- The defending NL East champion Atlanta Braves are no longer the NL East favorites to win the World Series in 2019
- Both the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies now have better average odds than the Braves
- The Phillies, in 2008, were the last NL East team to win the World Series
Evidently, Nick Markakis thinks that the Atlanta Braves are a more solid future investment than do the sportsbooks. The veteran outfielder took a $7 million pay cut from $11 million to $4 million to stay with the defending NL East champion Braves.
Nick Markakis willingly takes a 7 million dollar pay cut to resign with the Atlanta Braves pic.twitter.com/ksF1vSvsQK
— The Baseball Masters (@thebsbmasters) January 28, 2019
Meanwhile, Atlanta’s average odds to win the 2019 World Series have gone from as low as +1300 to all the way up to +1800 across a number of online sportsbooks.
2019 World Series Odds
|Team||Odds to Win 2019 World Series at BetOnline (01/16/19)|
|New York Yankees||+700|
|Boston Red Sox||+750|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+800|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+1200|
|New York Mets||+1600|
*Follow link for complete list
Is a Braves Regression to Be Expected?
Atlanta was the Cinderella story of the Major Leagues in 2018. Despite fielding one of the youngest and least experienced rosters in all of big-league baseball, the Braves made a magical 180-degree turnaround, going from 90 losses in 2017 and 25 games out of first, to a 90-win campaign last season and their first NL East title since 2013.
Here is why Touki Toussaint will win NL ROY for the Atlanta Braves this season. Last season, in 7 games, Touki held opponents to a .181 batting average. In comparison, Jacob deGrom held opponents to a .196 batting average. pic.twitter.com/ztMBtyshH7
— Kevin Keneely (@KevinKeneely1) January 24, 2019
Rookies Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies led this resurgence, combining to clout 50 homers and drive in 136 runs. Of the eight youngest pitchers to start a game in the majors last season, five were Braves, and four of them – Bryse Wilson, Kolby Allard, Mike Soroka, and Touki Toussaint – won their big-league debuts, just the second time that’s happened on one team in the same season in 110 years.
Are the Braves About to Be Bold?
There were reports out of Atlanta on the weekend that the Braves had been in contact with third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado, one of two big-time free-agent bats still out there on the market along with Bryce Harper.
— 11Alive News (@11AliveNews) January 26, 2019
According to published reports, the Braves touched base with Machado’s agent Dan Lozano, but still aren’t believed a front runner for Machado’s services. The Braves have also been linked to free agent closer Craig Kimbrel, but Atlanta GM Alex Anthopoulos downplayed that notion.
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) January 24, 2019
The Braves have already signed 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson to a one-year, $23 million contract.
Who is the Chalk in the NL East?
That’s a tough call at this point. With so many balls still in play, the NL East is a real toss up, and has been in recent years, with three different teams winning the title over the past four seasons.
The NL East is a real toss up, and has been in recent years, with three different teams winning the title over the past four seasons.
Machado has also been linked to the Phillies, as was Harper, who now is being favored to stick with the Nationals. The Phillies were also a team on the rise last season until a late-season swoon took them out of the playoff picture. The Nats completely imploded last year and with or without Harper, should be a much better team than in 2018.
A cryptic tweet posted by the video game MLB The Show on Monday seemed to suggest Harper’s destination might be forthcoming shortly.
You'll want to keep an eye on this account tomorrow… just saying.
— MLB The Show (@MLBTheShow) January 28, 2019
The Braves haven’t won back-to-back division titles since capturing 11 in a row from 1995-2005. With so much youth in the lineup, a sophomore step back wouldn’t be shocking.
This division will be decided by where Machado and Harper ultimately end up.