At last, the regular season is upon us. After an offseason of constant speculation, we are now entering the regular season. Now that we have an idea of what each roster looks like, we can debate the outcome.
Here are five World Series favorites for the 2021 season:
5. Tampa Bay Rays
Oddly enough, because this seems to happen every year, but the Tampa Bay Rays have the 12th-best odds to win the World Series according to Vegas. They have been a gritty franchise for years, despite having the 26th-lowest payroll.
The Rays have a history of trading away their franchise players, as we’ve seen in the past with Evan Longoria, Chris Dickerson, Chris Archer, and now Blake Snell. Still, they find themselves fighting for contention each season, while being a constant threat in the AL East as of late. The still very talented group, with a pitching rotation led Tyler Glasnow and top prospect Wander Franco, should be viewed as a threat once again.
4. Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves were on a great run during their 2020 playoff run before going headfirst into a buzz-saw in the form of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team wasn’t prepared to measure up to the powerhouse, but they were just as talented.
Their lineup has a legitimate case to be argued amongst the league’s best led by Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies. With Freddie Freeman in his contract year and the team locking up Marcell Ozuna, they are just a few pitching pieces away from being considered in the World Series picture. They have a decent foundation in their rotation led by Max Fried, Ian Anderson and Charlie Morton.
The team also experienced much needed adversity last season. Being battle tested is always an important ingredient for future success.
3. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox have done all they can over the recent years to put together the most formidable, championship-ready team and they might just be ready to complete the puzzle this season.
The roster is mixed with well-established talent with names such as Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu leading the charge. Meanwhile, they are waiting on the rise of graduating prospects such as Andrew Vaughn, Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease.
Aside from development, there isn’t much else the White Sox need to add to their current roster. They signed reliever Liam Hendriks to bolster their bullpen. The team has a balance of talent and experience en route to competing among the elite.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Almost everyone is going to have the Los Angeles Dodgers as the undisputed favorites to win the World Series. Former MLB World Series Champion Cliff Floyd answered this way as well. He noted that the team finally got the “gorilla off their backs” and will contend in three of the next four seasons.
Going back-to-back is a difficult feat, as the New York Yankees were the last to do so from 1998-2000. Granted, the Yankees were a historically great team, just as the Dodgers are today. However, there’s a lot of talent to go around throughout the league.
The National League has enough firepower from teams like the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, and even the New York Mets seem like they will be ready to make noise this season. As great as Trevor Bauer is, he has limited playoff experience. I believe the Dodgers will be in the World Series and may even win if the opposing team doesn’t find a way to stay healthy.
1. New York Yankees
Speaking of getting the gorilla off their backs, the New York Yankees are desperate for a World Series. It has been 12 seasons since their last World Series win, which isn’t bad for most franchises. For the Yankees, however, that’s an eternity. The biggest and greatest team question is their health.
The Yankees have one of the best lineups in the MLB and they have addressed their rotation that has plagued them for years. The team also expects to have Luis Severino back at some point during the summer to add a rotation mix led by Gerrit Cole.
It seems like so many things have to go wrong for the Yankees not to be serious World Series threats next season and there is no telling what kind of success the team would’ve had over the course of a full season last year. By October, which was the third month of play, the team was essentially healthy from top to bottom.
It wasn’t in time, as Aaron Judge and others weren’t able to get into a proper groove. However, Giancarlo Stanton gave the Yankees a peak at what they were hoping to get from him when he smacked six homers in seven games. It is time for the Yankees to get the “gorilla off their back” and they are in prime position to do so.