MLB Betting: Don’t Count out the New York Yankees
Heading into Monday’s action, the New York Yankees looked like an absolute bargain at +5000 to win the 2016 World Series. There was no hotter team in the league. The Yankees swept the Toronto Blue Jays, knocking them out of first place in the AL East. The Yanks took three of four from the Tampa Bay Rays to improve to 76-66 (+6.07 betting units), leaving New York just 1.5 games back in the Wild Card race.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, they came up a bit short Monday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They lost 8-2 as +140 home dogs. It’s going to be tough sledding from here through October, with two more games versus the Dodgers, then an 11-game road trip with stops in Boston, Toronto, and Tampa Bay before finishing at home against the Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles. But the Yankees are still just two games out of a Wild Card spot, and at these odds, they’re one of the few viable outsiders on the World Series futures market.
Just about everything has gone right for the Yankees since they decided to cut their losses with Alex Rodriguez (.598 OPS). He played his last game for New York on August 12; since then, the Yankees are 17-11. With A-Rod no longer playing designated hitter, the Yankees moved catcher Brian McCann (.745 OPS) to DH and started giving rookie Gary Sanchez a regular turn behind the plate. Sanchez (1.108 OPS) went on to hit 11 home runs in his next 13 games.
There’s more where that came from. Rookie infielder Ronald Torreyes (.761 OPS) has been in and out of the lineup in a utility role, but he’s surprised everyone with a .996 OPS since the All-Star Game. Second baseman Starlin Castro (.721 OPS) has hit 11 homers since the break, including one against the Dodgers on Monday. And rookie first baseman Tyler Austin, who made his MLB debut the day after Rodriguez retired, has a 1.082 OPS in September.
It’s always tricky to handicap teams based on small sample sizes, but at the same time, these are obviously not the same Yankees who were 59-56 when A-Rod played his last game. They had a minus-25 run differential at the time; since then, New York has outscored the opposition by eight runs in 28 games. That works out to plus-46 over a full season. The Orioles, who are two games ahead of the Yankees, have a run differential of plus-25 this year. So who would you rather have for the World Series: Baltimore at +2500, or New York at +5000?