World Series 2018 Title Contenders After The MLB All-Star Break

Heading into the All-Star break, there were seventeen clubs that could boast of a winning record and seriously make a run for the 2018 World Series title.

Let’s take a look at the MLB betting lines for the top contenders to win the World Series:

2018 World Series Top Contenders 

Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians topped the AL last season with 102 wins; this after falling short by just one win to gain the World Series title in 2016.

Though this year the Indians haven’t had the best of starts considering the weak competition in the AL Central, it’s still a top-tier team.

Their starting rotation has a 3.46 ERA which is third in the majors boasting the likes of Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. They also have young talent in Trevor Bauer who can be another front-line starter.

The offense is among the best in the league, bringing in 5.13 runs per game, and that’s chock full of great players among which are AL MVP candidate Jose Ramirez.

It’s true, however, the bullpen is not what it once was in recent seasons, but they should, at least, snatch another division title. From there on out, it’ll take a big effort from the relief corps if they’re to be in this year’s Fall Classic.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers have dusted themselves off after stumbling for a bit at the start of the season. What once was 16-26 was turned around to 37-17 including a 10-4 run to close out the first half.

Losing shortstop Corey Seager had to have stung because he’s only one of a number of key players with injured list status. However, Max Muncy (1.009 OPS, 22 HR, 43 RBI), Matt Kemp (.900 OPS, 17 HR, 62 RBI) and Ross Stripling (25 G, 14 GS, 8-2, 2.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) can pick up some of the slack, heading into the second half.

They also just acquired Manny Machado in a hush-hush trade from the Orioles and he’s brought in a .385 (5 for 13) hitting record through his first three games with LA.

The key for the Dodgers is to take care of keeping their starting rotation which carries their hopes of returning to the World Series.

New York Yankees

After reaching the ALCS and winning 91 games last season, it was somewhat of a surprise to see the Yankees pull off a blockbuster deal for NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton.

My open question with the Yankees is in telling whether they have enough pitching to win a title. Luis Severino (20 GS, 14-2, 2.31 ERA) is a hands-down ace, and CC Sabathia (18 GS, 6-4, 3.51 ERA) is still holding on strong.

But, Masahiro Tanaka (15 GS, 7-2, 4.54 ERA) and Sonny Gray (19 GS, 7-7, 5.34 ERA) are shaky at best; also, a number of players have taken their turn at the No. 5 starter role since Jordan Montgomery was lost for the season.

The rumor is the Yankees are looking at the Rays’ Chris Archer as the MLB trade deadline approaches on July 31, 2018. Archer dominated the Miami Marlins on Sunday, striking out 13 Marlins in just six innings as the Rays won, 6-4.

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are top the National League at the moment despite Anthony Rizzo (.792 OPS, 12 HR, 64 RBI) and Yu Darvish (8 GS, 1-3, 4.95 ERA) not living up to their super star expectations in the first half.

Much the same can be said of Kris Bryant, Kyle Hendricks, and Jose Quintana albeit at a lesser level.

There’s no question these players can kick it up a notch after the All-Star break which could also lessen any deadline activity flurries.  

There’s no doubt over the quality of the offense which tops the NL with runs per game; a stellar bullpen led by Jon Lester (20 GS, 12-3, 3.14 ERA) who appears to be pitching well once more.

There’s still room to improve for the Yankees, even so, they’re sitting atop the NL Central standings.

Boston Red Sox

After David Ortiz retired, the Red Sox didn’t quite pack a lot of punch in the middle of the lineup. But, after J.D. Martinez entered the picture things have changed.

The five-year, $109.95 million deal for the free-agent slugger has paid off with a 1.021 OPS, 29 homers, and 81 RBI.

The starting rotation appears solid with David Price (20 GS, 11-6, 4.17 ERA) back in the saddle, and Eduardo Rodriguez (19 GS, 11-3, 3.44 ERA) finally earning his salt. Chris Sale (20 GS, 10-4, 2.23 ERA) is once more having a Cy Young potential season.

The Red Sox are eyeing Tigers’ righty Mike Fiers after he got done dominating Boston on Saturday and who would be a good replacement for Rodriguez who is nursing an ankle injury.

Houston Astros

It’s an ominous thing to see the same team that won the World Series title a year ago is even better this year.

The Astros lead the AL West at 66-36 and their starting rotation is among the best of the majors in ERA, WHIP, and quality starts. And, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole takes this crew to the next level.

The offense has also kicked it up a notch as if it wasn’t great already. Their only caveat is in the back of the bullpen that is not up to how this team is performing otherwise.