We begin our look at the baseball futures, win totals and more in Arizona, with live looks at 15 teams during the month of March. Check the MLB picks for the upcoming season.
Cubs vs. Brewers
Our first stop is Maryvale, AZ, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers, where they will be taking on everyone's darling, the Chicago Cubs. The MLB odds boards have the Cubs to not only win the National League for the first time since 1945, but to end 107-year drought of being World Series champions. Here is a look at both these National League teams.
Chicago Cubs Odds - NL Central 1st (-170) - NL 1st (+320) - World Series 1st (+625) - Win Total O/U 94
The belief is what is not to like about Joe Maddon's Chicago squad. The everyday lineup is improved with Jason Heyward and every young player has one more year of experience, plus the knowledge of having postseason experience to build on. The other additions to the roster add a great deal of versatility for Maddon to maneuver players and give them days off.
Maddon has always been an expert in building a bullpen and appears with last year's pickups, he has more options in the middle of games and late to win. If there is one concern it is the starting pitching because an injury or two for an extended period could derail the Cubs' plans. We will have a longer look at Chicago when we see them later in spring training, but suffice to say, given the history, betting on them at these prices is hardly what you want for MLB picks.
Milwaukee Brewers Odds - NL Central 4th (+4500) - NL T11 (+4500) Win Total O/U 69
Think about this: on August 31, 2014, the Milwaukee Brewers were in first place in the NL Central. The bottom fell out in September with 9-17 record and they missed the playoffs all together and have not recovered since.
With 30-year old David Stearns having been an assistant general manager with Houston during their rebuild, the Brew Crew is following the same pattern and has gutted most of its assets for the 2016 season. The only recognizable names are Ryan Braun and catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Braun's contract and recent injuries make him hard to move and Lucroy has to prove he's healthy before anyone takes him on.
Milwaukee has pretty decent starting staff with Jimmy Nelson, Wily Peralta and Taylor Jungmann, but with little ability to score runs, the pressure is really them to hold opposing teams down, which will eventually wear them down. The bullpen has good arms in Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress, but unless they can hit, hard to say how useful they will ultimately be.
If there was ever a time to rebuild it is now, given the top teams in the Central. Considering the Brewers for a totals play, it will come down to 19 games with Cincinnati and how they do against the rest of the bad teams in the National League. This sure looks like a 95 loss team, thus the UNDER is better play.
The Cubs started Javier Baez in centerfield and to say he looked like a duck out of water would be a disservice to ducks as Chicago lost 2-1 to Milwaukee.
Presumed fifth starter Kyle Hendricks threw two innings and gave up one run but his off-speed and breaking pitches with two strikes led to four strikeouts.
Looking at Chris Bryant and Jorge Solar and a few other Cubs players, very imposing individuals.
Milwaukee only scratched out four hits to go along with 13 strikeouts, thus not much to say about offense.
Chase Anderson, formerly of Arizona, had good movement on his pitches, but who really caught my eye was 21-year old Josh Hader. The lefty came in the Carlos Gomez trade last season and had three K's in two innings, moving the ball up and down the zone effectively.