Posted on November 1, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
The 2018 MLB season is over and the Boston Red Sox have had their parade, so it seems like the perfect time to take an early look at the 2019 season. Obviously, trades and free agent signings over the offseason will drastically change how we view each team. However, it’s still worth taking stock of what teams are the early favorites to win the 2019 World Series.
Red Sox, 7-1
Yup, the Red Sox repeating as world champs is definitely on the table. Boston’s young core of Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Andrew Benintendi will remain intact. The Red Sox can also expect J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers to maintain their spots in the lineup. There are some key relievers who are set for free agency, so the Red Sox will have to address that part of the team. But the rotation will more or less remain the same, at least at the top with Chris Sale and David Price.
The Astros are also going to look similar in 2019 to the team that went to the ALCS this year. The trio of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Lance McCullers Jr. will lead Houston’s rotation. The Houston lineup will also be almost identical to what we’ve seen the past couple of seasons. In short, the Astros aren’t going away any time soon.
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The third time could be the charm for the Dodgers in 2019 after back-to-back World Series losses. There will be openings in the rotation to fill, especially if Clayton Kershaw opts out and signs elsewhere. However, the lineup will still be anchored by Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, and Yasiel Puig, with Corey Seager expected to return as well. That’s still a lineup that will be one of the best in the National League, no questions asked.
The Yankees will have some vacancies in their rotation to fill, but they do have a lot of good young arms in their farm system to help. They also have one of the most feared lineups in baseball with the likes of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the middle of everything. Plus, don’t count out the Yankees from throwing some money around and signing one of the top stars available on the free agent market. After seeing the Red Sox win it all this year, there will be pressure on the Yankees to make big moves this winter.
It’d be a huge mistake to forget about the Cubs. Chicago’s lineup is still littered with some of the best young hitters in the game, from Javier Baez to Kris Bryant to Anthony Rizzo. Most of the rotation will remain intact as well, especially if they pick up the option on Cole Hamels. It’s also possible that Yu Darvish will have a bounce-back year and give the Cubs another top-of-the-rotation starter.
The periphery of the roster isn’t quite as good as it was a couple years ago. However, the Indians have two stars in Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor. They also have one of the best rotations in baseball. There’s a lot that the Tribe can build around, leaving the door open for another run to the World Series if they can make a few positive moves this winter.
Atlanta was way ahead of schedule this season, so they could be even better in 2019. Remember, most of the team’s young stars are making a lot of money, so the Braves will be able to spend in order to improve their roster. They also have a lot more talent in their farm system, so expect a few more rookies to come up and make a positive impact in 2019.
The Brewers should have one of the best lineups and one of the best bullpens in the National League next season. If Milwaukee can find a way to improve their rotation, they can get back to the playoffs in 2019 and could be even more dangerous than they were this season.