The second in our live reports from the Cactus League in Arizona is designed to help with your MLB picks for this upcoming season, looking at win totals and Futures betting odds.
For this Spring training contest we went to Goodyear, where Cincinnati resides and the Seattle Mariners paid them a visit.
Seattle Mariners – Projected Win Total Ov86 wins – 2nd in the AL West
After just missing the postseason a year ago, the Mariners in the offseason addressed their greatest need, which was to score runs. Having signed Robinson Cano the previous season, Seattle went after and acquired Nelson Cruz to add pop to the lineup which last year scored just 3.9 runs per game. Cruz hit a major-league leading 40 home runs last season and what made him especially attractive to the M’s is while it is given long balls die in the outfield at Safeco Field, 25 of his dingers were hit on the road. With Cano, Cruz and Kyle Seager the middle of the batting order, Seattle has the attention of MLB baseball handicappers and those generating sports picks.
With a more potent lineup and having speed with players like Austin Jackson and James Jones, why Seattle is thought to be a threat to derail the Angels from Anaheim is a pitching staff which was first in ERA and third in saves in the American League. Lead by ace Felix Hernandez and closer Fernando Rodney the Mariners pitching appears very formidable and with more help from the offense.
Seattle was 87-75 last season and while they might not win 46 games on the road again, chances are they will improve on home record of 41-40 and be nipping at the Angels this season with a legit shot to win the division.
Cincinnati Reds – Projected Win Total 78 wins – 5th in the NL Central
After winning 97 and 90 games in 2012 and 2013, the Reds fell to 76 last year and sportsbooks see only a slight increase and possible further fall in the standings. Cincinnati has a number of players with familiar names who have enjoyed very good seasons like Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco.
But last year injuries and ineffectiveness curtailed Votto and Bruce in particular and after a good first half, leadoff man Billy Hamilton hit .200 after the All-Star break. To improve the team the Cincinnati front office brought in Marlon Byrd at 36, hardly a game-changer.
The starting pitching was weakened with the departure Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon and they will be depending on Homer Bailey and Tony Cingrani to fill their slots after being injured a season ago. The bullpen which was a real strength of this team a few years back has a hard time getting to closer Aroldis Chapman a lead these days.
Depending on how the Cincy starts, if they immediately go to last place in the division, they will be listening to offers for No.1 starter Johnny Cueto and if the rest of the teams in the NL Central perform as expected, playing the Under on win total against the MLB odds looks the right read on the Reds.
Game Notes –
On this day it was all about Cincinnati, smashing Seattle 10-1. Bruce and Kyle Waldrop went yard as the Reds had 11 hits. Zack Cozart chipped in two hits to help Cincy. Veteran Jason Marquis is trying to earn a starting spot in the rotation and had three scoreless innings. Cuban Raisel Iglesias worked two innings and showed a repeatable smooth delivery and should be an asset sooner than later in his first year with the team.
Two pitchers who have been around the big leagues for awhile did not show much for the Mariners. J.A. Happ (2-innings, 2-runs, 2-hits (HR) and a walk) and Joe Saunders (1-inning, 6-runs, 5-hits (HR) and a walk) had pitches up which were smoked for hits. Both will probably have the benefit of the doubt this early in spring training, but will have to show more soon.
Of the players in the game, outfielder James Jones has excellent speed and was the most notable player to catch my eye other then the fine play Seager made at third base.