MLB – Second Half Predictions & Future Bets
The 2019 MLB All-Star game has been completed and the fair weather fan will not look at the standings and start rooting for their team to make a playoff push. With the MLB trade deadline just on the horizon teams looking to deal will be looking to make a splash to ensure a valiant playoff push. Lets take a look at the first half of the MLB season before we move forward as it was filled with some welcoming surprises.
One surprise that it was not filled with – HR’s. We dont know if it is because we are a little nostalgic or if we prefer the days of baseball being 2-1 ballgames but the HR output is out of control! In 1981 the MLB hit 1,767 HR’s, fast forward to 2019 and we are on pace for over 6,500 HR’s. Now we are no scientists but that seems like a huge upswing (pun intended) over the last 30+ years. Justin Verlander spoke up this past All-Star Weekend in Cleveland and called out the league for juicing balls:
“It’s a f—ing joke. Major League Baseball’s turning this game into a joke. They own Rawlings, and you’ve got (MLB Commissioner Rob) Manfred up here saying it might be the way they center the pill. They own the f—ing company,” Verlander said. “We all know what happened. Manfred, the first time he came in, what’d he say? He said ‘we want more offense.’ All of a sudden he comes in, the balls are juiced? It’s not coincidence. We’re not idiots.”
Rob Manfred decided to respond to these comments (probably because Verlander was starting the ASG) by denying all claims that the balls were “juiced”. Folks, lets be honest with ourselves, the MLB Commissioner is not going to ever admit to this solely based on the fact that he would lose his job. However, would you be surprised if in ten years we find out that a high up executive took the fall for this? No, we wouldn’t.
Surprise – Minnesota Twins
We know what your thinking, the Twins were only 3/1 to win the A.L. Central so how is this a surprise? Well shear domination they came out of the gate with and overwhelming lead over the Cleveland Indians was the surprise. The questions before the season was more on the Twins hitting than their pitching and they sure proved everyone wrong.
The Twins are averaging 5.72 RPG which is tied with the NY Yankees for 1st in the MLB. They are averaging 1.87 HRPG which is well over anyone else in the majors. Their batting average is tied for 1st in the MLB at .272, 1st in slugging % and OPBS % and they are in the top 6 in SPG. Phew, they are basically daring pitchers on opposing teams to pitch to them.
The Twins are also in the top 15 in many of the pitching categories as well, but that was expected with their young arms anchored by Berrios. The Twins have basically a 4-man rotation going so its not surprising that Perez, Gibson and Pineda all have over 4.00 ERA’s. If they can get there act together and all become 10 game winners they will cruise into a division title.
The bad news, even after all of that said the Twins have relinquished a 11.5 division lead to just 5.5 at the All-Star break. Oh, and whats that coming up next a 3 game set against the Indians!
Surprise – Texas Rangers
The Houston Astros and Oakland A’s were going to be the two in the hunt for the post season but the Texas Rangers will have something to say about that as we head into the 2nd half. The Rangers are 9 games back of Houston but only 3 games out a Wild Card spot it looks like they may be buyers heading into the trade deadline.
The Texas Rangers got off to a moderate start but took charge in the middle of May going run while averaging 5.8 RPG during a 19-game frame. At the end of June the Rangers had taken charge of the 2nd Wild Card spot. However, they went 3-6 in their last 9 games leading up to the All-Star break and allowed the Cleveland Indians and Oakland A’s to jump them.
Mike Minor and Lance Lynn have been the difference makers going a combined 19-8 with a 3.22 ERA in the 1st half of the season. If the 3,4,5 and yes even 6 pitchers in their rotation could keep an ERA under 4 for the better half of the rest of the season they may be a force to be reckon with.
The offense is doing its job by consistently being in the top 10 of multiple categories such as OBP, OBSP and RPG at 5.36. Look for them to buy at the trade deadline for a starting pitcher!
Future Bet – Cleveland Indians to win Division +900 & World Series +3000
The Cleveland Indians before the season started were -500 to win the A.L. Central. Most bettors were on the Twins at +300 to win the division realizing that the Indians if they did not get out to a great start may be selling in July. Well, the Twins got out to an incredibly hot start and lead the Indians in June by 11.5 games. To the average bettor this looked like a sure thing for the rest of the season. However, the Cleveland Indians have had some of the worst luck when it comes to pitching and injuries. Kluber, Carrasco, Clevinger and many more have spent time on the IR and a couple of those they may not even see again till September.
The batting at the beginning of the season for the Indians was just awful, worse than awful down right atrocious! This was to be expected with new faces to the regular lineup in Santana (who is the only one hitting on the regular) Bauers, Mercado, Perez and Naquin. Most of those names are players who have been in and out of the minors or backup positions for the last few years.
It was only a matter of time before Tito got everyone on the same page and the starting pitching took over. Having gone 7-3 in their last 10 games before the break they find themselves in the 2nd Wild Card slot and only 1/2 a game back of the Rays. This team looked to be selling a month ago, but we think they will be buying, possibly for a setup guy to add with Brad Hand at the back end of their bullpen. Buy now before they overtake the Twins and the price doesnt have anymore value! Speaking of the Twins, the Indians could possibly sweep them to kick of the 2nd half and get within 2.5 games right away this weekend!
Future Bet – Cincinnati Reds to win the World Series +9500
This is a great value bet. The Reds play in the most mediocre division of all and even after having a losing 1st half of the season going 41-46 they are only 4.5 games back of winning the division. By no means is this going to play that you should count on but every season there is a team with a lot of talent that goes on a run and this year it might just be the Reds.
The batting is what is killing them for the most part, not one starting player is over .286. With all the talent in Votto, Puig, Winkler, Peraza, Suarez and Senzel this team could easily turn their hitting around and take control of the N.L. Central.
The pitching staff is a band of misfits that all ended up on the team with the exception of Castillo. Gray and Roark are actually having decent seasons but are not getting the run support needed. We think that if the Reds can go out and grab a starter to replace Mahle at the back end of this rotation this value bet will be live come playoff time!