Welcome back to the real world where we have sports so close on the horizon that I can almost taste that $15 Shock Top tall boy at Nats Park. Now that the new win totals have come out for the 60-game MLB season and the schedules got released on Monday, its time for a revised list of my futures for the 2020 season.
Cincinnati Reds o31.5 wins (-115) 2u
This was a bet I already had taken when the full season was still on the docket, and I still like it a ton. The Reds open their season with six of their first 10 games against 2019’s worst team in baseball, the Detroit Tigers. They also have four games against the Royals, 10 games against the Pirates and you’d like to think splitting 10 games each with the Brewers and Cardinals. I also really like the way the top three of their rotation should pan out in this sprint of a season with Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer. If they can get production out of new additions Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas and Shogo Akiyama, I can see a big season for the Redlegs. BONUS: I’m also sprinkling on them to win the NL Central at +240.
Atlanta Braves o32.5 wins (-125) 1.5u
This one absolutely pains the shit out of me to take but man I love it. The Braves are a team that I have to despise by nature but they have a ton of guys that I love watching. I really wish we were gonna get the King Felix comeback tour, but he has opted out of the season so that’ll have to wait. All the teams in the eastern side of the country are gonna go through a gauntlet in both division play and interleague play but the Braves are much better than this line. Soroka, Fried and Newcomb is as an electric young trio of starters you’ll find and pairing them up with veterans Hamels and Foltynewicz leads to a dangerous five. Obviously a coronavirus-free Freddie, Acuna and Albies anchor down the lineup, so filling in for the loss of Donaldson and the growth of young stud Austin Riley could lead to a big season for Atlanta.
Baltimore Orioles u20.5 wins (-125) 2u
This is just too easy. The Orioles are playing statistically the hardest schedule in the league this year based on last year’s records and oh yeah, they’re still the laughing stock of the MLB. 10 games against the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox each, along with series’ against the Nats, Braves, Phillies and Mets. Out of the 60 games this team plays, there isn’t a single scenario I, or even Doctor Strange could see where they win more than 1/3 of them. This roster is, to put it bluntly, brutal from front to back. John Means is a solid ace for the rotation but it pretty much ends there, and when you’re paying Chris Davis an astronomical amount of money to be a sack of shit at first, it’s hard to build a team from below-the-ground-up. Under, under, under.
Los Angeles Angels o31.5 wins (-115) 1u
Not even going to front, this one I’m skeptical about with the news that Trout is uncomfortable playing still this season. If he opts out, this is chalked. But for now, the top of this lineup is crazy with arguably the two best hitters in baseball in Trout and Rendon along with rising star David Fletcher, Andrelton Simmons, Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton. The wild card with this team is its pitching. Ohtani offers an easy 100 as a two-way stud and hopefully he comes back from TJ surgery and performs because that would be so good for the sport. Outside of him however, its a real toss up. Teheran offers good veteran depth as a #2 but is effectively past his prime while Andrew Heaney and Dylan Bundy are both still yet to pan out like they were supposed to at the Major League level. Griffin Canning is an interesting option in the back-end. He made 17 starts in his rookie campaign in 2019 where he posted a not great 4.58 ERA, but racked up 96 strikeouts in 90 innings which is promising. Take the over and run with it.
Kansas City Royals u25.5 wins (-115) 1.5u
The Royals are an interesting team but I still think they’re a couple years away from really clicking. Sal Perez and Alex Gordon aren’t the same players they used to be and this team now belongs to ultra-utility guy Whit Merrifield and dumb-power guy Jorge Soler. Mondesi and Dozier are studs in the making at short and third respectively but I don’t think it’s enough for them to win 26 games. The pitching staff and bullpen are abysmal. Danny Duffy leads the charge for the Royals who rips off the occasional gem, but the following four names are what scare me. Brad Keller, Jakob Junis, Mike Montgomery and Glenn Sparkman round out the rotation that posted a 5.20 ERA in 2019 that ranked 13th in the AL. I think down the road this team will compete again, but not in 2020.
Washington Nationals o33.5 wins (-110) 2u
Scherzer, Strasburg, Corbin. Soto, Turner, Robles. Fuck the doubters, this team is still very good and the best rotation in baseball is back and ready to defend our crown. Nats back to back.