Texas Rangers Odds to Win 2014 World Series
by Alan Matthews - 3/20/2014
What we like to do here at Doc's is get you the betting information you need ASAP. Thus, we started 2014 MLB previews in early February when the first futures spring odds were released. Obviously, the one problem with doing that is that catastrophic injuries can occur, and one did to the Oakland A's, who opened as slight favorites to win the AL West for the third straight season but aren't any longer.
I frankly wasn't very high on Oakland's chances to threepeat, and now am definitely glad I wasn't because No. 1 starter Jarrod Parker will miss the entire season following Tommy John surgery. Plus, No. 2 A.J. Griffin is going to miss several weeks. Needless to say, that changes the whole dynamic of the division, and I think it drops the A's to third behind Texas and the L.A. Angels. So if you jumped on Rangers or Angels AL West odds early, you got them at a better price than you would now. Oakland's have risen. Those are the benefits/risks of early betting as well as early previews; those that bet on Braves (Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy) and Diamondbacks (Patrick Corbin) futures know all about the risks as those two teams also lost their aces to season-ending TJS.
That's not to say the Rangers and Angels don't have their own pitching issues. Texas has Yu Darvish but not much else after projected No. 2 Derek Holland tripped over his dog this winter and blew up his knee, requiring microfracture surgery that likely will keep him out until after the all-star break. Matt Harrison was expected to be the No. 3 but is coming off two back surgeries and had a setback this spring and also will start the season on the DL.
I'm still shocked that Rangers GM Jon Daniels, widely considered one of the best at his job in MLB, didn't do anything to improve his staff. Texas kicked the tires a bit on free agents like Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez and were on the fringes of the Masahiro Tanaka Derby but didn't get heavily involved with any of those guys. Texas wasn't able to offer Matt Garza a one-year qualifying offer because he was acquired during the 2013 season. Teams are allowed to make $14.1 million qualifying offers to free agents they've employed for at least a year and get a draft pick if they sign somewhere else. Garza, whom the Rangers gave up a lot of minor-league talent for to the Cubs, was snapped up by Milwaukee because the Brewers didn't have to give up a pick. Daniels worried more about his offense in trading for Prince Fielder and signing free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Maybe Texas can hit its way to a division title.
Rangers 2014 Projected Lineup
Even though Josh Hamilton struggled last season with the Angels and it appears smart that Texas didn't give him $25 million a season, he was dearly missed in the 2013 Texas lineup. The 2012 Rangers led the American League with 808 runs and were fourth with 200 homers. Those numbers dropped to 730 (No. 7) and 176 (also No. 7) without Hamilton's big lefty bat in the middle of the lineup.
It certainly appears Daniels has a more-than-capable replacement in Fielder. I loved that trade with Detroit in that Texas also got $30 million to help cover some of Fielder's huge salary and only gave up regressing second baseman Ian Kinsler. Fielder never gets hurt and hit 55 bombs in two seasons in Detroit playing half his games at cavernous Comerica Park. I believe he returns to his huge NL numbers at the newly-named Globe Life Park in Arlington. Fielder should bat third, with perennial MVP candidate Adrian Beltre behind him. Beltre, who says Fielder will win AL MVP this season, has at least 30 homers each of the past three seasons with Texas.
Choo is one of the best leadoff men in the majors because he's an on-base machine. He was fourth in the majors in that category last season with the Reds at .423. He also hit 20 homers and stole 20 bases. Kinsler's trade opens up second base for the former No. 1 prospect in all of MLB, Jurickson Profar. Thus, Elvis Andrus stays and short and wasn't traded. Keep an eye on him as he's had some elbow tightness this spring. Outfielder Alex Rios also could put up big numbers in a full season with the Rangers after being acquired from the White Sox last summer. Geovany Soto and new acquisition J.P. Arencibia will platoon at catcher with A.J. Pierzynski gone.
Rangers 2014 Projected Rotation & Closer
This is clearly the problem area. Darvish might have the nastiest stuff in the game. He won only 13 games last season due to some iffy run support, but batters hit only .194 off him and he led the majors with 277 strikeouts. If Masahiro Tanaka was worth $155 million on the open market, the 27-year-old Darvish is worth almost Clayton Kershaw money. If there's one concern with him it's his pitch count because he strikes out so many and does walk a lot (80, third in the AL). The Rangers would like him to pitch to contact to those lower hitters in the order.
With the Holland and Harrison issues, the rest of the rotation is definitely no sure thing. Martin Perez looks like the No. 2 now, and he was good in his first full season as a starter, but the league learns you. He really should be a No. 4-5 for now. Alexi Ogando was supposed to be the No. 3 but has been torched this spring. He might lose that spot to former reliever Tanner Scheppers. No. 4 and No. 5 might be Joe Saunders and Tommy Hanson. That, folks, ain't good.
Joe Nathan was a terrific closer last year but is now in Detroit. Texas should be fine there with either Joakim Soria or Neftali Feliz.
2014 Texas Rangers Odds to Win the World Series and Futures Odds with 2013 Trends
Odds from Sportsbook.ag and Bovada. Texas is the +250 to win the division, +1000 to win the pennant and +1800 to win its first World Series. It has a wins total of 87 ("over" a -125 favorite), which is the most of the AL West teams yet the Rangers are still third-favorites in the division. The Rangers were 64-90-9 "over/under" last season and 73-90 on the runline (awful -1861 runline units). Darvish has a wins total of 14.5 (over -150 favorite) and is the 7/1 Cy Young favorite. Fielder is listed at 31.5 homers (over -145 favorite), 12/1 to lead the majors in homers and 20/1 to win AL MVP. Beltre is 16/1 to win AL MVP and 50/1 to lead MLB in homers.
Rangers Picks and Predictions
I very much believe that Daniels will make a move for the rotation. Maybe the Rangers call the Cubs for Jeff Samardzija as Chicago knows the Texas farm system well. The problem is it's rather thin now. Texas would love to get David Price from the Rays this summer if Tampa Bay is struggling. Until something like that happens, I think the Rangers are slightly behind the Angels in terms of winning the AL West as the Halos at least have a strong top two in the rotation.
Texas has won at least 90 games four straight years and should again -- presuming Harrison can pitch sooner rather than later and Daniels does something. I am going to throw some money on Fielder for both AL MVP and home-run king, but I'd definitely take him over the 31.5 dingers. Also over on Darvish's wins -- if he gets hurt, however, this season is down the drain -- but I don't think he will win the Cy Young. No Ranger ever has.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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