Holes That Need Fixing for Contenders
With exhibition play starting in Florida and Arizona, it is time for managers and the brass of every team to notice not only their team's strengths but also their weaknesses.
It's better for a team to discover that weakness right away in order to try to correct it by promoting a player from the minors or making a trade.
MLB gambling lines
The MLB gambling lines at SportsBetting.ag take into account all that makes up each team when producing the futures odds.
This article is about the positions that need to be addressed the most for some of the top contending teams with analysis from ESPN.
MLB gambling lines of Cubs winning the World Series: +475
Problem projection: Left-handed relief pitcher
The Cubs simply don't have any glaring weaknesses. Even this one is overstated because righty power reliever Carl Edwards is so good against lefty hitters. The Cubs signed Brian Duensing for what probably will be a specialized role. Duensing has allowed a .614 OPS in his career against lefties. Last year, he was at .619, but was limited to 13? innings because of elbow problems. Chicago will hope a healthy Duensing still has his lefty-killing ways. If not, the Cubs will have to look elsewhere.
MLB gambling lines of Indians winning the World Series: +650
Problem projection: Catcher
Like the Cubs, Cleveland has few holes on its resume. The catching situation is far from dire defensively. However, the Indians do look a little light in catcher offense. The Indians will go with a combination of Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez behind the plate. Of the two, Gomes has the better upside, having hit 21 homers just a couple of years ago. Perez has the better approach, and Gomes' production has dwindled because of injury. It's an intriguing duel, though we know both players will get plenty of time behind the dish.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
MLB gambling lines of Dodgers winning the World Series: +700
Problem projection: Stolen bases
The Dodgers are pretty loaded, and as with the Orioles the paucity of steals on the roster isn't a huge problem. L.A. doesn't look like a super-athletic team overall, though, and given the depth of talent in camp, surely Dave Roberts could pinpoint someone who can steal a bag when needed. The fix: Andrew Toles is a threat and will be on the roster from Opening Day this time. Beyond that ... it's just not the way the Dodgers are constructed. If Austin Barnes gets appreciable time in the majors this season, he can swipe a few bases. Really though, the Dodgers will probably just have to settle for being good at everything else.
BOSTON RED SOX
MLB gambling lines of Red Sox winning the World Series: +550
Problem projection: Home run percentage
As the Red Sox look on paper, this is not a team with elite long-ball potential, especially now that David Ortiz is retired. The only Boston hitters likely to hit even 20 homers are Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts. Don't misunderstand: Boston projects to score the most runs in the majors, so dismiss this problem if you wish. On a team with few glaring statistical holes, a few more dingers could be the final piece of the puzzle. Any one of the Red Sox's young stars could break out in the power department, and that's the most obvious patch here. The third base battle will be the one to watch. If slimmed-down veteran Pablo Sandoval can claim an everyday role, his long-ball potential is better than that of Brock Holt or Josh Rutledge.
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