Tag Archives: Theo Epstein

2020 MLB Season Betting Preview

Baseball is back! Not the way everyone expected but it’s back nonetheless. A 60-game sprint to the playoffs in the Major League Baseball season is anything but ordinary and offers some intriguing opportunities from the betting perspective. Of course, there’s the chalk World Series matchup that MLB is hoping for in the New York Yankees vs Los Angeles Dodgers; with both teams being the favorite to win their respective leagues. There is just no value in betting those two teams.

Plus, that’s just boring no one likes betting the favorites right? It also makes sense that the two best teams would have favorites in individual awards such as Gerrit Cole at the top to win the AL Cy Young Award and Mookie Betts to win the NL MVP award. If there was ever a season to bet against the favorites who added new powerhouses to their rosters, this is it.

Betting Preview: 2020 MLB Season

Over/Under Best Bet The Chicago Cubs O/U 32.5 -108

The Chicago Cubs are going to be in a dog fight in the NL Central as there are three other teams vying for the top spot with the Milwaukee Brewers, rival St. Louis Cardinals, and emerging Cincinnati Reds. There are so many question marks going into this season for the Northsiders beginning with their starting pitching.

Kyle Hendricks was just handed the opening day starter duties by newly appointed manager David Ross who is entering his first season managing the team. He is the only bright spot in the rotation. Yu Darvish who has electric stuff has been as inconsistent as it gets in his Cubs tenure. Jose Quintana lacerated his thumb doing the dishes. Jon Lester who is on the back end of his career and Tyler Chatwood who wouldn’t be a starter on any other ball club.

They haven’t fixed their bullpen issues which have always been an issue in the Theo Epstein era and the glue who holds everything together, Anthony Rizzo has a lingering back issue. FiveThirtyEight came out with their predictions on this upcoming season and have the Cubs right at 32. How accurate is FiveThirtyEight? Last year they had them pegged for 84 wins. How many wins did the Cubs have in 2019? 84.

Bet- Under 32.5 wins at -108

American League Cy Young Award Winner Best Bet Shohei Ohtani 50-1

Shohei Ohtani wasn’t slated to start pitching until May since he is coming off of Tommy John surgery. Now that its late July he’s ready to be the two-way player the Angels had hoped for since signing him back in 2018.

Ohtani is an intriguing pick as he hasn’t pitched in the majors in over two years so there isn’t a lot of film on him which puts him at an advantage to opposing hitters. With the odds at 50-1 according to BetRivers.com, it’s just too hard to pass up as this future screams value.

Bet- Shohei Ohtani AL Cy Young Award Winner 50-1

National League Cy Young Award Winner Stephen Strasburg 12-1

The last time we saw Stephen Strasburg he was dominating the Houston Asterisks in Game 6 of the 2019 World Series. Shockingly enough Strasburg does not have a Cy Young award on his mantle. Last season, Strasburg lead the National League in wins (18) and was second in strikeouts (251) to the reigning NL Cy Young winner, Jacob deGrom.

Unlike deGrom, he won a World Series and was the World Series MVP. Strasburg has had at least 10 strikeouts per nine innings in each of his last six seasons; a model of consistency. With the Nationals contending for back to back rings in one of the toughest divisions in baseball, if Strasburg is his dominant self this could be the year he earns that Cy Young Award.

Bet- Stephen Strasburg NL Cy Young Award Winner 12-1

National League MVP Award Winner Juan Soto 10-1

At this point, you’re starting to sense a theme here as to where this article is going in the National League. Juan Soto is just so far beyond his years as disciplined at the plate as the fire that exudes through his body. With Anthony Rendon signing a big free-agent deal with the Los Angeles Angels, there is no doubt that this is Soto’s team now from an offensive perspective. With an on-base percentage over .400 last year, not only does he hit bombs but is patient at the plate as he takes his walks. Soto is primed for a monster year, even if it’s only 60 games.

Bet- Juan Soto NL MVP Award Winner 10-1

American League MVP Award Winner Bo Bichette 100-1

The Toronto Blue Jays are in the news because they can’t find a ballpark to call home for this 60 game season since the Canadian government did not approve the use of the Rogers Centre in Toronto. There have been talks about maybe PNC Park as a temporary home for them this season which would benefit their young hitters greatly. But, no one is talking about this young core!

It’s mind-boggling that Vladimir Gurrerro Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette aren’t getting the respect they deserve. Vlad Jr. is at 50-1 to win the MVP which is insane value for the caliber of player he is. BetRivers.com doesn’t even have Biggio listed as an option (which is a shame) and Bo Bichette at 100-1! Bichette played in only 46 games last year and had a slash line of .311/.358/.571 with an OPS of .930 and 18 extra-base hits. It’s a long shot but you can’t help but take a stab at it.

Bet- Bo Bichette AL MVP Award Winner 100-1

World Series Champion Washington Nationals 19-1

That’s right, the Washington Nationals. When was the last time a National League team won back to back World Series? Not since the Big Red Machine, the Cincinnati Reds, in 1975-1976. In fact, there hasn’t been a back to back World Series winner since the Yankees won three in a row from ’98-’00. The Nats have the firepower in their starting pitching and the experience now that they have been to a World Series just last season. Juan Soto is a potential MVP who is just easy to root for when you watch him play as a natural leader who wears his heart on his sleeve. This is already an odd season and it hasn’t even started yet. So, prepare for unexpected outcomes.

Bet- Washington Nationals World Series Champions 19-1

*All odds according to il.betrivers.com

MLB Draft: Sox Take College Pitcher, Cubs Take Local High-Schooler

With no games being played, and the 2020 baseball season in doubt, Major League Baseball took a pause from contentious negotiations with its players to look to the future, as the 2020 MLB Draft took center stage in an otherwise empty sports landscape on Wednesday night.

Both Chicago baseball teams looked to infuse new talent into their organizations during the first round of the MLB Draft, hoping that the players chosen could make an impact on their respective big clubs in the not so distant future.

White Sox Take LHP Crochet, Cubs Take SS Howard With Top Picks

The White Sox, with the 11th overall pick, selected University of Tennessee left-handed pitcher, Garrett Crochet, adding talent and depth to the organization’s already strong pitching ranks.

Five picks later, at number 16, the Cubs created the buzz of the evening in Chicagoland by choosing shortstop Ed Howard, the local kid made good out of Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago.

“I’m excited to be a hometown guy, I think it’s special, it’s unique,” said Howard during his introductory conference call with Cubs beat reporters. “I’m ready to take on that challenge, have fun, and play my game” Howard continued.

Cubs Pick of Ed Howard Brings a Jolt of Excitement to the Northside Fan Base

The pick of Howard is sure to generate excitement with Cubs fans, who have been looking for some positivity after back-to-back disappointing seasons on the field and off.

The Cubs blew a late division lead in 2018 and wound up losing to the Colorado Rockies at home during the National League Wild Card game. 2019 saw the Cubs miss the playoffs for the first time since 2014, ending a five-year post-season run.

Off the field, the Cubs have had their issues as well. Most notably with the Kris Bryant years of service grievance, and the rollout of the Cubs new team-owned regional sports network, The Marquee Network. The network was roundly booed during the Cubs Convention in January when team owner Tom Ricketts mentioned it by name. Many fans were unsure if their television providers would even carry the fledgling network, or if they did, how much extra would it cost. More recently, Ricketts has come under fire for comments stating 70% of team revenue is derived from day-of-game receipts, a figure many are questioning.

The selection of Howard, however, gives the Cubs a chance to ride some positive buzz about their team, at least in the near future.

Howard grew up in Chicago, and was a member of the Jackie Robinson West Little League team that captured the hearts of Chicagoans and the nation when they won the 2014 Little League World Series. Their title was eventually revoked due to roster eligibility issues, but the team still remained popular locally.

He went on to play baseball at Mt. Carmel High School, where he starred as the team’s shortstop. Even without playing a single game for the Caravan during the 2020 season, Howard was viewed by scouts and draft experts as one of the top shortstop prospects in the country. His selection with the 16th pick confirms that.

Howard was also a product of the Chicago White Sox Amateur City Elite program, or ACE, an arm of White Sox charities that provides inner-city kids with opportunities for education and to develop in the game of baseball, providing avenues for advancement to college or professional baseball. Another goal of ACE is to reverse the decline of African-American players in baseball, something that was probably not lost on Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, who recently stated he needs to build more diversity in the Cubs organization overall.

Ultimately, however, Howard’s talent and potential as a baseball player is the reason the team made him their first-round pick. Cubs new Vice President of Scouting, Dan Kantrovitz, told reporters that Howard being available “was literally our best-case scenario.” Kantrovitz added: “He’s got an electric skill set. He’s a plus shortstop. He’s got pop in his bat. He can run. He can impact the game in so many ways. We think he has a chance to be a star.”

The Cubs stated that Howard would remain at shortstop in the organization. Most experts believe 2023 would be the soonest Howard might make his Major League debut. However, the timeline for all prospects could be delayed due to the absence of minor league baseball in 2020.

White Sox Bypass One of Their ACE Program Graduates in Howard, Draft University of Tennessee LHP Garret Crochet

With Howard, a Southsider, available when the White Sox pick came around at number 11, many people were wondering if the team would select one of their home-grown talents from their ACE program. However, when MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stepped up to present the team’s pick, the name of a large college left-handed pitcher was announced instead.

Crochet comes to the White Sox as one of the top left-handed college pitchers in the draft. He struck out 149 batters and walked 48 over 132 innings pitched during his three years at Tennessee. He is known for a plus fastball that can reach triple digits, as well as a good slider and change-up. Control has been an issue for the lefty, who only pitched one game for the Vols in 2020 while dealing with shoulder soreness.

“I told Garrett … it’s an outstanding piece of your life to be compared to Chris Sale” Shirley told reporters. “But please proceed as being Garrett Crochet” he said. – White Sox Director of Amateur Scouting, Mike Shirley

Crochet has been receiving many comparisons to another tall left-handed hurler, former White Sox starter Chris Sale. And while he acknowledged to reporters during his post-selection conference call that some parts of his game were modeled after Sale, he doesn’t want people to just assume the same outcome. “I feel like it’s kind of tough to make on me(the Sale comparison), as I have not achieved anything as close as Chris Sale has achieved” Crochet told reporters.