It's April, and every MLB team feels like they're still in the race. Still, there are a few teams that seem to be clear favorites to win it all. The season is just starting, so let’s take a look at the three teams that have the best chance to win the World Series this fall.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox have a glut of young talent, and their pitching depth is remarkable. Boston made the playoffs last year, then they made significant improvements to an already dangerous team. Boston did lose their longtime DH David Ortiz, but their offense will be just fine thanks to the dynamic outfield duo of Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. Betts had a breakout season last year, as he finished second in the AL MVP race behind Mike Trout. Bradley Jr. also improved in 2016, posting career highs in batting average, RBI’s, and home runs. In the infield, the Red Sox have a steady second basemen in Dustin Pedroia, and an up-and-coming shortstop in Xander Bogaerts. Don’t forget about Hanley Ramirez, who’s taking over for Ortiz at DH. The Red Sox also have a lethal rotation, which includes reigning Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello and superstar Chris Sale, who they acquired from the White Sox this off-season. Finally, the Red Sox have a consistent closer in Craig Kimbrel to finish off games. Boston has it all, and will be difficult to stop from going all the way.
The Indians were so close to winning the World Series last year, taking a 3-1 lead in the World Series before losing to the Cubs in seven games. Cleveland clearly showed they could win it all, and they return the same roster from last season. One addition is Edwin Encarnacion, who hit 42 homers last season. Cleveland will also have outfielder Michael Brantley, who missed most of last season. In each of the two seasons prior to 2016, Brantley surpassed .300 batting and 80 RBI's. Cleveland has a dynamic infield led by shortstop Francisco Lindor. The Indians also have an emerging third baseman in Jose Ramirez. Cleveland has a solid pitching staff, led by former Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. In their bullpen, they boast playoff superstar Andrew Miller. Like Boston, the Indians are strong in every area, and they have what it takes to end their World Series drought.
It’s very difficult to win a championship two years in a row, but the Cubs seem poised to repeat after ending MLB’s longest World Series drought. Chicago lost two key pieces from last year’s team (outfielder Dexter Fowler and closer Aroldis Chapman), but the Cubs have most of their crucial players back this season. Chicago is led by third baseman Kris Bryant, last year's NL MVP. Along with Bryant, first baseman Anthony Rizzo was spectacular last season. Rizzo batted .292 with 32 homers and 109 RBI’s. Power hitter Kyle Schwarber will play a full season after missing most of last season. The middle of the infield is anchored by consistent second baseman Ben Zobrist and young shortstop Addison Russell. The Cubs have one of the best rotations in the league, as Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks have emerged as top-level starters, while veteran Jon Lester continues to be reliable. In the bullpen, they replaced Chapman with Wade Davis. Davis was a crucial part of the Kansas City Royals bullpen during their two World Series appearances. Chicago has a great chance of being the best team in the league again, and they are now a perennial World Series contender.
(Photo credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)