Please note, this is a Top Ten with a twist. This list details one through ten the ten most likely teams to win the World Series, not the current ten best teams. Consider that before you charge into the comments section all bluster and anger!
For example, and we hate to break this to your Baltimore fans, the Orioles are not going to win the World Series. They will appear in many a MLB power ranking, just not this one. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. No chance at winning the big one so, no Orioles.
We fully expect our top two to play the World Series against each other. So confident, are we, that we will put their World Series and NL and AL Championship odds beside them, despite the fact you cannot place a bet in the United States, even though you can own a gun. Go figure.
Right, let’s chop it up.
1. Our current most likely AL representative: Texas Rangers, 23-12. 21/10 to win the AL and 7/2 favorite to win the World Series.
As long as Josh Hamilton stays healthy, the Rangers are a monster. He is the leading light in a powerful offense that is devouring the AL’s pitching, and spitting it back out disdainfully. Texas leads the majors in runs scored, averaging half a run more per game than the next-best offensive team. It all starts with Hamilton, who in one single game last week blasted four homers and a double, tying the all-time AL record with 18 total bases in a game and becoming just the 16th player ever to hit four homers in a game. Texas are about to embark on a cupcake portion of their schedule also. Their next six opponents are the Royals, A's, Astros, Mariners, Jays, and Mariners again. Of course, waiting in the distance, those cold September and October months that Texas will no doubt get a taste of, but will they be able to handle it? Playoff pitching, cold weather, balaclavas and Nolan Ryan's enormous head freezing to death angrily in the front row.
2. Our current most likely NL representative: Los Angeles Dodgers, 23-11. 13/2 to win the NL and a great value 14/1 to win the World Series.
Matt Kemp this, Matt Kemp that. Kemp’s injury is a minor setback. He will be back soon. It is not a season ending injury. The Dodgers are built on solid pitching, a couple of big bats (Don’t forget Andre Ethier!) and tight defence. Their starters have been superb in 2012, led by Clayton Kershaw, and their closer, Kenley Jansen, who is averaging almost 14 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. Outstanding.
3. New York Yankees, 19-15
No doubt there are issues. Their closers keep getting hurt (Rivera, now Robertson). Their first baseman can’t hit (Mark Teixeira is in one of the worst slumps of his career). They are patched together in places. However, their 57 year old shortstop, held together with glue and sellotape, is batting Ted Williams, and they are having absolutely no problem scoring runs. Also, you are completely deluded if you think the Yankees aren’t going to go out and trade body parts, money, scrap metal and whatever else they have left in their minor league system for a shut down starter or two before the trade deadline. That’s just who they are.
4. St. Louis Cardinals, 20-14
Have you ever heard of Lance Lynn? No? In your defence, not many had prior to 2012. He is currently leading the Cards in wins (6), ERA (1.81) and strikeouts (44). The kid can deal. Their rotation is solid, and Adam Wainwright will boost that to 'great' when he gets back to his usual self. The fun really starts with their offence. Rafael Furcal is absolutely murdering the baseball right now, while Carlos Beltran has a jaw dropping 13 long balls already. Carlos, who knew?!
5. Tampa Bay Rays, 21-14
How the Tampa Bay Devil Rays manage to lay in the weeds just out of the Zeitgeist is anyone’s guess. They are basically a stacked baseball team now, devoid of any of the trappings of the under-dog role they used to play so well. Maybe it is something to do with the absolutely pathetic attendances they get down there in Tampa. 9,000 people at a Major League ball game? Still, dangerous in October when the bandwagon fans show up.
6. Atlanta Braves, 22-13
Can a team win a World Series on the strength of its bullpen? Sounds ludicrous, but the Braves are going to give it a shot. When Atlanta take a lead from the sixth inning on, the game is effectively over. Their setup guy, Jonny Venters, would close for most MLB teams, and is averaging an absolutely disgusting 14.49 strikeouts per 9 innings. Swing and a miss. Their actual closer, young, inferno-baller Craig Kimbrel, is clocking up an average of 14.79 strikeouts per 9. That's just Dutch porn filthy. You better get ahead of the Braves, or you are going to be swinging and missing a lot.
7. Washington Nationals, 21-13
Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg may get all the column inches, but Gio Gonzalez is the real story in Washington. He has a pretty little ERA of 1.94 in over 40 innings pitched, and is averaging a hefty 10.80 strikeouts per 9 IP in 2012. If he can cut down the walks a little (17 to date) he can throw his cap in the NL Cy Young ring.
8. Miami Marlins, 18-16
Miami got off to a stuttering start, but alarm bells must be ringing with baseball 'purists' everywhere, as the Marlins cruised past .500 and start to look like a potential playoff threat. Fun fact, Carlos Zambrano, yes, that Carlos Zambrano has an ERA of 1.88.
9. Los Angeles Angels, 15-20
They might be way under .500, but over the course of the season, they have a better shot at winning the big prize than the Orioles. Even Baltimore fans know that.
10. Boston Red Sox, 15-19
Last week everybody hated Josh Beckett. This week everyone loves him. Welcome to Boston.