MLB Futures Bets: World Series Picks for 3 Teams

MLB Futures Bets: World Series Picks for 3 Teams article feature image

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

We have crossed the halfway point in the season, so it's time to start assessing the teams equipped to make an October run. Last year, when I put together this article, I correctly wrote up the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks as valuable teams to bet at the end of May. I typically like to target teams that only need a few key additions to put them in contention for a title. Additionally, strength of schedule down the stretch matters exponentially as we obviously want a team with a high likelihood to at least make the playoffs.

One of these plays is pretty chalk, but that doesn't mean the team lacks value. Let's dive into the MLB futures odds and see which teams are worth a bet to win the 2024 World Series.

Baltimore Orioles (+950 at FanDuel, SOS Remaining Winning Percentage: .490, per Tankathon)

The Baltimore Orioles entered the season as one of the World Series favorites. After all, they won over 100 games last year. The addition of Corbin Burnes to the rotation has helped, but injuries have been a major concern for the pitching staff. John Means, Kyle Bradish, Dean Kremer and Tyler Wells are all on the Injured List. Kremer is on a rehab assignment, but the other three are out for the remainder of the season. Baltimore will need to revamp the rotation because Burnes and Grayson Rodriguez alone won't get the job done.

Otherwise, this team is nearly set. Gunnar Henderson leads the charge on offense and has helped propel the O’s to the second-best wRC+ (trailing only the Los Angeles Dodgers), as of July 1. Jorge Mateo and Cedric Mullins are the only two regulars with a wRC+ under 100 and Mullins is a former All-Star, while Mateo has always played plus defense.

In relief, the Orioles have a 3.99 xFIP. Losing Danny Coulombe until the end of the year hurts. Yennier Canó and Craig Kimbrel have done a decent job in the back-end, but if Baltimore is unsure of the other pieces, another lockdown late-inning arm wouldn't hurt.

Since they lead the New York Yankees in a tough division battle, the Orioles will have to be aggressive at the MLB Trade Deadline. Taking them anything better than +875 is a good deal because that price won't stick around long.

San Diego Padres (+4000 at Caesars, SOS Remaining Winning Percentage: .490, per Tankathon)

Now, let’s jump to the National League. The last seed in the N.L. wild-card race has a .518 winning percentage at the moment. If that trend continues, a team would only need about 84 wins to make the playoffs.

The Padres — based on their rotation, run differential and how their schedule shapes up — could end up faring much better.

San Diego’s rotation has a sub-4.00 xFIP, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Yu Darvish will be back from the Injured List soon and Joe Musgrove could return in August. Add those two names to Dylan Cease and Michael King and the Padres have one of the best pitching staffs among potential playoff teams. If they have concerns about Musgrove’s longevity, a trade could be in the cards, but Matt Waldron’s emergence as a reliable starter may be enough.

The Padres also have a potent lineup. They have a 115 wRC+ and don't strike out much (under 18%). Xander Bogaerts has been one of the only below-average hitters on the team. The addition of Luis Arráez has paid dividends. Kyle Higashioka has been on fire and Jackson Merrill is living up to the hype.

San Diego's bullpen has also had some unsung heroes. Robert Suárez has been excellent at closer and Jeremiah Estrada has made great strides. Adrian Morejon is the only left-hander with decent peripherals, so it might make sense for the Padres to shore up their middle-relief depth via trade.

A.J. Preller is always a wild card at the trade deadline, so the Padres are certainly a team to watch if they continue to play well.

New York Mets (+8000 at Caesars, SOS Remaining Winning Percentage: .488, per Tankathon)

The Mets were seemingly dead a few weeks ago, but Grimace the mascot woke up a monster. New York is only two games out of the final wild-card slot in the N.L., but the St. Louis Cardinals aren't a juggernaut and own a -40 run differential. Additionally, the Cards have a much tougher road to finish off the season (.509 SOS).

New York received some favorable news a few days ago as Kodai Senga is set to re-join the rotation sooner than initially expected. That's a massive jolt to a pitching rotation that sorely needed one. Sean Manaea has been fine as a fourth or fifth starter, but otherwise, this rotation is in dire straits. However, don't put anything past Steve Cohen. If the Mets are in contention for the playoffs, acquiring a controllable pitcher could make some sense.

The Mets’ hitting has been great. Adding J.D. Martinez late in free agency was a steal. The Mets have the fourth-best offense with a 115 wRC+ and unless there's an injury, they should be set.

This bullpen is packed with guys who throw gas. Edwin Díaz has a sub-3.00 xFIP and should return to form. Overall, the Mets tout a 3.78 xFIP with a strikeout rate of nearly 27%. They do have some issues with walks (over 10%), but unless they are hitting the market for a lefty reliever who can log some innings, this bullpen could look similar come September.

Also, the Mets already have their playoff anthem:

Final Thoughts

Baltimore should end up with decent playoff positioning. If they manage to beat out the Yankees in the A.L. East, they'll be sitting pretty. In order to do so, they desperately need to add to the rotation.

The Padres are mispriced. This team could potentially end the season in the first wild card. The back-end of the N.L. playoff picture is relatively empty, and the Padres could fill that void with a little bullpen help.

A month ago, it would have been nonsensical to include the Mets in a futures article. However, this offense can hit. They just need an arm or two and should overtake the Cardinals in the wild-card race.

Since the World Series can be random, all a team needs to do is make the playoffs. All three of these teams are solid and just need an addition or two to make a run. The next few weeks should be exciting with a flurry of trade deadline activity. Don't be shocked if these three teams are in the mix.

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