MLB Picks: Early Look at NL Futures, Top Choices, Undervalued Sleepers & More

Ross Benjamin

Monday, February 23, 2015 6:15 PM GMT

Monday, Feb. 23, 2015 6:15 PM GMT

Today I’m going to go over some of my early thoughts pertaining to National League futures. It will include my top choice, an undervalued sleeper, and teams I deem to be overvalued.

Odds to Win the National League Championship

Washington Nationals

13/5

Los Angeles Dodgers

4/1

St. Louis Cardinals

6/1

San Francisco Giants

8/1

Chicago Cubs

10/1

Pittsburgh Pirates

10/1

San Diego Padres

10/1

New York Mets

15/1

Miami Marlins

20/1

Cincinnati Reds

40/1

Milwaukee Brewers

40/1

Atlanta Braves

50/1

Arizona Diamondbacks

65/1

Colorado Rockies

65/1

Philadelphia Phillies

150/1

 

 

Washington Nationals (13/5)
If there’s actually something that I do indeed dislike about sports betting, it’s wagering on a chalk, or prohibitive favorite. Having said that, I’m sure you can find this selection as being hypocritical in that regard. However, my choice of Washington to win the National League pennant is more of a professional opinion, than what I would ordinarily convey for sports betting advice. Let me be clear, I would never wager on a futures option at these MLB odds, but if I were doing an interview on ESPN Radio for example, the Nationals would be my overwhelming MLB pick if posed the question pertaining to this subject matter.

 

Best Starting Rotation Hands Down
Stephen Strasburg
Max Scherzer
Jordan Zimmerman
Gio Gonzalez
Doug Fister

This is definitively the best starting pitching rotation in the National League, and arguably may be at the top of the heap in all of baseball. The Nationals also possess a top notch bullpen, although I’m not a big fan of Drew Storen as a closer.

 

Washington Starting Lineup and Depth is Top Notch
When examining the Nationals projected starting lineup, I’m not finding many holes or flaws. The big key in my opinion will be the ability of often injured Ryan Zimmerman to stay healthy. If he’s able to do so, Washington has a legitimate chance of winning 100-games this season. Hopefully for the Nationals sake, the move to first base will help alleviate the injury issues that Zimmerman has endured in recent seasons.

Denard Span-OF
Anthony Rendon-3B
Jayson Werth-OF
Bryce Harper-OF
Ryan Zimmerman-1B
Ian Desmond-SS
Wilson Ramos-C
Yunel Escobar-2B


Undervalued Sleeper Pick
Miami Marlins (20/1):
Many you might be getting a good laugh in regards to this selection. However, I’m here to tell you, I’m as serious as a heart attack. Jose Fernandez isn’t slated to return to the starting rotation until the middle of June, and if he were available on opening day, the Marlins would be more like 15/1. This is an underrated lineup led by a budding superstar in Giancarlo Stanton. The addition of Dee Gordon to the top of this lineup should pay huge dividends. If newly acquired Michael Morse can stay healthy for once, he’s capable of hitting thirty plus home runs in the middle of this order. Unfortunately for Miami, there in the same division as Washington, but I very much like their chances of contending for a National League wild card berth.

 

Best of the Rest
Los Angeles Dodgers (4/1):
Fantastic top of the rotation with Kershaw and Greinke. The projected batting order is a formidable one.

St. Louis Cardinals (6/1): An organization that seems to be a perennial contender for the last decade. When assessing this roster I don’t see much changing in that regard.

San Francisco Giants (8/1): Second best starting pitching rotation in the National League, and a roster of veterans who’ve been there and done that.


Overvalued Teams
Chicago Cubs (10/1):
They’ve definitely upgraded their starting pitching rotation. New manager Joe Madden is a proven winner, and will actually have ownership willing to spend money for the first time in his career. The batting order isn’t overly impressive, the bullpen still looks to be shaky, and there’s very little if any quality depth on the bench.

San Diego Padres (10/1): The Padres have certainly spent a plethora of money in the offseason to show their serious. I’m not confident the value they received by doing so will produce favorable results.

Cubs & Padres Are Among the Most Improved Teams for This 2015 Season


Divisional Predictions

National East: Washington (-300)

NL Central: Milwaukee Brewers (+900)

NL West: San Francisco Giants (+350)

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