Who Will Win the 2018 World Series?
With 81 games under each teams’ respective belts, we’ve already quietly passed the true midpoint of the 2018 Major League Baseball season.
This year has been particularly interesting as we’ve seen the cream of the crop set the tone in the American League, while a handful of surprise teams have been making serious waves in the seemingly up-for-grabs National League.
In honor of the season reaching its halfway point, let’s take a closer look at a handful of teams that we think could be playing in the 2018 World Series.
The American League
When you look at the state of affairs in the American League, it’s pretty clear that there are a few teams that are a cut above the rest. The A.L. East has two teams that are both 20 + games over .500 in the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, while the A.L. West has two teams of that ilk as well in the Houston Astros and the Seattle Mariners.
New York Yankees
In vintage Yankees fashion, New York traded for Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton this offseason, bolstering a lineup that features a murderer’s row of power bats in Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge. Unsurprisingly, the Yankees currently lead the league in home runs, slugging percentage and OPS.
On top of their big-name bats, the Bronx Bombers have also accrued some fantastic young talent which will set them up as an American League powerhouse for years to come. At third base, 23-year-old Miguel Andujar has been red-hot since making the team out of Spring Training. At second base, 22-year-old Gleyber Torres has been a revelation this season, hitting .288 with 15 home runs and an OPS of .895.
With that being said, they’re far from a one-sided team as their pitching staff sports the second-lowest ERA in the league. The Yankees haven’t been to the World Series since their 2009 championship win over the Phillies but given how well-rounded and young the core of their team is, they should compete for titles in 2018 and beyond.
After being just three seasons removed from three-straight 50-something win seasons, the Houston Astros made history in 2017 when they defeated the Dodgers in a dramatic, seven-game World Series.
If there were any doubts about a potential championship hangover, Houston has done a fantastic job of silencing their critics as they sit 24 games over .500 as of July 2. The Astros didn’t make any drastic changes to their lineup in the offseason, and their usual suspects of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis have all been crucial contributors in 2018.
The Astros did seek to improve their starting rotation in the offseason, and they succeeded in their mission when they acquired Gerrit Cole from the Pirates in a trade. Thanks in part to Cole, the Astros have the lowest ERA in Major League Baseball by the mind-boggling amount of over half a run. At the halfway point of the season, the Astros staff has four pitchers with nine wins apiece already.
It seems at this point that the Yankees and Astros are on a collision course to face each other in the postseason. Given how talented both these squads are, it will be appointment viewing when they finally do face off.
The National League
As previously mentioned, there have been a handful of surprise teams experiencing success in the National League, none more surprising perhaps than the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers have not made the playoffs since 2011 but find themselves atop the NL Central with a very respectable 48-35 record. Milwaukee made a few key moves in the offseason which jumpstarted their offense, bringing in veteran outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. The Brew Crew have also been bolstered as of late by first baseman Jesus Aguilar, who’s been the hottest hitter in baseball for the past month, clubbing 10 home runs and driving in 24.
Los Angeles Dodgers
After making it all the way to the World Series last season, the Los Angeles Dodgers faltered significantly at the beginning of the 2018 season. Dave Roberts’ bunch lost 17 out of their first 29 games but have seemingly turned the corner and now find themselves five games over .500.
Los Angeles has gotten significant contributions from unlikely players in the first half of the season as Max Muncy, Kike Hernandez and Matt Kemp all have more than 14 home runs already. Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig have all struggled at times this season but they should eventually turn things around.
Injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu have put a heavy burden on the Dodgers pitching depth, and as a result, their team ERA sits at 3.62, which is far from perfect but still good enough for eighth-best in the league. In a National League where things are seemingly wide open, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Los Angeles make a second-half push and find themselves back in the World Series for the second season in a row.