Bookies favor Yankees in AL East, Fangraphs ranks WS title hopes third-best

Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Volpe are together prior to the Yankees' exhibition game in Mexico City on March 25, 2024.

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The New York Yankees have taken the Major League Baseball world by storm, establishing themselves as the team to beat in the American League East division. Despite losing their ace pitcher Gerrit Cole to an elbow injury during spring training, the Yankees haven’t missed a step, currently boasting an impressive 13-6 record and firmly grasping the lead in their division. This sizzling start ties their best 19-game performance since their 2003 championship season, where they won 16 of their first 19 games.

Cole’s absence initially cast a shadow of doubt, with oddsmakers installing the Baltimore Orioles, the reigning AL East champions, as the favorites to repeat at +145 odds (BetMGM Sportsbook) early in spring training. The Yankees initially favored at +180, saw their odds lengthen to +220 by late March due to Cole’s injury. However, the team under the guidance of manager Aaron Boone has defied expectations.

The Yankees’ success is fueled by a potent combination of factors. Juan Soto is putting on an MVP-caliber performance, Anthony Volpe has emerged as a breakout star, and the pitching staff has held its own despite the loss of their ace. This well-rounded attack has not only propelled them to the top of the division but also instilled confidence in sportsbooks. FanDuel Sportsbook currently has the Yankees as heavy favorites (-140) to win the AL East.

Aaron Judge, Juan Soto, and Alex Verdugo celebrate as the Yankees beat the Astros 5-4 in Houston on March 28, 2024.

While the Baltimore Orioles haven’t gone down without a fight, they trail the Yankees by just a half-game with a 12-6 record. Fueled by a recent four-game winning streak, the Orioles remain the closest competitor in the division, currently sitting at +230 odds to win the AL East.

Looking beyond the division, the Yankees are viewed as a serious threat to the entire American League. They boast the best odds (-580) to reach the playoffs in the AL, surpassing contenders like the Orioles (-295), Texas Rangers (-220), and Houston Astros (-205). Only these teams have odds better than -200.

The dominance doesn’t stop there. Oddsmakers even have the Yankees in the conversation for the best record in all of Major League Baseball, offering +800 odds to achieve this feat. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers (+165) and Atlanta Braves (+200) are viewed as more likely to finish with the best record in baseball.

One thing is clear: the New York Yankees are back and ready to contend for a championship. With a potent offense, a developing pitching staff, and a well-rounded team, the Bronx Bombers are the team to beat in a tightly contested American League East division.

Aaron Boone and his Yankees in Mexico to play an exhibition game on March 26, 2024.

Fangraphs rates Yankees WS title chances third-best

According to Fangraphs as of April 18, the Yankees have a 85.7% chances of making to the 2024 playoffs. However, it gives the Bronx Bombers just 9.4% odds of winning the World Series. This is third-best in the MLB but falls way behind the Braves’ 21.6% and the Dodgers’ 15.4%.

But it agrees with oddsmakers regarding the Yankees’ dominance in the American League. Fangraphs gives them a 44.5% chance of leading the division. The Blue Jays, who the Yankees lost their first series of 2024, have only 10.4% and 3.3% chances of winning the AL East and the World Series respectively.

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