Breaking Down 2020 World Series Odds for Every MLB Contender
As we approach the beginning of the truncated 2020 MLB season, it's worth exploring who has the best odds at winning it all.
The short season could beget small-sample oddities. Unexpected things can—and quite possibly will—happen. Expect the unexpected.
Based on the latest odds courtesy of Caesars Palace, here's a glance at every contender's chances of hoisting the 2020 Commissioner's Trophy.
The following clubs have a chance, because everyone has a chance on Opening Day.
But logic and the oddsmakers agree that their "chance" should be placed in quotation marks:
Baltimore Orioles: 500-1
Detroit Tigers: 250-1
Kansas City Royals: 250-1
Miami Marlins: 250-1
Pittsburgh Pirates: 250-1
San Francisco Giants: 250-1
Seattle Mariners: 250-1
Colorado Rockies: 100-1
If two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber can bounce back from his injury-marred 2019 season, the Texas Rangers could have the deepest starting rotation in baseball with Mike Minor, Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles in the fold.
Texas has a path to the playoffs, and once it gets there, anything is possible.
The Rangers' bullpen is a question mark, but they are sneaky contenders in the American League West and a dark-horse pick to contend as they christen their new ballpark.
Toronto Blue Jays
A loaded young infield staffed by second-generation players Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio give the Toronto Blue Jays reason for optimism.
They also reloaded their pitching staff this offseason with various additions, including 2019 National League ERA leader Hyun-Jin Ryu.
The Jays are a tick below the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East, but they're a squad on the rise.
The Arizona Diamondbacks signed left-hander Madison Bumgarner away from the division-rival San Francisco Giants this winter. They added key offensive pieces including outfielders Kole Calhoun and Starling Marte.
The Snakes probably won't catch the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. They're a fringe contender at best.
But don't discount their chances entirely.
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox may not be able to hang with the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East after trading right fielder Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
They will also be dinged by the loss of erstwhile ace Chris Sale to Tommy John surgery and the inclusion of David Price in the Betts swap.
With that said, Boston may have enough to muster at least a wild-card push.
The Philadelphia Phillies employ star outfielder Bryce Harper. They also buttressed their rotation this offseason with the signing of Zack Wheeler.
On the negative side of the ledger, the Phils have a suspect bullpen and play in a tough NL East division. They'll require a confluence of factors to make them relevant in the World Series conversation.
Their chances to contend aren't dead on arrival, but they aren't excellent, either.
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres boast a number of stars in the making, including shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., and one of the best bullpens in the game.
The young Friars may need to wait a season before they seriously challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers for NL West dominance.
However, they might be able to take advantage of the 60-game season, get hot and surprise everyone.
The Milwaukee Brewers lost important pieces this offseason—including Mike Moustakas, Yasmani Grandal, Eric Thames and Gio Gonzalez—but they remain contenders in the tough NL Central.
Christian Yelich anchors the offense, and the bullpen is among the best in baseball behind lights-out closer Josh Hader.
However, the Brew Crew have questions in the starting rotation that could leave them outside of the playoff picture.
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals won the NL Central in 2019 despite finishing 19th with 764 runs scored and 21st with a .737 OPS, and they lost key offensive contributor Marcell Ozuna to free agency.
To defend their division crown, the Cards will need a boost offensively (perhaps via trade) and a leap forward by burgeoning ace Jack Flaherty.
With that said, the Cards usually seem to find a way.
The Cleveland Indians have a decent shot at competing in the AL Central. However, they also should consider trading franchise shortstop Francisco Lindor.
They face stiff in-division competition from the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins. Are they contending, rebuilding or some combination of the two?
Such are the dilemmas of a club that doesn't have the means to pay all of its talent and compete for the postseason annually.
Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels employ the best baseball player on the planet in Mike Trout. They also signed All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon this offseason and have a puncher's chance in the AL West.
On the other hand, the Halos need significant help to bolster a pitching staff that ranked 25th in baseball with a 5.12 ERA last season.
Until their pitching staff improves, these odds seem rosy.
The Washington Nationals lost All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon to the Los Angeles Angeles in free agency.
But the defending champs still have ace Max Scherzer leading a sterling starting rotation and emerging star Juan Soto at the forefront of an offense that should be just fine even without Rendon. If 23-year-old Victor Robles builds on last season's output, all the better.
Defending a title is tough, but don't count the Nationals out.
New York Mets
The New York Mets lost Zack Wheeler to free agency and Noah Syndergaard to Tommy John surgery, but they still have reigning two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom at the top of their rotation.
They added Dellin Betances to boost the bullpen and are hoping powerful NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso can build on last season's 53-homer explosion.
The Mets play in a competitive division, but they have the tools to compete with anyone.
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are a team on the rise. If names like Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech don't mean anything to you, don't worry...they will.
The ChiSox may be a season or two away from genuine playoff contention, though an array of veteran offseason additions such as catcher Yasmani Grandal, slugger Edwin Encarnacion and lefty Dallas Keuchel could accelerate their timeline.
Given their ability and the vagaries of the 60-game schedule, they could be poised to make some noise this year.
Looking for a sleeper pick in 2020? Look no further than the Cincinnati Reds.
With a solid starting rotation led by Sonny Gray and an offense bolstered by Mike Moustakas, Shogo Akiyama and Nick Castellanos, among others, Cincinnati could get out of the gate hot with a soft early schedule.
The NL Central will be a dogfight, but the Reds have a roster capable of rising to the top and being a dangerous postseason opponent for anyone.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays won 96 games in 2019 and are legitimate challengers to the Yankees in the AL East.
They could use a bat with some thump in the middle of their lineup. But they have a strong farm system from which they can promote talent, and young players such as potential two-way star Brendan McKay who have already tasted the big leagues.
Overall, the Rays have the pitching, fielding and depth to be serious small-market contenders in 2020.
The Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016, and they still have a large portion of that core.
Sure, they need the bullpen to rebound behind fading closer Craig Kimbrel. They need Yu Darvish to front the rotation and prove he's healthy.
They need Kris Bryant to again play like an MVP and guide the offense, though he has solid wingmen in Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Ian Happ.
If everything comes together, the Cubbies will be a force.
The Atlanta Braves have a stacked young lineup. Their bullpen is loaded with experienced arms.
On the starting staff, Mike Soroka is an ace in the making and Kyle Wright is a burgeoning arm with top-of-the-rotation potential.
If up-and-coming bats such as Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies keep emerging, this is the team to watch in the NL East and the Senior Circuit as a whole.
The Minnesota Twins did well this offseason, shoring up the starting rotation with the likes of veterans Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda and adding an impact bat in Josh Donaldson.
Add a still-potent lineup that set an MLB record with 307 long balls in 2019, and the Twinkies are well-positioned to repeat as AL Central champs.
After that, they could use their newly acquired arms and fence-clearing bats to dive deeper into the postseason than they did with last season's division series sweep at the hands of the Yankees.
Despite losing ace Gerrit Cole to the New York Yankees in free agency, the defending AL champion Houston Astros still have a solid rotation fronted by Justin Verlander, a strong bullpen and a balanced lineup.
The sign-stealing scandal will continue to haunt them, and most fans outside of Houston will likely be rooting against the 'Stros. But the long layoff could reduce the heat, as will the fact that the Red Sox and Yankees have been implicated in sign-stealing shenanigans of their own.
Either way, Houston is a bona fide title hopeful.
New York Yankees
The Yankees added the ace they needed in Gerrit Cole. They have arguably the best bullpen in the game. Their lineup is loaded with sluggers who swatted 306 home runs in 2019, the second-most all-time.
The Yanks will need healthy seasons from the likes of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, who have struggled with injuries. But they have depth with rising stars such as Gleyber Torres and Gio Urshela prepared to help carry the load.
The Rays could give them a challenge in the AL East, and anything can happen in a 60-game sample, but the Yanks are well-equipped to win title No. 28.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers bolstered a deep and potent lineup by acquiring Mookie Betts from the Red Sox. They have a strong rotation fronted by rising ace Walker Buehler. Their bullpen is solid, especially if offseason acquisition Blake Treinen returns to the form that saw him post a minuscule 0.78 ERA with the A's in 2018.
In short, the Dodgers have an excellent chance at winning their first title since 1988.
Will they be undone by the short season? If they do win it all, will their title need an asterisk? L.A. boosters will assuredly answer "hopefully not" and "no."