels which you can get around +700. I actually had a nice conversation with some friends just before the Angels got hot and mentioned to them when the odds were higher against them that they should probably go ahead and jump on them with their MLB picks. There is just a lot to like about the Angels with these type of odds, they have the best player in baseball in Trout, a resurgent Hall of Famer in Pujols, a really good closer in Street, some decent middle relief, and better-than-average starting pitching. Out of all this they also have one of the top managers in the game in Mike Scioscia. The question for them will be solidifying their starting rotation and maybe there middle relief. I don't know how far they can go with Santiago, Wilson, and Richards, with Weaver and Shoemaker in the wings. If they can somehow pick up maybe somebody like Cueto then look out.
Case for the Orioles
Although they come limping into the all star break what about the Baltimore Orioles at +1100? Again, we are focusing on the biggest bang for our buck and the Orioles have the kind of pieces you like to see to make a good playoff push. Their starting pitching has been a nice surprise with Chen and Jimenez, but they are another team that will need to supplement one more good pitcher in order to make a run and go deep in the playoffs. Some good stats to back them up is that they are sixth in runs allowed, have a +39 runs differential, and they lead the American League in the least amount of errors per game at a 0.44 rate. Some other good notes about them is they're fourth in the American League in runs scored, and they have the second best relief ERA at 2.91. They are right in it to win the American League East division but I think they know they are still one good quality pitcher away from winning the pennant. The trade deadline isn't until the end of the month so there is still time for them to make a move and I think they will be buyers come July 31st.
Case for the Blue Jays
At +1100 they have the highest run differential in the American League and a really strong hitting lineup leading not only the American League but the major leagues in runs scored per game. That is a good thing because their starting pitching is not very good and are ranked 14th in ERA in the American League. But their relief pitching is surprisingly not too bad ranked seventh in the league in ERA, and I say surprisingly because they don't have a reliable closer. As with every team they need one more piece in the pen even with Estrada being a nice surprise. They have some good veteran leadership, and guys that have been around the block in Donaldson, Bautista, and Buehrle, but they simply cannot win the pennant without one more good starter. They might be able to survive without an All-Star closer but a good starting pitcher is what they desperately need. I'm sure their management has seen the statistics and have seen where they lack, look for them to make a move before the trade deadline which could make them a very dangerous team come September.
*** MLB Betting Odds were gathered from several different sports book and sometimes combined as an average ***