Spring Training is just getting underway as we’re getting our very first look at the 2020 versions of the teams. The betting lines are now up for who’ll win each of the divisions, so let’s take an early look at the landscape and see who is favored to win each grouping.
American League East
Favorite: New York Yankees -500
The Yankees won 103 games last season and then added Cy Young finalist Gerrit Cole in the offseason. They figure to be on the rise. Meanwhile, their biggest rival, the Boston Red Sox, traded away former MVP winner Mookie Betts, David Price and were forced to fire manager Alex Cora.
The Tampa Bay Rays figure to be the only challenge for the Yankees in the East.
American League Central
Favorite: Minnesota Twins -160
The Indians entered 2019 as the clear-cut favorite to win the Central. Fast forward a year and it’s now the Twins, who were one of the biggest surprises of 2019, that enter the year as the favorite. The Indians have to stay competitive or the trade rumors of Francisco Lindor will become loud and vociferous.
The Twins looks like the stronger team going into the year but they need Byron Buxton to stay healthy. They were 62-26 with him in the lineup and 39-35 without him. The addition of Josh Donaldson should help if Buxton does miss time.
American League West
Favorite: Houston Astros -260
The Astros are the big story going into the after they were busted in the sign-stealing sting. While they’re facing a lot of scrutiny, the bottom line is they still have an awesome roster that is sure to land them in the playoffs. Their entire lineup is back for a team that led the league in OPS and were third in home runs. Although they lost Cole, they still have Zack Greinke to backup Justin Verlander and they’ll get Lance McCullers Jr. back. They’re still the class of this division.
National League East
Favorite: Atlanta Braves +175
The National League East looks like it will be quite competitive. The Braves won 97 games but lost Donaldson. The New York Mets finished strong and have a solid trio at the top of their rotation with Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies finished .500 last season, which was disappointing after they signed Bryce Harper in the offseason, but they’re hoping that the big addition of starting pitcher Zack Wheeler this offseason will help.
And don’t forget about the Washington Nationals, who are the reigning World Series champs. They lost Anthony Rendon, though, so they’ll have to find a way to replace that big bat in their lineup.
National League Central
Favorite: St. Louis Cardinals +215
The Central is expected to be one of the most competitive divisions in all of baseball. To start, the favorite is the Cardinals, who are at +215. There are three other teams at +300 or shorter. The Chicago Cubs are at +250, the Cincinnati Reds are at +265 and the Milwaukee Brewers are posted at +300.
National League West
Favorite: Los Angeles Dodgers -900
The Los Angeles Dodgers have won the National League West for seven straight seasons and are heavily favored to get their eighth in a row. They added Betts and Price in the offseason to a lineup that won 106 games last season.
The big issue here is there is no one really close to them in this division. They won the division by 21 games last year and will probably win by a similar margin this time around.