Bold Predictions for Spring Training
Every year, MLB teams go into spring training with grand plans that are altered once the season starts.
Injuries and poor performances change things. The sudden emergence of a rookie or veteran player alters the makeup of a team. There are also late free-agent signings and usually one or two trades that change the shapes of opening-day rosters.
MLB betting handicappers
The MLB betting handicappers at SportsBetting.ag have futures odds that are impacted with how things might change in spring training.
The following are bold predictions for spring training coming up soon with the analysis from ESPN.
Jason Heyward will start in center field on Opening Day
Cubs MLB betting handicappers odds to win the World Series: +425
The Chicago Cubs’ plan for their outfield as they head into spring training is clear. Manager Joe Maddon’s starters are supposed to be Kyle Schwarber in left, Jason Heyward in right and a platoon of Albert Almora and Jon Jay in center. He’s also planning on using Ben Zobrist as his Opening Day second baseman while again slotting Javier Baez into a super-utility role. I understand that’s the plan going in, and it will work if Almora shows that his bat is ready. If that happens, it would give the Cubs two outstanding, Gold Glove-caliber outfielders in right and center to compensate for the below-average defense they’ll get from Schwarber in left.
Cody Bellinger starts in left for Dodgers
Dodgers MLB betting handicappers odds to win the World Series: +900
The Dodgers’ initial long-term plan for Bellinger looked solid: He would spend the next two years in the minor leagues and be ready to take over first base full-time at the end of the 2018 season, when Adrian Gonzalez becomes a free agent. However, that was before Bellinger upset those plans with his rapid progress at the plate. Bellinger, 21, has quickly developed into the best first-base prospect in the game with the potential to provide a .350 OBP, 30 home runs and 100 RBIs while being a Gold Glove-quality defender as well. Here is where it gets tricky. To be conservative, the right move would be for Bellinger to start the year in Triple-A and be ready in case Gonzalez gets hurt in the middle of the season or once rosters expand in September. However, Bellinger’s bat is ready now -- he’s arguably the Dodgers’ best hitter after Corey Seager.
Francis Martes' spring removes Houston from signing Quintana
Astros MLB betting handicappers odds to win the World Series: +900
Astros GM Jeff Luhnow has had several conversations with White Sox GM Rick Hahn about acquiring Quintana to bolster Houston’s rotation. However, Hahn’s asking price -- three or four elite prospects -- has ended most of those conversations with more dial tones than follow-up proposals. However, sometimes when a GM tries to trade for a player he finds out in time that he actually has as good an option or better in his own house. For the Astros that could be rookie Francis Martes. The White Sox have asked for Martes in a Quintana package and so far the Astros have declined, for good reason. Martes, 21, has three above-average pitches, two of them dominant -- his fastball and curveball. Martes will pitch at 94-97 mph and touch 100 or more with his four-seam fastball, and he’s able to command the fastball on both sides of the plate.
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