We’re through one month of action in the 2016 MLB season, and while there has been a lot of shifting around in terms of the World Series futures the Chicago Cubs still lead the way. The Cubs (+375) are still the only team that has yet to lose 10 games and they’re the only team that’s inside of 10/1 on the odds to win the World Series.
A lot of people felt the Cubs’ curse would continue as they lost slugger Kyle Schwarber just two games into the season, but they have been more than resilient. Losing their star 23-year-old was a huge blow after he hit 16 home runs and batted in 43 runs in just 69 games last season. Most were expecting him to take the next step this year and be a chief part of a strong lineup, but the Cubs haven’t skipped a beat without him. They lead the league in RBI and on-base percentage, and are second in OPS.
While the Cubs are doing what they were expected to do, the other Chicago team – the White Sox – has been one of the league’s biggest surprises. They’re currently the second-best team in the Majors. The White Sox entered the season at +3300 to win the World Series but their odds are now down to +1100, mostly on the strength of a pitching staff that has been the best in the American League (2.78 Team ERA).
While the White Sox are the second-best team in the big leagues, they’re not the team with the second-best chance to win it all according to the oddsmakers. That’s the Washington Nationals (+1000), who have also surprised. A recent slump has put a slight damper on their hot start, but their pitching has been phenomenal. Entering Monday, they had allowed the third-fewest runs in baseball and their 2.80 Team ERA was fourth-best overall. The New York Mets (+1100), who also entered the season as one of the favorites, are tied with the White Sox according to the World Series futures.
Beyond those teams, we see a couple of American League East teams that have produced different results so far this season. The Red Sox’s (+1200) big offseason changes have helped propel the team to the top of the American League East, which is why they’re neck-and-neck with the White Sox in terms of the odds to win the AL Pennant.
Boston’s record may not look overly impressive right now but consider that they’re right there for the lead in the East without any help from staff ace David Price, who has a horrendous 6.75 ERA. His velocity is down and his WHIP is up (1.38 after 1.08 last season), but the thinking here is that if he gets on track, that will make the Red Sox even stronger. The Red Sox have the best batting average in the American League along with the best OPS. If their pitching can help out, they should only rise in the standings.
As for the Blue Jays (+1400), they’re probably smiling about not re-signing Price to a $217 million contract this offseason, but they’ve had their own challenges. They’re not even playing .500 baseball these days and are currently fourth in their division. Their power numbers are down as they are 10th in the Majors in home runs and 19th in OPS. They led the league in both categories last season. It’s still early but they’ll need their offense to heat up if they’re to have any shot.
Rounding out the teams inside of 20/1 on the World Series odds are the San Francisco Giants (+1400), Los Angeles Dodgers (+1400), and Kansas City Royals (+1600).