This year’s World Series is still seven months away, but sports enthusiasts already have an eye on who the top contenders are for winning in 2015. The Washington Nationals have moved ahead of both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox to become the odds-on favorite. Leading on-line sports bookers have upped the New York Mets’ chances from 25/1 to 33/1 odds to win and the Miami Marlins and the Atlanta Braves are both now tied with the Mets at those 33/1 odds. But in order to play in the Series, a team has to get to the Series by winning the playoffs. It helps to stay injury-free and keep eyes on the prize. Who is most likely to go?
It’s easy to see why everyone thinks the Nationals have a good shot at making it to, and winning, this year’s Series. Look at their line-up: they have an unbelievable depth of talent. Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman have remained uninjured and as amazing as ever, and Anthony Rendon is poised to show his stuff. These guys are clearly the tops when it comes to filling in all the blanks. The Los Angeles Dodgers have talent too and are the NL West favorite, but lack the scope and depth shown by the nation’s capital home team boys. It would also be a mistake to rule out the Chicago Cubs – they have the best manager around in the shape of a certain Joe Maddon and plenty of young talent to boot. This may not necessarily be their year to win it all but they are definitely in the running. Same with the St. Louis Cardinals; they could be considered the best from top-to-bottom. And speaking of talent, what single living player has more in the talent department than Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels? It may be difficult for one player to pull the whole team to victory, but they are definitely in the running.
Some folks look at two criteria, payrolls and past performance, for guiding lights in helping select a winner and to help give insight about the World Series here. Years ago every team that made it to the series from 1996-2001 had an Opening Day payroll in MLB’s top 10. But from 2002-2014 just eleven of the twenty-six participants, or less than half, could say the same. So this may not be the most effective way to pick. Other factors such as the inevitable injuries, over-reliance on youthful talent and lack of offense may play more of a role. This is not necessarily predictive; of the last thirty-eight World Series participants around half did not even make it to playoff the year before.
If you wanted to participate in a little legal baseball betting, you would probably pick the Washington Nationals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, or the Boston Red Sox to win with odds of 6/1, 8/1 and 12/1 respectively. If you wanted to bet on a longshot, put your money down on either the Oakland Athletics (40/1), Texas Rangers (40/1), or Cincinnati Reds (50/1). On the side of an underdog? How about the Chicago White Sox (20/1), Baltimore Orioles (22/1), or Kansas City Royals (25/1). But remember, it’s always a crapshoot to some extent. Last year’s Series featured the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals, with the Giants snagging the win. Who called that? So as we go through the season and then the post-season on the way to October, keep an eye on all of the teams. Baseball is full of surprises top contenders have a way of changing from game to game. Play ball!