By Edward Egros
FOX Sports MLB Betting Analyst
Welcome back, class!
I know you enjoyed your baseball break watching the World Cup and getting ready for the holidays, but some of us in baseball never took time off (see Scott Boras). The focus this offseason belongs to New York, for both the Mets and the Yankees.
Let’s see how the odds board moved after both teams made big signings and analyze which ball club has more betting value going forward.
In terms of future World Series odds, at the time the Astros clinched the World Series, the Yankees were +800 to win the 2023 Fall Classic, while the Mets were +900 at FOX Bet . Now, the Mets have made the biggest move on the odds board to +650, and the Yankees currently sit at +700. The Mets are also the new favorites to win the National League.
Now, let’s dig deeper into the reasons behind these odds moves.
If you noticed my jaw near the floor, I still can’t get over myself Carlos Correa becoming Met. His 12-year, $315 million deal means the Mets acquire a shortstop who finished in the top 15 last season. in expected weighted average. Correa also finished in the top 25 in that metric in 2019 and 2021. Showing that much power, plate discipline and consistency at just 28 suggests (without knowing his medical history) that this deal is worth it.
But wait! There’s more! The Mets also added American League Cy Young winner Justin Verlander (Lowest expected on-base percentage in 2022 coming off Tommy John surgery), José Quintana (an ERA under 3.00 last season) and pitcher Kodai Senga. They also kept outfielder Brandon Nimmo (a 90th percentile defensive outfielder) and closer Edwin Díaz (who had 118 strikeouts as a shutout).
In all, the Mets have committed over $800 million in free agents, which a quick Google search will reveal is roughly the gross domestic product of the Netherlands. Aside from the staggering dollar amount, note that every move makes sense: All players are expected to perform well, and no one seems to be overpaid.
The Yankees’ biggest move wasn’t all that shocking, as they predictably signed last season’s AL MVP, Aaron Judge. But the nine-year, $360 million deal it requires context. What matters is not that Judge hit the AL home run record, but that he hit 25 more than the second place. Not only does Judge record 177 hits, but the second-ranked Yankee he had 42 less. Judge can’t duplicate his mammoth season, but the Yankees had no way to replace his production both at the plate and in the field; in short, they had to make this deal.
One deal the Yankees weren’t as obligated to make, but no less important, was the signing of pitcher Carlos Rodón. No pitcher qualified in 2022 had a higher strikeout percentage than the former Giant (33.4%). He throws four-seam fastballs more than 60% of the time, but consistently hits 95 mph, opposing hitters only had an expected batting average of .206. It’s also worth noting that the Yankees supplemented their bullpen, signing Tommy Kahnle, who struck out 14 in 12.2 innings of work in 2022.
Now that you’re up to speed on what Gotham baseball will look like in 2023, let’s take a look at which team you should be rooting for, meaning which ball club will rule New York.
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Here are three points to consider before placing your bets:
1: Let me remind you that the Mets and Yankees won a combined 200 games last season! 200! It’s important to remember the Law of Diminishing Returns, where the more resources you pour into an already successful product, the smaller those gains tend to be. It’s not like you can expect the Mets to win 140 games because of the money they’ve spent. The MLB record is 116 wins in a season (and I’d take it for both the Mets and the Yankees if that mark were available). Just because the Mets he spent roughly $220 million more than the Yankees it doesn’t mean they’re more likely to win the 2023 World Series.
2: Getting a coveted first-round bye has as much to do with who you play as with who you are. Bets for other teams will help here. The only AL team projected to stand in the way of the Yankees is the Houston Astros (+650 at FOX Bet), and they just lost the ace of their pitching staff in Verlander. For the Mets, there are several contenders with slightly longer odds: the perennially strong Dodgers, the Padres with Juan Soto through a full season, last season’s NL East champion Braves and the defending pennant-winning Phillies.
3: The Mets, even with Verlander and Max Scherzer, may not have the best pitching staff. FanGraphs compiled projected depth charts for next season, and while the top two teams belong to the Yankees and Mets, it’s the Bronx Bombers who fare slightly better. in both fWAR and Fielding Independent Pitching. The Mets arguably have the better bullpen, in large part because of Diaz, but the Yankees could figure out the closer’s role quickly and be comfortable with their starters pitching more dominant stuff in ballgames.
Ultimately, these are razor-thin margins we’re dissecting. Both ball clubs should improve in 2023 and will be candidates in October. But with slightly longer odds, an easier path to a deep run and a better starting pitching staff, the Yankees are the best bet to win the World Series right now.
COLLECT: Yankees (+700 at FOX Bet) to win the World Series
Edward Egros is a sports analytics broadcaster/writer, sports betting analyst, data scientist, and assistant professor of statistics at Pepperdine University. These passions have led him to become an aficionado of cold beer. Edward previously worked in local television, most notably at the Fox affiliate in Dallas, covering the Rangers, Cowboys and high school football. follow him Ttweet @EdWithSports.
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