Back-to-back great World Series – and the competitiveness between MLB teams – is fueling a very active Hot Stove League this year.
Speculation abounds about what MLB teams can compete with the Chicago Cubs and the Houston Astros, the last two champions.
Which MLB Teams Have a Shot?
With the addition of the second Wild Card team in 2012, the door has been opened to any number of teams to make the post-season. At that point, anything can happen. Witness the 2014 Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants. Both won the one-game Wild Card game and went on to the World Series.
Also, consider the fact that 10 different teams have made the World Series since 2012. That’s a third of the league.
Here are teams beyond the Cubs and Astros who many feel have a good shot at winning it all.
Los Angeles Dodgers
So very, very close this year. An ability to close out Game 5 and non-existent offense at times (most importantly Game 7) left the Dodgers a loser in the 7-game World Series against the Astros. But the Dodgers remain a talented team, and they have the money to fill in gaps in the line-up.
Another runner-up from 2016, when the Indians lost to the Cubs in the World Series in extra innings in Game 7. One thing not noted so much in the media – but which Cleveland fans are aware of – is that the Indians played well against the Astros during the regular season. Thanks to the Yankees knocking the Indians out of the playoffs, the Astros never had to face them in their post-season run.
Is 2018 the year? Will there ever be “the year”? Nationals fans must wonder after many seasons of being pre-season favorites, playing well in the regular season, and then getting knocked out in the playoffs (in 2017, it was against the Cubs). The team remains loaded, with pitchers Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg at the top of the rotation.
New York Yankees
Joe Girardi is out as manager in New York. That’s after taking a team no one expected to go far all the way to the American League Championship Series. Hey, that’s New York for you. The team will have Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez at the heart of the lineup. Pitching, however, could be a concern.
Was that run last year a sign of things to come? The biggest problem with the Diamondbacks is playing in the National League West with the dominant Dodgers and a resurgent Colorado Rockies.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox were almost quietly good last year, an unusual event in New England. But they will compete again in 2018. Like the Yankees, the Red Sox will spend the money – and have the smart leadership – to field a contender.
Small Market Long Shots
According to odds for winning the 2018 championship already posted in Las Vegas, both the Tampa Bay Rays and the Milwaukee Brewers are ranked in the top half of the league. The Rays are ranked 11th, while the Brewers are 14th.
The MLB teams with the least likely chance of winning it all, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers? The Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres and Detroit Tigers.
There’s a look at the potential champions for 2018. Time to warm up the stove and start the debate.