Gunning for the Astros & Dodgers in the MLB Off-Season
The Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, and New York Yankees still sit atop the boards in Las Vegas and at online outlets like Heritage and Bookmaker as the odds-on favorites to win the World Series next season. But we all know, baseball is easily the ficklest of the major American sports and the likely hood of a repeat World Series winner is unlikely. There are plenty of other teams who have the skill, power, and potential to be the heroes of the Fall Classic in 2018 and they are all gunning for the Astros and Dodgers.
The Yankees boast the new ‘Bash Brothers‘ and if the dynamic works, could have the scariest lineups in the league. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton back-to-back … It’s a pitcher’s worst nightmare. Plus, the San Diego Padres took on Chase Headley‘s salary which frees up room to hunt down aces like, Gerrit Cole in an attempt to reel in their 28th World Series.
The Halos picked up Shohei Ohtani, resigned Justin Upton, got Zack Cozart, and Ian Kinsler. I am not sure how Billy Eppler pulled this all off … but I must say, damn, sir … I am impressed. The rest of the American League better be checking their rear view mirrors because the Halos are coming. I will be so bold as to say that I think the Los Angeles Angels make the playoffs in 2018.
Mike Trout has carried the Angels on his back since his appearance in the bigs … but he now has a loaded team that can take some of the weight off of his shoulders. Kinsler is a true veteran. He’s probably on the downward end of his career but still a team leader who produced 130 hits, 52 RBI and 22 dingers last season. Cozart batted .297, hit 63 RBI and popped 24 over the wall in 2017. Not much will be getting through the middle of the diamond with both these guys on the field.
Retaining Upton for slugging power is another huge bonus. When looking at the proposed lineup, especially on days Ohtani is pitching (uncertain how many extra DH days he’ll have in addition) the Angels offense is starting to look pretty darn good. Not quite on par with the Yanks and Stros, but not far behind.
St. Louis was chasing after Stanton hard and many fans were disappointed to see Giancarlo head to New York. In many ways, it worked out for the best. Marcell Ozuna is at the top of his game, boasting a .924 on-base percentage last season and the nature of the deal left the Cardinals with a lot of room to continue their off-season finagling. Not to mention the fact that the Cardinals’ prospects are all left in place.
The Cubbies offense is all secured nice and snug for the next few seasons. The main area of weakness seems to have been addressed with the signing of Rockies ace, Tyler Chatwood. Chatwood was remarkable on the road. Once he got out of elevation, he could really start putting some movement on that curve of his. In the thicker air full-time, Chatwood will be a legitimate ace. Fans at Wrigley also get Steve Cishek and Brandon Morrow into the reliever rotation, both solid middle-relievers capable of holding it down until the closer steps on the hill.
The Cubbies need to find a way to keep Wade Davis. If he signs elsewhere, Morrow could step in to fill the closing role. Then, with a starting rotation that looks like, Lester, Hendricks, Quintana, Chatwood, and Montgomery the Chicago Cubs could turn out to be one of the most well-rounded, balanced teams in baseball.
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