2016 World Series Odds for Every Team at the Start of Spring Training

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2016

2016 World Series Odds for Every Team at the Start of Spring Training

0 of 30

    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Spring training offers a fresh start, a clean slate for all 30 MLB teams. The optimism that runs throughout camps is infectious, hitting a team's respective fanbase as everyone counts down the days to Opening Day.

    Depending on where your rooting interest lies, what follows could make you stop counting altogether.

    What follows is a look around baseball at the odds for every team to make an apperance in the 2016 World Series. These odds are based largely on two things:

    • A team's 2015 record
    • What improvements—if any—a team made during the offseason

    With a number of National League clubs embarking on—or in the midst of—a rebuilding process, you'll find a number of them clumped together at the top and bottom of our list. As for those teams in the middle, well, that's probably not the place you want to be.

    Or maybe it is. We need only look back to last season, when the Kansas City Royals, a team projected by some to finish the season under .500, won it all.

    Teams are listed in order of our odds, while Vegas odds, which are provided for comparison, come courtesy of OddsShark.com.

Philadelphia Phillies

1 of 30

    Aaron Nola offers hope for the future in Philadelphia.
    Aaron Nola offers hope for the future in Philadelphia.Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 2008

    2015 Record: 63-99, 27 GB in National League East

     

    Team Overview

    Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz, relics of Philadelphia's past success, are still around, but 2016 is about continuing to develop the young talent that will be responsible for the franchise's next rise to relevancy.

    Mark Appel, Jerad Eickhoff, Aaron Nola and Vincent Velasquez all offer varying degrees of upside on the mound and will be joined by veteran newcomers Jeremy Hellickson and Charlie Morton, neither of whom factor into the team's long-term plans.

    Top prospect J.P. Crawford and his sweet swing could break camp with the club. Hellickson and Morton could prove to be useful in both limiting the innings Nola and Co. put on their arms and as trade chips at the deadline. 

    But we're still years away from the sun shining brightly—much less always—in Philadelphia.

     

    B/R Odds: 200-1

    Vegas Odds: 100-1

Colorado Rockies

2 of 30

    Jason Motte will help solidify a mediocre Rockies bullpen.
    Jason Motte will help solidify a mediocre Rockies bullpen.Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: Never

    2015 Record: 68-94, 24 GB in National League West

     

    Team Overview

    Colorado is going to score runs. Its rotation might not be nearly as bad as we've come to expect, and the bullpen should be significantly improved with the additions of veterans Jake McGee, Jason Motte and Chad Qualls.

    But until the Rockies figure out how to hit away from Coors Field—and how to develop pitchers who don't routinely get crushed at home—the World Series is nothing but a dream.

     

    B/R Odds: 200-1

    Vegas Odds: 150-1

Milwaukee Brewers

3 of 30

    Orlando Arcia's eventual arrival will be one of the few bright spots in Milwaukee this season.
    Orlando Arcia's eventual arrival will be one of the few bright spots in Milwaukee this season.Michael Spooneybarger/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: Never

    2015 Record: 68-94, 32 GB in National League Central

     

    Team Overview

    Full seasons from Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy, along with the eventual arrival of top prospect Orlando Arcia—who is slated to begin the season in the minors, per MLB.com's Adam McCalvy—could help push Milwaukee past the 70-win plateau.

    But Lucroy wants no part of the rebuilding process that's underway, Braun hasn't played in more than 150 games since 2012, and the team's offseason additionswhich include Chris Carter, Aaron Hill and Kirk Nieuwenhuisdon't actually plug the holes they were bought in to fill.

    The Brewers might be good enough to stay ahead of Cincinnati for the NL Central cellar, but there's no chance they'll be playing meaningful baseball in October.

     

    B/R Odds: 150-1

    Vegas Odds: 150-1

Cincinnati Reds

4 of 30

    Brandon Phillips remains an obstacle to progress in Cincinnati.
    Brandon Phillips remains an obstacle to progress in Cincinnati.John Minchillo/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 1990

    2015 Record: 64-98, 36 GB in NL Central

     

    Team Overview

    Cincinnati traded away All-Stars Aroldis Chapman and Todd Frazier, but its efforts to move Brandon Phillips were thwarted by the veteran's refusal to waive his 10-and-5 rights. Phillips blocks prospect Jose Peraza, the team's most significant offseason addition.

    Despite the presence of perennial MVP candidate Joey Votto and a rotation that showed promise last season, the Reds are doomed to battle it out with Milwaukee for last place in the National League Central—not with the American League champion for baseball supremacy.

     

    B/R Odds: 125-1

    Vegas Odds: 125-1

San Diego Padres

5 of 30

    Derek Norris is merely a placeholder behind the plate for San Diego.
    Derek Norris is merely a placeholder behind the plate for San Diego.Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: Never

    2015 Record: 74-88, 18 GB in NL West

     

    Team Overview

    There are teams with better odds than San Diego that wish they had a trio of Tyson Ross, James Shields and Andrew Cashner leading the way in their rotation, but the rest of the the Padres starting five—along with the bullpen, which is without Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel—is underwhelming.

    Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Derek Norris anchor a lineup that's more bark than bite, especially without the services of Justin Upton, who departed as a free agent for Detroit.

    With prospects Christian Bethancourt and Austin Hedges waiting to take over behind the plate, Norris could be the first of many Padres to be dealt during the regular season. You can bet that trade rumors will swirl constantly at Petco Park, serving as a distraction from mediocre on-field results.

    Things figure to get worse in San Diego before they get any better.

     

    B/R Odds: 125-1

    Vegas Odds: 100-1

Atlanta Braves

6 of 30

    Freddie Freeman is one of the few bright spots in Atlanta.
    Freddie Freeman is one of the few bright spots in Atlanta.Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 1995

    2015 Record: 67-95, 23 GB in NL East

     

    Team Overview

    No team has as much intriguing young pitching as Atlanta does, and the top four in the Braves lineup—newcomers Ender Inciarte and Erick Aybar, along with holdovers Nick Markakis and Freddie Freeman—can do some damage.

    But most of that young pitching remains raw and inexperienced, while the rest of the roster is full of past- their-prime veterans or complementary pieces with limited upside. That's not nearly enough to contend for the franchise's first World Series crown in more than two decades.

     

    B/R Odds: 100-1

    Vegas Odds: 150-1

Miami Marlins

7 of 30

    Wei-Yin Chen gives the Marlins another reliable arm.
    Wei-Yin Chen gives the Marlins another reliable arm.Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 2003

    2015 Record: 71-91, 19 GB in NL East


     

    Team Overview

    With ace Jose Fernandez working under an innings limit in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, it was imperative that Miami added another reliable arm to its rotation. Signing Wei-Yin Chen accomplished that, and his arrival gives the Marlins two quality arms to lean upon.

    After that, things get ugly. Edwin Jackson? Really?

    Perhaps even more troubling was Miami's inability to add to a lineup that struggled to score runs last year. Will new manager Don Mattingly and hitting coach Barry Bonds help? Sure. But unless they're going to both pull a Roger Dorn and come out of retirement, there's only so much they can do.

    Counting on Giancarlo Stanton to stay healthy for a full season—he's played in more than 125 games only twice in six years—is almost as silly as counting on Jackson to be part of the rotation.

     

    B/R Odds: 100-1

    Vegas Odds: 75-1

Oakland Athletics

8 of 30

    Sonny Gray is the one reason for excitement in Oakland.
    Sonny Gray is the one reason for excitement in Oakland.Ben Margot/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 1989

    2015 Record: 68-94, 20 GB in American League West

     

    Team Overview

    Oakland added mediocre players (Yonder Alonso, Khris Davis and Jed Lowrie) to a mediocre lineup, and gave millions to a soon-to-be 36-year-old pitcher (Rich Hill) based on 29 innings of work in Boston. The one area the A's improved was the bullpen, which was one of baseball's least effective a season ago.

    While we've seen the A's stun the baseball world before, there's no reason to believe they have the roster to contend for a playoff spot, much less a World Series appearance, anytime soon.

     

    B/R Odds: 100-1

    Vegas Odds: 75-1

Tampa Bay Rays

9 of 30

    Corey Dickerson is going to disappoint Rays fans.
    Corey Dickerson is going to disappoint Rays fans.Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Last World Series Title: Never

    2015 Record: 80-82, 13 GB in American League East

     

    Team Overview

    Tampa Bay boasts one of the game's premier starting rotations, but a mediocre lineup and weakened bullpen conspire against that stellar starting staff to limit the team's potential.

    Corey Dickerson, the team's most notable offseason addition, is a career .249/.286/.410 hitter away from Coors Field. There's no reason to believe a move to Tropicana Field is going to change things drastically.

    Hank Conger, Brad Miller, Logan Morrison and Steve Pearce are fine complementary pieces, but they do little for a lineup that needed another big bat next to Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria.

     

    B/R Odds: 75-1

    Vegas Odds: 50-1

Minnesota Twins

10 of 30

    Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano could become a special trio in Minnesota.
    Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano could become a special trio in Minnesota.Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images

    Last World Series Title: 1991

    2015 Record: 83-79, 12 GB in American League Central

     

    Team Overview

    Minnesota exceeded expectations in 2015, finishing second in a competitive AL Central and only three games away from a wild-card berth. But the Twins made little in the way of significant offseason moves, choosing instead to bank on the continued development of their young talent.

    There's nothing wrong with that, of course, especially when that young talent has the kind of upside that Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano have. But all three are going to go through the growing pains of a full 162-game regular season for the first time in 2016.

    With the improvements made by the rest of the division, it's hard to see the Twins embarking on another surprising push for a playoff spot. Sometimes, you have to take a step back to take two steps forward.

     

    B/R Odds: 75-1

    Vegas Odds: 50-1

Baltimore Orioles

11 of 30

    Yovani Gallardo isn't an ace, but he'll help solidify a shaky Baltimore rotation.
    Yovani Gallardo isn't an ace, but he'll help solidify a shaky Baltimore rotation.Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Last World Series Title: 1983

    2015 Record: 81-81, 12 GB in AL East

     

    Team Overview

    Baltimore's World Series odds certainly improved a bit with the addition of Yovani Gallardo to a rotation that desperately needed another reliable arm. They also improved their outfield by agreeing to terms with Dexter Fowler on Tuesday, per ESPN.com's Buster Olney.

    But it's hard to buy into the Orioles as a legitimate World Series contender. The Orioles are heavily reliant on the long ball to power their offense—since 2012, no team has hit more home runs than they have—and that doesn't typically yield great results in the playoffs, facing the best pitchers the opposition has to offer.

     

    B/R Odds: 45-1

    Vegas Odds: 50-1

Los Angeles Angels

12 of 30

    Arte Moreno's refusal to pay the luxury tax has his Angels looking less like contenders.
    Arte Moreno's refusal to pay the luxury tax has his Angels looking less like contenders.Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 2002

    2015 Record: 85-77, 3 GB in AL West

     

    Team Overview

    While Los Angeles upgraded at shortstop, trading for defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons, the Angels downgraded at third base, where Yunel Escobar is a shell of the defender David Freese was. Without an everyday option in left field, Simmons might have to cover the entire left side of the field himself.

    A lineup that features Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout and, eventually, Albert Pujols is going to put runs on the board, but the team's mediocre starting rotation could very well give them back to the opposition in short order.

    It's hard to buy into the Angels as legitimate World Series contenders considering the holes that remain in left field, at second base and behind the plate—and the fact that there's no help waiting to fill those holes down on the farm.

     

    B/R Odds: 45-1

    Vegas Odds: 40-1

Seattle Mariners

13 of 30

    Steve Cishek anchors a completely rebuilt Seattle bullpen.
    Steve Cishek anchors a completely rebuilt Seattle bullpen.Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: Never

    2015 Record: 76-86, 12 GB in AL West

     

    Team Overview

    New general manager Jerry Dipoto wasted little time once he took control in Seattle, completely revamping the bullpen, adding a reliable veteran arm (Wade Miley) to the rotation and making significant additions to the lineup.

    Most notable among those were the free-agent signings of leadoff hitter Nori Aoki and catcher Chris Iannetta, giving the Mariners a legitimate table-setter that's been missing since the days of Ichiro Suzuki and a solid game manager behind the plate to handle a talented pitching staff.

    Considering how wide-open the division appears to be, 2016 could finally be the year the Mariners get hot at the right time and ride that momentum all the way to the Fall Classic. But they'll need some help along the way for that to happen.

     

    B/R Odds: 30-1

    Vegas Odds: 40-1

Arizona Diamondbacks

14 of 30

    Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller have raised expectations in Arizona.
    Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller have raised expectations in Arizona.Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 2001

    2015 Record: 79-83, 13 GB in NL West

     

    Team Overview

    No team made as big a splash as the Arizona Diamondbacks this winter, signing Zack Greinke away from division-rival Los Angeles and trading for Shelby Miller. Regardless of what we think of the cost, their arrivals—and a full season of Patrick Corbin—has Arizona's biggest weakness, its rotation, looking like a strength.

    Perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt remains in the middle of a talented lineup, though the idea that newcomer Jean Segura is a top-of-the-order bat is a flawed one. We need only look at his career .301 on-base percentage and 4.1 walk percentage for evidence of that.

    Ultimately, the biggest obstacle to the Diamondbacks returning to the World Series may be things that are out of their control—significant improvements by nearly every other contender in the National League.

     

    B/R Odds: 30-1

    Vegas Odds: 25-1

Chicago White Sox

15 of 30

    Todd Frazier is Chicago's best third baseman since manager Robin Ventura handled the hot corner.
    Todd Frazier is Chicago's best third baseman since manager Robin Ventura handled the hot corner.Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 2005

    2015 Record: 76-86, 19 GB in AL Central

     

    Team Overview

    While Chicago could still use an upgrade in right field, the White Sox head into 2016 in much better shape than they were a season ago. Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie fill gaping holes at third base and second base, respectively, while the duo of Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro represent an upgrade behind the plate.

    Adding Mat Latos to the back end of a rotation that already features one of the game's elite arms in Chris Sale and the criminally underrated Jose Quintana could pay big dividends, and the bullpen remains solid with 2011 All-Star David Robertson as its anchor.

    Chicago should post its first winning record since 2012, when it went 85-77 but finished eight games back in the AL wild-card race. Considering the improvements their competition made, the White Sox could be faced with a similar fate, missing out on the postseason altogether.

     

    B/R Odds: 30-1

    Vegas Odds: 33-1

Texas Rangers

16 of 30

    A healthy Josh Hamilton would make it easier to buy into Texas as a World Series contender.
    A healthy Josh Hamilton would make it easier to buy into Texas as a World Series contender.Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: Never

    2015 Record: 88-74, won AL West

     

    Team Overview

    Texas didn't make any significant additions over the winter, choosing instead to hold onto its best young talent and disposable cash. That's not necessarily a problem—and it may ultimately prove to be a wise decision, should a major need arise during the regular season.

    Josh Hamilton's health in left field is a concern, and the rotation is full of questions after ace Cole Hamels, though the latter will be bolstered by Yu Darvish's eventual return from Tommy John surgery.

    But the Rangers return the bulk of a roster that came out of nowhere to take control of the American League West. With a little luck, they could take control of the American League for the first time since 2011, when Hamilton was still displaying his MVP form.

     

    B/R Odds: 30-1

    Vegas Odds: 22-1

Cleveland Indians

17 of 30

    Trevor Bauer could hold the key to Cleveland's success.
    Trevor Bauer could hold the key to Cleveland's success.Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 1948

    2015 Record: 81-80, 13.5 GB in AL Central

     

    Team Overview

    Cleveland might have the American League's best rotation, but an underwhelming lineup makes it hard to see the Indians as anything more than a .500 ballclub.

    The team's biggest additions—veterans Rajai Davis, Mike Napoli and Juan Uribe—are best utilized as part-time players at this point in their careers, not everyday starters as they'll be with the Tribe (at least until Michael Brantley returns in Davis' case).

    That said, if Trevor Bauer can learn from his rotation-mates and become more consistent, finally living up to the hype that surrounded him when he made his major league debut in Arizona a few years ago, it might not matter what the Indians do offensively.

    After all, pitching and defense win championships—and the Indians have plenty of both.

     

    B/R Odds: 30-1

    Vegas Odds: 20-1

New York Yankees

18 of 30

    Aroldis Chapman's heat plays well anywhere.
    Aroldis Chapman's heat plays well anywhere.Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 2009

    2015 Record: 87-75, first AL Wild Card team

     

    Team Overview

    New York surrendered nothing of significant value to acquire Starlin Castro from Chicago and Aroldis Chapman from Cincinnati, and both players figure to have a significant impact in the Bronx this season.

    Castro is an upgrade over the Stephen Drew/Rob Refsnyder/Brendan Ryan experiment at second base, while Chapman, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller form the game's most dominant bullpen trio.

    The Yankees are still a veteran-laden club, however, and concerns about the durability of Carlos Beltran, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are legitimate, as the team is ill-equipped to replace more than one of them should the injury bug strike.

     

    B/R Odds: 25-1

    Vegas Odds: 20-1

Detroit Tigers

19 of 30

    Justin Upton makes an already potent Tigers lineup that much more dangerous.
    Justin Upton makes an already potent Tigers lineup that much more dangerous.John Raoux/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 1984

    2015 Record: 74-87, 20.5 GB in AL Central

     

    Team Overview

    Detroit wasn't content to bank on a healthy Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez leading the team back to its previous glory, so the Tigers added two of the best free agents available, Justin Upton and Jordan Zimmermann.

    The bullpen, which has long been a sore spot, has an entirely new back end with Mark Lowe and Justin Wilson bridging the gap from the rotation to new closer Francisco Rodriguez, who continues to put up excellent numbers despite no longer having the stuff that earned him the "K-Rod" moniker years ago.

    With a healthy Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez anchoring the lineup and a deeper roster than they've had in years, the Tigers could roar to the front of the American League once again.

     

    B/R Odds: 20-1

    Vegas Odds: 20-1

Pittsburgh Pirates

20 of 30

    Jon Niese is one of Pittsburgh's next reclamation projects.
    Jon Niese is one of Pittsburgh's next reclamation projects.Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 1979

    2015 Record: 98-64, first NL Wild Card team

     

    Team Overview

    While Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano remain, Pittsburgh's rotation is once again undergoing significant change, with veterans Jon Niese and Ryan Vogelsong the latest to join the Pirates in search of the magic touch of pitching coach Ray Searage, who has a way of making mediocre pitchers look excellent.

    Part of that is PNC Park, one of the most pitcher-friendly venues in the game. The other part is Pittsburgh's excellent defense, which continues to be anchored by a stellar outfield of Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco. 

     

    B/R Odds: 20-1

    Vegas Odds: 18-1

Houston Astros

21 of 30

    Ken Giles represents a significant upgrade at the back end of Houston's bullpen.
    Ken Giles represents a significant upgrade at the back end of Houston's bullpen.Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: Never

    2015 Record: 86-76, second AL Wild Card team

     

    Team Overview

    Houston surprised the baseball universe and arrived on the scene as contenders a year earlier than expected, increasing expectations for the 2016 season and beyond. 

    The Astros continued to use their farm system to improve the major league roster this offseason, trading multiple prospects for closer Ken Giles and taking a flier on veteran starter Doug Fister to bolster a rotation that features reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel and the grossly underrated Collin McHugh.

    With AL Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa set for his first full season in the majors and a healthy, motivated Carlos Gomez in the middle of the lineup, Houston is not only one of the favorites to win the AL West, but also to reach the World Series.

     

    B/R Odds: 20-1

    Vegas Odds: 18-1

St. Louis Cardinals

22 of 30

    A full season of Adam Wainwright can't help but make the Cardinals better.
    A full season of Adam Wainwright can't help but make the Cardinals better.Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 2011

    2015 Record: 100-62, won National League Central

     

    Team Overview

    After the free-agent departures of Jason Heyward and John Lackey and losing Lance Lynn to Tommy John surgery during the offseason, it'd be easy to write off the St. Louis Cardinals. But we should know better than that, for the Cardinals always seem to rise to the occasion, no matter the odds.

    While the team's run of three consecutive division crowns may come to an end at the hands of the Chicago Cubs, the Cardinals still have to be considered a threat to represent the National League in the Fall Classic.

    A healthy Adam Wainwright and newcomer Mike Leake will help to overcome the losses the team suffered in the rotation, while the additions of Brayan Pena and Jedd Gyorko improve the team's overall depth, with both players capable of handling multiple positions.

     

    B/R Odds: 20-1

    Vegas Odds: 18-1

Washington Nationals

23 of 30

    Bryce Harper
    Bryce HarperAlex Brandon/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: Never

    2015 Record: 83-79, 7 GB in NL East

     

    Team Overview

    Even after losing Jordan Zimmermann from its rotation, Washington's starting five remains one of the best in baseball, with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez a formidable trio and Lucas Giolito, one of baseball's best pitching prospects, waiting in the wings.

    Reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper anchors a lineup that should be improved with the additions of Daniel Murphy and Ben Revere and a return to health for Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman, all three limited to fewer than 100 games by injury last season.

    And the addition of Dusty Baker as manager should prove to be an upgrade over Matt Williams, who never seemed to gain the trust and support of the clubhouse.

     

    B/R Odds: 20-1

    Vegas Odds: 16-1

Toronto Blue Jays

24 of 30

    Jesse Chavez is one of the new faces in Blue Jays camp.
    Jesse Chavez is one of the new faces in Blue Jays camp.Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Last World Series Title: 1993

    2015 Record: 93-69, won AL East

     

    Team Overview

    Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ are hardly adequate replacements for David Price in Toronto, but that's not necessarily a problem. After all, the Blue Jays return the bulk of baseball's most dangerous lineup, one that could easily slug its way to a second consecutive division crown, if not more.

    Really, the Jays only need their starters to keep things close, allowing the lineup to do its thing and the back-end tandem of Roberto Osuna and Drew Storen to close things out. Chavez and Happ are capable of doing that, as are the rest of the team's options in the starting rotation.

     

    B/R Odds: 20-1

    Vegas Odds: 12-1

Kansas City Royals

25 of 30

    Peter Morgan/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 2015

    2015 Record: 95-67, won World Series

     

    Team Overview

    Ian Kennedy isn't Johnny Cueto but, then again, Cueto wasn't exactly Cueto during his time in Kansas City. It's not a stretch to say that Kennedy will put up better numbers in a Royals uniform than the 4.76 ERA and 1.45 WHIP Cueto did over 13 regular-season starts.

    The Royals return all the key pieces from their championship run, adding former closer and two-time All-Star Joakim Soria to the bullpen in place of Greg Holland, keeping the team's late-inning dominance intact with Soria, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis.

    If Yordano Ventura is able to take the next step in his development, the Royals will have the dominant ace atop their rotation that their detractors will point to as a reason why the team has no chance of defending their crown.

     

    B/R Odds: 14-1

    Vegas Odds: 16-1

Boston Red Sox

26 of 30

    Craig Kimbrel, Rick Porcello and David Price.
    Craig Kimbrel, Rick Porcello and David Price.Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 2013

    2015 Record: 78-84, 15 GB in AL East

     

    Team Overview

    Pablo Sandoval's weight and Hanley Ramirez's defense at a new position are legitimate concerns in Boston, but they're overshadowed by the optimism that adding David Price to the front of the rotation and Craig Kimbrel and Carson Smith to the back end of the bullpen has bought to Beantown.

    It was only three years ago that the Red Sox went from worst to first, winning it all in 2013 after a miserable 2012 campaign. Now, as David Ortiz prepares to embark on his farewell tour, the Sox sit on the cusp of doing it all over again.

     

    B/R Odds: 14-1

    Vegas Odds: 14-1

Los Angeles Dodgers

27 of 30

    The Dodgers aren't going anywhere without a healthy, motivated Yasiel Puig.
    The Dodgers aren't going anywhere without a healthy, motivated Yasiel Puig.Ramon Espinosa/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 1988

    2015 Record: 92-70, won NL West

     

    Team Overview

    Three consecutive division titles wasn't enough to save manager Don Mattingly's job, and his replacement, Dave Roberts, will have to try to outdo his predecessor without co-ace Zack Greinke, who took his talents to Arizona as a free agent.

    Even without Greinke, the Dodgers remain a legitimate World Series contender thanks to a deep, talented roster, one that still features the best pitcher on the planet (Clayton Kershaw), an All-Star closer (Kenley Jansen) and a slew of veterans who know what it takes to win.

    Ultimately, Los Angeles' chances of ending a nearly 30-year dry spell rest on a pair of youngsters—21-year-old Corey Seager and 25-year-old Yasiel Puig—who will both need to live up to the considerable hype that surrounds them for the Dodgers to embark on a deep, successful postseason run.

     

    B/R Odds: 10-1

    Vegas Odds: 10-1

San Francisco Giants

28 of 30

    The Giants need Jeff Samardzija to leave 2015 in the past.
    The Giants need Jeff Samardzija to leave 2015 in the past.Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 2014

    2015 Record: 84-78, 8 GB in NL West

     

    Team Overview

    Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija bolster a rotation that was really nothing special in 2015, while the addition of Denard Span solidifies San Francisco's outfield and gives the Giants a legitimate table-setter atop the lineup.

    There are concerns, of course. Both Cueto and Samardzija were mediocre at best during their stays in the American League, and nobody knows what to expect from Matt Cain or Jake Peavy. Leg injuries limited a 31-year-old Span to only 61 games a season ago.

    Still, it's not wise to bet against the Giants in an even year—and it wouldn't surprise anyone if the Giants picked up their fourth World Series victory since 2010.

     

    B/R Odds: 10-1

    Vegas Odds: 8-1

New York Mets

29 of 30

    Matt Harvey won't be dealing with any innings limits in 2016.
    Matt Harvey won't be dealing with any innings limits in 2016.Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 1986

    2015 Record: 90-72, won NL East

     

    Team Overview

    There's not another team in baseball that can match New York's rotation, which features a pair of aces in Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey, an ace-in-training in Noah Syndergaard, one of the game's premier pitching prospects in Steven Matz and ageless wonder Bartolo Colon.

    That stellar rotation alone gives the Mets a great chance of defending their National League crown, but as David Wright explained to the Associated Press, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Mets can't afford to buy into the hype:

    I can serve as a cautionary tale. The same thing happened in 2006. In 2007, the expectations were so high and everybody knows what happened. I can speak from experience. Don't let this be a cautionary tale where you think you're going to be given something or you're going to be perennial playoff team and all the sudden you fast-forward a couple years and you haven't been to the playoffs since. The biggest thing is to stay hungry.

    That said, if any team is going to give the club with the best odds of reaching the Fall Classic a run for its money, it's the Mets.

     

    B/R Odds: 5-1

    Vegas Odds: 10-1

Chicago Cubs

30 of 30

    Jason Heyward will need to cover more ground in Chicago than he's used to.
    Jason Heyward will need to cover more ground in Chicago than he's used to.Associated Press

    Last World Series Title: 1908

    2015 Record: 97-65, second NL Wild Card team

     

    Team Overview

    It's fair to say that expectations have never been higher for the Chicago Cubs, the clear favorites to emerge as the last team standing in late October or early November.

    Not only did the Cubs add Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist to the mix this offseason, but they did so while also keeping the core of their 97-win team intact. That's the same core that carried the Cubs to the National League Championship Series, where they fell in four games to a hotter New York Mets squad.

    As Paul Sullivan wrote for the Chicago Tribune in December, simply making the World Series isn't enough. For all the hype surrounding this team, anything short of the franchise's first Fall Classic crown in more than a century will be viewed as a massive disappointment.

     

    B/R Odds: 4-1

    Vegas Odds: 4-1

     

    Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. All contract information courtesy of Cot's Contracts (via Baseball Prospectus).

    Hit me up on Twitter to talk all things baseball: @RickWeinerBR.