Odds to win the division; Rangers (-450), Astros (+375), Mariners (+14000), Angels (off), A’s (off)
% chance of winning division Rangers (59.3%), Astros (34.5%), Mariners (6.1%), A’s (0.1%), Angels (0)
This one sets up for a great second half finish. The A’s and Angels are clearly out of sight out and mind, and while the A’s can at least sell, what do the Angels have to pawn off?
The Mariners pitching is starting to fall apart on the same linear path as their record. They present no value moving forward.
To the Rangers vs. Astros. The Rangers have gotten off to a ridiculous start. They have 54 wins, which leads the American League and have a 5.5 game lead on the Stros.
That said, they have been the luckiest team in the MLB. This is a team sparked by cluster luck and fortunate events being stung together.
Their hitting has been a bit above where it should be, but this always a team that can hit. Their pitching however is in for a mighty decline. They have felt it recently and it feels like it is just the beginning. They will fortunately get Yu Darvish back this week, and if they had not they may have been looking at a four man rotation. Kyle Lohse, Chi Chi Gonzalez and Cesar Ramos have been subbing in as a fifth man and have a 10.7, 8.7 and 6.0 ERA respectively. Derek Holland lives on the DL, so that leaves Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Colby Lewis and AJ Griffin. Three of the four have over a run difference between their ERA and FIP, and Griffin is .7 runs better than expected.
All four are expected for decline, and in the case of Perez, there is absolutely nothing positive to go off of. He is bound to regress in second in the second half. It puts a lot on Darvish and while they have the lead, the Astros are 18-6 in the past 30 days. .
Their top three pitchers, Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, and Lance McCullers all have a FIP decently lower than their ERA. While the Rangers bullpen ranks 29th in ERA, the Astros pen ranks 5th.
As for their hitting, they have been pretty reliant on only five players, which is what dug them their hole. George Springer got off to a slow start, Evan Gattis and Carlos Gomez were hurt and their starting first baseman was called up about a month ago.
That all said Springer is back on track, Gattis is heating up and they have another young stud coming in the next few weeks in Alex Bregman.
The Astros at +375 represent a team with about a 20% chance to win the division. Fangraphs giving them 34.5% offs means that there could be a lot of value to be had in the Stros. The Rangers are hot team in the eyes of the bettors, but the Astros are better on paper and while they have a tough hill to climb are worth the investment at the price.