Baseball is back and once again baseball expert and veteran handicapper Doug Upstone is back to cover all the Cactus League action in Arizona. We will cover a lot ground and hope you will enjoy.
In the last couple days I have been to a pair of games and will offer observations about the teams I saw along with game notes. In addition, I will MLB odds for you to look over and MLB picks from this early observational viewpoint.
San Diego Padres (5th in NL West and 13th-worst NL odds) O/U 71
With four teams projected to win 81 to 96 games in the NL West Division, that does not leave much room for success for San Diego who continues to rebuild. The Padres pitching staff prevented them from losing 100 games last year and they will again likely be the case unless injuries creep in. The addition of Eric Hosmer will make the San Diego offense better, but moving Wil Myers back to the outfield will not improve the Pads defense. The Friars are several years away from competing in their division, but finally, are establishing a base to build on. I would lean UNDER for win total, uncertain of the pitching.
L.A.A. Angels (2nd in AL West, 5th-best AL odds) O/U 84
For starters, the Angels of Anaheim could well have the defensive team in baseball. They have elite defenders at seven positions who can catch and get to almost any batted ball on the field of play. Offensively, the Halos have added Zack Cozart, Ian Kinsler, and rookie Shohei Ohtani to build around baseball’s best player, Mike Trout. Where the rubber meets the road is Angels pitching. There is a great deal of talk about a six-man rotation for the Angels for a variety of reasons, including Ohtani and the recent health of the other starting pitchers. This team is capable of 88 wins and I will support the OVER because of that but Halos starting staff is a house of cards.