3 MLB Value Teams to Make a Second Half Run (Target Cardinals, Guardians, & Mariners)

The Mariners are a team to buy thanks in part to rookie sensation Julio Rodriguez's breakout
The Mariners are a team to buy thanks in part to rookie sensation Julio Rodriguez's breakout / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

I'm not myself in the morning until I have two or three or seven cups of coffee. Some MLB teams work the same way.

We've got clubs like the Braves and Red Sox for example, who started slow, but caught fire to put themselves firmly in the playoff hunt. Every season it seems, there's squads like the 2021 Cardinals who explode in the latter months of the campaign.

Yesterday, I looked at three teams to fade after the All-Star break. Now, as we open the second half of the MLB season, what are a few teams that give bettors value moving forward?

3 MLB Value Teams to Make a Second Half Run

St. Louis Cardinals

Oh hey, it's those red birds again! Led by NL MVP-favorite Paul Goldschmidt, the Cardinals are just a half-game behind the Brewers for the NL Central lead and profile nicely the rest of the way.

Even if St. Louis didn't have the easiest remaining strength of schedule of any team, per Tankathon's Strength of Schedule metric, they'd still be a buy for me. The lineup can rake against both left-handed and right-handed pitching. With Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Harrison Bader, Tommy Edman, and a revitalized Albert Pujols, there are few holes in the offense.

They've got the third-most Outs Above Average defensively in MLB, per MLB Statcast, and have a dependable pitching staff that ranks ninth in ERA.

Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas are quality starters and while the rest of the rotation could use improvement, Dakota Hudson and Andre Pallante have both shown flashes and the quality defense helps mitigate the damage.

WynnBET Sportsbook has the Cardinals with the sixth-best odds to win the NL Pennant (+1200) and 12th-best odds to win the World Series (+3000). With upcoming series against bottom-feeders like the Reds, Cubs, Rockies, and Nationals, don't expect those odds to stay so large for long.

Cleveland Guardians

Hey, I'm nothing if not consistent. I expect the Guardians to use the trade deadline to shore up their lack of pop against left-handed pitching and if they do, we're off to the races.

The Guardians are two games behind the Twins in the AL Central and 2.5 games behind in the Wild Card chase, but this is a team with all of the ingredients to pull off a run.

Cleveland's bullpen and defense remain among the very best in MLB, and with the youngest roster at every level of baseball, there's a ton of room for growth.

Andres Giminez is enjoying a career year, Jose Ramirez is a legitimate MVP candidate, and young pitchers like Triston McKenzie, Zach Plesac, Cal Quantril and Shane Bieber are all improving of late.

Thanks to playing in MLB's worst division, the Guardians have one of the easiest remaining schedules. We've seen in the past how stellar bullpens and defenses can carry a team to a World Series ring, and the lineup is built for October. Cleveland has both the fewest strikeouts and most stolen bases in the league, embracing a "move-the-line" mentality that forces opponents into mistakes.

I've been saying it for months and I won't stop now: the Guardians at +4000 to win the AL Pennant and +10000 to win the World Series at WynnBET remains the best value bet in MLB.

Seattle Mariners

May be a bit late here, given the Mariners have 14 consecutive wins already. But if you look beyond the surface, there's reason to believe this streak is no fluke. Sitting at +3000 to win the AL Pennant and +7500 to win the World Series, Seattle is still a value.

Juan Soto may have won the Home Run Derby, but rookie sensation Julio Rodriguez won the weekend. Seattle's cornerstone is on pace to become just the second player ever to have 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in his rookie year. The other guy, Mike Trout, turned out to be pretty good.

But beyond Rodriguez's meteoric rise and Ty France remaining one of baseball's most underrated players, the Mariners' elite defense and excellent pitching staff (fifth in team ERA) give them a great chance to make the playoffs.

Robbie Ray is back to his 2021 Cy Young form, Logan Gilbert looks like a top-line starter, Chris Flexen hasn't allowed more than three runs in two months and George Kirby has a 2.47 road ERA.

This is absolutely a team that can make noise in the playoffs. Their lineup ranks fourth in OPS against left-handed pitchers over the last month and is getting contributions from everywhere. Seattle may have 14 straight wins, but it's not too late to join the party.

Follow all of Joe Summers' betting picks here.