Just over a week before the pitchers and catchers are set to report for 2019 spring training, people all over America are trying to make their predictions as to who will win the 2019 World Series. At times like this, we like to turn to the experts who have made predicting outright futures their prerogative, but even they cannot split the leading contenders for the 2019 World Series, with the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Houston Astros neck-and-neck in the odds. That said, with history on their side and coming into the season on the back of a superb offseason, the Yankees may be the real favorites to win it all this year.
Much of the hype coming into the winter swirled around the Yankees snapping up one of the major free agents, with the team meeting with Manny Machado at the end of December. At the time, the Yankees trailed the Red Sox and Astros in the odds to win the next World Series, but if he were to sign, they would have seen a major uptick, potentially becoming the outright favorites at +500 or perhaps +400. The team looked to take a major step forward by adding one big name but, instead, general manager Brian Cashman decided to work his magic elsewhere.
With the distraction of Machado keeping the media at bay, Cashman went about building on the team’s infield depth, quietly bringing in the NL batting title holder of three years ago, DJ LeMahieu, and All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
Baseball is a game of numbers and the Yankees have been able to upgrade their already very strong team cost-effectively. Based on statistical analysis, the expert sportsbooks whose raison d’être is providing accurate outright odds see the Yankees’ moves as being enough to bring them level with the Astros and Red Sox, proving that the team didn’t necessarily need to pay big for Machado. Fans and everyone involved with the sport are provided with oceans of analytical data and, while some need a few important and basic tips to understand the importance of the numbers, Cashman is a seasoned pro and was able to make a calculated decision to move on LeMahieu and Tulowitzki rather than Machado, despite having the space to pursue the bigger name.
The bullpen also took another step forward, possibly into the top-five zone, with Adam Ottavino joining and Zach Britton being retained. Adding these players evidently improved the Yankees’ odds of winning it all in 2019, which was reflected in the outright markets. Right now, with many bookmakers, the Yankees are now level with the Red Sox and the Astros at +600.
The New York Yankees are the most successful MLB team of all-time with 27 World Series world championships but have been without a title in ten years. History appears to be on their side this season, however, as a team hasn’t won back-to-back championships since the Yankees did in 1998, 1999, and 2000. The Boston Red Sox rank as the Yankees’ top competitors as it stands, but history states that they won’t be able to go all the way in 2019.
In 2017, the Houston Astros battered their way to the World Series and returned with an incredibly strong team in 2018, but slumped. This season, the Astros come in with a team that appears to be without weakness but the improvements made to the Yankees will have many favoring the legendary franchise despite having the same +600 odds as Houston.
While not as explosive as many foresaw coming into the free agency, the New York Yankees made the right moves to better their odds of winning it all this year.