Three-Dog Race for the National League Pennant

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After many began questioning the legitimacy of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ position atop the National League futures board, they’ve begun to play up to their reputation over the last week. By mid-September, experts were unsure whether the Dodgers were for real. They had just lost 16 of 17 games and appeared to be a shell of their former selves. 
    
Since the slide, they’ve managed to turn things around. They’ve won six of their last seven games, and have recemented themselves as the best team in baseball. Despite that strong recent play, the Dodgers were dealt a blow when they learned that they’d be without veteran first baseman Adrian Gonzalez for the remainder of the season due to a back injury. But with a healthy, dominant Clayton Kershaw, and a plethora of young, offensively-gifted positions players, the Dodgers should be able to overcome the vacancy that Gonzalez leaves. 

The likes of Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, and Justin Turner are the foundation of this year’s Dodgers, and the team will live or die by the success of these players. Oddsmakers feel confident that their tremendous seasons will carry over into the playoffs, as they’re +125 to take home the NL Pennant.

 

Washington Nationals (+325)

The Washington Nationals are one of the most complete teams in baseball, and are second in the futures market to win the NL pennant (+325). Three of the top four starting pitchers in the National League ERA rankings belong to the Nationals. Max Scherzer (2.55), Stephen Strasburg (2.63) and Gio Gonzalez (2.75) are second, third and fourth respectively. They make up the deepest starting rotation in the Majors. 

The Nats also have one of the most exciting baseball players in Bryce Harper. He has hit 29 home runs and driven in 87 RBIs in 2017. Perhaps more impressive has been Ryan Zimmerman, who leads the team with 34 home runs and 103 RBIs, and Daniel Murphy, who sits fourth in the National League with a .316 batting average. Washington lacks nothing when it comes to pitching depth and offensive weapons; it’ll just be a matter of whether the team can put it all together come October.

 

Chicago Cubs (+350)

After winning 103 games last year, the defending champs won’t break the 100-win mark this season. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are the cornerstones of the Cubs heading into this postseason, and will be relied upon heavily to carry the offensive load. 

Last year’s World Series MVP, Ben Zobrist, hasn’t produced like he did in 2016, as his batting average has dipped to .238. His power numbers have dropped even more significantly (.384 slugging percentage). 

Similarly, 2015’s Cy Young Award winner, Jake Arrieta, has had a down 2017. Through 30 games, he’s managed to win only 14 games and post a 3.53 ERA. Despite the Cubs’ inconsistencies, the experience they gained last year gives them credit to the tune of +350 odds to represent the NL in the World Series.

 

*Odds as of September 28, 2017