As we approach Opening Day, the favorites to win the 2015 World Series are the Washington Nationals. In Vegas, they are 6/1 to win it all. It’s easy to get on the favorites, some would even say it’s smart. But, let’s go big. Let’s go with a long shot.
Arizona Diamondbacks – 120/1
Arizona has one of the best and biggest names in baseball: Paul Goldschmidt. They also have some good young talent brewing in guys like Archie Bradley (who is now in the big league rotation), Braden Shipley, Aaron Blair, Yasmany Tomas, and Nick Ahmed (named Opening Day shortstop). However, their chances of even making the playoffs this year are bleak at best. In a division including the Dodgers, the much-improved Padres, and the reigning, defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants, the Diamondbacks will have trouble cracking the top three in their own division. Arizona has a bright future ahead of them, but the future won’t start in 2015.
Atlanta Braves – 120/1
The Braves are smack dab in the middle of a full-fledged rebuild. Big names that departed from Atlanta this off-season include Justin Upton, Evan Gattis, Jason Heyward, and Easter Sunday saw the departures of Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton. The good news for Braves fans is that all stars Freddie Freeman and Julio Teheran will be the centerpieces of the team for years to come. It will be a race between Atlanta and Philadelphia for last place in the NL East. And with teams like Washington and Miami in their division, there’s no chance the Braves make any noise.
Houston Astros – 120/1
Out of all the teams listed here, in my mind, Houston is the team your money should be on. With young stars like George Springer and Jose Altuve leading the offense and Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh leading the pitching staff, the Astros could be this year’s Kansas City Royals. Not to mention guys like Carlos Correa and Michael Foltynewicz still turning heads in the minors. Playing in the AL West, Houston would likely have to snag a wild card spot to make the playoffs as the LA Angels are the favorites to win the division. However, if Houston can sneak in, they can make some noise with bats like Altuve, Springer, Gattis, and Carter who can do some real damage on the offensive side.
Minnesota Twins – 120/1
The outlook isn’t good for the Twins. Minnesota finds itself in, arguably, the deepest division in baseball heading into the 2015 season. The Royals win the AL pennant last season, Detroit is always competitive, and Chicago widely improved this offseason. Coming off of a season that saw the Twins lose 90 games, expecting much better in 2015 is wishful thinking. With all that being said, the Twins do have one of the best farm systems in baseball at the moment with players like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Trevor May, and Alex Meyer all with a realistic shot of seeing big league action this season. Compile those names with good young talent already at the big league level, like Danny Santana and Oswaldo Arcia, the future is being for Minnesota. 2015 not so much.
Texas Rangers – 120/1
The Texas Rangers were one of the more injury plagued teams of 2014 with big names like Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo, Derek Holland, and Yu Darvish all spending time on the DL. The injury bug has already hit again with Darvish, the ace of Texas’ pitching staff and one of the best pitchers in baseball, out for, presumably, all of 2015 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Texas had an outside chance of making noise before Darvish’s injury, but those chances are severely diminished now. And with teams like the Angels, Athletics, and Astros in the division, Texas has a tall hill to climb if they want to make any sort of run. 2016 will likely be a more realistic playoff scenario, especially with guys like Joey Gallo and Jake Thompson making their way up to the big league level.
Philadelphia Phillies – 500/1
It’s so painful for me to write this about my Phillies. We weren’t supposed to make a run in 1993 either, right? But, this team is nowhere close to contention, and the long-needed rebuild has finally begun. Trading Jimmy Rollins was the first step, and attempting to find landing spots for guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon, and Cole Hamels is at the top of the Phillies’ checklist. The race for the #1 pick in next year’s draft started yesterday afternoon for the Phillies, and with no promising prospects outside of Aaron Nola, J.P. Crawford (currently injured) and Maikel Franco (if he can get things turned around), they better make the most of whatever pick they do get in next year’s draft. With up-and-coming teams like Miami and New York, the Phillies have a lot of catching up to do. 2015 will be another lost year for my beloved Phillies.