AL Division Winners Ticket & Handle: Early Season Assessment
The Major League Baseball season is over a month old, and while it’s still early, we are beginning to get a sense of who the elite clubs might be. For bettors, how has overall team performance reflected ticket and handle percentages? Let’s find out, specifically in the American League, where there are some surprises and flat-out disappointments.
Highest Ticket%: Toronto Blue Jays 40.9% Highest Handle%: Toronto Blue Jays 49.5%
Currently third in the division with a 16-11 record, the Blue Jays offense has yet to hit its stride, ranked 18th in runs scored (102). Fortunately for the club, their lack of hitting has been somewhat offset by solid starting pitching, particularly from Alek Manoah (1.45 ERA) and free-agent signing Kevin Gausman (2.27 ERA). If the bats can begin to perform to expectations, it’s only a matter of time before Toronto really starts to take off.
Could this be the year that Angels superstar Mike Trout rightfully returns to the postseason? Well, things are looking very promising in the early going as LA sits atop the division with a 17-10 mark – a game and a half up on the Houston Astros. Trout has been spectacular, leading the league in OPS while slashing .316/.447/.671. Joe Maddon’s squad has also been anchored by a strong starting rotation, headlined by Shohei Ohtani (3.08 ERA), Noah Syndergaard (2.63 ERA), and Patrick Sandoval (1.29 ERA). Speaking of Ohtani, he has gotten off to a bit of a slow start offensively, hitting just .240, although he does have four home runs and 13 RBIs. The two-way star should find consistency with the bat soon enough.
A dark horse going into the season, the Tigers (8-16) have been one of baseball’s most disappointing clubs thus far, sitting dead last in the division. Detroit’s offense has been abysmal, 29th in the Majors in runs scored (74) and 19th in team batting average (.242). Pitching has been less of an issue, with the Tigers ranked fifth in the AL in ERA (3.48). Unfortunately, three of the club’s starting pitchers are currently on the 10-day injured list (Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Tyler Alexander) so manager A.J. Hinch will have to continue to be creative with his bullpen. Simply put, Detroit’s offense needs to wake up in a hurry before what was supposed to be a promising season turns into a write-off.
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