2014 World Series Odds, Free Picks and Predictions: Favorites, Contenders and Sleepers to Win World Series: Spring training has already begun, and the first pitch for the 2014 MLB season is about a month away. Last year, the Boston Red Sox proved that one season can make a world of difference as they completed a 28-game turnaround and won the World Series just one season after finishing last in the AL East. Of course, some things never seem change as the St. Louis Cardinals continued their run of greatness and won the NL pennant for the second time in three years. Both teams figure to be in the mix for a title again in 2014, and with that in mind, here is a closer look at the frontrunners and other potential contenders to win the 2014 World Series.
In terms of overall talent, it’s tough to find a more loaded team than the Los Angeles Dodgers. After all, they have the best pitcher in baseball in Clayton Kershaw, a solid No. 2 in Zack Greinke and a great power closer in Kenley Jansen. Meanwhile, the lineup features the likes of Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig. If Kemp and Ramirez can stay healthy all year, a World Series title is a real possibility for a team with pitching, power and speed.
Led by two-time defending AL MVP Miguel Cabrera, the Detroit Tigers are once again primed for a run at a championship. Yes, the lineup loses Prince Fielder, but Detroit landed a strong bat in Ian Kinsler in the trade for its former slugger. More importantly, the Tigers’ biggest strength remains on the mound where three Cy Young candidates in Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez headline the rotation. The Tigers also added reliable closer Joe Nathan to the bullpen in the offseason, furthering bolstering a scary collection of arms. Elite pitching and Cabrera’s bat should be more than enough for Detroit to contend for a World Series.
After missing the playoffs in 2013, the New York Yankees did their best to reload in the offseason, adding Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Japanese pitching ace Masahiro Tanaka. If veterans Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alfonso Soriano and Ichiro Suzuki can even have decent seasons, New York’s offense should be scary. Meanwhile, CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda should at least ensure that the rotation is serviceable, and David Robertson has the stuff to be a solid closer, albeit not Mariano Rivera. The motivation to send Jeter out on a high note should also help the cause for a team that has the pieces in place to make some noise.
The roster isn’t loaded top-to-bottom with big names, but the same thing could have been said about the Boston Red Sox last year before they went on to win the World Series. Of course, stars like David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia are still around, and veterans Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and A.J. Pierzynski and young players like Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts comprise a nice collection of role players. The rotation doesn’t have a Cy Young candidate, but Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey and Jake Peavy give Boston four quality starters, and Koji Uehara was brilliant in his first year as a closer. Don’t rule out back-to-back World Series titles.
Thanks to a seemingly-endless number of great prospects, the St. Louis Cardinals should continue to contend in 2014. This year, rookies Kolten Wong and Oscar Tavares will join the mix, along with free agent pick-up Jhonny Peralta. Meanwhile, the steady bats of Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday and Allen Craig are still around. The rotation is led by ace Adam Wainwright, and Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha form a trio of young, talented arms. In the bullpen, closer Trevor Rosenthal leads a group of power arms. The talent is in place, and the Cardinals’ knack for coming up with clutch hits in recent years doesn’t hurt their chances either.
In terms of offensive firepower, few teams are going to be able to compete with the Texas Rangers in 2014. They added on-base machine Shin-Soo Choo to the top of the lineup and slugger Prince Fielder to the middle of a lineup that already had Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios. Closer Joe Nathan could be tough to replace, but Yu Darvish anchors a rotation that should be solid. Playing in a hitter’s paradise, the Rangers could bash their way into the World Series conversation.
Prseason Odds to win the 2014 World Series
Los Angeles Dodgers
St. Louis Cardinals
Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays
New York Yankees
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Angels
Toronto Blue Jays
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
San Diego Padres
New York Mets
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