Success against also-rans to determine AL race

August 10, 2019 06:51 PM

VSiN wants baseball futures investors to make smart bets.

With a new week of the pennant chase about to begin, let’s check in on how many “gift” games remain for American League contenders against distant also-rans. We’ve isolated Baltimore, Toronto, Detroit, Kansas City, Chicago White Sox and Seattle as the “sick six.” These teams have either been horrible all season, or—in the case of the Chisox—awful in recent weeks.

Serious contenders have largely been taking care of business against the dregs. Moving forward, the varying volume of these types of matchups could have a big impact in determining playoff positioning and futures results. 

Let’s see how many games the powers have left against the patsies in various races... 

AL Top Seed: Houston 19, NY Yankees 16

Though both superpowers are playoff certainties, there should be a fantastic battle the next seven weeks for the top seed. With that honor comes a divisional round matchup against a possibly worn down wildcard survivor, and home field advantage through the A.L. brackets. 

A clash of titans in the ALCS would be something to see. An extra home game could be the difference-maker. Houston has a slight edge by this measure. A bit of a surprise because the Yankees have two of the “sick six” in their division. Both should have no trouble scooting past 100 regular-season victories. 

AL Central: Minnesota 26, Cleveland 16

This is the only divisional race remaining in the league. The winner will face the #2 seed in its first playoff round. The other will be forced to earn a wildcard spot in what is still a battle royal…then face the #1 seed in a best-of-five series. Big difference.

Futures markets were showing a virtual dead heat before their weekend head-to-head series began. This count might suggest Minnesota is much more likely to earn the playoff bye. The Twins have the most soft touches left of any team in today’s discussion. That suggests “at least a wildcard” is likely for Minnesota. The century mark isn’t out of the question for the Twins either.  

AL Wildcard: Tampa Bay 20, Cleveland 16, Oakland 14, Boston 9

If you believe Minnesota will stumble in the spotlight, you can stick the Twins and that 26 down here too. You can see why Boston was in such deep trouble during their recent slump. The Red Sox had already cashed in the bulk of their comps. 

Tampa Bay is well-positioned to reach October as a divisional runner-up. But, it has to be said, the Rays haven’t dominated the dregs in recent action as well as other contenders. 

Too many futures bettors think only about intangibles at this stage of the season. They want to ride the “gutsy” team that “knows how to win when it matters.” They want to avoid “chokers” who “can’t handle the pressure.” 

VSiN isn’t saying experience and poise are irrelevant. We just want you to factor in the remaining schedule too. It’s likely to matter.

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