Power Ranking All 30 MLB Teams' 2019 World Series Hopes

Zachary D. Rymer@zachrymerMLB Lead WriterMarch 29, 2019

Power Ranking All 30 MLB Teams' 2019 World Series Hopes

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Thursday was Opening Day of the 2019 Major League Baseball season. Among other things, that means the World Series is still a long way off.

    That doesn't mean we can't wonder which teams are best equipped to win it.

    For the purpose of these power rankings, we're less interested in how teams stack up right now and more interested in how far they could ultimately go in October. 

    Strong, well-balanced rosters are preferred, but the "well-balanced" part is negotiable. There are some teams that could repurpose their best players for different roles.

    For kicks, we've also thrown in some casually calculated odds for each team to win it all.  

30. Baltimore Orioles

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    Dylan Bundy
    Dylan BundyAdam Glanzman/Getty Images

    2018 Record: 47-115, 5th in AL East



    The Baltimore Orioles lost 115 games last season because they couldn't do anything well.

    Their offense ranked 27th in runs scored per game, and their poor defense and woeful pitching teamed up to rank 30th in runs allowed per game. Frankly, how they even managed to win 47 games is something of a marvel.

    The 2019 Orioles at least know what direction they're headed in under new general manager Mike Elias, but it doesn't involve contending. The team's roster is populated by has-beens and likely never-will-bes, and what few players who carry some intrigue (e.g., Dylan Bundy and Mychal Givens) are only there to be trade bait.

    These Orioles' chances of even making it to October? Pretty tiny. And of winning the World Series? Practically subatomic.

    Odds: 0.01 percent

29. Miami Marlins

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    Don Mattingly
    Don MattinglyPatrick Semansky/Associated Press

    2018 Record: 63-98, 5th in NL East



    Need a reason to believe in the 2019 Miami Marlins? Here's one: their starting rotation.

    Up top is Jose Urena, who brings the heat with a 95.8 mph average fastball. After him come fellow 20-somethings Trevor Richards, Pablo Lopez, Sandy Alcantara and Caleb Smith, who combined for a 2.65 ERA and 76 strikeouts across 68 innings in spring training.

    On the offensive side, there's slugging catcher Jorge Alfaro, underrated third baseman Brian Anderson and bucket-of-tools center fielder Lewis Brinson. Each has star potential.

    Still, Alfaro is no J.T. Realmuto, and the rest of Miami's roster has more dead space than Visceral Games. They're easily the worst team in an ultra-deep National League, and therefore the least likely to do the league proud in the Fall Classic.

    Odds: 0.02 percent

28. Detroit Tigers

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    Miguel Cabrera (C)
    Miguel Cabrera (C)Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    2018 Record: 64-98, 3rd in AL Central



    If anything good has come out of the Detroit Tigers' spring, it's the status of two key veterans.

    One is Miguel Cabrera, whose comeback from biceps surgery began with a 1.142 OPS in Grapefruit League play. Another is Jordan Zimmermann, who struck out 21 and walked four in 17.1 innings.

    Cabrera will be supported in Detroit's lineup by fellow veteran slugger Nicholas Castellanos, and Jeimer Candelario and Christin Stewart are standing by to provide youthful energy. Alongside Zimmermann is underrated left-hander Matt Boyd, and Shane Greene and Joe Jimenez are exciting relievers.

    The Tigers will miss Michael Fulmer while he recovers from Tommy John surgery, however, and there's simply not enough talent around their precious few stars to believe that contention is possible. 

    Detroit will be a World Series contender when the best prospects from its No. 11 farm system arrive and get comfortable, but that won't be until 2020 at the earliest.

    Odds: 0.03 percent

27. Kansas City Royals

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    Adalberto Mondesi (L) and Whit Merrifield (R)
    Adalberto Mondesi (L) and Whit Merrifield (R)Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    2018 Record: 58-104, 5th in AL Central



    Despite how dreadful their 2018 season was, the Kansas City Royals are attempting to move forward without tearing it all down and rebuilding from the ground up.

    If nothing else, they have a lineup worth believing in. Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi have it in them to be a spectacular up-the-middle duo. Alex Gordon, Jorge Soler and Hunter Dozier are riding high after hot springs. Plus, this Royals offense definitely has speed.

    Alas, the Royals will miss having Salvador Perez behind the plate as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Elsewhere, staff ace Danny Duffy's most recent shoulder issue is the latest reason to doubt he's indeed the "staff ace."

    This Royals pitching staff may not improve on the 29th-ranked 4.94 ERA it gave up last year. While certainly interesting, their offense isn't good enough to brush that aside and carry the team.

    Odds: 0.04 percent

26. Chicago White Sox

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    Eloy Jimenez
    Eloy JimenezRon Vesely/Getty Images

    2018 Record: 62-100, 4th in AL Central



    After missing out on Manny Machado and Bryce Harper in free agency, the Chicago White Sox needed to do something to bring their bright future just a little closer in 2019.

    They've done so by putting their chips on Eloy Jimenez, who's otherwise known as MLB.com's No. 3 prospect. Chicago inked him to a six-year contract on March 22 and officially put him on its 25-man roster Tuesday.

    Between Jimenez, Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, Yonder Alonso, Daniel Palka and Adam Engel, this White Sox lineup has enough power and speed to make you steeple your fingers and say, "Excellent!"

    Ah, but can they pitch?

    If Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito and Ryan Burr achieve their ceilings while Ivan Nova, Ervin Santana, Alex Colome and Kelvin Herrera turn back their clocks, maybe. But that's a lot that needs to go right, and the White Sox will have only have half of a functional contender if it doesn't.

    Odds: 0.05 percent

25. Texas Rangers

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    Joey Gallo
    Joey GalloNorm Hall/Getty Images

    2018 Record: 67-95, 5th in AL West



    The only thing that kept the Texas Rangers from losing more than 95 games last season was their offense, which averaged a solid 4.6 runs per game.

    Though Adrian Beltre and Jurickson Profar are now out of the picture, the Rangers offense might make up for that with enough help from veterans Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus, Asdrubal Cabrera and Hunter Pence and young sluggers Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor and Nomar Mazara.

    Elsewhere, a rotation of Mike Minor, Lance Lynn, Drew Smyly, Edinson Volquez and Shelby Miller would have been great, oh, five years ago. But in 2019, it's a mix of damaged goods and guys past their primes. 

    In recent years, we've seen teams downplay weak rotations with deep bullpens. But unless the Rangers are planning on cloning unhittable righty Jose Leclerc, they're ill-equipped to use that strategy in the unlikely event they even make the postseason.

    Odds: 0.10 percent

24. San Francisco Giants

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    Madison Bumgarner
    Madison BumgarnerMatt York/Associated Press

    2018 Record: 73-89, 4th in NL West



    The San Francisco Giants have some intriguing young players in their midst, including defensive wiz center fielder Steven Duggar and sneaky-good right-hander Dereck Rodriguez.

    The Giants also have an underrated bullpen. Headed by lefty Will Smith and righty Mark Melancon, it's potentially one of the 10 best relief corps in MLB.

    The only way the Giants will return to World Series contention, however, is if their many veterans turn back the proverbial clock. In particular, Buster Posey at catcher and Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik and Brandon Belt around the horn, plus Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija on the mound.

    Perhaps these guys will be determined to send retiring manager Bruce Bochy off with a bang. But if the O.G. skipper known as "Father Time" continues to keep them down, it'll be another disappointing season in the Bay Area.

    Odds: 0.15 percent

23. Seattle Mariners

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    Mitch Haniger
    Mitch HanigerMasterpress/Getty Images

    2018 Record: 89-73, 3rd in AL West



    The Seattle Mariners got a leg up on everyone else by sweeping a two-game set in Japan against the Oakland Athletics to open 2019. They then racked up a dozen runs on Opening Day, and against the reigning World Series champions, to boot.

    Offense would indeed appear to be these Mariners' best hope at going far. Resident star Mitch Haniger will do his part, and the early returns from newcomers Domingo Santana, Tim Beckham and Jay Bruce are positive.

    It's still hard to know what to expect from Seattle's run prevention, however. It was a middle-of-the-road unit in 2018, and that was with James Paxton and Edwin Diaz. Making up for their absence will require a few surprises from a pitching staff full of red flags and question marks.

    Sure, they currently lead MLB in wins. Yet these Mariners haven't yet proved they're better than a 2018 club that needed lots of luck to win even 89 games.

    Odds: 0.20 percent

22. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    2018 Record: 73-89, 4th in AL East



    The Toronto Blue Jays aren't much to look at right now, but just wait.

    It won't be long before their lineup is infused with third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and shortstop Bo Bichette. They rank as MLB.com's No. 1 and No. 11 prospects, respectively, and both are talented enough to do their famous fathers proud.

    Slugging first base prospect Rowdy Tellez should also be heard from at some point, and well-rounded catching prospect Danny Jansen already has a job. Together with some combination of Randal Grichuk and Justin Smoak, the young guys should eventually give the Blue Jays a strong offensive backbone.

    All they would need then is some pitching. This is where they really only have Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, who'd need to pull a Johnson-and-Schilling act to get the Blue Jays through October. 

    That's if they even get there, of course. The top of the AL East certainly won't make it easy.

    Odds: 0.25 percent

21. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Robbie Ray
    Robbie RayElaine Thompson/Associated Press

    2018 Record: 82-80, 3rd in NL West



    The Arizona Diamondbacks lost Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock and Patrick Corbin over the winter, and they didn't make much of an effort to replace them with comparable star power.

    They must therefore place their hopes in what stars they still have, starting with Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray. Their styles are drastically different, yet they can combine to form an elite rotation duo.

    There's decent upside in Arizona's lineup as well. David Peralta, Eduardo Escobar and Adam Jones, in particular, are capable veterans, and Ketel Marte and Jake Lamb have star potential.

    However, the D-backs will miss Steven Souza Jr., who's out for the year with an injured knee. There's also the problem of how thin their pitching talent gets after Greinke and Ray. That'll make it tough to keep up in the NL West race, much less to do battle against any one of the NL's well-rounded contenders in October.

    Odds: 0.50 percent

20. Cincinnati Reds

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    Yasiel Puig
    Yasiel PuigAssociated Press

    2018 Record: 67-95, 5th in NL Central



    While most teams laid low, the Cincinnati Reds remade themselves into a contender over the winter.

    Their lineup now has Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to support Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez. Though both are injured right now, veteran slugger Scooter Gennett and top prospect Nick Senzel (MLB.com's No. 6) will slot into second base and center field before the end of the year.

    Mind you, this won't mean much if the Reds don't improve a pitching staff that had a 4.63 ERA last season.

    Their Raisel Iglesias-led bullpen should do its part well enough, but the big question is whether the team's rotation will hold its own. That hinges on Sonny Gray, Alex Wood, Tanner Roark and Anthony DeSclafani putting difficult 2018 seasons behind them, which is asking a lot.

    This doesn't mean the Reds have a bad World Series schematic, but it's definitely one of the more volatile in the National League.

    Odds: 0.75 percent

19. Los Angeles Angels

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    Mike Trout
    Mike TroutElaine Thompson/Associated Press

    2018 Record: 80-82, 4th in AL West



    Kudos to the Los Angeles Angels for recently making Mike Trout an Angel for life. Now all they have to do is win at least one World Series while he's still in town.

    Trout is the best there is, and it's easy enough to trust in Justin Upton, Andrelton Simmons and (when healthy) Shohei Ohtani to help him carry the lineup. All together, that's one of the better offensive cores in MLB.

    Where else the Angels might get help this season, however, is as good a question as any.

    Albert Pujols has almost certainly outlived his usefulness, and Kole Calhoun, Zack Cozart and Jonathan Lucroy may be there, too. And while the team's Matt Harvey- and Trevor Cahill-led mound staff may be good enough for the regular season, it could easily be outclassed in October.

    Put simply, the Angels aren't winning one for Trout this year unless a lot goes right.

    Odds: 1.00 percent

18. San Diego Padres

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    Manny Machado
    Manny MachadoRalph Freso/Getty Images

    2018 Record: 66-96, 5th in NL West



    No team has improved its World Series outlook more over the last two months than the San Diego Padres.

    First came the signing of Manny Machado in February. Then came a spring season in which he and the rest of the Padres cranked out 48 homers. Helping out with that was a collection of talented youngsters that was extended with the addition of 20-year-old shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (MLB.com's No. 2) on Tuesday.

    Following a superb showing in the second half of 2018, the Padres at least boasted a strong bullpen at the start of the spring. There's now some upside in their rotation in the form of young righty Chris Paddack, who racked up a 1.76 ERA and 24 strikeouts in spring training.

    Whether there's enough starting pitching depth around Paddack is the big question. But when viewed against a backdrop of everything else they have, it's a question that might not keep these Padres from a surprise World Series run.

    Odds: 1.25 percent

17. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Chris Archer
    Chris ArcherMichael Reaves/Getty Images

    2018 Record: 82-79, 4th in NL Central



    If the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to put on some Sister Sledge and make a run to the World Series in 2019, it'll be first and foremost because of their pitching.

    Pittsburgh finished 2018 with a 3.52 ERA (fourth in MLB) in the second half, and pretty much everyone who contributed to that is back for more this year. As if that doesn't bode well enough, there's also the reality that the Pirates haven't yet seen the best of two-time All-Star Chris Archer.

    But after scoring only 4.3 runs per game last year, can the Pirates offense do its part?

    There's enough depth and capability in their lineup to consider the possibility of them making like the 2010, 2012 and 2014 Giants and getting just enough offense to make it through October. But anything less than that wouldn't do, and any more than that may not be possible with this group.

    Odds: 1.50 percent

16. Minnesota Twins

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    Byron Buxton (L) and Nelson Cruz (R)
    Byron Buxton (L) and Nelson Cruz (R)Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    2018 Record: 78-84, 2nd in AL Central



    The Minnesota Twins caught everyone by surprise when they made the playoffs in 2017. They may be ready to do so all over again in 2019.

    Offensively, they stand to get plenty of extra power from newcomers Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop, C.J. Cron and Marwin Gonzalez. Byron Buxton, meanwhile, is coming off a 1.249 OPS in spring training. If he can keep that up while also showing off his wheels and his arm, he'll have MVP potential.

    The Twins didn't add many new pitchers to a staff that put up a 4.50 ERA in 2018, but new pitching coach Wes Johnson might turn things around anyway. He's an analytics and biomechanics guru whose work had Twins camp buzzing with excitement.

    The Twins won't be going anywhere if Johnson's influence goes bust. But if it works as intended, the Twins will combat their opponents with power hitting and power pitching. That's an especially good blueprint for the playoffs.

    Odds: 1.75 percent

15. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Paul Goldschmidt
    Paul GoldschmidtMark Brown/Getty Images

    2018 Record: 88-74, 3rd in NL Central



    The St. Louis Cardinals were good enough to win 88 games last season, and then they made big splashes on Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew Miller.

    An offense led by Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter sounds pretty good. There's also upside elsewhere, particularly in shortstop Paul DeJong and outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Tyler O'Neill.

    Otherwise, the Cardinals got bad news when Carlos Martinez came down with a shoulder injury at the start of spring training. They're OK for now, but fellow righties Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright are two more injury-prone arms to worry about.

    If the Cardinals can at least make it to the postseason, however, they might rally around a rotation headed by Miles Mikolas and Jack Flaherty and a bullpen anchored by Miller, Jordan Hicks, presumably Dakota Hudson and possibly a fully functional version of top prospect Alex Reyes (MLB.com's No. 33).

    Combined with their offense, that could be good enough to straighten their path to the World Series.

    Odds: 2.00 percent

14. Colorado Rockies

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    Nolan Arenado
    Nolan ArenadoNorm Hall/Getty Images

    2018 Record: 91-72, 2nd in NL West

    Playoffs: Lost NLDS



    The 2018 Colorado Rockies made it to October only to have the Milwaukee Brewers expose their offense.

    The addition of Daniel Murphy should take some of the pressure off Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon. Just as exciting, perhaps, is the prospect of young incumbents such as Ryan McMahon, David Dahl and Garrett Hampson lightening the load even more.

    A bigger concern is in Colorado's bullpen, where there's an Adam Ottavino-sized hole that won't be covered up unless Wade Davis, Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw live up to their track records.

    If they do, however, the Rockies will boast the best pitching staff they've ever had. Because they also have a pair of aces in Kyle Freeland and German Marquez, and Tyler Anderson and Jon Gray have upside as a 3-4 duo.

    Getting there won't be easy, but these Rockies are better prepared to make it through October than the '18 iteration was.

    Odds: 2.50 percent

13. Atlanta Braves

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    Ozzie Albies (L) and Ronald Acuna Jr. (R)
    Ozzie Albies (L) and Ronald Acuna Jr. (R)Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    2018 Record: 90-72, 1st in NL East

    Playoffs: Lost NLDS



    Perhaps the biggest reason to believe in the Atlanta Braves as a World Series contender is not what they have now, but what they might have later if they elect to trade from their No. 2 farm system for the sake of shoring up their pitching staff.

    But if what they have right now must be appraised, their lineup is certainly the exciting part. 

    After winning 2018 NL Rookie of the Year, Ronald Acuna Jr. has MVP potential as a sophomore. Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson are two more exciting young players, and Freddie Freeman, Josh Donaldson and Nick Markakis should provide veteran oomph. 

    Moreover, the Braves should once again get excellent defense out of their lineup.

    But at least for now, the big question is if their decidedly young mound staff is ready to carry the team. The talent is definitely there, but experience and durability could materialize as roadblocks in October.

    Odds: 3.00 percent

12. Cleveland Indians

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    Francisco Lindor (L) and Jose Ramirez (R)
    Francisco Lindor (L) and Jose Ramirez (R)Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    2018 Record: 91-71, 1st in AL Central

    Playoffs: Lost ALDS



    Given how much talent they lost over the winter, the Cleveland Indians could face a difficult road to the postseason in 2019.

    But if nothing else, Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber comprise the best starting rotation in MLB. And if manager Terry Francona were to use them in relief roles in October, the shortage of bullpen talent around Brad Hand would be rendered moot.

    Cleveland's offense will have Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez—who combined for a .903 OPS, 77 homers and 59 steals in 2018—at the top come the playoffs. It's a bit thin around them this year, but at least there's some decent power to be found.

    But while these Indians do indeed have a path to the World Series, it would be smoother if they hadn't suffered so many offseason losses. This team may be no better than the one that got swept out of the playoffs last year.

    Odds: 3.50 percent

11. Oakland Athletics

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    Khris Davis (L) and Matt Chapman (R)
    Khris Davis (L) and Matt Chapman (R)Koji Sasahara/Associated Press

    2018 Record: 97-65, 2nd in AL West

    Playoffs: Lost AL Wild Card Game



    The Oakland Athletics probably won't get more out of their 2019 rotation than they did out of the 2018 version. Only top prospect Jesus Luzardo (MLB.com's No. 12) has any real upside, and that's assuming he recovers well from a left shoulder injury.

    The A's still have a mighty lineup, however. It ranked third in home runs and first in defensive efficiency last season. Pretty much everyone is back—save for Jed Lowrie, but Jurickson Profar can account for his absence. Likewise, Kendrys Morales should do fine in place of Matt Olson until he recovers from hand surgery.

    Oakland's bullpen is another strength. Led by Blake Treinen, Lou Trivino and Joakim Soria, it shouldn't do any worse than last season's third-ranked 3.37 ERA.

    Come October, the A's could attempt a Brewers-style playoff run in which they downplay their starting pitching while playing up everything else. They'd obviously just have to do it better than Milwaukee did in 2018.

    Odds: 4.00 percent

10. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Bryce Harper
    Bryce HarperChris O'Meara/Associated Press

    2018 Record: 80-82, 3rd in NL East



    The top offseason priority for the Philadelphia Phillies was addressing an offense that scored 4.2 runs per game in 2018. 

    So, they spent $380 million to sign former MVP outfielders Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen, and they also acquired shortstop Jean Segura and catcher J.T. Realmuto via the trade market. Together with incumbent slugger Rhys Hoskins, they form the core of one of the National League's most potent offenses.

    The 2019 Phillies may not be drastically better on defense, however, so they'll need their pitchers to do the heavy lifting with regard to run prevention. At the least, starters Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta and relievers David Robertson (another newcomer) and Seranthony Dominguez should be up to it.

    Granted, other NL contenders have better pitching depth than the Phillies do. But if their offense is clicking and manager Gabe Kapler is liberally using his best pitchers, a deep playoff run could happen anyway.

    Odds: 4.50 percent

9. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Blake Snell
    Blake SnellChris O'Meara/Associated Press

    2018 Record: 90-72, 3rd in AL East



    Unless the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees get out of the way, the Tampa Bay Rays probably won't be getting into October via the AL East title.

    But as long as they get there, period, they could surprise people.

    Though reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow are the headliners, the Rays have too many useful pitchers to count. They're also returning almost all the key members of a defense that ranked second in efficiency in 2018.

    Tampa Bay's lineup would seem to be its weakness, but it could be a lot worse. Tommy Pham is back after spearheading an offensive charge in the second half of 2018, and the Rays stand to get more offense out of newcomers Avisail Garcia and Mike Zunino and incumbents Willy Adames and Brandon Lowe.

    Perhaps the Rays wouldn't roll over anyone in October, but nobody would roll over them either.

    Odds: 5.00 percent

8. Chicago Cubs

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    Kris Bryant
    Kris BryantElaine Thompson/Associated Press

    2018 Record: 95-68, 2nd in NL Central

    Playoffs: Lost NL Wild Card Game



    The 2018 Chicago Cubs were riding high through the All-Star break, but then their offense "broke" and they basically had nothing left for either the NL Central tiebreaker or NL Wild Card Game.

    The Cubs fired Chili Davis and hired Anthony Iapoce as their new hitting coach, but they otherwise did nothing to fix their broken offense. That makes it hard not to wonder if it might stay broken in 2019.

    If all goes well, however, a healthy Kris Bryant will team up with Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras, Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to return the Cubs offense to its 2016-2017 glory. To boot, the defense would be good, too.

    That would certainly ease the pressure on Chicago's pitching staff, which could be darn good in its own right if Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and Yu Darvish pitch like their best selves. In that scenario, the team's relatively weak bullpen could be easily hidden in October.

    Odds: 5.50 percent

7. New York Mets

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    Jacob deGrom
    Jacob deGromJulio Aguilar/Getty Images

    2018 Record: 77-85, 4th in NL East



    It's frankly hard to compare the 2019 New York Mets to the 2018 Mets. The two clubs barely resemble each other.

    The Mets outfitted their offense with moves for Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, Jed Lowrie, J.D. Davis and Keon Broxton, and they further deepened it Wednesday by bestowing a roster spot on slugging prospect Pete Alonso. It's a one-dimensional offense, but that one dimension consists of impressive power.

    Speaking of power, reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler comprise probably the most electric front three of any rotation. The Mets also have electricity at the back end of their bullpen in the form of Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia.

    New York's pitching staff has soft spots elsewhere, but clever managing by Mickey Callaway could obscure them in a postseason setting. Like the '15 Mets did, the '19 Mets could pitch and slug their way to the Fall Classic.

    Odds: 6.00 percent

6. Washington Nationals

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    Juan Soto (L) and Victor Robles (R)
    Juan Soto (L) and Victor Robles (R)Mark Brown/Getty Images

    2018 Record: 82-80, 2nd in NL East



    The Washington Nationals lost Bryce Harper, but gained...well, a heck of a lot. To quickly sum up:

    • Offense: C Yan Gomes, C Kurt Suzuki, 2B Brian Dozier and 1B Matt Adams
    • Rotation: LH Patrick Corbin and RH Anibal Sanchez
    • Bullpen: RH Trevor Rosenthal, RH Kyle Barraclough and LH Tony Sipp

    Corbin is the most exciting of the bunch, as he's going to team up with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg to form potentially the best front three of any rotation in MLB. If Sean Doolittle, Rosenthal and Barraclough live up to their great stuff, those six pitchers may be all the Nationals need for a deep postseason run.

    Offensively, Juan Soto alone can fill the Harper-sized hole if he builds on his 2018 breakout as the best teenage hitter ever. Top prospect Victor Robles (MLB.com's No. 4) is ready for his own breakout, and the Nats know they can expect steady stardom from Anthony Rendon and power and speed from Trea Turner.

    At the least, this team should be capable of getting the franchise's first ever postseason series victory.

    Odds: 7.00 percent

5. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Christian Yelich (L) and Ryan Braun (R)
    Christian Yelich (L) and Ryan Braun (R)Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    2018 Record: 96-67, 1st in NL Central

    Playoffs: Lost NLCS



    The Milwaukee Brewers got as far as they did in 2018 in part thanks to their bullpen. Trouble is, the effort may be what's behind injuries to standout righties Jeremy Jeffress (shoulder) and Corey Knebel (elbow).

    Milwaukee's pitching depth would certainly look better if they were in shipshape, but what's still there isn't so bad. A healthy Jimmy Nelson and young righties Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta give the team's rotation some upside, and the bullpen at least still has unhittable lefty Josh Hader. Crafty skipper Craig Counsell can work with that much.

    Another bright side is that reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, Travis Shaw, Ryan Braun, Jesus Aguilar and Mike Moustakas are back to lead a lineup that hit many homers and played great defense in 2018. In to help is Yasmani Grandal, who's one of baseball's best two-way catchers.

    The Brewers thus have enough to go at least as far as they did last year, and potentially further if Jeffress and Knebel heal in time for October.

    Odds: 8.00 percent

4. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Max Muncy (L), A.J. Pollock (C) and Cody Bellinger (R)
    Max Muncy (L), A.J. Pollock (C) and Cody Bellinger (R)Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

    2018 Record: 92-71, 1st in NL West

    Playoffs: Lost World Series



    So, what's there to like about a Los Angeles Dodgers club that lost Manny Machado, Yasmani Grandal, Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp from its lineup and is already dealing with an injured Clayton Kershaw again?

    Start with the lineup, which has acquired A.J. Pollock and regained Corey Seager. With help from them and more of the same from Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Joc Pederson, a second straight season of plentiful dingers and efficient defense is in order.

    Beyond Kershaw's shoulder, there's also Rich Hill's knee to worry about. But the Dodgers have enough depth to give them plenty of time to heal, in which case their depth should be even better come October. Kershaw, Hill, Kenley Jansen, Walker Buehler and Hyun-Jin Ryu will have lots of support.

    If there is a real concern with these Dodgers, it has to do with when and to what degree deep postseason runs in 2016, 2017 and 2018 might catch up to them.

    Odds: 9.00 percent

3. Boston Red Sox

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    Mookie Betts
    Mookie BettsBillie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    2018 Record: 108-54, 1st in AL East

    Playoffs: Won World Series



    No team has repeated as World Series champions since the New York Yankees won three in a row between 1998 and 2000. Which is to say, history is working against the Boston Red Sox.

    If they buck the trend in 2019, it'll be because of their lineup and starting rotation.

    The former led MLB with 5.4 runs per game last season, and it's still anchored by AL MVP Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi. With Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez leading the way, the latter ranks among the league's best.

    Boston's big and not-so-secret weakness is its bullpen, which lost Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel over the winter. But if the Red Sox make it to October, manager Alex Cora might downplay his pen by once again using his best starters when and however he needs them. It worked wonders last October, after all.

    The question, of course, is whether their arms could handle a second straight year of such work.

    Odds: 10.00 percent

2. New York Yankees

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    Aaron Judge
    Aaron JudgeJulio Aguilar/Getty Images

    2018 Record: 100-62, 2nd in AL East

    Playoffs: Lost ALDS



    Even if the 2019 New York Yankees do nothing else, they're going to hit a whole bunch of homers.

    Last year's Bronx Bombers set a record with 267 taters, after all, and that was despite disappointing seasons from Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez. All three can bounce back and lead a charge to a final total that could approach 300 homers.

    At least for now, things aren't quite as rosy on the mound, where the Yankees won't have ace starter Luis Severino (shoulder) or ace reliever Dellin Betances (also shoulder) for the start of the year. 

    But even if neither ever fully recovers, a rotation fronted by James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ and a bullpen led by Aroldis Chapman and Adam Ottavino could still spearhead a deep postseason run. And if Severino and Betances do recover, said postseason run could only go deeper.

    Overall, it's hard to see last year's 100 wins as anything other than a prelude to something better for the Yankees.

    Odds: 11.00 percent

1. Houston Astros

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    Alex Bregman (L), Jose Altuve (C) and Carlos Correa (R)
    Alex Bregman (L), Jose Altuve (C) and Carlos Correa (R)Associated Press

    2018 Record: 103-59, 1st in AL West

    Playoffs: Lost ALCS



    The 2018 Houston Astros got less than expected out of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer, yet they still won 103 games and played deep into October.

    If all three bounce back and the Astros get more of the same out of rising superstar Alex Bregman and newcomer Michael Brantley, their offense might be on par with what they enjoyed in 2017. That offense, if you'll recall, was a historically great unit without any true faults.

    Last year's Astros did lead MLB with a 3.11 ERA, yet that was with Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr., all three of whom are now out of the picture.

    Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are still co-aces atop Houston's rotation, however, and an already strong supporting cast will get stronger once top prospect Forrest Whitley (MLB.com's No. 7) gets the call. The Astros also have a deep and talented bullpen that's coming off an MLB-best 3.03 ERA.

    There should be no doubt about it: No team in MLB is built for October like this one.

    Odds: 12.00 percent