World Series

MLB Teams on Rise to Win the World Series

The Major League Baseball Trade Deadline is Friday afternoon so odds to win the World Series likely will change between now and then, but one contender already made a big splash and that’s the already-loaded San Diego Padres acquiring Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star second baseman Adam Frazier for prospects. The Friars are +700 on the MLB odds to win their first-ever World Series. Unfortunately for them, they are stuck in the same division as the title favorites, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are +450.

Analysis World Series | MLB 2021

Frazier, 29, leads all Major League players with 125 hits and his .324 batting average ranks second in the National League behind Nick Castellanos (.329). Frazier has gone 22-for-61 (.361) in his last 15 games and is hitting .345 (90-for-261) in his last 67 games, dating back to May 8.

He has a track record of being a high-contact hitter, and this year he has reduced his strikeout rate to a career-low 10.6. He also has hit four home runs and swiped five bases. Frazier is not a free agent until after the 2022 season. Frazier was the Pirates’ second-longest tenured player, behind right fielder Gregory Polanco.

Frazier is the 3rd player in the Modern Era (since 1900) to be traded midseason at the time he led MLB in hits. He joined Willie McGee (1990 — STL to OAK) and Red Schoendienst (1957 — NYG to MLN).

Thing is, the Padres didn’t really even need him because they already have an All-Star second baseman in Jake Cronenworth, but he can play just about everywhere as can Frazier. While Frazier has made all his starts this season at second base (other than one at DH), he has played more than 1,000 innings in the majors in the outfield. Cronenworth has started games at first base and shortstop besides second.

In fact, San Diego could start an entire All-Star infield in Cronenworth at first, Frazier at second, Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop and Manny Machado at third. Frazier presumably will make his Padres debut Tuesday vs. Oakland.

The Padres are on pace for 92 wins but find themselves looking up at the Giants and the Dodgers in the National League overall and the NL West, and this could be the first of several moves GM A.J. Preller makes. The Padres are banged up in the rotation so they could add an arm too.

Another team that has added a big-time offensive player is the Chicago White Sox, who are +500 to win their first World Series since 2005. The Pale Hose saw the season debut of young slugger Eloy Jimenez on Monday night in Kansas City. Jimenez tore his left pectoral tendon in late March and the prognosis was that he’d miss five to six months of action. The expectation was that he’d likely miss nearly the entire season or perhaps come back for part of September in hopes of getting up to game speed for the playoffs, but he has recovered faster than anticipated.

Jimenez, 24, has played 177 games in his MLB career. He’s hit .276/.321/.527 (122 OPS+) with 32 doubles, 45 homers and 120 RBI. The White Sox have a massive lead atop the AL Central despite ranking also 14th of 15 AL teams in home runs. Jimenez will clearly help there. Jimenez finished fourth in AL Rookie Of The Year voting in 2019 and he won a Silver Slugger last year as he helped lead the White Sox into the postseason.

Jimenez should help the team against right-handed pitching. His slugging percentage and OPS are both higher against righties than lefties and the Sox have struggled against some of the better righties in the league. They rank 28th in OPS against right-handers they’ve faced on plus-.500 teams.

‘‘Everybody’s fired up,’’ Manager Tony La Russa said of Jimenez. ‘‘He’s playing the outfield with good movement, he’s throwing and he’s reaching balls defensively. At the plate, he’s swinging free and easy. It’s going to be more about timing. We’ll know more when we see him ourselves, but it’s full speed ahead.’’

Another terrific young hitter, Luis Robert, just began a rehab assignment himself after Robert went on the injured list in May with a hip flexor strain.

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