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The 2022 season is over a month old and the standings are starting to take shape. While we haven’t reached the dog days of summer just yet, we can still see teams changing the way they are viewed around the league. Who is making moves in Major League Baseball?
Los Angeles Dodgers
Power Ranking: 1st
World Series Odds: +450 (4.5-1)
Before a pitch was thrown on the 2022 season, the Dodgers were the odds-on favorite to win it all. As of this writing, they’re playing like that team. Before Monday's games kicked off, the Dodgers owned the best overall winning percentage at .731 with a 19-7 record. They’re currently on a seven-game winning streak and have a run differential of +74. That mark is not only the best in the league, but also a 26-run difference compared to the Yankees, who currently own a +48 mark. Amazingly enough, as if the current 19-7 record wasn’t impressive enough, MLB.com standings indicate that the Dodgers expected win-loss record, which is based on runs scored and allowed, puts the Dodgers at 21-5.
With the amazing start the Dodgers are on, is now the time to jump on their World Series odds? I don’t think it is. I mean, who in the world had the entire National League West division with a .500 or better record onto early May? Every single club, D-backs included, has a .517 winning percentage or better. The entire division is separated by 5 1/2 games and if the season ended today, every team except Arizona would be in the playoffs. In a division that is so incredibly close right now, +450 aren’t good enough odds to win it all. If anything, the ideal situation would be if one of these teams stayed hot and closed in on the Dodgers, which would help shift the odds a bit and make it more enticing.
Power Ranking: 4th
World Series Odds: +1100 (11-1)
This is one of the better values in the National League currently. The Brew Crew is high in the rankings, rightfully so, but has the sixth-best odds to win the World Series. For a team that’s playing in a division in which just two teams are above .500, the Brewers have one of the strongest chances to make the playoffs among the Central and East divisions.
The NL Central is one of two divisions, along with the American League Central, that features teams with less than 10 wins: the Cubs and Reds in the NL, and the Tigers and Royals in the AL. None of those teams were expected to be overly competitive, so it doesn’t come as a huge surprise. For the Brewers, specifically, this division is essentially a two-team race against the Cardinals. After a hot start at the plate, the Cardinals have cooled off a bit offensively, while the Brewers continue to rip at the plate. With series against the Reds, Marlins, Braves and Nationals coming up, the Brewers odds aren’t going to be in the double-digits much longer.
Toronto Blue Jays
Power Ranking: 7th
World Series Odds: +750 (7.5-1)
The Blue Jays being tied with the third-best odds to win the World Series doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. They’re currently third in the American League East despite having a -10 run differential as of Monday. They’re currently projected to be in the 92–93-win range, which with the expanded playoffs, should be more than enough to make it to the dance. That said, is it fair to say this team hasn’t exactly gotten off to the start people expected? I think it most certainly is.
One of the most glaring holes in Toronto’s game thus far has been hitting with runners in scoring position. In that situation, the Blue Jays are hitting just .187, which is the lowest in the Majors. One would question how that’s even possible with the hitters they have, but it’s a very real problem. To take it even further with RISP, the Jays own one of the highest strikeout rates at 23.2%. This will be an issue that’ll be adjusted at some point, and I feel as if the seventh overall ranking is correct. However, at +750, I need these odds adjusted lower before taking it seriously.
Los Angeles Angels
Power Ranking: 8th
World Series Odds: +2500 (25-1)
Talk about some big value here! Can the Halos win it all for the first time since 2002?! More importantly, can they make the playoffs for the first time since 2014, which was their first since 2009? Among the teams ranked in the top 10 for these Power Rankings, the Angels have the second-longest World Series odds, trailing only the Twins at +3500. Is now the time to jump in on some 25-1 odds? I think it’s worth a look.
The AL West overwent one of the biggest overhauls this offseason. The A’s sold off some of their best assets, the Rangers handed out over a half-billion dollars in contracts and the Mariners added some big players all throughout their roster. Despite all this, only the Angels and Astros are above .500, with Los Angeles in first by a half-game. They have the best run differential in the division at +27 and are an early 4-1 in one-run games. This division will be a three-team race including Seattle, and I don’t think anyone can convincingly pick which team will come out of the division. It’s very likely that the AL East will be the division with three playoff teams, meaning winning the division is going to be the path to the postseason here. At 25-1, the Angels could very well be that team if they keep up this pace.
Chicago White Sox
Power Ranking: 14th
World Series Odds: +1800 (18-1)
Pounce on the disrespect the White Sox are getting right now. This team is much better than advertised and look as if they’re about to turn things around. After being under .500 for the majority of April, the White Sox have come into the month of May looking like a much better team. One of my favorite, one of the most complete teams in the AL, these odds are way too good to pass up.
Advanced stats are critical to analyzing a team's true performance. The White Sox are a perfect example of this, and they help explain how they’ve been getting extremely unlucky (until recently). As a club, the White Sox are batting .225, which puts them 22nd in the league. Not great, right? The xBA (expected batting average) is at .263, which is the sixth-best in the league! That’s a massive difference and shows that the White Sox are not getting these balls in play to land. They also own the third-highest hard-hit rate in the league at 44.3%. They only trail the Yankees (49%) and Blue Jays (44.7%). So, to see this team down in the bottom of the league in runs scored, I know this isn’t going to last. Coupled with a very strong starting rotation, the White Sox are going to break out very, very soon, if it’s not happening already. Don’t expect to see these numbers much longer.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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