Baseline: How does your team stack up?

May 19, 2018 08:00 AM
After the Bell

70 years is long enough wait 

Picking winners in major league baseball in the era of extended playoffs can be difficult. Most handicappers have a good idea who the best teams will be, and if you fall into that category, it doesn’t necessarily matter if you win your division or enter as a wildcard. 

In the end, most of the top teams will play on in October. A couple teams will come out of nowhere and play well; one of them will hang on and qualify for the playoffs. One top team will underperform due to injuries or a couple star players having down years and will miss out. 

But how do you explain the Washington Nationals? Arguably the best team over the last few years that consistently come up empty in October. 

Some teams tend to make hay when they reach the playoff and some don’t. The New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals come to mind. Once again CG Technology—the gaming technology company behind the top Las Vegas sports books— provides its opening predictions for win total for all 30 Major League teams. Oddsmakers have put the Yankees at the top, though Houston is favored to repeat depending on where you look. 

All the usual suspects — Dodgers, Yankees, Astros, Indians, the Chicago Cubs, Red Sox and Nationals — are selected near the top. 

We will rule out teams that have faded in the playoffs recently; sorry Nationals. While the Yankees surprised last year with fresh blood making them many experts’ top pick, there is bad mojo in firing a championship manager who took a team much farther than they were expected to go. Rookie phenom Aaron Judge is not likely to repeat last year’s numbers, especially with much higher expectations for both him and the team. 

The Cubs will be in the mix but they are replacing 40% of their starting rotation that accounted for 60 starts with the departure of Jake Arrieta and retirement of John Lackey.

With that, we expect the Cleveland Indians to finally end its long championship drought, defeating the L.A. Dodgers, coming one game short yet again, in seven.   

About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of Modern Trader, Daniel Collins is a 25-year veteran of the futures industry having worked on the trading floors of both the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange.