We're almost through one full month of baseball and already we've seen a lot of movement on the World Series futures. Teams like the Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals have taken a dive down the odds while teams like the Houston Astros and Colorado Rockies have bubbled up. Let's take a closer look at the current World Series futures.
The Chicago Cubs are still the favorites at +400. While it has looked like the World Series champs are dealing with a hangover at times, they still have an incredibly talented roster. It's still early in the season. They're only three games above .500 but they are where they need to be, which is at the top of the National League Central.
The team they beat in the World Series, the Cleveland Indians, is next in line at +650 with the Boston Red Sox following at +800. Similar to the Cubs, those teams have been less than spectacular (neither team is more than three games above .500) but the oddsmakers are not deterred. Both squads have talented, deep rosters that should help them rise to the top as the season goes on.
The biggest climbers in terms of the odds are the Houston Astros, who are at +800. One of the biggest reasons that the Astros could be a major threat this season is a return to form by 2015 Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel. He battled injuries last season but looks like he is back to his best (3-0, 0.96 ERA) and that is great news for the Astros.
The Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers are next at +900 and +1200, respectively. They should be counted among the favorites because they might have the best pitching staffs in baseball. However, both teams have struggled in the playoffs over the last few seasons, so the regular season doesn't mean much; it's all about how they perform in the postseason.
The New York teams - the Mets and the Yankees - are rated at +1600 and +1800, respectively. The surprise here is that the Yankees (11-7) have been better than the Mets (8-11). The Mets are supposed to be the second-best team in the National League East behind Washington but the standings show Philadelphia and Miami ahead of them. They continue to have issues generating runs as they've scored just 79 this season, the sixth-fewest in the National League.
As for the Yankees, they are getting some very good pitching, which wasn't expected. They're hitting the ball well too, which was a question mark coming into the season. They have scored 92 runs so far, which is the second-most in the National League. If their pitching somehow holds up, they could be a playoff team.
Then there is a group of teams bringing up the rear of the contenders: Baltimore (+2000), Colorado (+2200), Detroit (+2800), Seattle (+3300), St. Louis (+3300), Toronto (+3300), Texas (+4000), San Francisco (+4000), and Arizona (+4000). Some people might see some value with the Tigers, who are tied atop the Central with the Cleveland Indians. Their pitching has been horrendous, yet they are still at the top of the division. If it improves, they could make a case for the playoffs.
Another team that could be offering some value is the Rockies. They were supposed to be a mediocre team this season but their 14 wins are currently the most in the major leagues. They appear to have some pitching - especially in the bullpen with Adam Ottavino and Greg Holland - and their odds could be pretty juicy if they keep this up.
The Blue Jays and Rangers were supposed to be in the running to challenge the favorites, but they've both gotten off to terrible starts to their season. The Jays could be dead in the water already as their five wins are the fewest in all of baseball. The Rangers are 9-11 and are the more likely of the two teams to turn it around.