Despite their respective statuses as preseason underdogs to win the 2016 World Series, a handful of underdogs are biting back in a big way in the early going of the 2016 regular season. Some of these upstart underdogs may fall by the wayside as the season progresses while others look like they could be in the race for league-wide supremacy all season long. Thankfully, this expert analysis will reveal which dogs are biting back in a big way while simultaneously offering up my thoughts on the legitimacy of each ballclub’s World Series chances. Okay, with that said, let’s review the MLB Odds and rock and roll people!
Season Opening World Series Odds
Chicago White Sox
Tampa Bay Rays
San Diego Padres
White Sox 14/1
If you didn’t bet on the White Sox (23-11) as a whopping 40/1 pick before the start of the season, you should know that the ChiSox have been one of the best teams in all of baseball so far this season. Not only is Chicago in first place in the AL Central, but they’ve done so by going 10-5 at home and an even more impressive 13-6 on the road. Chicago ranks fifth in scoring (4.4 rpg) and an outstanding third in runs allowed (3.4 rpg).
Third baseman Todd Frazier has smacked 10 home runs and five regulars have scored an identical 17 runs at the time of this writing. More importantly, Jose Quintana (5-1, 1.38 ERA), Chris Sale (7-0, 1.79 ERA) and Mat Latos (5-0, 2.62 ERA) have all been mostly jaw-dropping on the mound this season.
Despite being a modest 30/1 pick to start the season, Seattle (20-13) has gotten off to a great start and currently sits in first place in the AL West. Veteran second baseman Robinson Cano is tearing up the league, batting .307 with a league-leading 12 home runs while four other Mariners have smacked at least five home runs apiece. Still, I’m a bit wary about the M’s pitching, as usual!
Arizona (17-18) is apparently set on challenging the Dodgers and Giants for the NL West title this season and right now, it looks like they could. The D-Backs are in second place in the NL West and have an offense that is averaging 4.6 runs per game (seventh) and a defense that gives up 4.9 runs per contest (11th).
Mike Napoli is the only regular with at least six home runs, but right now, the Indiana (16-14) are battling. Cleveland is in second place in AL Central, but I wouldn’t get too carried away with the Tribe as I expect them to hit the proverbial ‘hump’ at some point in the very near future.
While non one in their right mind picked the Orioles (19-12) to leap-frog Boston or Toronto this season, that’s exactly what the O’s have done – at least for now. Baltimore is in first place in the AL East, mostly because they rank third in scoring (4.5 rpg) and sixth in runs allowed (3.8 rpg).
Last but not least, I can’t forget about my hometown Philadelphia Phillies (19-14). Sure, the rebuilding ballclub won’t get past the Mets or Nats in their own division, but right now, Philly is a feisty team that has gone 11-9 on the road. Young stars, Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco are playing excellent baseball for the Phils and Ryan Howard has smacked seven home runs so far, despite being a career underachiever.