How The Trade Deadline Passing Has Impacted The Wildcard Race
The drama of trade deadline day now done and dusted so it’s time to get back to the important aspects of MLB and with some of the tightest Wild card standings going, there could be some dark horses trying to extend their year with postseason baseball. But with how things are looking this could be any number of teams and this picture is replicated among most leagues.
It’s the perfect time to look at who could possibly achieve this at such a crucial time of the season, now that we know who’s staying at their respective clubs. For example, Arizona Diamondbacks’ odds have started to drift behind other National League contenders after losing ace Zack Grienke to Houston. A big-league season career veteran, posting a 2.90 ERA in his 15th year, the 10th lowest ERA across the MLB.
It’s obvious, if you lose your ace, you’re going to have doubters. Their best price of +12500 means that they’re now behind the San Francisco Giants in favourability in the World Series market. No one would have had that six weeks ago.
Talking of the Giants, no one could have predicted such a turnaround. Posting a 21-9 record in their last 30 games they have rightly gone above the rest of the NL West rivals. No one else in the MLB has a single-digit figure of defeats across their last 30 games, and only AL teams come close to their record. While they probably can’t catch up to their fierce rivals in LA, they’re 2.5 games behind a Wild Card spot, and while they lost Mark Melancon, Sam Dyson and a couple of others, they didn’t lose Madison Bumgarner or Will Smith! If their bats keep clicking with Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson (if the latter isn’t on the IL for too long), they should force their way into the postseason.
Their postseason pedigree is nothing to be laughed at either. And of odds of +6500 for National League Winner – after surviving the beast that is the NL West is worth considering.
However, there are other teams that are also storming up the NL could be stronger than our NorCal friends. The New York Mets made similar gains to the Giants during the deadline day, by not losing Noah Syndegaard and gaining Blue Jays’ Marcus Stroman to their pitching roster. Although their last 30 record is barely above .500, they’ve won their last seven in a row to challenge the middle of the road NL East. Atlanta Braves have most likely won that decision with a good 7-8 games ahead, but with only four wins separating second and fourth of that division there’s no reason why Mets can’t challenge. For sure, it’s a crazier bet at +10000 but one keeping your eye on if either the Phillies or the Nats start to fall away.
I’ll touch briefly on the NL Central- it’s too much of a close call and the shorter prices around St Louis Cardinals, Cubs or Brewers for National League winner or World Series Winner is not worth taking. I can see any one of those teams getting turned over by the likes of the Dodgers, Braves, etc.
The American League is a little easier to manoeuvre, mainly because the first two teams in each league are quite ahead of the rest. With the exception of AL Central, the leaders should win their respective divisions. Touching on Central, we’re in the part of the season where if you’re striking hot, you’ll probably stay that way for the second half, and with Cleveland Indians revving their engine, +210 to win that league is worth putting money on.
Not only that, but I think that’s the league that will lose out on a Wild Card spot, Indians will over take the Twins, the latter will then fall further behind as the Tampa Bay Rays keep their wins going to gain one of those spots, and the other spot I think will fall to the Oakland A’s.
Again, they’re another team who has suddenly found their feet and have been winning a 2/3 of their last 30 games. Their team pitching ERA is among the top percentile and if their bats keep clicking, they’ll muscle their way into the end game. They’re currently +5000 to win the World Series.
Unfortunately, I think there’s less to play for in the American League – now that the Astros have Zack Grienke and the New York Yankees didn’t make any pitching additions, the former will walk that side.
Obviously, the competitiveness and tightness of the National League makes it more valuable to dabble in. So I’ll be keeping my eye on the Giants and the Mets at those high prices.
By Jasmine Baba