The first few weeks of the 2019 MLB season are in the books. While it’s still early, it’s safe to say that there have been more than a few early surprises that have caught our attention. Seeing the World Series champion Boston Red Sox labour through April with a record of 9-13 was unexpected. They have just one more win than the Baltimore Orioles, who only won 47 games last season. In the National League, it’s quite surprising that the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs are not above .500 while the San Diego Padres are.
Let’s take an updated look at the American and National Leagues and examine how the World Series odds have shifted around in the first month of action:
The Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays have been two of the biggest surprises. Seattle (+2300) leads the AL with 16 wins while Tampa Bay (+1300) has posted the best record in the AL East with 15 wins through its first 23 games.
The Mariners, who were at 100/1 in the offseason, look like a team that could be here to stay as they have hit 53 home runs in their first 24 games. As for the Rays, who were at 25/1 in the offseason, their rotation owns the best ERA in the majors right now. It also helps that divisional rivals Boston and New York are struggling. The Yankees have been plagued by injuries but are still at +550. As for the Red Sox, they are now down to 12/1 after starting the season at about 5/1.
The Houston Astros (+450) are getting an unexpected push from the Mariners but they are still the World Series favourites. Houston’s offence has been good, its rotation is solid and its bullpen has performed at a high level at a time when a number of bullpens around the league have struggled. They are seventh in team ERA and fourth in OPS.
In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers (+500) remain the top candidate to win the World Series. LA has cruised early on with a 15-9 record on the strength of some serious power numbers. Deemed a weakness heading into the season, their offence has produced the most home runs in the National League so far.
While the Philadelphia Phillies (+1000) are second in line, two teams that have surprised have been the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers. Milwaukee (+1400) has moved up the charts and they’ll continue to be a threat while Christian Yelich performs like an MVP. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh (+2800) has also shot up the board as they were 80/1 at one point in the offseason. They lead the league in ERA and opponent batting average, so maybe this is a team that is here to stay.
Teams that have headed in the other direction include the Colorado Rockies, who were at 25/1 but are now at 66/1. Just nine wins in their first 22 games has soured the mood in the Mile High city.