With the MLB powers to be ready to unleash the 2019 class of free agents onto the open market, sports gamblers need to be thinking about how said activities are likely to upset the balance of power in MLB. It’s going the effect the available odds on each team to win the 2020 World Series and league titles.
Anyone looking to make wagers on MLB futures books prior to the start of free agency needs to know there are risks. It’s not like baseball betting during the course of the regular season. There’s little data available to handicap eventual league champions and World Series victors other than the proposed roster each team is going to be putting out on the field by the time opening day rolls around.
The Free Agent Class of 2019
Noticeably, this year’s free agent class is devoid any meaningful bats beyond Anthony Rendon, who is coming off a career year with the World Champion Washington Nationals. On the season, he batted .319 with 34 HRs and an MLB leading 126 RBIs. Throw in a post season that saw him add 10 extra base hits and 15 RBIs and clearly, this is a hitter that’s going to be high on every team’s list. After that, there really aren’t any other position players that are capable of changing a team from pretender status to contender status.
The real value in the year’s free agency market comes on the mound, where no less that four pitchers are in a position to land a huge contract while making their respective teams materially better. This list of four pitchers includes:
Gerrit Cole (Houston Astros) ‒ Probable American League Cy Young award winner with a record of 20‒5, an ERA of 2,50 and a MLB leading 336 Ks against only 48 walks. MLB’s #1 pick in 2011 draft.
Stephan Strasburg (Washington Nationals) ‒ Contender for National League Cy Young award with a record of 18‒6 and ERA of 3.32 and 251 Ks. Finally justified his status as MLB’s #1 pick in the 2009 draft.
Zack Wheeler (New York Mets) ‒ While statistically not in the league of Cole or Strasburg, there’s youth and pedigree that suggests his best is yet to come. On the season, he had a record of 11‒8 with an ERA of 3.96 and 195 Ks.
Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco Giants) ‒ Injuries slowed him in 2017 and 2018. With a record of 9‒9, ERA of 3.90 and 203 Ks against only 43 walks in 2019, Bumgarner is still considered an elite pitcher. His explosive bat plays well in the National League.
At this point, sports gamblers without any useful premonitions would be well-advised to hold off on backing any team or teams to win the 2020 World Series. These are the five players who could not only help a team climb in status, but they could also simultaneously hurt the other teams in the same division.
tireWith that said, a gambler who believes Cole could land with the New York Yankees (see rumors) might want to make a futures odds wager on the Yanks prior to any signing that might drop the odds even further.