Odds: Over/under win totals for American League teams

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Bookmaker.com has posted its initial over/under odds for regular season team wins. Here are the American League totals (for entertainment purposes only, of course):

Red Sox           95
Yankees           91.5
Rangers           87
Twins             86.5
White Sox         85.5
Rays              84.5
Tigers            83.5
Athletics         83.5
Angels            83
Blue Jays         76
Orioles           76
Indians           71
Mariners          70
Royals            69.5

Based on those totals the Red Sox are viewed as the clear class of the league after adding Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to a team that won 89 games last season. However, they also lost Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre, and the Red Sox have won more than 95 games just twice since 1979.

On the flip side it’s worth noting that the Yankees have won fewer than 92 games just twice since 1996, so even after a disappointing offseason an over/under of 91.5 victories seems pretty pessimistic for a team that won 95 games last year.

At the other end of the spectrum an over/under of 69.5 wins may seem low for even the Royals, but their amazing collection of prospects isn’t likely to help much this season, Zack Greinke is gone, and they’ve topped 69 wins just twice since 2001. If anything the Royals stand out as one of the better “under” bets.

Seattle was the worst team in the league last season with just 61 wins and didn’t do much to upgrade the roster this offseason, but the offense going from historically awful to merely very bad would add a significant number of victories. It’s tough to see the Mariners being actual contenders, but 70-75 wins should be doable.

Without having put a ton of thought into this, I like the Yankees, Orioles, and Mariners the most for “over” and the Red Sox, Angels, and Royals the most for “under.”

Kris Bryant on Joey Votto: “He’s the best player ever … He’s a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

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The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.

As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”

Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”

Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.

Video: Daniel Descalso hits D-Backs’ third inside-the-park homer of the season

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Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.

It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.

As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.