Yankees, Mets, Phillies: All Have Have High Hopes As 2021 Season Approaches

Posted on March 31, 2021
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It’s pretty standard for the New York Yankees to have high aspirations for a baseball season but the New York Mets are in the mix too? Yes, it could be a big year for the Big Apple as – for the first time in a while – there is a genuine possibility of a Subway Series. Sure, it’s still a longshot but it could happen.

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With Opening Day just about upon us, let’s take a look at the big three teams of the Tri-State area: Yankees, Mets, and the Philadelphia Phillies, and check out their NJ sports betting futures for the 2021 season while we’re at it.

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees are still trying to capture their first World Series since 2009. However, they have built a roster the last few seasons that’s been worthy of winning it all, but they have had some bad breaks. In 2019, they won the American League East but were turned away by Jose Altuve’s crushing home run in the American League Championship Season.

Last year, they also had a World Series-caliber squad but were edged out in the American League Divisional Series. Both were heartbreaking but both showed that the Yankees are close. Now the question is have they done enough to take that next step and are they going to finally catch some breaks?

Are the Yankees championship odds better than this year?

The Yankees enter the season with the highest regular-season win total of any team in the American League and it’s easy to see why the Yankees championship odds are so high. Their batting lineup is loaded with power and their pitching is almost there too. Starting with the lineup, this was a squad that led the AL in runs per game (5.3) and OPS+ (117) last season.

Keep in mind they had to battle injuries and subpar seasons from Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez. With Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the heart of the lineup, there’s no reason to think that this team won’t have the same type of pop and power in the lineup that they had last season. Consider it an upset if they don’t lead the AL in most of the major offensive categories.

As far as pitching goes, that’s where the Yankees have concerns. They signed Gerrit Cole to a huge contract last offseason but COVID-19 meant they only had him for a shortened season. He’ll now anchor the staff for a full year and he’ll have Corey Kluber behind him. However, Kluber threw less than an inning last season; is he still the same quality he was before?

Behind Kluber is Jameson Taillon, Jordan Montgomery and Domingo German. Is this rotation good enough to get them through a playoff series – especially championship series or World Series?

If this team stays healthy and finds (or develops) a second stud in the rotation behind Cole, they’re the team to beat. If they still have those same pitching concerns and guys like Judge, Stanton or others can’t stay healthy, they’re likely heading for another quality regular season, shaky offseason type of a deal.

Yankees Championship Odds:

 

Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies spent a ton of money in the 2019 offseason and ended up finishing 81-81. In the 2020 offseason, they reloaded and spent even more in free agency and the result was just a 28-32 season.

The bottom line with the Phillies is that they know the talent is there. The question is whether or not they can finally deliver. Finishing around .500 is simply not good enough given the investment that’s been made into this roster.

Taking a look at the team’s 2021 prospects, it’s easy to like what you see on paper. They had a decent offseason, most notably keeping J.T. Realmuto in red pinstripes. They didn’t have any huge losses.

Starting with the batting lineup, what’s not to like? With Realmuto, Bryce Harper, Didi Gregorious, Jean Segura, they’ll score runs. They still get pop from Rhys Hoskins and hopefully he picks up the average. There are prospects on the cusp like Mickey Moniak. There’s no reason to think this won’t be a team that scores and hits with the best of them in the National League – or at least the second-tier of teams.

As for pitching, it also looks like it’s pretty strong at first glance. Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler are the headliners and generally speaking, if you get to the playoffs, all you really need is two strong starters to make some noise.

The question is will there be any depth behind them? Zach Eflin, Matt Moore, and Chase Anderson are slated into the three, four and five spots, with Vince Velasquez and Spencer Howard somewhere in the mix too. If the Phillies suffer any injuries to their big two, they could be in trouble as the rest of this cast seems unreliable – at least given the division that the Phillies are in.

As for the bullpen, it’s been a regular issue over the last few seasons and we don’t know whether that problem is fixed. This bullpen couldn’t hold a lead to save their lives in 2020. The relievers combined for a 7.06 ERA and the team blew eight separate three-run leads, which is hard to believe. That has to change this year. Management spent the offseason bringing in all sorts of bodies including Archie Bradley and Jose Alvarado, but who knows if they’re solutions.

FanGraphs gives this team a 13% chance of making the playoffs and that feels about right. It’s not that the talent isn’t here – it surely is – but this is a really tough division. The Atlanta Braves and New York Mets are playoff contenders, the Washington Nationals are just a year removed from a World Series and the Miami Marlins made the playoffs last year.

There are no easy outs. That being the case, look for the Phillies to again finish around .500 and disappoint those who are hoping for a playoff berth or run.

 

New York Mets

Few teams saw as much hype in the offseason as did the New York Mets. At one point, they were going to be among the favorites in the National League when rumors were swirling that they were on the cusp of signing Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer. Of course, the Los Angeles Dodgers swooped in last -minute and scored Bauer, and the Mets expectations have been tamped down.

The Mets still did make a splash as they acquired Francisco Lindor from the Cleveland Indians. Acquiring the game’s best shortstop was a huge coup for a team that has been embarrassingly bad defensively at times. The Mets also picked up Carlos Carrasco in the deal, so he could bolster the rotation.

Starting with the lineup, the Mets were an excellent offensive team last season and it’s hard to imagine them being worse with Lindor in tow. This team was among the best in baseball in terms of getting on base and they have plenty of power. They just need to do a better job of driving in runs, which is fixable. Lindor is coming off a so-so year but averaged 34 home runs per year in the three seasons prior.

In terms of the pitching, that used to be a strong suit for the Mets but it’s a bit of a question now. Jacob deGrom was snubbed from a Cy Young last season, so don’t be surprised if he pitches with an attitude this year to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Behind him, we don’t really know.

Noah Syndergaard is still recovering from Tommy John surgery but he should be back in June. Carrasco is also out until May/June with a torn hamstring. Marcus Stroman is usually pretty reliable but he opted out last season, so he hasn’t made a start in over a year. If all four were healthy and in rhythm, this would be one of the best rotations in baseball.

As it stands now, there’s deGrom and some question marks. They need their starters to be reliable as the bullpen – other than closer Edwin Diaz – is not. Bridging the gap to Diaz could be a challenge for the Mets this season.

 

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