2013 MLB Predictions: All 30 Teams' Odds of Winning the World Series
The regular season is finally here, and it’s time to start analyzing which Major League Baseball teams will be playing for something important in October and which will be strategizing to find a way to make the postseason the following year.
The winner of the World Series is never easy to predict. Predicting the teams that will make the postseason is even tougher. At the beginning of last season, not many people thought that the Oakland Athletics would win the American League West or that the Baltimore Orioles would be one of two wild-card teams.
But here we are, talking about which team has the best odds to win baseball’s most coveted trophy just one game into the season. Let’s take a look at where each team stands to start the year while not really taking into consideration the fact that the Houston Astros currently hold the best record in the league.
Absolutely No Chance Whatsoever
Houston Astros (250-1)
The Astros are a minor-league team trying to compete in the majors, and it’s going to go horribly wrong. It will be surprising if Houston loses fewer than 100 games this season, even with the move from the NL Central to the AL West. With a lineup void of any star power at every position on the field Houston is primed to have one of the worst seasons in the history of the game, and there’s really not much to prevent that.
Miami Marlins (225-1)
Miami shipped out a lot of its talent over the offseason and is no longer left with many notable players on the 25-man roster. It’s a long shot that the Marlins finish anywhere but in last place in the NL East this year. Giancarlo Stanton has zero protection in the lineup, and the pitching staff will have a ton of trouble preventing runners from scoring. Miami is doomed.
Minnesota Twins (200-1)
Minnesota traded away two of its top players over the winter in Denard Span and Ben Revere. Still left with Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, the Twins will continue to struggle to compete in the AL Central. They’re bound to finish in the cellar of the division and with one of the worst records in baseball. Minnesota has to commit to rebuilding for the future, starting now.
Colorado Rockies (200-1)
The Rockies have one of the worst starting rotations in baseball, and that will cause them a lot of headaches in 2013. Not one of the pitchers in the rotation will win more than 12 games, and it will be somewhat shocking if the team wins more than 65 games. The lineup has potential, but a lot of the players have to be able to stay healthy the entire year in order to produce.
San Diego Padres (150-1)
The Padres aren’t in the best shape heading into the regular season, with star Chase Headley expected to miss the first couple of weeks. While San Diego has a handful of talented players, the NL West is much too competitive for it. The starting rotation isn’t very strong, and although the offense will provide run support, the Padres won’t win many games, likely finishing the year fourth in the division.
Chicago Cubs (125-1)
Chicago is still far away from making the postseason, but the club is on the right track. The starting rotation is much improved over last season’s due to some offseason additions, but the loss of Matt Garza until at least the end of the month will be noticeable. The offense is fair, but needs some more power. Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano aren’t going to cut it.
The Long Shots
New York Mets (100-1)
There is a lot to like and dislike about the Mets in 2013. On one hand, David Wright could propel them to more wins than originally expected, but on the other hand, the outfield is a disaster and there isn’t much star power in the lineup. New York can hope that Ike Davis and Lucas Duda continue to shine, but not much more than that.
With Johan Santana out for the entire year, the rotation will clearly not be a good as it could be. With a bunch of young arms, there is the chance that the Mets get solid production out of the remainder of the rotation. Matt Harvey is starting the year in the majors, and Zach Wheeler will be up at some point as well. Here’s hoping that they succeed early on.
Seattle Mariners (75-1)
You never know what Felix Hernandez is capable of. Even in previous years while playing for a team well out of contention, he’s been unbelievable. He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball, and with a little more offense—which Seattle added over the winter—the Mariners might not be half bad.
Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse are two additions that will make a big impact in the heart of the lineup. Kyle Seager is turning into a great player and Justin Smoak is on the rise, too. If Jesus Montero and Dustin Ackley can hit to their potential, anything is possible with the Mariners in 2013.
Pittsburgh Pirates (50-1)
In order for the Pirates to make the postseason, they’ll have to play their hearts out the entire season, not just one half. Last season, they seemed like a playoff team early on in the year, but played horribly the second half and ended up missing the postseason. Pittsburgh has to put the pedal to the metal the entire year.
But while that has to happen, the Pirates also need big numbers from some key players. Andrew McCutchen is a near-lock for an MVP-caliber season, but the team will need repeat performances from guys like A.J. Burnett, Neil Walker, Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez if it wishes to remain competitive. And then there’s Starling Marte, who looks to be a breakout star.
Kansas City Royals (50-1)
In order to grab a spot in the playoffs, the Royals need a lot of their young talent to grow up fairly quickly and start producing like they were expected to when they were all top prospects. While Alex Gordon has developed nicely, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer really haven’t. Kansas City needs both of them to find their stroke early in the year.
The pitching staff looks to be much better than in years past. Trading for James Shields and Wade Davis was a bold move, but it was necessary to improve the rotation. Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie will need to pitch well in order for the Royals to compete. With an underrated bullpen and team looking to break out of its shell, Kansas City could surprise in 2013.
Chicago White Sox (40-1)
Chicago’s pitching is much better than its offense, but there’s just nothing that spectacular about the White Sox. Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko are veterans who will have a tough time producing like they used to and there aren’t many other hitters that can pick up the slack. Alex Rios could have a decent year, and the same could be said about Jeff Keppinger and Dayan Viciedo.
Chris Sale established himself as a star last season, and the rest of the rotation could be very good with big years from Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd and, eventually, John Danks. The bullpen is above-average and should improve Chicago’s chances of winning once the starter exits.
Overall, though, can Chicago keep up with the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers? I find that hard to believe.
Cleveland Indians (35-1)
The Indians made a lot of strides to improve over the winter, and they should be much better than they were last season. The additions of Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn will prove to be smart deals, and putting them in the heart of the lineup with Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana could make the offense very dangerous if they all click.
The one thing keeping Cleveland out of the playoffs is its pitching. Ubaldo Jimenez has been a disaster since coming over from the Colorado Rockies, and Justin Masterson hasn’t been pretty to watch, either. If the Indians are going to make the postseason, Jimenez and Masterson have to pitch like stars. If they fail to do so, Cleveland will be well out of the picture early on.
The Postseason Hopefuls
New York Yankees (30-1)
The Yankees are extremely banged up to start the season, and it’s going to be very tough for them to overcome injuries. The lineup is rather embarrassing without the likes of Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and even Alex Rodriguez. Robinson Cano is one of the game’s best, but there’s no way he can make up all of that lost production.
The pitching staff is similar to that of last season’s, with CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda leading the rotation. New York will have Mariano Rivera back at closer, which will give it an advantage late in games. If David Phelps, who will be the No. 5 starter, can win at least 10 games, the rotation could be what gets the Yankees back into the playoffs.
Milwaukee Brewers (25-1)
The Brewers head into 2013 with a solid roster, but will have a couple of injuries to overcome to start the year. Corey Hart is a big loss and so is Mat Gamel. But Ryan Braun is still healthy and that makes all the difference in the world. Braun is an MVP candidate year in and year out and could easily propel Milwaukee into the playoff picture all by himself.
The pitching staff didn’t look too exciting until the Brewers recently signed Kyle Lohse. Lohse, one of the league’s top pitchers last season, could give Milwaukee the boost it needs, pitching in the middle of a rotation led by Yovani Gallardo. If the rest of the staff steps up and the bullpen does its job, the Brewers could easily lock up a wild-card spot.
Philadelphia Phillies (25-1)
Philadelphia has a good team; everyone just needs to stay healthy. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard can’t afford to catch the injury bug if they have any hope of playing in October. They, as well as Michael Young, are the cornerstones of the offense, and if they aren’t there, the Phillies aren’t in the playoffs. Domonic Brown has had a great spring, but the Phillies need his teammates’ production.
While Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee should have impressive seasons, the X-factor is absolutely Roy Halladay. The right-hander experienced all sorts of problems during spring training, and he needs to figure it out quickly. The Phillies can’t afford for him to have an off season. He’s much too valuable. Basically, the Phillies need to avoid a lot of bad things happening.
Oakland Athletics (25-1)
The 2012 Athletics were a special team, but it’s up for debate as to whether they’ll be just as special in 2013. On paper, Oakland isn’t very good. There are a couple of big names that can have big seasons, but the roster doesn’t compare to that of the Texas Rangers or the Los Angeles Angels. However, it was all about chemistry and luck last season, not the players on the team.
If that luck and the “let’s prove everyone wrong” attitude stays, Oakland could make the playoffs for the second straight season. Yoenis Cespedes should be better with a year of experience under his belt, and if the heroics of Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss continue, watch out.
It’s worth noting that Brandon McCarthy is gone, but the rest of the young starters should be able to pick up the slack.
Boston Red Sox (25-1)
The Red Sox are going to be much better than last season’s 69-win performance. It would be hard to be worse than that. The offseason additions of Shane Victorino, Joel Hanrahan, Ryan Dempster and Mike Napoli should easily improve 2012’s mark. And there’s no way that Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz repeat the poor campaigns they had last season.
With a healthy Jacoby Ellsbury and Will Middlebrooks, the Dustin Pedroia-helmed lineup should be considerably better. David Ortiz is a notable loss to start the year, but if he returns healthy and is his usual self, that’ll only help Boston’s cause.
Boston’s newest rising star, Jackie Bradley, could be the X-factor for the Red Sox. He had a miraculous spring, having never played higher than Double-A before.
Baltimore Orioles (25-1)
Much like the Oakland Athletics, not many saw the Orioles making the playoffs last season. But they played the game right and earned their spot in the postseason. Can they make it back for a second straight year, though? Baltimore has a very similar roster, and in a tight AL East, anything is possible. But it likely needs a little bit of luck once again.
The Orioles have a strong core with Adam Jones and Matt Wieters, and if a couple of players can have similar seasons, such as Chris Davis, things could fall in Baltimore’s favor. The return of Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts should be interesting to watch. The starting rotation might need to step it up a bit, but the bullpen is still very, very strong.
The Good, but Not Good Enoughs
Arizona Diamondbacks (20-1)
The Diamondbacks finally moved on from Justin Upton over the winter, but Adam Eaton and Cody Ross are both injured and Arizona won’t open the season with the outfield it had hoped for. But the Diamondbacks should still be a very competitive team and finish the year with a good record.
Arizona has a very exciting pitching staff that includes Ian Kennedy and Brandon McCarthy, as well as a couple of young arms. Tyler Skaggs is expected to pitch in the big leagues at some point during the season, which will give the Diamondbacks a boost down the stretch. The team must have some of the more average players play well this year to top the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in the NL West, though.
St. Louis Cardinals (20-1)
St. Louis brings a lot to the table, but winning the NL Central will be difficult in 2013 with the improved Cincinnati Reds. The Cardinals will be without two of their three best starting pitchers from last season, as Kyle Lohse signed with the Milwaukee Brewers and Chris Carpenter is likely out for the year with nerve issues.
But the rotation is still above-average with Adam Wainwright at the helm and top prospect Shelby Miller rounding out the five starters. The core of St. Louis’ lineup is up there with the best in the game, but the bottom of the order has to step up in a big way. The Cardinals won’t make much noise if Matt Carpenter—who’s replacing David Freese for a little while—Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma play like underachieving infielders.
Texas Rangers (20-1)
The Rangers had an intriguing offseason and spring training. Texas lost an abundance of talent in free agency, most notably Josh Hamilton, and couldn’t really acquire many noteworthy players. The only two “stars” the Rangers landed were Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski. The other interesting decision was to send top-prospect Jurickson Profar back to the minors.
But overall, Texas still has a competitive team that can compete in the AL West and the AL in general. The starting rotation is strong and the bullpen is reliable. The offense will rely on the bats of Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre, as well as the other two aforementioned offseason acquisitions. It will certainly be tough to make an impact without Hamilton in the heart of the lineup, though.
Tampa Bay Rays (20-1)
Tampa Bay will enter the 2013 season with another low payroll and will still be in the playoff hunt once October rolls around. The Rays have a very similar team, the exception being the losses of James Shields and Wade Davis from the rotation. Even without those two, they have a lot of pitching that should be very good this year.
The offense is the same as usual for Tampa Bay. Its success rests on Evan Longoria staying healthy for an entire season, and guys like Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist will again have to play well for the Rays to contend. But with an abundance of very average players, the offense needs to play much better than expected. The offense can make Tampa Bay one of the best teams in baseball or one of the worst.
The Pennant Contenders
San Francisco Giants (15-1)
The reigning World Series champions have one of the best chances of winning once again in 2013. The NL West is a little more competitive than in previous years when the Giants have been successful, but there’s no doubt that San Francisco will be back in the playoff picture. The Giants have one of the best cores in baseball and it’s gotten them through tough times.
Buster Posey gets better each year, and the starting rotation is extremely dangerous from top to bottom. If Tim Lincecum can find whatever he lost last season, the Giants will have five extremely good starting pitchers. The bullpen should also be great and help San Francisco come away with victories late in games. Will it be two in a row for the Giants in 2013?
Cincinnati Reds (15-1)
The Reds look poised to make it back-to-back trips to the postseason. In years past, Cincinnati has had a hard time clicking and really struggled putting all aspects of the game together. This year, that doesn’t seem like it'll be a problem. The offense and pitching should both be good enough to play with the big guns in MLB.
The offense revolves around Joey Votto, but Votto has a bunch of good hitters protecting him in the lineup and hitting in front of him. The starting pitching is solid from No. 1 through No. 5, and it’s all about getting the ball to the bullpen with a lead. Aroldis Chapman will be back as a closer instead of starting the year in the rotation, but that's just fine because last year he was one of the best ninth-inning relievers in all of baseball.
Atlanta Braves (15-1)
After a very impressive offseason, the Braves look forward to creating a bit of drama in the NL East and the NL in general in 2013. Atlanta was able to bring in both Upton brothers over the winter, adding the dynamic duo to an already impressive offense that includes Andrelton Simmons, Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman. Needless to say, the offense will be one of the reasons the Braves are in the playoffs.
But the pitching is just as good, and potentially better. The bullpen is arguably tops in the league and the rotation isn’t half bad, either. Julio Teheran, known as one of the top young pitchers in baseball, looks to finally make his mark. With Tim Hudson and Kris Medlen leading the starting five, Atlanta will have to suffer a major collapse in order to miss the postseason.
Los Angeles Dodgers (10-1)
With two of the top pitchers in MLB, the Los Angeles Dodgers are ready to steal the spotlight from the rival San Francisco Giants. Deep pockets have allowed the Dodgers to bring in top-tier talent, and now they have a stacked lineup that’s sure to break a couple of records in 2013. There aren’t locks in baseball, but the Dodgers are as close as it comes to a lock to make the postseason.
The offense features names such as Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and eventually Hanley Ramirez. The pitching staff boasts players like Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. The Dodgers have a roster made up of players that are tough to get on one team even in video games. Los Angeles will be a scary team in 2013. That’s for sure.
Los Angeles Angels (10-1)
The Angels won the winter. Los Angeles pried Josh Hamilton from the rival Texas Rangers and now have the most dangerous trio of players in the heart of its lineup in Hamilton, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Those three players could get the Angels into the postseason on their own, but they will still have plenty of help from other players such as Mark Trumbo.
The pitching staff is no joke, either. Jered Weaver is an ace, C.J. Wilson is a top-notch starter and Joe Blanton, Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson should be able to hold their own as well. The bullpen looks solid and probably won’t have to deal with many close games.
Los Angeles will easily make the postseason. But will the Angels even be the second-best team in the AL?
The Pennant Favorites
Detroit Tigers (7-1)
The Tigers came as close as a team could possibly come to winning the World Series last season, but ultimately fell to the San Francisco Giants. Detroit has the star power to win it all, but will need to have everyone clicking to start the season and playing hard throughout the entire year.
Miguel Cabrera leads the offense, as he is one of the top hitters in baseball. He probably won’t have another Triple Crown year, but will be in the MVP conversation yet again. Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter will be important to Detroit’s offense. But Victor Martinez, who missed all of last season, is even more vital in order to win.
Don’t forget about Justin Verlander, either. Although that would be very tough to do considering he’s the best pitcher on the planet and was rewarded handsomely for it recently. Detroit has a very strong rotation, but the bullpen does have some question marks. The Tigers don’t have a closer and the committee will have a lot of pressure on it all year long.
Toronto Blue Jays (7-1)
Toronto did everything in its power to improve the roster over the offseason. If trading for Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey doesn’t speak to that, I don’t know what does. Signing Melky Cabrera, who had a great first half last season, wasn’t a poor addition, either.
The Blue Jays finally look ready to compete within the AL East and the AL overall. They enter 2013 as one of the two favorites to win the pennant. The offense is very deep and there aren’t many weaknesses at all. The bottom of the lineup isn’t fantastic, but it’s good enough that it won’t be bringing down the top. And the top of the order is definitely dangerous.
The pitching staff also looks to be one of the best in baseball. With four great starters and J.A. Happ, who looks to make the most of this opportunity, the rotation will most likely guide the Blue Jays into the postseason. Ricky Romero couldn’t figure it out in spring training and will start the year in the minors. If he improves, he could have a big impact on this team as well.
The World Series Favorites
Washington Nationals (6-1)
Washington has the best team in baseball and is arguably the team to beat this season. Last season ended in disappointment, but the Nationals will have a chip on their shoulder. They have all of the pieces necessary to win the World Series and should give a number of teams headaches throughout the season.
The starting rotation is one of the game's elite and the bullpen is fantastic as well. Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez will both battle for the NL Cy Young Award, and the rest of the rotation isn’t too shabby, either. The relievers will be hard to score on, and the addition of Rafael Soriano makes that statement even more valid. Washington could compete with the Atlanta Braves' bullpen for the best in baseball.
And then there’s the offense, which has a ton of potential. Bryce Harper is emerging as one of the best players in the game and could easily take home the NL MVP this season. The addition of Denard Span was a great move, and with Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche the other hitters atop the lineup, can Washington really be stopped?
In my opinion, no one will be able to put a leash on the Nationals in 2013, and at the start of the season, they have the best shot at winning the World Series.