Complete Betting Guide to the 2020 MLB Season

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 20, 2020

Complete Betting Guide to the 2020 MLB Season

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    The 60-game Major League Baseball season will be a unique experience for everyone involved.

    The importance of every game will be over two times greater than in a typical campaign, and that may lead to some unexpected results.

    Going into Thursday's openers, the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees are favored to reach the World Series. Both teams added more top-tier talent to their rosters in the offseason and carry plenty of postseason experience.

    The National League could feature the two most competitive divisions, with four teams holding decent odds to win in both the East and Central.

    Individually, Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Gerrit Cole enter the season as the award favorites, and although they will not put up the massive numbers we are used to seeing, they may all thrive in the compressed situation to cash in on their preseason statuses.

American League East

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    New York Yankees (Over/Under 36.5 wins; -300 to win the division)

    The addition of Gerrit Cole to the top of the rotation and the good health of James Paxton, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton make the Yankees an even more dangerous team than they would have been in April.

    Even with Luis Severino out for the season, New York has one of the deepest rotations with Cole, Paxton. Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ in place.

    With Judge and Stanton back in the lineup, Gary Sanchez, Luke Voit and Gio Urshela could see better pitches if opponents work around the pair of power sluggers.

    The Yankees earned at least 11 victories against each of their four AL East foes in 2019, and if those totals translate into the shortened campaign, they could eclipse the 36.5-win total set for them.

    The biggest hindrance to New York hitting that total is its schedule with the NL East contenders. It opens with five road games at Washington and Philadelphia and a two-game set at Yankee Stadium with the Phillies.

    If the Yankees go .500 or better in that stretch, they could be poised to take advantage of the AL East and contend for the top spot in the division and league.

    Prediction: Over 36.5

         

    Tampa Bay Rays (O/U: 34.5; +325)

    The Rays lost two of their four best home run hitters from 2019 as Tommy Pham departed for San Diego and Avisail Garcia landed in Milwaukee. 

    Austin Meadows, Ji-Man Choi and Willy Adames still give Tampa Bay a nice power backbone in the lineup, but they may not be able to match the Yankees in power depth. Its only struggles inside the AL East occurred against New York as it went 7-12. It had 12 or more wins versus Baltimore, Boston and Toronto. 

    If Charlie Morton, Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell match up with the Yankees, the Rays could close the gap. The trio went 2-3 versus New York in 2019, with Morton earning both wins, but the Rays also won three games in which Snell had a no-decision.

    Prediction: Under 34.5

                 

    Boston Red Sox (O/U: 30.5; +900)

    Boston's opening series against Baltimore could be massive for the Mookie Betts-less squad that's looking to earn confidence out of the gates. 

    If the Red Sox do not start fast, they may have some trouble hitting 31 wins. Their next nine games come against the New York Mets, Yankees and Rays. 

    Boston has to play the Rays and Yankees in back-to-back series on two occasions, while the most favorable portion of the schedule could be Aug. 22-27 when it visits Baltimore and Toronto for five games. 

    The Red Sox must improve on their 12-26 record against New York and Tampa Bay from 2019 to contend in the AL East, but they have questions in the rotation since they have to replace Chris Sale, Rick Porcello and David Price's 27 victories from a year ago. 

    Prediction: Over 30.5 

          

    Toronto Blue Jays (O/U: 28.5; +2,000)

    Toronto's lineup boasts some of the best young hitters in baseball in Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio. 

    The addition of Hyun-Jin Ryu to the top of the rotation should help lower the team ERA from 4.79 a year ago, but the Blue Jays need more support behind the southpaw.

    Toronto will be dealing with a unique set of circumstances in 2020 as it will not be able to play at Rogers Centre. 

    The Blue Jays went 22-38 in their first 60 games in 2019 and only earned more than 10 AL East wins over Baltimore, so that may make bettors lean toward the under on the win total. 

    Prediction: Under 28.5

          

    Baltimore Orioles (O/U: 20.0; +10,000)

    All Baltimore has to do is win one-third of its games to hit its assigned win total.

    Its best opportunities to win series and draw close to 20 wins come against Miami and Toronto.

    After opening in Boston, the Orioles will split four games home and away with Miami, and if it needs wins at the end of the campaign, it faces Toronto in a three-game series. 

    The most important stretch of the season for the Orioles could be an eight-game homestand against Washington, Toronto and Boston from Aug. 14-23. If they can win at least half those games, it could go a long way to helping them reach more than 20 victories. 

    Prediction: Over 20

             

    AL East Prediction: New York Yankees (-300)

American League Central

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    Minnesota Twins (O/U: 35; +120)

    Minnesota's "Bomba Squad" is back for an encore to its record-setting home run-hitting 2019.

    The addition of Josh Donaldson to the heart of the order should make the Twins even more dangerous. Mitch Garver, Max Kepler, Miguel Sano, Nelson Cruz and Eddie Rosario return after each hit 30 long balls a year ago. 

    The Twins produced 356 runs versus the Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers. That's an average of 6.2 runs per game. 

    Cleveland held Minnesota to 79 runs in 19 matchups, which was viewed as a major success in 2019. 

    In the rotation, Kenta Maeda and Homer Bailey give Minnesota more veteran experience behind Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi, who were two of five 10-game winners on the squad last season.

    If the starters leave little room between them and Trevor May and Taylor Rogers in the bullpen, the Twins could outslug opponents and win a few close games as well.

    Prediction: Over 35

                

    Cleveland Indians (O/U: 32.5; +250)

    Dropping Francisco Lindor from the leadoff spot to the No. 3 hole could benefit Cleveland's chase of Minnesota in the offensive categories. 

    Lindor had 32 home runs, 73 RBI and 170 hits out of the top spot, and if Cesar Hernandez and Jose Ramirez get on base often, Cleveland could produce plenty of runs out of the top third. 

    That could help cover up the limitations of the bottom part of the order, where Oscar Mercado and other outfielders reside. 

    With Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber gone, Shane Bieber takes over the reins at the top of the rotation. If the 15-game winner in 2019 receives support from Mike Clevinger, Zach Plesac and Aaron Civale, Cleveland could be in close contention with Minnesota. 

    If Cleveland is in striking distance on Sept. 17, it could roll to a division title since it faces the Tigers, White Sox and Pirates in its final 11 games. 

    Prediction: Over 32.5

               

    Chicago White Sox (O/U: 32; +275)

    The White Sox are the most intriguing team in the American League.

    They added Edwin Encarnacion and Yasmani Grandal to the heart of the order behind sluggers Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu and brought up top prospect Luis Robert to play in the outfield. 

    Dallas Keuchel was brought in as the No. 2 behind Lucas Giolito, who produced a team-high 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings in 2019. 

    Starting with six games against Cleveland and Minnesota and ending with a 14-game run versus Minnesota, Cincinnati, Cleveland and the Chicago Cubs could determine whether the White Sox win more than half their games. 

    Prediction: Under 32

            

    Kansas City Royals (O/U 24.5; +4,000)

    Kansas City and Detroit find themselves in difficult positions.

    Not only do they have to play 30 games against Cleveland, Minnesota and the Chicago White Sox, but they also have few easy interleague games versus the National League Central. 

    Whit Merrifield's ability to get on base and Jorge Soler's power are the most exciting aspects of Kansas City's order, but it does not have the depth to compete with the three divisional contenders. 

    Kansas City did not make many significant pitching upgrades after three starters lost 10 or more contests, and its staff may be susceptible to conceding home runs to the three top teams in the AL Central. 

    In 2019, the Royals went 22-35 versus the Twins, Indians and White Sox and had a minus-29 run differential in those matchups.

    Prediction: Under 24.5

           

    Detroit Tigers (O/U: 21.5; +6,000)

    Detroit is at least a year or two away from moving up the AL Central ranks.

    Top prospects Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Spencer Torkelson have participated in Summer Camp, but none are expected to be on the Opening Day roster. 

    The Tigers won more than 10 games in a month once in 2019, and they mustered 20 total in July, August and September. 

    If that trend translates to 2020, the Tigers will come short of hitting their win total.

    Prediction: Over 21.5

           

    AL Central Prediction: Minnesota (+120)

American League West

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Houston Astros (O/U: 34.5; -130)

    Houston's rotation is in a much better spot than it would have been in April. 

    Justin Verlander is scheduled to start the opener after he recovered from groin surgery, and Lance McCullers Jr. received additional time to work back from Tommy John surgery.

    Those two, combined with Zack Grienke and Jose Urquidy, could form one of the best rotations in baseball even without Gerrit Cole. 

    Yordan Alvarez is the only injury concern in the lineup as he is on the 10-day injured list. 

    Houston's lineup outscored each of its AL West foes by at least 20 runs in 2019, and it has won over 60 percent of its games in each of the last three seasons. 

    That sets the Astros up to clear their projected win total, as well as cash in on their status as favorites in the division. 

    Prediction: Over 34.5

             

    Oakland Athletics (O/U: 33.5; +200)

    Oakland is likely the top challenger to Houston since it has pitching depth and a few stars in its lineup in Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman and Matt Olson.

    The trio combined for 105 home runs and 274 RBI in 2019. If they produce at a similar rate in a shortened season, the Athletics should have an advantage in most games. 

    The A's were successful in divisional play in 2019 outside of their matchups with the Astros, against whom they were 8-11.

    Oakland may start strong on its way to 34 wins as it faces Houston just three times in the opening month of the season. 

    Prediction: Over 33.5

            

    Los Angeles Angels (O/U: 31; +500)

    The addition of Anthony Rendon to a lineup with Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Albert Pujols makes the Angels one of the more intriguing dark horses to win a division crown. 

    Rendon is coming off a career offensive season in Washington and could be in line for massive numbers hitting around Trout. 

    Trout had a .294 batting average and 1.070 OPS through 60 games in 2019, while Rendon posted a .314 average and 1.062 OPS in the same span. 

    The biggest question for Los Angeles is whether its pitching staff can contain the Houston and Oakland lineups. The Angels had one pitcher reach eight wins in 2019 (Felix Pena) and conceded 236 runs to the Astros and Athletics. 

    Prediction: Over 31

            

    Texas Rangers (O/U: 29; +1,600)

    Just like the Angels, Texas has plenty of power bats in its lineup, but it may not have the pitching depth to contend with Houston or Oakland. 

    Five players hit 20 or more home runs in 2019, and the trio of Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus and Joey Gallo is more than equipped to get on base and score runs early to put pressure on opposing pitchers. 

    Choo and Andrus combined for 314 hits and 174 runs in 2019, while Gallo mashed 22 long balls in 70 games. 

    The addition of Corey Kluber should put the Rangers in better position to win more games in the AL West, but they need to win more than 48 percent of their games against Houston and Oakland to comfortably hit 30 wins. 

    Prediction: Under 29

            

    Seattle Mariners (O/U: 24; +5,000)

    Seattle needs to improve its 4.99 staff ERA and 9.3 hits allowed per nine innings to dig itself out of the AL West basement. 

    It must also avoid a brutal month like May 2019, during which it went 7-21 with a 5-10 divisional mark. 

    The Mariners did not have a winning record against any AL West foe last season and had a dismal 1-18 showing versus Houston. 

    With all that said, Seattle could still hit its projected win total thanks to interleague matchups with teams of similar standing in the NL West: San Francisco and Colorado.

    But the issue there is that Seattle has to play two weeks of divisional contests before it hits interleague action. 

    Prediction: Under 24 

           

    AL West Prediction: Houston (-130)

National League East

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Atlanta Braves (O/U: 33; +160)

    Atlanta owns one of the best lineups in baseball with Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman headlining the order. 

    The Braves reinforced their rotation by adding veteran Cole Hamels, and their young pitching core of Mike Soroka, Mike Foltynewicz and Max Fried should make strides after combining to go 38-16 in 2019.

    If the pitching remains strong, Atlanta should have enough offensive firepower to win a good chunk of games. 

    It will need its bats to be in good form from the start since it is dealing with one of the more difficult schedules in the league, facing the tough NL East with four additional games against the Rays and Yankees.

    Prediction: Under 33

              

    Washington Nationals (O/U: 32.5; +240)

    Washington will replace Anthony Rendon with Rookie of the Year candidate Carter Kieboom, but he is not expected to put up numbers as robust as the departed third baseman. 

    That puts more pressure on Trea Turner and Juan Soto to provide power in the heart of the order. Soto matched Rendon's 34 home runs last season. 

    Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin make Washington's rotation its biggest strength, and they may be the reason it wins the NL East. 

    Although the Nats had a losing record against Atlanta in 2019, they outscored the Braves by four and received five victories from their trio of top starters. 

    A pair of series between Atlanta and Washington on the first two weekends of September could go a long way in determining the champion. 

    Prediction: Over 32.5

            

    New York Mets (O/U: 32; +300)

    The New York Mets have all the pieces in place to win the division except for a competent bullpen. Edwin Diaz's acquisition from Seattle turned out to be a disaster as he went 2-7 with a 5.59 ERA and 26 saves. 

    If the Mets figure out their bullpen woes and provide more run support for Jacob deGrom, who had 13 no-decisions in 2019, they could challenge for first place. 

    Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto and a healthy Yoenis Cespedes could provide plenty of power, and Jeff McNeil is one of the best top-of-the-order hitters in the NL.

    Even without Noah Syndergaard, the rotation looks strong with Steven Matz, Rick Porcello and Marcus Stroman following deGrom to the mound every five days. 

    Prediction: Under 32

             

    Philadelphia Phillies (O/U: 31; +400)

    If every game were determined solely by which team hit the most home runs, Philadelphia would have an abundance of victories coming its way. 

    Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins combined for 89 home runs a year ago, and the Phillies have a healthy Andrew McCutchen to provide an extra boost at the top of the lineup. 

    The addition of Zack Wheeler to Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta should help the rotation, but there could be concerns about who fills in the fourth and fifth spots. The Phillies may also have to navigate Wheeler's absence since his wife is due to give birth around Opening Day. Losing him for a start or two with a weakened back end of the rotation could hurt them.

    Philadelphia also needs more consistency out of closer Hector Neris, who went 3-6 with a 2.93 ERA and 28 saves in 68 appearances. 

    Prediction: Over 31

            

    Miami Marlins (O/U: 23.5; +10,000)

    It is hard to find a favorable path for Miami to reach 24 victories. 

    The Marlins were 4-15 against both the Braves and Nationals and only had a winning record against one NL East foe in 2019 (10-9 against the Phillies). 

    With 40 games against the division and nine against the Rays and Yankees, the Marlins likely won't move up from the NL East basement. 

    Prediction: Under 23.5

            

    NL East Prediction: Washington (+240)

National League Central

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Chicago Cubs (O/U: 31.5; +210)

    The NL Central race could be more intriguing than the NL East since all four contenders are within two wins on the season over/under line.

    Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber give the Chicago Cubs one of the best lineup corps in baseball. Schwarber may be one of the top beneficiaries of the universal designated hitter rule if the Cubs opt for more defensive-minded players in the outfield. 

    The thumb laceration suffered by Jose Quintana hurt Chicago's rotation a bit, but Yu Darvish, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks should put the Cubs in good position to win each of their starts. 

    The X-factors for the Cubs could be a healthy Craig Kimbrel at closer and Jason Kipnis taking over at second base. 

    Prediction: Over 31.5

               

    Cincinnati Reds (O/U: 32; +210)

    Cincinnati has not received the same amount of buzz as Chicago, St. Louis or Milwaukee, but it can back up its high position on the odds chart. 

    Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer could form one of the top rotation trios in baseball, while Anthony DeSclafani and Wade Miley are decent back-end hurlers. 

    The additions of Mike Moustakas and Nick Castellanos should provide support for Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez, who had some of the team's best power in 2019. 

    The Reds won 57.9 percent of their games against Chicago last year, and if they improve against Milwaukee and St. Louis, they could make a run at first. 

    Prediction: Under 32 

            

    St. Louis Cardinals (O/U: 32; +240)

    St. Louis possesses an abundance of starting arms with three 10-game winners returning to the rotation in Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright and Dakota Hudson.

    However, security on the back end is not guaranteed right now after Jordan Hicks opted out of the season and with Carlos Martinez working toward a rotation spot. 

    Andrew Miller and Giovanny Gallegos appear to be the frontrunners to earn the ninth-inning job, but Martinez could always move back if Mike Shildt feels comfortable with his starters. 

    The Cardinals peaked from July through September in 2019, and as long as they avoid a month like May, when they were 9-18, they should remain competitive versus four sides they earned winning records against in divisional play. 

    Prediction: Over 32 

           

    Milwaukee Brewers (O/U: 30.5; +450)

    Milwaukee was one of the more consistent sides in 2019 as it produced at least 12 wins in every full month. The Brewers finished strong with 20 September victories even without NL MVP candidate Christian Yelich. 

    Milwaukee's highest win percentage against a divisional opponent was .789 against Pittsburgh. If it replicates that, that would make up 25 percent of the projected win total. 

    Bringing in Avisail Garcia and Omar Narvaez strengthens the bottom half of the lineup, and if Corey Knebel returns to his All-Star form in the bullpen, he and Josh Hader can clean up plenty of wins in the final two frames. 

    Milwaukee can't match the rotation depth of its NL Central foes, but manager Craig Counsell is not shy about using opener strategies to reach Knebel and Hader and to keep opponents off balance.

    Prediction: Under 30.5

            

    Pittsburgh Pirates (O/U: 25; +4,000)

    Pittsburgh sits in a similar position to Miami as the weak link in a strong division. 

    The Pirates only produced a winning record against one of four NL Central foes, and they are already shorthanded with Chris Archer out of the season and Keone Kela on the injured list. 

    A path to 25 wins is hard to carve out with easier matchups against Detroit and Kansas City spread far apart in a schedule with seven strong opponents from both Central divisions. 

    Prediction: Under 25

            

    NL Central Prediction: St. Louis (+240)

National League West

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Los Angeles Dodgers (O/U: 38.5; -500)

    It would be a total surprise if the Los Angeles Dodgers do not win the NL West. 

    Since they are viewed as the overwhelming favorite, the Dodgers do not carry value to win the division at such a low price. The best numbers to get them at are to win the National League and World Series. 

    The addition of Mookie Betts and promotion of Gavin Lux to the lineup should give the Dodgers one of the best cores in the majors. 

    Even without David Price in the rotation, Los Angeles' pitchers should control the bulk of its 40 divisional games. Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler combined for 14 wins against the NL West in 2019. 

    Dave Roberts' team had a winning percentage of 57.9 or better against Arizona, Colorado, San Diego and San Francisco in 2019, and a similar number should be expected in 2020. 

    Prediction: Over 38.5

                

    Arizona Diamondbacks (O/U: 31.5; +800)

    Arizona has a slightly higher win total than San Diego, but it contains longer odds to take the NL West. 

    The Diamondbacks have a solid pitching combination in Madison Bumgarner and Robbie Ray, while Starling Marte and Ketel Marte should post decent numbers at the top of the order. 

    If they can match their 17-13 start from a year ago, the D'Backs should make a claim for second place and a potential wild-card position. 

    Prediction: Under 31.5

            

    San Diego Padres (O/U: 31; +700)

    San Diego's lineup will be its biggest draw. 

    Fernando Tatis Jr. has another year of experience under his belt, Tommy Pham was acquired from Tampa Bay, and Manny Machado is coming off a 32-home run season. 

    Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers have the potential to mash behind Machado, so in theory, the Padres should put up a decent number of runs. 

    Whether they can hold those leads is another question. The Padres had a 4.60 staff ERA in 2019 and were outscored 406-320 in NL West play.

    Prediction: Under 31

            

    Colorado Rockies (O/U: 27; +1,700)

    Colorado seems like it's in a similar position as San Diego.

    The Rockies have plenty of power with Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado, but they lack the pitching depth to run with the best in the NL. 

    They conceded over 100 runs to each of their four NL West foes and struggled from July through September with 27 total victories. 

    Prediction: Over 27 

           

    San Francisco Giants (O/U: 24.5; +5,000)

    San Francisco faces an uphill climb just to replicate its third-place finish from a year ago. 

    Buster Posey has opted out of the season, Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria are dealing with injuries, and ace Madison Bumgarner is gone. 

    The Giants had a winning percentage over .500 against two NL West opponents last season, and one was barely reached against San Diego. 

    Prediction: Over 24.5

            

    NL West Prediction: Los Angeles (-500)

American League Most Valuable Player

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels (3-2)

    Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees (10-1)

    Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland (10-1)

    Anthony Rendon, 3B, Los Angeles Angels (14-1)

    Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston (20-1)

    Matt Chapman, 3B, Oakland (20-1)

    Josh Donaldson, 3B, Minnesota (20-1)

    Gleyber Torres, 2B/SS, New York Yankees (20-1)

              

    Trout is the safest bet to win AL MVP because he captured the award three times in the last six years. The 28-year-old has performed at a consistently high level even if the Angels are not in contention to make the playoffs. 

    His numbers might be better over 60 games than in previous full years since he has more support in the form of Rendon behind him. Still, it is worth noting he might not play all 60 games if he leaves the Angels to be present for the birth of his child.

    Of the other candidates, Judge is the most intriguing bet because of the potential for a high payout and the impact he should make on the New York lineup if healthy.

    If Minnesota features at the top of the AL Central, Donaldson could be a dark-horse candidate given his team's ability to produce high offensive totals.

        

    Prediction: Mike Trout (3-2)

National League Most Valuable Player

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Mookie Betts, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (11-2)

    Cody Bellinger, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (7-1)

    Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee (7-1)

    Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Atlanta (9-1)

    Juan Soto, OF, Washington (10-1)

    Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado (18-1)

    Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs (18-1)

    Bryce Harper, OF, Philadelphia (18-1)

           

    The last player to win back-to-back NL MVPs was Albert Pujols in 2008 and 2009, and Cody Bellinger may have a hard time repeating with the 2018 AL MVP now on his team. 

    The two outfielders are expected to be Los Angeles' top two offensive contributors, and if the Dodgers run away with the NL West, they could finish first and second in the voting. 

    Arenado has the potential to cash in as a long shot. He recorded a 1.004 OPS and .337 batting average in his first 60 games of 2019. But if the Rockies are not hanging with the Dodgers in the NL West, he may have a hard time managing first-place votes.

        

    Prediction: Mookie Betts (11-2)

American League Cy Young Award

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees (11-4)

    Justin Verlander, Houston (7-1)

    Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (9-1)

    Mike Clevinger, Cleveland (10-1)

    Shane Bieber, Cleveland (12-1)

           

    The only thing missing from Cole's resume is a Cy Young Award. 

    The newly minted Yankees hurler lost out to Verlander in 2019 despite posting 326 strikeouts and a 20-5 record. Cole has not lost a regular-season start since May 22, 2019, and he finished last season with double-digit strikeouts in nine straight appearances. 

    Verlander should be in contention, as well, while Bieber is an intriguing dark horse if Cleveland remains tight with Minnesota in the AL Central.

    Bieber improved from 11 wins in 2018 to 15 in 2019, and he increased his strikeout total from 118 to 259. If he fans opponents at a similar rate to his 10.9 K/9 from last year, he will be one the best hurlers in the AL.

          

    Prediction: Gerrit Cole (11-4)

National League Cy Young Award

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    Jacob deGrom, New York Mets (7-2)

    Max Scherzer, Washington (4-1)

    Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers (8-1)

    Jack Flaherty, St. Louis (8-1)

    Stephen Strasburg, Washington (12-1)

            

    DeGrom and Scherzer have had a hold on the NL Cy Young Award for the last four years, with each winning in two consecutive seasons. 

    From July through September last year, DeGrom lasted seven innings in 13 of his 15 appearances and shut out five opponents. If that form reappears, he will be in the mix to capture his third straight honor.

    Buehler's past success versus the NL West could vault him into favorite status at some point. At a minimum, he should contend with the two favorites for first-place votes. 

           

    Prediction: Walker Buehler (8-1)

American League Rookie of the Year

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox (4-1)

    Jesus Luzardo, P, Oakland (5-1)

    Brenden McKay, P, Tampa Bay (7-1)

    Jo Adell, OF, Los Angeles Angels (11-1)

    Casey Mize, P, Detroit (12-1)

          

    Luis Robert has a head start in the AL Rookie of the Year race.

    The outfielder is set to be a fixture in the White Sox lineup and could deliver power numbers beneath Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada and others in the order. 

    Jesus Luzardo is expected to be a key piece of Oakland's rotation after he pitched out of the bullpen last fall. He may begin the campaign in the bullpen because he reported late to camp.

    But it has been hard for a pitcher to take this award in the last decade. Jeremy Hellickson, Michael Fulmer and Shohei Ohtani are the only hurlers to take the award after 2010, and part of Ohtani's recognition was for his display at the dish.

           

    Prediction: Luis Robert (4-1)

National League Rookie of the Year

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    Gavin Lux, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers (5-2)

    Daulton Varsho, C, Arizona (4-1)

    Mitch Keller, P, Pittsburgh (7-1)

    Carter Kieboom, 3B, Washington (9-1)

    Dylan Carlson, OF, St. Louis (10-1)

            

    Gavin Lux is in the best position to win Rookie of the Year since not too much pressure will be on him in the Dodgers lineup. The everyday second baseman gained some experience at the back end of the 2019 campaign as he hit .240 in 82 big league plate appearances. 

    Carter Kieboom will likely start further down the order in Washington, but if he adjusts well to the majors, he could garner some first-place votes. In Triple-A, he recorded 125 hits and 16 home runs while batting .303 and earning a .902 OPS last year.

           

    Prediction: Gavin Lux (5-2)

World Series Champion

13 of 13

    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Los Angeles Dodgers (+350)

    New York Yankees (+350)

    Houston (+1100)

    Minnesota (+1400)

    Atlanta (+1500)

    Oakland (+1800)

           

    The dream World Series matchup will be Dodgers-Yankees. 

    The Dodgers have been close to a championship over the last few years and have depth across the board few teams can match. New York's addition of Gerrit Cole should take the rotation to another level, and if Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are healthy for 60 games, they can outhit most foes. 

    Houston has been to the ALCS three straight years, and the majority of the players from those squads are still on the roster.

    The Astros beat the Yankees in 2017 and 2019 to advance to the World Series, but if they meet for a third time, Cole may be the difference-maker. 

    Los Angeles has been to three of the last four NLCS, and the addition of Mookie Betts, combined with Anthony Rendon's departure from Washington, could make it the class of the senior circuit.

                

    Prediction: New York Yankees (+350)

            

    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from Baseball ReferenceOdds from Caesars Palace and Vegas Insider.