- The Red Sox are favored to win the American League Pennant for the second straight season in 2019
- Can the Astros dethrone the defending champs with another 100-win campaign?
- Will New York steal Boston’s thunder by landing All-Star free agent Manny Machado?
Thought the American League Pennant race was tight in 2018? Just wait for next year. The Red Sox, Astros, and Yankees all have a legitimate chance of advancing to the World Series according to the latest odds.
The online sportsbooks are giving the defending champions a slight edge at +270, but Houston (+280) and New York (+320) figure to be nipping at their heels all season long.
2019 American League Pennant Odds
|Which Team Will Win the 2019 American League Pennant?||Odds|
|Boston Red Sox||+270|
|New York Yankees||+320|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+2000|
|Los Angeles Angels||+2500|
|Chicago White Sox||+3300|
Boston Remains the Team to Beat
No team was more dominant in 2018 than the Red Sox, who won a franchise-record 108 games and enjoyed three winning streaks of eight games or more.
The Boston Red Sox are World Series champions. I will be saying that every day, multiple times a day, until spring training. pic.twitter.com/C3CYLICvav
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) October 29, 2018
The key to Boston’s success was an unbelievably potent offense, and that shouldn’t change in 2019 as all nine of the team’s top run producers will be back for another go around. They’ll be joined by former AL MVP Dustin Pedoria, who is finally healthy after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in July, and World Series MVP Steve Pearce, who recently inked a one year, $6.25 million deal.
The only question remaining is whether Boston will re-sign closer Craig Kimbrel, who is reportedly seeking a six-year contract. The 30-year-old reliever is baseball’s active leader in saves, but is coming off a dismal postseason performance in which he gave up seven earned runs over 10.2 innings. Boston wants to keep him, but may be unwilling to make a long term commitment.
The Astros Are About to Come Back to Earth
The same core that powered the Astros to a World Series title in 2017 will be back in 2019, although the team’s starting rotation could look considerably different. Lance McCullers Jr. underwent Tommy John Surgery in mid November and will miss the full season. Houston could also be without former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and 15-game winner Charlie Morton, both of whom are expected to generate plenty of interest in free agency.
Reds are among teams pursuing AJ Pollock and Dallas Keuchel
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 6, 2018
Houston still has more than enough talent remaining to contend for the AL West crown, but the American League Pennant may be just out of reach.
Past American League Pennant Winners
|2018||Boston Red Sox||108-54|
|2015||Kansas City Royals||95-67|
|2014||Kansas City Royals||89-73|
The Yankees Could Be One Piece Away
Baseball’s greatest rivalry will get a new chapter in 2019 as the Yankees try once again to dethrone the Red Sox. New York led the Majors in home runs by a wide margin in 2018 and should be just as lethal next season thanks to the return of Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Miguel Andujar, who smacked 27 dingers in his first full season in pinstripes.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 11, 2018
The only question now is who may join them. Hard-hitting shortstop Didi Gregorius is expected to be out until the middle of July and the Yankees are reportedly targeting Manny Machado to take his place. The four-time All-Star won’t come cheap, but New York had just the 10th highest payroll in baseball last season and appears ready to spend. Machado – or a player of his caliber – could be just what the Yankees need to capture their first AL Pennant since 2009.
The World Series Goes Through Boston
You won’t find much value in Boston at +270, but it’s hard to imagine any other American League team being better in 2019. Not only does Boston have baseball’s best offense, but it also has a formidable starting rotation headlined by seven-time All-Star Chris Sale and former Cy Young winners David Price and Rick Porcello.
The Red Sox are a battle-tested bunch who have the talent, depth, and organizational backing to return to the World Series for the second straight year. Sorry Yankees fans, but it’s time to bank on Boston.
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