MLB World Series picks: Nationals good value to repeat
By all accounts there will be a 2020 Major League Baseball. It remains to be seen what exactly such a season will look like, as negotiations between the league and players regarding the amount of games and contract money have been nothing short of a disaster. If necessary, commissioner Rob Manfred will step in and get the ball rolling. The question is when and how baseball will get going.
Whatever happens, we know this is going to be a shortened regular season with a whole bunch of teams making the playoffs. The likely number is 16 (up from the 10 that previously made the postseason), which would help owners make up some of the revenue they will lose from their teams’ hosting far fewer regular-season home games and doing so without fans.
Sure, a Fall Classic featuring the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees is the most likely conclusion to what will be an MLB season unlike any other. But there is no value in either of those two favorites (both +325) when the 2020 campaign is basically going to be a crapshoot. In a normal 182-game marathon, the cream almost always rises to the top. Playing only 50, 60, 70, or 80 games, however, will the best teams be able to separate themselves? Probably not. Sixteen playoff teams would only add to the utter chaos.
It’s going to be wild. It’s going to be unpredictable. So let’s look beyond the favorites and find the clubs with the best value to win the World Series.
Washington Nationals (+1800)
There is a chance that the 2020 schedule includes no more than 50 games per team. After 50 games last year, the Nationals were 19-31. The rest, of course, is history. They went on to win the World Series, battling into the postseason in a wild-card spot before eventually upsetting the Houston Astros in seven games. Washington is an underdog again this season, and at +1800 the value is obvious. An expanded playoffs definitely helps the Nats and other National League East teams, because in such a loaded division it would be tough to get in with only five spots available in the NL. Assuming the Nationals do get in again, they will be well-suited for another playoff run thanks to a rotation that includes Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin.
Tampa Bay Rays (+2200)
Although New York may take the American League East crown, the Rays should have no trouble easing into the playoffs when there are probably eight spots available per league. And once they get in, there is no reason why they can’t go all the way. Pitching is always paramount in the postseason and Tampa Bay has it. The starting rotation is led by 2018 Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell and also includes Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow. The least experienced of that trio, the 26-year-old Glasnow went 6-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 12 starts last season.
Los Angeles Angels (+2400)
Several injury-plagued teams will benefit from a much later than expected start to the 2020 campaign, and the Angles are one of them. Two-way star Shohei Ohtani has not pitched since September of 2018, but he may have fully recovered from Tommy John surgery by the time this season gets underway. When healthy, Ohtani is capable of being one of the best players in baseball. Speaking of that subject, Los Angeles also boasts arguably the absolute best player on the planet in Mike Trout. If offseason acquisitions Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran can successfully shore up the rotation, +2400 will seem like stealing candy from a baby.
Be sure to check out our daily MLB expert picks when the 2020 season begins.