The MLB All-Star Break is here, which is the ideal time for a reset. A number of teams - like the New York Yankees - really needed the break, while others - like the Los Angeles Dodgers - would rather keep rolling as they're hot right now.
After the Midsummer Classic, the focus will shift to the trade deadline and then the home stretch. While the teams enjoy the 88th All-Star Game, let's take a look at the updated World Series futures.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are the favorites at +350 with the Houston Astros next at +425. They're the only teams to hit 60 wins so far as the Dodgers have 61 wins, and the Astros have 60. Both are well-balanced teams, but they have their special abilities to take them to the next level. The Astros lead the major leagues in runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. While their pitching is fine, their offense is what butters their bread. They might be looking to add more quality arms for a postseason run.
As for the Dodgers, it is their pitching that leads the way as they have the best ERA, WHIP and opponent batting average in the majors. Even though the rotation - outside of Clayton Kershaw - can be inconsistent, they have a fantastic bullpen. Barring a slew of injuries, these two teams will get to the postseason and they should win their divisions.
After the top tier, the second wave of teams is bunched in together. Five of them are inside of 15/1, starting with the Boston Red Sox at +600. After that, we see the Nationals at +700, the Cubs and Indians at +800, and the Yankees at +1400. The Nationals rank well across the board, landing in the Top 10 in all eight of the major pitching and hitting categories mentioned above. They have a brilliant rotation, which is needed because their bullpen can be absolutely awful at times.
The Yankees and Red Sox are going to battle it out in the American League East, which could knock one of them out of the playoffs. The Red Sox were expected to be in contention but the Yankees have been a surprise team. However, they faded in a major way heading into the All-Star Break, going 7-18 in their last 25 games. We'll have to see if they can turn that around.
The Indians and Cubs are the wild cards here as neither team can seem to get their act together. The Cubs have had no rhythm. When the Cubs pitch well they can't hit, and vice versa. It seems as though there are issues in the clubhouse at times. The Indians are in better shape as they're in the American League Central, which is a weak division, so that allows them to get by. They have a bit of momentum as they are 16-9 over their last 25 contests.
Finally, you have a pair of National League West teams with Arizona at +1600 and Colorado at +2500. The Rockies and Diamondbacks would have better odds if they weren't in a division with baseball's best team. If the playoffs were to start today, the West would get three teams into the postseason.
While the Rockies are 9.5 games back in the West, they have a 7.5-game lead over the Cubs and St. Louis for the second wild card spot. The Diamondbacks' pitching has been extremely strong this season, ranking in the top five of all four categories, including second in ERA. If that holds up over the second half, the Diamondbacks might be a sneaky World Series futures pick.