The first few days of MLB Spring Training are in the books. So far so good for the 30 teams with pennant and World Series aspirations. Check out how things have gone, an MLB addition that should make the season more fun, and thoughts on the Yankees. With that in mind, let’s get right to it so you can make your bets against their MLB odds.
MLB COVID-19 Update – March 3rd Edition
2021 MLB Season
- When: Thursday, April 1 – Friday, October 1
- Where: Various
2021 World Series Odds
- Los Angeles Dodgers +330
- New York Yankees +500
- San Diego Padres +750
- Tampa Bay Rays +1600
- Atlanta Braves +900
- Minnesota Twins +1400
- Chicago White Sox +900
- Oakland Athletics +1800
- Houston Astros +1800
- Cleveland Indians +3000
- Cincinnati Reds +3000
- Chicago Cubs +4000
- New York Mets +925
- Washington Nationals +3000
- St. Louis Cardinals +2200
- Toronto Blue Jays +1500
- Philadelphia Phillies +3300
- L.A. Angels +4000
- Milwaukee Brewers +4000
- Boston Red Sox +5000
- Miami Marlins +10000
- San Francisco Giants +15000
- Arizona Diamondbacks +15000
- Colorado Rockies +25000
- Seattle Mariners +15000
- Baltimore Orioles +20000
- Detroit Tigers +20000
- Kansas City Royals +15000
- Texas Rangers +15000
- Pittsburgh Pirates +30000
So far, so good after first few days of 2021 MLB Spring Training
Winning games at venues either in Arizona, home of the Cactus League, or in Florida, where the Grapefruit League calls home, isn’t the goal. The main goal is for managers to figure out their starting rotations and starting batting lineups heading into the regular season.
Managing a normal 162-game baseball season is one of the most difficult jobs in sports. It may be the most difficult on a coach or manager level.
Major League Baseball managers must find a way to win enough games to make the postseason. But they must also save enough in the tank to win in the postseason. Often, those two things collide.
How many times has the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, or some other top MLB Regular Season team failed in the playoffs? When you handicap early season baseball games, don’t spend too much time worrying if a team is hot or cold.
Instead, pay attention to the managerial moves. Some mangers, like the Angels’ Joe Maddon, don’t know how good his team is because LAA, like everyone, played just 60 games last season. Expect Maddon, and managers like him, to use the early regular season games to come up with a strong enough lineup to compete in May.
In-game video returns to MLB this season
Probably because the Houston Astros were stealing signs for years, last season Major League Baseball shucked the in-game video room. MLB has said the video room’s will return.
Per more than one major leaguer, video is a huge “part of the game”. Batters use video to study relievers. They also use video to perfect their swing.
Colorado Rockies infielder Chris Owings talked about how difficult it was in the pandemic affected season to know if his swing was correct. Owings talked about having to check out the MLB App to see “where the ball went over the plate.”
But checking out where the pitcher threw the ball over the plate has nothing to do with a batter’s swing. Batters are like golfers. They must consistently work on their swing to perform their job to the best of their abilities.
Video helps them do that. So, no matter your feelings about what the Astros did, allowing batters to watch video of opposing pitchers is a good idea.
Many believe Rays beat the Yankees and take the AL East
Even though the Tampa Bay Rays lost both Charlie Morton and Blake Snell, many analysts believe they have what it takes to beat the Yankees. Based on some analysis, those thinking the Rays are the team to beat in the AL East may have a point.
Tampa’s top starter is Tyler Glasnow. Tyler posted a 4.08 ERA, not great but not horrible, while going 5-1 last season. If Tyler falters, Ryan Yarborough could pick up the slack.
The real key for Tampa is how three pitchers looking to restart their careers perform. Former Rays player Chris Archer bombed in Pittsburgh. If Archer goes back to throwing his best stuff, he can become a sub-.300 ERA starter.
Rich Hill has played for a long time. But he had a 3.03 ERA with the Twins last season. He could start something like ten games during the regular season. Then, if the Rays do win the AL East, he can jump into the regular rotation in the playoffs.
Michael Wacha had a terrible 2020. But a lot of good pitchers blew it last season. If Wacha improves to a 4.50 or less ERA this season, Tampa will be ecstatic.
On paper, the Yankees batting line-up is loaded. All those hitters must stay healthy and Corey Kluber has to return to his best form. If neither happens, the defending AL Champion Rays may be the team to pick up the pieces from the Yankees shattered AL East hopes.
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