- The Los Angeles Dodgers are favored to win the National League Pennant for the third consecutive season
- How many of LA’s 13 free agents will fly the coop?
- Can the Baby Braves overthrow the Dodgers after adding Josh Donaldson and Brian McCann?
The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Los Angeles Dodgers are favored to win the National League Pennant for the third straight year with odds of +350.
The online sportsbook has given LA significantly shorter odds than the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, and Milwaukee Brewers, a trio of hard-charging clubs that made the playoffs in 2018 and could be significantly better in the year ahead.
2019 National League Pennant Odds
|Which Team Will Win the 2019 National League Pennant?||Odds|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+350|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+800|
|New York Mets||+1200|
Is LA Still the Toast of the NL?
It’s easy to understand why the Dodgers could reach the World Series for the third straight season. After all, LA has won the NL West crown in each of the last six years and has made back-to-back World Series appearances. They haven’t won fewer than 91 games since 2012, and ownership has consistently shown a willingness to spend – and spend big – to contend.
Their track record is impressive, but the Dodgers are facing more questions than ever after flaming out against the Red Sox in the 2018 World Series. For starters, LA could lose as many as 13 free agents. All-Stars Manny Machado, Brian Dozier, and Yasmani Grandal are almost certainly gone, and the Dodgers could have to part ways with valuable pitchers Ryan Madson, John Axford, Erik Goeddel, and Daniel Hudson.
In an offseason where there are multiple generational free agents, and other superstar talents in the trade market – with a chance to transform into a true superteam and WS contender – the #Dodgers are instead opting to “re-shape payroll”. Nice, Guggenheim. Nice.#LuxuryTaxChamps
— Darth Skynet (@HimayKoenig4) December 11, 2018
Outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp are also being actively shopped and could easily be elsewhere once Spring Training begins.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) November 15, 2018
Some of those losses will be mitigated by the return of shortstop Corey Seager, who underwent Tommy John surgery last season, but he won’t be able to carry the team on his own. The Dodgers are a franchise in flux, and It would be wise to hold off on banking on them until their direction is clear.
Past National League Pennant Winners
|2018||Los Angeles Dodgers||92-71|
|2017||Los Angeles Dodgers||104-58|
|2015||New York Mets||90-72|
|2014||San Francisco Giants||88-74|
The Baby Braves Are Growing Up
While the Dodgers are “re-shaping payroll”, the Braves appear to be pushing all their chips into the centre of the table. Atlanta improved its lineup in late November by adding former AL MVP Josh Donaldson and seven-time All-Star Brian McCann.
— 680 The Fan (@680TheFan) December 12, 2018
They join a dynamic 90-win team overflowing with young talent. It begins with NL Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna Jr., who hit .293 with 26 home runs and 64 RBI in his first season in the bigs, and continues to emerging stars like Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, and Johan Camargo. Add in three-time All-Star Freddie Freeman and you have one of the most formidable lineups this side of Boston.
20-years-old, and Ronald Acuña Jr. already has the clutch gene.
How about a game-winning HR at Yankee Stadium?
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) July 3, 2018
Atlanta’s pitching staff isn’t half bad either. The Braves ranked first in the NL in BAA and opponent slugging percentage, and second in opponent OPS. Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, and Julio Teheran are all front line starters, and Atlanta is reportedly trying to bolster its bullpen by adding Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, who pitched for the Braves from 2010-14.
Who Will Win the NL Pennant?
The Dodgers, Cubs, and Brewers are all legitimate contenders, but the Braves have the highest upside of all four clubs. Sprinkle a little money on their +600 odds today and enjoy watching as they develop into a National League powerhouse.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.