World Series Sleepers – Four Teams with High Odds That Could Surprise in 2019
Published on November 30, 2018
A year ago, the Boston Red Sox did as many expected them to and marched to a World Series win. The year prior, the Houston Astros did so to most everyone’s surprise.
You never know what you’ll get with each new year of baseball. Even when it’s not dealing with title winners, you can have teams rise from the ashes or go on playoff runs that you never thought of.
The Milwaukee Brewers and their analytics-heavy approach nearly got them to the World Series last season and reminded us all along the way that a huge part of baseball is momentum and timing.
That, and sometimes it’s hard to deny talent, even if it doesn’t fit the media’s narrative involving powerhouse clubs like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers.
Financially and from a talent perspective, those world-beaters should be there. But there are always going to be smaller teams with less talent fighting to get to the top.
Specifically based on their inability to crack the MLB playoffs last year, here are four teams bettors may want to keep an eye on going into 2019.
The Cardinals have some compelling odds, but they don’t just top my list because they might offer elite betting value. They’re also on the verge of making a deep playoff run.
St. Louis nearly pulled it off last year when they finished third in the NL Central behind the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs. The Cards did fizzle down the stretch, but they appear to have the balance needed to go the distance if they can hold it all together next year.
The offense is there. Matt Carpenter heads a deep and talented hitting lineup that can score runs in bunches and also offers some pop.
The Cardinals have some staying power on the mound as well. Miles Mikolas was a mild revelation in 2018, while Carlos Martinez, Jack Flaherty, and possibly even Luke Weaver give the Cards a nice young core of pitchers to lean on.
I also wouldn’t mind monitoring the Phillies going into next season. They looked ready to make a playoff run before settling into third place in the NL East in 2018, but if things break just right, they might turn back into a title contender.
The Phillies have enjoyed big turnarounds in the past, and a power offense backed by some talented young pitching could make that dream a reality in 2019.
Aaron Nola is a huge reason why the Phillies can be optimistic, and he heads a pitching rotation that is littered with young arms just waiting to break out.
Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez are the two other names to get excited about, and if Jake Arrieta can turn back the clock a bit, the Phillies may really have something here.
That’s already the case on offense, where Carlos Santana, Rhys Hoskins, and Maikel Franco team up to give the Phillies one of the more powerful lineups in the majors.
With the Nationals falling apart last year and destined to lose Bryce Harper in free agency, the Phillies really only have the Braves to worry about in their division.
Mike Trout is all it takes to put the Halos on the map, and for about half of 2018, the Angels did look like a legit playoff contender.
Some questionable moves, shaky pitching, and a slew of injuries derailed the Angels, but they could be right back in the thick of a wild card race in 2019 if they play their cards right.
There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding this franchise, of course. The team just lost Garrett Richards to the Padres, for one, while stud youngster Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch until 2020 due to Tommy John surgery.
That presently places Matt Shoemaker as the Angels’ top arm, and that probably won’t cut it. Moves will need to be made, to be sure, but the good news is Trout is the most talented player in baseball, and he’s got a capable roster around him.
Ohtani expects to help out as a hitter in 2019, and he’s aided by Justin Upton, Kole Calhoun, and Albert Pujols.
If the D’Backs didn’t collapse in epic fashion last year, they probably wouldn’t be on this list. A team blessed with fantastic pitching and a few mashers on offense, Arizona just couldn’t close down the stretch.
That sounds bad, but when you’re in the same division as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies, it simply isn’t a given to parlay a hot start into a division title.
I still think Arizona has more to be happy about than to be upset about, as they made the playoffs in 2017 and for a long while looked to be an improved unit in 2018.
The offense could use a big move or two, simply because it’s not always very consistent. Paul Goldschmidt still leads a very talented crew, with Jake Lamb, David Peralta, and Eduardo Escobar. It’s always possible the franchise could hang onto masher A.J. Pollock as well.
Arizona certainly isn’t hurting on the dirt, either. Zack Greinke is without a doubt their top hurler, but he’s backed by Robbie Ray, a resurgent Clay Buchholz, and Taijuan Walker. If this roster can simply stay healthy and close the deal late, they may actually be special.
Even if you don’t fully buy that, the Diamondbacks are offering pretty nice value here.
Are the Cardinals, Phillies, Angels, or Diamondbacks going to shock us all and win the 2019 World Series? I honestly doubt it.
Baseball is absolutely loaded with elite teams right now. The Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Astros, and Brewers are all very likely to pick up right where they left off a year ago. The Cleveland Indians could still make a run at it, while we can’t ignore the Cubs, Rockies, Athletics, and Braves, either.
That doesn’t mean the same playoff teams will for sure get back to postseason play, but it does mean any non-playoff teams that have dreams of shocking the world are bound to have their work cut out for them.
Of this lot, I’d target the Cardinals with the most confidence.
They have the best combination of pitching and offense of these four teams, and of all the teams that failed to make the MLB playoffs a year ago, they feel the most dangerous.
A lot of time remains before we’re going to come close to realizing who will make a run at the 2019 World Series. Until then, it’s fun to project who could surprise, and it might not be a bad idea to place a few bets on those teams, either.
Sports betting is all about finding value, and these World Series sleepers might just offer some of that.