Spring training is underway and while there is still approximately a month to go before opening day 2018 it is never to early to start looking at MLB futures odds. A lot can happen between now and March 29th but the futures market can give us an expectation of where the season is heading for some teams. Let's open the discussion with a quick look at the NL East and teams odds to both win the division and the world series.
Washington Nationals: 4/9 to win NL East, 4/1 to win NL Pennant, 8/1 to win the World Series
The Nationals are a huge favorite to win the NL East having won 4 of the last 6 division titles. They ran away with the division last year with a 97-65 record and were never threatened by division rivals. They won the division by 20 games which were the 2nd largest margin for a division winner in MLB.
"The Yankees line-up will be devastating with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird"
And while winning the East again would be nice this appears to be a do or die year for this current Nationals roster as they have never advanced past the division series. This is the final year before several key pieces, including all-world outfielder Bryce Harper, hit free agency.
Don't feel too bad for the Nats though as they are loaded with talent. Their rotation will be led by Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer and front-line starter Stephen Strasburg. The offense is led by above-mentioned superstar outfielder Bryce Harper as well as up and coming shortstop Trea Turner. Look for the Nats to attempt to improve what could be a shaky bullpen with a potential in season.
The Nationals should cruise in this division but you have to imagine they have sites set on a much bigger prize.
New York Mets: 11/4 to win NL East, 10/1 to win NL Pennant, 20/1 to win World Series
The Mets are a team with plenty of potential and tons of question. A slew of injuries led the Mets to a 4th place finish in the East last season at 70-92. If healthy, that's a big if, this team has the pieces to make a playoff run.
The biggest question (and probably most potential) comes from the starting pitching staff. If Noah Syndergaard can come back from last years injury and regain his previous form he can pair with ace Jacob Degrom to form a 1-2 punch that can compete with almost any. Another big question mark will be the production of former ace Matt Harvey. Can he return and be a productive pitcher on this staff?
The lineup should be boosted by a hopefully healthy Yoenis Cespedes as well as offseason additions Todd Frazier and Adrian Gonzalez and the return of slugger Jay Bruce.
"We're trying to get to the bottom of it," Roberts said"
Philadelphia Phillies: 8/1 to win NL East, 40/1 to win NL Pennant, 80/1 to win World Series
Down to the rebuilding portion of the division, we have the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies have emerging youngsters but are still a year or two away from really being taken as serious contenders. They are set up, however, one of the lowest payrolls in baseball leave the opportunity to be players in the free agent market at any time. Now just need a few of these up and comers to solidify their spots.
The rotation is lacking but rumors of possibly signing free agent pitcher Jake Arrieta could change that and possibly transform the Phils into a possible wild card contender with a shot at a winning record.
Atlanta Braves: 12/1 to win NL East, 50/1 to win NL Pennant, 100/1 to win World Series
This team is young and will probably lose quite a few games this year but the signs are there. This should be a fun team full of young kids as the Braves farm system is loaded and many will be making MLB debuts this season.
Middle infield duo of the future Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson should have most of a season to work together while #1 ranked prospect Ronald Acuna is sure to debut probably sooner rather than later in the season(Braves will hold him down a few weeks to get an extra year of control).
The Braves are still another year or two from competing but I have a feeling this is going to be a fun team to watch.
Miami Marlins: 50/1 to win NL East, 125/1 to win NL Pennant, 250/1 to win World Series
The new ownership group came in and boy did they make an impression on the fans and the rest of baseball. They gutted the roster of almost all real talent and made it clear they were in full on tank mode even before the season started.
The Marlins traded away there 3 starting outfielders, who combined for 114 home runs, 316 runs, and 337 RBIs last season. They will be replaced by players most common fans have never heard of before.
Will be a while before we see if any of the moves pay off for the Marlinsin the long haul but this season is going to be an ugly one. They have to be the favorites to finish with the worst record in baseball and a 100 loss campaign almost seems a real possibility.