- MLB is contemplating a three-division (East, West and Central), 10-team realignment plan for the shortened 2020 season
- The Central appears to be the most balanced division, making it more difficult for Atlanta to exceed its win percentage prop
- Tampa Bay (East) and San Diego (West) look like two teams with a great shot to exceed their win-percentage props
Major League Baseball could look a lot different this year if the three-division, 10-team realignment plan it’s considering is approved. The proposal, which still needs medical clearance given the COVID-19 pandemic, would keep many of baseball’s biggest rivals together, and reduce the amount of travel needed.
Breaking MLB: The MLB is considering breaking the league down to three Divisions and keeping play within the Division, thus eliminating the AL & NL for the 2020 Season. #MLBNews #MLBUpdate #MLB2020 #Covid19Update pic.twitter.com/SjzoqiV3jL
— Julian Guilarte (@JulianGuilarte1) April 28, 2020
MLB officials are reportedly optimistic this plan can be implemented by no later than July 2, allowing teams to play at least 100 regular-season games solely within their new division.
The shakeup could drastically influence the 2020 MLB win-percentage odds, so let’s investigate which teams a potential realignment will hurt and who it will help.
2020 MLB Win Percentage Odds
|Baltimore Orioles||EAST||35.0% (-110o/-110u)|
|Boston Red Sox||EAST||52.0% (-110o/-110u)|
|Miami Marlins||EAST||40.0% (-110o/-110u)|
|New York Mets||EAST||53.5% (-110o/-110u)|
|New York Yankees||EAST||62.0% (-110o/-110u)|
|Philadelphia Phillies||EAST||52.5% (-110o/-110u)|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||EAST||42.0% (-110o/-110u)|
|Toronto Blue Jays||EAST||46.5% (-110o/-110u)|
|Tampa Bay Rays||EAST||56.5% (-110o/-110u)|
|Washington Nationals||EAST||55.0% (-110o/-110u)|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||WEST||52.0% (-110o/-110u)|
|Colorado Rockies||WEST||45.0% (-110o/-110u)|
|Houston Astros||WEST||58.5% (-110o/-110u)|
|Los Angeles Angels||WEST||52.5% (-110o/-110u)|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||WEST||62.5% (-110o/-110u)|
|Oakland Athletics||WEST||55.0% (-110o/-110u)|
|San Diego Padres||WEST||50.5% (-110o/-110u)|
|San Francisco Giants||WEST||42.0% (-110o/-110u)|
|Seattle Mariners||WEST||41.0% (-110o/-110u)|
|Texas Rangers||WEST||47.5% (-110o/-110u)|
|Atlanta Braves||CENTRAL||56.0% (-110o/-110u)|
|Chicago Cubs||CENTRAL||53.0% (-110o/-110u)|
|Chicago White Sox||CENTRAL||52.0% (-110o/-110u)|
|Cincinnati Reds||CENTRAL||52.5% (-110o/-110u)|
|Cleveland Indians||CENTRAL||53.5% (-110o/-110u)|
|Detroit Tigers||CENTRAL||35.5% (-110o/-110u)|
|Kansas City Royals||CENTRAL||40.0% (-110o/-110u)|
|Milwaukee Brewers||CENTRAL||51.0% (-110o/-110u)|
|Minnesota Twins||CENTRAL||57.5% (-110o/-110u)|
|St. Louis Cardinals||CENTRAL||53.5% (-110o/-110u)|
Odds taken April 30th.
A Raw Deal for the Braves
The Atlanta Braves are fresh off back-to-back NL East division titles and currently own the fourth-best World Series odds. The 2020 season was looking like a great opportunity for them to reach the NLCS for the first time since 2001, but if this realignment proposal is passed, they’ll be stuck in the most competitive division.
Maybe I’m desperate for baseball but the MLB plan that’s under discussion is good and I like the division realignment. The AL and NL ceased to be distinct entities a long time ago. The line between the AFC and NFC is practically invisible.
— Rob Hart (@RobHartWBBM) April 29, 2020
Just two teams in the Central (Kansas City and Detroit) are projected to win less than 50% of their games in 2020, compared to four teams in the East and five teams in the West. Atlanta will no longer have the luxury of beating up on the lowly Marlins (they were 15-4 vs Miami in 2019), and 55% of their games will be against pitching staffs that ranked top-nine in fewest runs allowed last season.
The Braves won 59% of their contests a year ago, but got quite lucky to do so. They rated out as the second-luckiest team in baseball (behind only Milwaukee) and were 12 games above .500 in one-run affairs. Regression is likely to hit hard in 2020 and keep them under their win percentage prop.
Pick: Braves Under 56.0% (-110)
The Rays are for Real
Over in the East, things are looking bright for Tampa Bay. Not only will they continue to feast on AL East bottom-feeders Toronto and Baltimore, but they’ll also have the luxury of playing 22% of their games against Miami and Pittsburgh, two clubs who combined to win just 39% of their outings in 2019. More easy wins for the Rays.
Tampa Bay advanced to the AL Divisional series a year ago on the strength of its pitching, but lacked enough offense to compete with the heavy hitters. They addressed that issue in the offseason, acquiring Japanese slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and 33-home run man Hunter Renfroe.
Hunter Renfroe. Grand slam. Ballgame!
The Padres win 8-5 on the walk-off ? pic.twitter.com/7MBuBHLtwL
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 6, 2019
The proposed realignment will also match them up with rivals Boston and New York, plus a trio of quality NL East opponents, including the defending champion Washington Nationals. That may seem daunting, but the Rays were 12 games above. 500 in the AL East last year, and had little trouble with NL opposition, posting a 14-6 record in interleague play.
Pick: Rays Over 56.5% (-110)
Padres Present Value
Another team with a great chance to exceed its win percentage is San Diego. The Padres line currently sits at 50.5% which is below the 51.9% projection assigned to them by FanGraphs. Under the proposed realignment, they’ll play in the West, which is by far the weakest of the three divisions. Yes, it’s loaded up top with Los Angeles and Houston, but five of the 10 teams (Arizona, Colorado, San Francisco, Texas and Seattle) are all projected to play sub .500 baseball.
Fernando Tatis Jr. just went 468 feet
FOUR. HUNDRED. SIXTY. EIGHT. ☄️
— Bleacher Report MLB (@BR_MLB) July 20, 2019
San Diego is stacked on offense with Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado leading the way, and have a plethora of young pitching talent. Chris Paddack is coming off a phenomenal rookie campaign in which he struck out nearly 27% of the batters he faced, and they’re set to welcome MacKenzie Gore, who was recently named baseball’s best pitching prospect by MLB executives.
— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) March 20, 2019
They also added former 17-game winner Zach Davies to fill out their rotation, and with 55% of their games coming against projected inferior opponents, they’re a good bet to go over their win percentage.
Pick: Padres Over 50.5% (-110)
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