The first two months of the MLB season has played largely to form. Clubs like the Twins, Braves and Reds have been absolute money pits, as was expected, while the Cubs Giants and Orioles have been among the most profitable wagers in baseball.
Below is a list of what have been the top-five best and worst bets in MLB. There are only two results that could be considered surprising: The first is the Rangers being easily the most profitable bet in baseball thus far; and the other is the Astros--a playoff team a year ago--ranking among the worst bets in the game.
Best Bets in MLB (through 6/2)
Texas Rangers (31-22, +14.9 Units)
The Rangers have used 36 quality starts (fourth in MLB) and a sparkling two months from rookie outfielder Nomar Mazara to sit in a tie with the Mariners for first place in the AL West. Colby Lewis (5-0, 3.09 ERA), Martin Perez (3-4, 3.12 ERA) and Cole Hamels (5-1, 3.39 ERA) have combined for 24 quality starts in 33 outings. That's an excellent ratio that keeps the Rangers in virtually every game. Mazara, a 21-year-old the Dominican Republic, was named A.L. Rookie of the Month for both April and May when batting .291 with 9 HR and 24 RBIs.
The Rangers are a complete club with no discernible weakness. Expect the profits to continue.
Chicago Cubs (37-15, +11.2 Units)
It was World Series or bust for the talent-laden Cubs entering the season. So far, so good. The North Siders are winning at a 71.2 percent clip while padding the pockets of their backers. The Cubs lead the majors in ERA (2.06) and quality starts (37) and are third in scoring with 5.5 runs per game. That's getting it done. The only concerns are whether they are able to maintain this torrid pace, and also the fact you have to risk so much to win relatively little. Doing so has certainly been a good idea so far.
San Francisco Giants (34-22, +9.1 Units)
The Giants rank fifth in quality starts (35) and sixth in ERA (3.54). Notice a trend here? The good starting pitching has helped put San Francisco comfortably atop NL West, 5.5 games ahead of the Dodgers. But it's not all on the mound. Brandon Belt (.306 BA, 6 HR, 27 RBI), Hunter Pence (.298 BA, 7 HR, 36 RBI) and Buster Posey (.264, 8 HR, 18 RBI) are all having productive campaigns at the plate as well for San Francisco.
Look for the Giants to keep the good times going this summer.
Baltimore Orioles (30-22, +7.4 Units)
The Orioles have largely powered their way to the top of the AL East, as their .448 slugging percentage is fourth-best in the bigs. Mark Trumbo (.288, 17 HR, 42 RBI), Manny Machado (.318, 14 HR, 34 RBI) and Chris Davis (.216, 10 HR, 28 RBI) have all posted double-digit home runs. The starting pitching, a concern entering the season, has also proven serviceable. Baltimore has the goods to stick around this summer. But they do have the tough AL East to deal with, and that could provide a few bumps in the road.
Kansas City Royals (30-23, +6.8 Units)
The Royals struggled a bit early, but the defending World Series champs have started to play as such in recent weeks. Eric Hosmer (.330, 10 HR, 35 RBI) has been fantastic all season, while the red-hot Lorenzo Cain (.307, 8 HR, 34 RBI) has raised his average a whopping 27 points in just the past 11 days.
The concern with the Royals are injuries. Mike Moustakas just had season-ending surgery and tough-as-nails C Salvador Perez has been getting banged around pretty good and hasn't played in the past week. Still, there is much to like about Kansas City moving forward.
Worst Bets in MLB
Minnesota Twins (16-37, -17.6 Units)
Atlanta Braves (16-37, -14.1 Units)
Cincinnati Reds (19-35, -12.8 Units)
Tampa Bay Rays (22-30, -11.7 Units)
Houston Astros (25-30, -11.6 Units)
Can any of these clubs change their fortunes? Perhaps Houston. The other four clubs are complete dumpster fires you should stay far away from. As for the young and talented Astros, they were widely considered the team to beat in the AL West entering the season, but the first two months of the season were largely struggle. It starts with the pitching. AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel is just 3-7 with a 5.50 ERA, and the rest of the rotation hasn't been much better. However, things are heating up in Houston. The Astros have gone 8-2 in their last 10 games. Of course, seven of those wins came against the lowly Angels and Diamondbacks. Still, this club has too much talent to finish under .500. That could make the Astros a worthy proposition moving forward.
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