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5 Early Value Picks to Win the 2020 World Series

Daniel Coyle

by Daniel Coyle in MLB Baseball

Oct 31, 2019 · 5:26 PM PDT

Stephen Strasburg pitching for the Nationals
Stephen Strasburg's impending decision to opt out of his contract or remain in Washington next season will likely have a dramatic impact on the Nationals' chances of repeating as World Series champions. Photo by Materialscientist (wikimedia commons).
  • Following a Game 7 loss to Washington, Houston opens as +600 co-favorites in the 2020 World Series odds
  • In the wake of their first championship, the Nationals lag at +1500
  • The Twins, Mets, & Rays are among early World Series value bets

The Houston Astros came up short in their bid to claim a second World Series title in three years, dropping a 6-2 decision to the Washington National in Game 7 on Wednesday night.

Despite their heartbreaking loss in this year’s Fall Classic, the Astros opened as +600 co-favorites in the 2020 World Series odds (along with the Yankees).

There will be no shortage of challengers aiming to knock the Astros from their perch. Here’s a look at the top-five value picks to win the 2020 World Series.

Washington Nationals:  +1500

The Nationals overcame an early slump and long odds throughout the campaign on their way to their first-ever World Series title. After opening as a lengthy +1500 bet in the World Series odds, it looks that Washington will once again have to overcome tempered expectations in their bid to defend their crown.

Third baseman Anthony Rendon is in line for a huge payday as a free agent, and there’s a very real chance he won’t be back. However, it is the status of Stephen Strasburg that is a bigger concern for the club. The right-hander can opt out of his current contract and test the free agent waters.

But after getting a taste of glory, it will be tough to overlook a Nationals squad that closed out the 2019 campaign on a spectacular 74-38 run and is likely to spend as necessary to cure a dismal bullpen.

New York Mets: +2500

The Mets showed a glimpse of what the future may hold during a sensational 15-1 run that started in late July, and a 19-10 run to close out their regular-season schedule. And if the club can carry over that momentum next season, they should be well positioned to build on their 86-win total from this season.

The Mets resisted the temptation to deal their stars at the trade deadline, and will be poised to return in 2020 with a formidable rotation featuring Cy Young-winner Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Steven Matz.

However, the Mets have work to do to improve offensively after ranking in the middle of the pack with just 4.88 runs per game. With third baseman Todd Frazier hitting free agency, they could purse Rendon as a free agent.

In addition to finding a new manager, the Mets must also address bullpen concerns after last winter’s key acquisitions, Jeurys Familia and closer Edwin Diaz, failed to produce desired results.

Tampa Bay Rays: +3000

Perhaps the most exciting team that few fans got to see this past season, the Rays will be looking to take the next step after winning 96 games and claiming the second AL Wild Card. Tampa Bay’s pitching staff was among the best in the majors, compiling a second-ranked 3.65 team ERA. The starting rotation is top-notch, led by Charlie Morton and Blake Snell.

Solid pitching helped to offset the Rays’ middling offensive production, which the club must address this winter. In addition, catcher Travis d’Arnaud is set to hit free agency, leaving a gaping hole behind the plate.

Like their AL East divisional rivals, the Rays must contend with the New York Yankees, who close out the season alongside Houston as +600 World Series co-favorites.

But as the Nationals proved this season, locking up a Wild-Card spot is all that is needed sometimes to propel a team to the next level, and the Rays should once again be in the postseason hunt in 2020.

Minnesota Twins: +2500

A potent Twins lineup hit home runs at a record-setting pace in 2019, propelling the club into the postseason while topping the 100-win mark for the first time since 1965.

However, the Minnesota rotation proved to be a fatal weakness while the club got swept in the ALDS by the Yankees, extending their current postseason losing streak against New York to 10 games.

The Twins now face some tough decisions with starters Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda now eligible for free agency. The club is likely to be aggressive in adding some arms in the offseason. They may not be in the hunt for big ticket free agents like Dallas Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but with the team’s high-powered batting lineup expected to return intact, a quality ace and solid veteran depth may be all they need to repeat as champions in the weak AL Central.

Cincinnati Reds: +5000

A 12-19 stretch run doomed them to a disappointing 75-87 finish, but make no mistake, the Reds are a team on the rise. In addition to the benefits that come from playing in the underachieving NL Central, the Reds sport a host of impressive young prospects that could be ready for a breakthrough as early as next season.

Nick Senzel split time between the minors and the big club in 2019, and looks ready to take on a full-time role, either in center field, or in the middle infield. The likely departure of free agent shortstops Freddy Galvis and Jose Iglesias leaves a hole that could be filled by current second baseman Jose Peraza.

With so many holes to fill, it will be no surprise if the Reds are active players in the free-agent market. However, one area where Cincinnati is already solid is on the mound.

The Reds ranked eighth in the majors in team ERA, and sport a solid rotation, led by Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Trevor Bauer. The question this winter is whether the Reds are prepared to spend the money to return this club to postseason contention for the first time since 2013.

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