2018 World Series Odds for Every MLB Team at the All-Star Break
The All-Star break marks the unofficial midway point of the MLB season, so it's a good time to check in on which teams are best positioned to contend for a World Series title.
Seventeen clubs boast a winning record heading into the second half, and as usual, the presence of those second wild-card spots will convince more than a few fringe contenders to buy at the deadline.
Ahead is a breakdown of each contender's World Series odds before the second half gets underway.
Placement in the standings, future expectations, overall talent level and recent performance all played a part in determining each team's odds.
We'll start with a rundown of the non-contenders.
In order to be considered a contender, teams needed to have at least a 10 percent chance of reaching the postseason, according to the latest projections from FanGraphs.
That left the following teams as non-contenders:
- Tampa Bay Rays (49-47)
- Los Angeles Angels (49-48)
- Minnesota Twins (44-50)
- Toronto Blue Jays (43-52)
- Texas Rangers (41-56)
- Detroit Tigers (41-57)
- Chicago White Sox (33-62)
- Baltimore Orioles (28-69)
- Kansas City Royals (27-68)
- Pittsburgh Pirates (48-49)
- Cincinnati Reds (43-53)
- Miami Marlins (41-57)
- New York Mets (39-55)
- San Diego Padres (40-59)
Combined Odds: 99-1 (1 percent)
San Francisco Giants (50-48, Fourth in NL West)
Despite some key injuries and a patchwork starting rotation, the San Francisco Giants wrapped up the first half two games over .500.
However, with a 5-8 showing over their last 13 games, they'll need to find a way to shift the momentum when the second half begins.
The fact that Madison Bumgarner (8 GS, 3-3, 2.90 ERA) and Johnny Cueto (7 GS, 3-1, 2.36 ERA) made just 15 combined starts in the first half provides reason for optimism, provided they can stay healthy the rest of the way.
That said, the Giants are up against the luxury-tax threshold and have a thin farm system, so they're unlikely to make any significant additions made at the deadline. It will be up to the in-house crop of talent to make a run.
The Giants are a long shot, but they can't be counted out yet.
Odds: 99-1 (1 percent)
St. Louis Cardinals (48-46, Third in NL Central)
The St. Louis Cardinals have managed to hang around in the NL Central race thanks in large part to a starting rotation that ranks fourth in the majors with a 3.46 ERA.
Miles Mikolas (19 GS, 10-3, 2.79 ERA) has been a revelation, and veteran Bud Norris (17-of-19 SV, 3.05 ERA, 11.7 K/9) has provided much-needed stability at the back of the bullpen.
However, the offense could use a boost, as it ranks 13th in runs per game (4.39) and 19th in OPS (.714).
The Cardinals have posted a strong 26-18 record against the rest of the NL Central, which bodes well with a schedule full of in-division action in the second half, but they have a ways to go in the standings with a 7.5-game deficit to overcome.
Swinging a deal for a rental bat might be enough to push them into a wild-card spot (currently four games back).
That said, they've generally clung tightly to homegrown talent, so expecting another major trade after this offseason's Marcell Ozuna blockbuster might be wishful thinking.
Perhaps the Mike Matheny firing will provide a spark.
Odds: 99-1 (1 percent)
Colorado Rockies (51-45, Third in NL West)
The Colorado Rockies are on a roll at the All-Star break.
They've won 13 of their last 16 games to pull within two games of the NL West lead, and they lead the majors in ERA (2.74) and OPS (.874) in July.
If presumed ace Jon Gray (18 GS, 8-7, 5.44 ERA) can right the ship in the second half and lefties Kyle Freeland (19 GS, 8-6, 3.11 ERA) and Tyler Anderson (20 GS, 6-3, 3.72 ERA) can continue pitching at a high level, the starting staff would be in good shape.
The offense has room for improvement, as they're averaging 4.86 runs per game—down from 5.09 a year ago with essentially the same group of hitters.
The Rockies seem to be hitting their stride, and with the NL West seemingly up for grabs, their path to the postseason is not as encumbered as those of some of the other fringe contenders.
Odds: 49-1 (2 percent)
Oakland Athletics (55-42, Third in AL West)
Pleasant surprise doesn't do justice to the 2018 Oakland Athletics.
Despite going 75-87 last season, the team showed signs of life with a 17-7 record to close out the season. With a good group of young talent, there was hope the A's might be ready to take a step forward.
They've done that and then some.
Seven players entered the break with at least 10 home runs, including veteran Jed Lowrie (.849 OPS, 16 HR, 62 RBI), who was an All-Star for the first time and is having a career year at the age of 34.
That's helped the offense rack up 4.63 runs per game—good for 10th in the majors.
On the pitching side of things, the bullpen has been one of the best in baseball, going 24-8 with 29 saves in 36 chances and a 3.50 ERA that ranks eighth overall. Closer Blake Treinen (24-of-27 SV, 0.94 ERA, 11.4 K/9) has been a revelation and joined Lowrie on the AL All-Star team.
Oakland has the feel of one of those young clubs that doesn't know any better and will hang around in the postseason hunt. All things considered, even an appearance in the Wild Card Game would make this season a resounding success, though a title may be out of reach.
Odds: 49-1 (2 percent)
Seattle Mariners (58-39, Second in AL West)
The cloud of the longest postseason drought in the majors continues to hang over the Seattle Mariners.
They last reached the postseason in 2001, when they won 116 games during the regular season only to fall to the New York Yankees in five games in the ALCS.
In the 16 years since they've authored six winning seasons and had a few close calls, but they've been unable to clinch a spot in October.
While this year's squad roared out of the gates to a 55-31 start, it's stumbled of late with a 3-8 record and a minus-27 run differential in the last 11 games.
General manager Jerry Dipoto has never been afraid to pull the trigger on a trade, so don't be surprised if the Mariners are busy at the trade deadline. Starting pitching depth and a setup reliever would seem to be atop the wish list.
That said, ace James Paxton (back) needs to get healthy, and the unheralded duo of Marco Gonzales (19 GS, 10-5, 3.41 ERA) and Wade LeBlanc (14 GS, 5-1, 3.45 ERA) must keep pitching at a high level for this team to have a chance.
The next couple of weeks will show where the 2018 Mariners are headed.
Odds: 49-1 (2 percent)
Atlanta Braves (52-42, Second in NL East)
The Atlanta Braves have arrived as a contender sooner than most expected.
The emergence of young players like Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Dansby Swanson has provided a boost, veteran Nick Markakis is an All-Star for the first time, and superstar Freddie Freeman is a legitimate NL MVP candidate.
That group has been the driving force behind an offense that ranks third in the NL with 4.85 runs per game.
It's the starting rotation that could prove to be their downfall.
Mike Foltynewicz (18 GS, 7-5, 2.66 ERA) has been a breakout star, Sean Newcomb (19 GS, 8-5, 3.51 ERA) looks like a long-term piece and veteran Anibal Sanchez (11 GS, 4-2, 2.73 ERA) has been a great scrap-heap find.
However, the back of the rotation has been a revolving door, and the bullpen has been leaky at best with a 4.24 ERA (19th in MLB) and 22 saves in 33 chances.
This is clearly a franchise on the rise, and the farm system is loaded with top-tier pitching talent, so patience could be the answer to addressing the starting rotation.
Even if they're not there yet, the Braves look destined for title contention in the not-too-distant future.
Odds: 97-3 (3 percent)
Philadelphia Phillies (53-42, First in NL East)
The Philadelphia Phillies showed they're ready to contend when they opened up their wallets to sign Jake Arrieta (three years, $75 million), Carlos Santana (3/$60M), Tommy Hunter (2/$18M) and Pat Neshek (2/$16.25M) in free agency.
After winning just 66 games (.407 winning percentage) last season, they've already tallied 53 wins this season, and their .558 winning percentage gives them a half-game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East standings.
Arrieta (18 GS, 7-6, 3.23 ERA) has given the team a second front-line starter alongside Aaron Nola (20 GS, 12-3, 2.30 ERA), and Zach Eflin (12 GS, 7-2, 3.15 ERA) has been a pleasant surprise, but the back of the starting rotation remains a question mark.
The offense could also use some added punch as they've averaged just 4.33 runs per game (20th in MLB) and a .236/.319/.390 combined line.
The Phillies could look to make a splash at the trade deadline, but this team is also still largely focused on the future.
If nothing else, the NL East should be an exciting battle down to the wire.
Odds: 97-3 (3 percent)
Milwaukee Brewers (55-43, Second in NL Central)
The Milwaukee Brewers were squarely in the midst of a rebuild with an 89-loss season in 2016, but they surprised more than a few people when they won 86 games last season and hung around in the wild-card race into the second half.
They doubled down on that performance with an aggressive offseason that saw them add Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich to an already potent offense.
The addition of that duo and a huge breakout performance from Jesus Aguilar (.995 OPS, 24 HR, 70 RBI) give the offense plenty of firepower.
However, they failed to add an impact starter during the offseason, which still may hold them back from seriously contending.
The eventual return of Jimmy Nelson will provide a spark, and rookie Freddy Peralta (7 GS, 4-1, 2.65 ERA) has been a surprise contributor. This starting staff doesn't stack up to some of the top-tier contenders around the league, though.
They'll also need to right the ship after going 2-8 to close out the first half.
This year's Brewers team looks to have more staying power than the 2017 version, but they may still be a year away from taking that next step.
Odds: 24-1 (4 percent)
Arizona Diamondbacks (53-44, Second in NL West)
The Arizona Diamondbacks upped their win total from 69 to 93 last season thanks in large part to one of the best starting rotations in baseball.
Things have been a bit shakier in that department this season. Taijuan Walker (Tommy John surgery) is out for the season, and Robbie Ray (10 GS, 3-2, 5.03 ERA) looks like a shell of the pitcher who finished seventh in NL Cy Young voting a year ago.
Offensively, the catcher (.199/.282/.347), shortstop (.233/.291/.436) and right field (.191/.263/.302) positions have provided less-than-stellar production.
The D-backs followed an 8-19 month of May by going 19-9 in June, and that roller coaster might continue unless they can find stability at the back of the rotation and some answers at those aforementioned positions.
A thin farm system will likely prevent any blockbuster deals, but they could benefit greatly from a couple of mid-level additions.
The NL West is wide open, which could be reason enough for them to be serious shoppers at the deadline.
That said, getting Ray back to form as the No. 2 starter behind Zack Greinke will be crucial if they hope to make a serious October run.
Odds: 19-1 (5 percent)
Washington Nationals (48-48, Third in NL East)
The Washington Nationals have captured four division titles in six years and won 97 games last season.
However, they have failed to advance beyond the division series during that span, and the clock is ticking on the current core with Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Gio Gonzalez all headed for free agency.
They were 33-22 with a one-game lead in the NL East on May 30. They've gone 15-26 since—the second-worst record in the National League during that span.
So what's next?
It's unlikely the team would consider selling with so much money invested in the current roster and Harper likely headed for greener pastures once the season is over.
On paper, this is a tremendously talented team that is capable of making a run in the second half if it can stay healthy.
Despite a disappointing .500 record, the Nationals are just 5.5 games back in the NL East and are chasing a pair of inexperienced clubs in the Braves and Phillies.
Odds: 47-3 (6 percent)
Cleveland Indians (52-43, First in AL Central)
The Cleveland Indians led the AL with 102 wins last season after coming within one win of a World Series title in 2016.
An ultra-weak AL Central has led some to question why they're not off to a better start, and they will need to improve a 21-24 record on the road.
Still, this is a top-tier team.
The starting rotation ranks third in the majors with a 3.46 ERA, and an emerging Trevor Bauer (20 GS, 8-6, 2.24 ERA) has given the team another front-line starter alongside reigning Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco.
The offense also remains one of the best in baseball with 5.13 runs per game and a stacked lineup that features AL MVP candidate Jose Ramirez (1.029 OPS, 29 HR, 70 RBI)
However, the bullpen is not what it was in recent seasons.
- 2016: 3.45 ERA (4th in MLB), 37-of-48 SV (.771)
- 2017: 2.89 ERA (1st in MLB), 37-of-47 SV (.787)
- 2018: 5.28 ERA (29th in MLB), 23-of-34 SV (.676)
They should coast to another division title, but the relief corps will need to improve if they're going to return to the Fall Classic.
Odds: 23-2 (8 percent)
Los Angeles Dodgers (53-43, First in NL West)
After a rocky 16-26 start, the Los Angeles Dodgers once again look like a World Series contender.
They've gone 37-17 since then with a plus-86 run differential, including a 10-4 stretch of games to close out the first half.
Losing shortstop Corey Seager for the season was a major blow, and he's one of a number of key players who have spent time on the disabled list.
Max Muncy (1.013 OPS, 22 HR, 41 RBI), Matt Kemp (.874 OPS, 15 HR, 60 RBI) and Ross Stripling (25 G, 14 GS, 8-2, 2.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) have helped to offset the injuries, and the team is banking on those performances to carry over into the second half.
They've also been reported as the leading contenders to acquire Manny Machado, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
That said, the key to their season might be the health of the starting rotation as 11 different pitchers have started at least one game.
They have the talent to return to the World Series, and momentum is on their side since their rocky start.
At the same time, this team is a slight downgrade from the one that won 104 games and still came up short a year ago. Deadline acquisitions could make all the difference.
Odds: 23-2 (8 percent)
New York Yankees (62-33, Second in AL East)
The New York Yankees won 91 games and reached the ALCS last season in what many expected to be a retooling season of sorts after they were sellers for the first time in recent memory during the 2016 season.
That surprise performance didn't stop them from making a splash during the offseason, as they swung a blockbuster deal to acquire NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton.
But do they have enough pitching to win a title?
Luis Severino (20 GS, 14-2, 2.31 ERA) is a bona fide ace, and CC Sabathia (18 GS, 6-4, 3.51 ERA) continues to defy Father Time.
However, Masahiro Tanaka (15 GS, 7-2, 4.54 ERA) and Sonny Gray (18 GS, 6-7, 5.46 ERA) have been inconsistent at best, and a number of guys have taken a turn in the No. 5 starter role since Jordan Montgomery was lost for the season.
Swinging a trade for a rental starter like J.A. Happ or Cole Hamels is one potential deadline approach, while they also have the chips to target a controllable starter like Michael Fulmer.
Until they find a way to upgrade the starting rotation, they look like a clear No. 3 in the AL behind the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros.
At the same time, they might be one impact arm away from hoisting another World Series trophy.
Odds: 9-1 (10 percent)
Chicago Cubs (55-38, First in NL Central)
The Chicago Cubs are the best team in the National League right now.
Anthony Rizzo (.748 OPS, 12 HR, 61 RBI) and Yu Darvish (8 GS, 1-3, 4.95 ERA) both fell well short of the superstar-level production expected of them during the first half.
The same goes for Kris Bryant (.867 OPS, 10 HR, 40 RBI), Kyle Hendricks (19 GS, 6-8, 3.92 ERA) and Jose Quintana (18 GS, 8-6, 3.96 ERA) on a lesser scale.
It's possible all five players will put up significantly better numbers after the All-Star break, providing a huge in-house boost that could trump any deadline activity.
They have the highest-scoring offense in the NL (5.12 runs per game) and a standout bullpen (3.09 ERA, fourth in MLB), and Jon Lester (19 GS, 12-2, 2.58 ERA) is once again pitching like an ace atop the rotation.
This team hasn't hit its stride, yet it's perched atop the NL Central standings.
Odds: 22-3 (12 percent)
Boston Red Sox (68-30, First in AL East)
The Boston Red Sox lacked punch in the middle of the lineup last season following the retirement of slugger David Ortiz.
- 2016: 208 HR (ninth in MLB), .810 OPS (first in MLB)
- 2017: 168 HR (27th), .736 OPS (22nd)
Enter J.D. Martinez.
The free-agent slugger signed a five-year, $109.95 million deal during the offseason, and he's been worth every penny with a 1.037 OPS and MLB-leading home run (29) and RBI (80) totals.
The starting rotation looks stronger than it did a year ago with David Price (19 GS, 10-6, 4.42 ERA) back healthy and Eduardo Rodriguez (19 GS, 11-3, 3.44 ERA) finally living up to expectations. Chris Sale (20 GS, 10-4, 2.23 ERA) is once again having a Cy Young-caliber season.
Finding a quality setup reliever to bridge the gap to closer Craig Kimbrel and upgrading at second base appear to be the two biggest deadline needs.
That said, even if the Red Sox stand pat, they have the necessary pieces to contend for a World Series title.
But they'll need to get past the reigning champs.
Odds: 22-3 (12 percent)
Houston Astros (64-35, First in AL West)
Here's a scary thought for the rest of baseball: The 2018 Houston Astros are better than the team that won a World Series title a year ago.
The starting rotation leads the majors in ERA (3.02), WHIP (1.07) and quality starts (69), as a full season of Justin Verlander and the addition of Gerrit Cole has taken that group to another level.
Meanwhile, the offense is just as dangerous as it was a year ago, if not more so with the emergence of Alex Bregman (.928 OPS, 20 HR, 64 RBI) as a star-level performer.
If there's one area the Astros could stand to upgrade, it's the back of the bullpen.
Closer Ken Giles has been optioned to Triple-A, and Will Harris has not been as reliable as in years past. Even with strong seasons from Hector Rondon and Collin McHugh, they could stand to add a proven setup reliever.
All things considered, though, Houston looks poised to make another serious push for a title.
Odds: 4-1 (20 percent)
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, unless otherwise noted.