2018 World Series Odds for Every MLB Contender with Trade Season Dust Settled

Jacob Shafer@@jacobshaferFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2018

2018 World Series Odds for Every MLB Contender with Trade Season Dust Settled

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    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    Just because we're past the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, that doesn't mean the MLB landscape is completely settled. Deals can still happen via the waiver process. Injuries can strike.

    That said, we've got a good idea of where things stand and where they may stand through October. Thus, it's as good a time as any to update World Series odds for every contender.

    We're defining "contender" as any team with a record above .500. That let a few fringe teams (such as the San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates) slip in on the Dumb & Dumber "so you're telling me there's a chance!" train.

    Odds are generated by Bleacher Report, with stats and standings current entering play Monday.

American League West

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    Houston Astros (71-42 record)

    The Houston Astros didn't make a Justin Verlander-level splash at the 2018 deadline but did bolster their bullpen with the additions of Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna and acquired catching depth with Martin Maldonado. 

    The biggest obstacle for the defending champions will be injuries. Co-stars Jose Altuve (knee) and Carlos Correa (back) have been on the shelf. And right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. was placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday with elbow discomfort.

    If the health issues subside, the 'Stros have the talent to defend their 2017 title. At the moment, though, that's a serious "if."

    Odds: 17-3 (15 percent)


    Oakland Athletics (67-46)

    The Oakland A's have been one of the coolest underdog stories of 2018 and have a real shot at grabbing one of the American League's wild-card berths. They also acquired late-inning reliever Jeurys Familia from the New York Mets before the deadline.

    Oakland's rotation is iffy after ace Sean Manaea, though they can lean on an offense that's tied for sixth in the game with a .752 OPS.

    The A's are a long shot just as they've been since spring training, but so far they've shown it's foolish to count them out.

    Odds: 19-1 (5 percent)


    Seattle Mariners (64-48)

    The Seattle Mariners have serious issues, including a pitching staff that sports a middling 4.08 ERA. General manager Jerry Dipoto did his typical tinkering at the deadline but didn't acquire an ace or a massive difference-maker at any other position.

    To make matters worse, Seattle has a tough upcoming schedule, with 16 of 22 games on the road between August 9 and September 2, and 20 of those games against clubs deemed contenders on this list.

    The Mariners' chances of breaking their 16-year playoff drought are dim, let alone their chances of winning the first title in franchise history.

    Odds: 49-1 (2 percent)


    Non-contenders: Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers

American League Central

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    Cleveland Indians (61-49)

    The Cleveland Indians could have done nothing at the deadline and cruised to another division title in the laughably weak AL Central. They're not merely trying to win the division, however. They're trying to break the longest active World Series drought in baseball.

    With that in mind, they added left-handed bullpen stud Brad Hand from the San Diego Padres and outfielder Leonys Martin from the Detroit Tigers.

    With Trevor Bauer emerging as a co-ace to join Corey Kluber, and Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez anchoring the offense, Cleveland has enough pieces to make a deep run, though they'll be staunchly challenged in the top-heavy Junior Circuit.

    Odds: 9-1 (10 percent)


    Non-contenders: Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins

American League East

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    Boston Red Sox (79-34)

    The Boston Red Sox made ancillary trade additions with the acquisitions of Nathan Eovaldi and Ian Kinsler. Then again, they didn't need to overhaul a roster that already had them in first place.

    J.D. Martinez and MVP candidate Mookie Betts lead the offense that's tops in baseball in runs scored and OPS. These Red Sox can hit.

    Now, the wet blanket: Ace Chris Sale is on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation and is going to miss a second straight start. 

    Even with a healthy Sale, Boston's rotation has question marks. Without him, the Sox's chances of winning a title would be something in the vicinity of zero.

    Odds: 9-1 (10 percent)


    New York Yankees (68-42)

    The New York Yankees buttressed their pitching staff by picking up Zach Britton, J.A. Happ (currently out with hand, foot and mouth disease) and Lance Lynn. They're a near-lock to grab a wild-card slot, though catching the Red Sox appears less likely.

    Going through the do-or-die Wild Card Game crucible adds another impediment to a World Series run. The Yanks need key young offensive cogs Aaron Judge (wrist) and Gary Sanchez (groin) to return to health and ace Luis Severino (23 earned runs allowed in his last 25 innings) to return to effectiveness.

    That said, New York has a deep bullpen and the offensive firepower to be dangerous come playoff time.

    Odds: 23-2 (8 percent)


    Non-contenders: Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays

National League West

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    Los Angeles Dodgers (62-51)

    The Los Angeles Dodgers reeled in the trade deadline's biggest fish in Manny Machado, and they also acquired second baseman Brian Dozier from the Minnesota Twins. 

    With ace Clayton Kershaw seeming to shake off his early injury woes, Los Angeles is the favorite to win a sixth straight division title.

    Then, the quest becomes winning the franchise's first World Series since 1988. As that drought proves, it's no sure thing, but the Dodgers are well-positioned.

    Odds: 17-3 (15 percent)


    Arizona Diamondbacks (62-51)

    The Arizona Diamondbacks were active at the deadline and acquired third baseman Eduardo Escobar as well as relievers Matt Andriese, Jake Diekman and Brad Ziegler. 

    Will that be enough to keep pace with and surpass the Dodgers for division supremacy? That's questionable.

    The D-backs are in an excellent position to make the postseason for the second straight year, however, and with an improved bullpen and a rotation fronted by Zack Greinke and Patrick Corbin, they're not to be taken lightly.

    Odds: 19-1 (5 percent)


    Colorado Rockies (59-52)

    The Colorado Rockies are just two games back in the division, but their offense has been sputtering, their bullpen has wobbled and their starting rotation, overall, sports a 4.29 ERA.

    They look, in short, like a club that should have made some aggressive trades prior to July 31. Instead, the Rockies made no notable moves and opted to roll with its current weapons. 

    They may regret that decision.

    Odds: 97-3 (3 percent)


    San Francisco Giants (57-56)

    Everything we just said about the Rockies can be said, but even more so, about the Giants.

    Yes, San Francisco has an October-tested nucleus led by Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner. Sure, why not, it's an even year. But the Giants sat on their hands at the deadline, neither selling nor buying and doubling down on a roster that's spent the season clinging to .500.

    With Johnny Cueto lost for the season to Tommy John surgery and multiple teams to leapfrog in the wild-card race, it would require more late-season magic than ever before for the Giants to hoist another Commissioner's Trophy. 

    Odds: 99-1 (1 percent)


    Non-contender: San Diego Padres

National League Central

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    Chicago Cubs (64-47)

    The addition of veteran left-hander Cole Hamels from the Texas Rangers provided needed depth for the Chicago Cubs rotation. The offense leads the National League in OPS, though star third baseman Kris Bryant is sidelined with a shoulder issue.

    The Cubs are locked in a dogfight with the pesky Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. Winning the division and avoiding the Wild Card Game must be priority No. 1.

    After that, the Cubs will have to measure themselves against the Dodgers and the upstarts out East. It won't be easy, but after winning a title in 2016 and advancing to the National League Championship Series in 2017, Chicago has at least a puncher's chance.

    Odds: 9-1 (10 percent)


    Milwaukee Brewers (65-50)

    The Brewers clearly sense they can catch the Cubs and acted accordingly, adding reliever Joakim Soria, third baseman Mike Moustakas and second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

    The Brew Crew is held back, however, by a starting rotation that lacks a clear ace. That will be especially true if Milwaukee is thrust into the Wild Card Game, where having an unambiguous No. 1 starter with proven credentials is huge. 

    The Brewers are in the thick of the playoff mix, but a deep run feels a bit beyond their grasp.

    Odds: 19-1 (5 percent)


    St. Louis Cardinals (58-54)

    The St. Louis Cardinals eschewed any significant deadline additions. They're above .500 and technically in the race, but savvy Cards fans surely understand this isn't the Redbirds' year.

    That said, they've got enough talent on the big league roster and in the MiLB pipeline—including an enviable group of young pitchers—to set themselves up for contention in the near-term and avoid a total rebuild.

    And, hey, who knows? Miracles do happen.

    Odds: 99-1 (1 percent)


    Pittsburgh Pirates (57-55)

    The Pittsburgh Pirates shipped out franchise icon Andrew McCutchen and ace Gerrit Cole this winter and appeared to be replacing their skull-and-crossbones flag with a white one.

    Yet, the Bucs have competed in 2018 and sit on the outer edge of contention. What's more, they got aggressive at the deadline and acquired ace Chris Archer from the Tampa Bay Rays.

    That probably won't be enough to get them to the postseason, but it's an unexpected turn of events to be sure.

    Odds: 99-1 (1 percent)


    Non-contender: Cincinnati Reds

National League East

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    Philadelphia Phillies (63-48)

    The Philadelphia Phillies acquired infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and catcher Wilson Ramos, who is working his way back from a hamstring injury, to boost the offense. Their pitching staff is tied for sixth in baseball with a 3.77 ERA.

    These Phils are blossoming ahead of schedule and looking like genuine contenders. 

    They're also a young squad that could wilt under the glare of the postseason lights, if they get there. If you're in a betting mood, this is a horse that could shock the world or stumble out of the starting gate.

    Either way, it'll be interesting. 

    Odds: 19-1 (5 percent)


    Atlanta Braves (60-48)

    Like the Phillies, the Atlanta Braves have arrived sooner than expected. They also have a core of burgeoning young stars.

    That core includes outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., who plies his trade alongside stalwart veterans like first baseman Freddie Freeman.

    Braves pitchers are also tied for eighth in the game with a 3.84 ERA, and Atlanta was active at the deadline, adding pitchers Johnny Venters, Brad Brach, Kevin Gausman and Darren O'Day as well as slugger Adam Duvall.

    None of those pickups fundamentally shifted the balance of power in the AL East, let alone the division, but they set Atlanta up to compete for a playoff spot and then...who knows?

    Odds: 19-1 (5 percent)


    Washington Nationals (57-54)

    Who but the most diehard Phillies and Braves boosters imagined the Washington Nationals looking up at those young clubs in the NL East come August?

    That's where we are, though, and Washington is running out of time to make a run in Bryce Harper's probable D.C. swan song.

    Max Scherzer is an ace among aces. Harper fronts an offense that's full of quality hitters, including 19-year-old future superstar Juan Soto. Yet, injuries have beset the Nats, and they've just never been able to get going.

    Maybe they will. But the clock is loudly ticking.

    Odds: 97-3 (3 percent)


    Non-contenders: Miami Marlins, New York Mets


    All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.