MLB World Series Futures: Value on Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks

MLB World Series Futures: Value on Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks article feature image

Pictured: Adley Rutschman. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

At this point in the season, most fans have a good idea of the talent within each organization and can guess where teams may sit at the end of the season. However, the markets — for a myriad of reasons — are still relatively cold on a few teams.

Perhaps thats's due to the competition within a team’s division, or a tough schedule the rest of the way. Regardless, these teams should find themselves in contention late in the year and the expanded Wild Card increases the odds of a postseason berth. And as we know, anything can happen in the postseason. So, without further ado, here are some World Series long shot futures to consider.

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Baltimore Orioles (+4500 BetRivers, Winning Percentage of Remaining Schedule: .512, per Tankathon)

The American League East is the best division in baseball. Every team is above .500, which contributes to Baltimore's tougher-than-average schedule. The Orioles are 35-20 and trailing the Tampa Bay Rays by three games.

The Orioles have one of the best bullpens in baseball with a relief xFIP of 3.73 and a 27.3% strikeout rate. The bullpen is spearheaded by two of the best relievers in baseball: Yennier Cano and Félix Bautista. Cano has a 0.98 ERA against a 2.00 xERA, but his Barrel Rate is 4.4% and his walk rate is an astounding 1%. Bautista will get hit hard (91.1 mph Average Exit Velocity), but has a 1.33 ERA against a 2.23 xERA. Additionally, Bautista has one of the best closer entrances in baseball, which helps with the playoff vibes.

The bar for closer entrances keeps being raised.

Orioles closer Félix Bautista's entrance includes Omar's Whistle from The Wire and a flashing light show.


— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) August 10, 2022

Offensively, Baltimore ranks eighth in MLB with a wRC+ over 106. The glaring news here is Cedric Mullins has an abductor/groin injury and could be out a few weeks. That said, Baltimore just needs to remain in striking distance of a Wild Card slot until he returns. The rest of the lineup is healthy. Austin Hays, Adley Rutschman, Anthony Santander, Ryan O’Hearn, Ramón Urías, Adam Frazier and Gunnar Henderson all have a wRC+ over 100. Ryan Mountcastle has the ability to bop the ball out of the yard at any time, and Jorge Mateo is a magician with the glove. These are all of the ingredients needed to hold steady with Mullins sidelined.

Now, John Means needs to return to the rotation, because that's the Orioles' weakest asset and why their World Series odds seem so inflated. Means looks to return by August or September, but this team does need rotation depth. Tyler Wells is the ace of the staff with a 3.29 ERA and a 3.64 xERA, but he can't be the only option. In order to reinforce this roster, Baltimore will need to add a couple of starters to pair with Means’ comeback.

Texas Rangers (+2500 Caesars, Winning Percentage of Remaining Schedule: .502)

The Texas Rangers are one of the best teams in the league. They are 8-2 in their past 10 games with a 35-19 record and a three-game lead over the Houston Astros. Also, they are at least seven games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners.

The Rangers have been a bit overshadowed by the Rays, but Texas ranks second with a 118 wRC+ and a .790 team OPS. Mitch Garver is nearing a return, which will boost the bats. The Rangers did just place breakout star Ezequiel Duran on the Injured List with an oblique injury, but he could return after that stint is over. Travis Jankowski also returned to the lineup. Garver, Corey Seager, Josh Jung, Duran, Marcus Semien, Leody Taveras, Adolis García, Jankowski, Nathaniel Lowe, Jonah Heim and Josh Smith all are above a 100 wRC+. Jung and García each have double-digit homers. Simply put, the lineup is in great shape.


Over 8.5 hits in the 4th inning ✅

— Action Network MLB (@ActionNetMLB) May 27, 2023

The rotation also has some solid depth with Dane Dunning filling in for the injured Jacob deGrom, who is expected to return soon. Glenn Otto could also return from the IL in the coming weeks. Nathan Eovaldi, Jon Gray, Andrew Heaney and Martín Pérez all make up a fantastic rotation.

The one area of concern is the bullpen, which ranks 27th with a 4.62 xFIP, ahead of only the A’s, Rays and Nationals. Joe Barlow is on the IL with a blister, and there is a slight chance Brett Martin returns very late in the season. Will Smith, Josh Sborz, John King and Grant Anderson are under a 4.00 xFIP, but this team will need a closer and possibly a setup man at the deadline. It will take a juggernaut to keep the Astros out of first place, but second place in the AL West should be good enough for a Wild Card spot.

Arizona Diamondbacks (+7000 BetRivers, Winning Percentage of Remaining Schedule: .506)

The D'backs are the longest shot in this grouping, but the AL appears to be stronger than the NL. Arizona has won seven of its past 10, but is 1.5 back of the Dodgers with a 32-23 record.

This team has about as good of a 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation as a team could have. Merrill Kelly and Zac Gallen both sport sub-4.00 xFIPs with 27%+ strikeout rates. Gallen, in particular, is one of the most underrated pitchers in the game.

Zac Gallen over his last 12 appearances at home for the @Dbacks:

10-1 record
0.68 ERA
0.68 WHIP

He's the first MLB pitcher to have 10+ wins with an ERA and WHIP both under 0.70 over a span of 12 home appearances since Walter Johnson did it from June 12 to September 15, 1917.

— OptaSTATS (@OptaSTATS) May 31, 2023

Tommy Henry is likely the best option amongst the rest of the rotation because he forces weak contact. Zach Davies and Ryne Nelson are nothing to write home about, so expect Arizona to shore up the back end of the rotation prior to the trade deadline.

In relief, Arizona ranks top 10 in xFIP (4.05). The D-backs have done so without Mark Melancon, Joe Mantiply, Corbin Martin, Cole Sulser and Anthony Misiewicz, all of whom could return to the ‘pen in the coming months. Once those relievers return, Arizona will be in much better shape.

Offensively, Arizona is slightly above average with a sub-20% strikeout rate and a 103 wRC+. Kyle Lewis is on the IL, but Carson Kelly looks to be gearing up for a rehab stint, which would be a plus behind the plate and in the lineup. Arizona has eight active hitters with a wRC+ over 100 against righties, and nine with a wRC+ over 100 against lefties. It wouldn't hurt to add some depth and the D'backs could probably use another power bat, but this lineup is pretty balanced.

Overall, the D'backs have key players coming back and the pieces to compete. Still, a bat and some starters would help keep this team in the playoff race, and possibly within reach of Los Angeles.

The baseball playoffs are a crapshoot, as all fans know. There is a reason the Los Angeles Dodgers have been stacked for years but have come away with only one title (2020). That's even more of a reason to grab these futures.

Yes, each team has flaws, but they all just need to be within reach of either the division title or a Wild Card slot to hold value. There are 12 playoff spots and these lines are too high given the talent on each roster. As long as there aren't any season-ending injuries, we could very well see one of these squads hoisting the trophy in October.

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