We take a look at the current contenders for the 2022 World Series, with a keen eye on the well-performing New York City franchises.
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While many people think of the All-Star break as Major League Baseball’s halfway point in the regular season, this year the mid-summer classic doesn’t occur until July 19.
In actuality, by the end of June most teams will have played about half of their 162-game schedule.
That means it’s a great time to take stock of what we’ve seen to this point of 2022. The front-runners are separating themselves from the pack. The pretenders are fading… and the contenders are trying to determine just how good a chance they have to join the first group and avoiding falling into group two.
So far, the story has been the dominance and the resurgence, respectively, of New York City’s franchises, the Yankees and the Mets. But some of the strongest threats come from within those two teams’ own divisions.
Is a Subway Series realistic? If not, who will play the spoilers?
Start Spreading the News! Yankees Atop Major League Baseball
Just about any other season, the story behind the New York Yankees’ torrid start would be Aaron Judge, on his way to a monster season in a contract year.
Not always known as a high-average hitter, Judge is among the American League leaders with a .310 average, helping him to an eye-popping OPS of 1.063, tops in the American League. He also leads all of Major League Baseball with 25 home runs, is second in the American League with 49 RBIs, and is the league leader in runs scored and slugging percentage.
It’s an MVP-level season by any calculation – yet it’s not the main reason the Bronx Bombers sit atop Major League Baseball.
That would be a pitching staff on pace for a record-breaking campaign in 2022, allowing a miniscule 2.92 runs per contest during the Yankees’ 49-16 start. In his second year with New York, Nestor Cortes leads the way with an earned run average of only 1.i94 and a WHIP under 1 (0.93 to be exact.) Jameson Taillon leads the teams in wins with eight, sporting a stingy ERA of 2.70 and walking only nine batters in 73 innings.
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Of course, Gerrit Cole leads the way with 91 strikeouts, the main factor in his 6-1 start – but has arguably been the team’s third-best starting pitcher. It’s a nice luxury to have for the Yankees, particularly when they’re backed by a bullpen led by Clay Holmes, who has allowed only one earned run in 2022.
Holmes’ 0.28 ERA, 0.66 WHIP and rate of more than one strikeout per inning evokes memories of the days when Mariano Rivera cut off opponents completely in the late innings.
It doesn’t hurt to have Aroldis Chapman, who hold the MLB record for fastest pitch thrown at 105.1 miles per hour, as the left-handed bullpen complement to Holmes’ dominance.
So who can hope to hang with this juggernaut? The Yankees need look no further than their current schedule for a couple of the top contenders.
Who Should the Yankees Fear?
The Astros have heard all the “trash can” jokes pertaining to the sign-stealing scandal that, in some eyes, tarnished their 2017 World Series title. But last year’s American League title gave the franchise fresh legitimacy, and a repeat performance in 2022 – especially at the expense of a machine like the Yankees – would all but erase the stain permanently.
How can the Astros counter NY’s brilliance? The singular dominance of Yordan Alvarez, a 24-year-old outfielder who is Aaron Judge’s equal in just about every statistical category and, as of June 19, is actually outpacing the Yankees’ superstar in on-base percentage. Kyle Tucker is building on last year’s breakout performance, and Jose Altuve continues to be one of the more consistent performers in the game.
Meanwhile, 39-year-old Justin Verlander continues to laugh at Father Time, sporting a sterling 2.30 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP. The question is whether Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, and Jose Urquidy can match the Yankees’ depth atop the rotation?
Tampa Bay Rays
In any other division, the Rays would be battling for top honors, but in the AL East they’re reduced to battling Toronto for second place as the Yankees continue to separate from the pack.
A recent slump can’t erase Randy Arozarena’s potential to emerge as a lynchpin in the Tampa Bay offense, while Shane McLanahan’s 1.84 ERA and league-leading 105 strikeouts will get anyone’s attention in a short playoff series.
But what the Rays have that no one – not even the Yankees – can match is a loaded farm system, one that can either provide reinforcements or valuable trade chips should they opt to bolster their offense in August and September in preparation to take down the Bronx Bombers in October.
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Don’t Call It a Comeback! Mets Off to Best Start in Years
The New York Mets are in first place for all the WRONG reasons.
A bounce back season for the blue and orange was expected. This spring, former Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer sat atop the rotation with a healthy Jacob deGrom, and plenty of experts saw reason for optimism.
But disaster struck when deGrom re-injured his right shoulder toward the end of spring training. Meanwhile, Scherzer’s expected hot start was sidetracked on May 18 when he pulled himself in the sixth inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals. A strained left oblique was the diagnosis, and both pitchers remain sidelined and weeks away from a return.
Yet the Mets have sustained their torrid start and currently sit atop the National League at 44-23, 21 games above .500 (a mark they haven’t attained since their pennant-winning 2015 season.)
Heroes both expected (Pete Alonso, Edwin Diaz) and unexpected (Jeff McNeil, Brandon Nimmo, Carlos Carrasco) have been keys for the Amazins’, once just hoping to keep their heads above water as they awaited the returns of deGrom and Scherzer.
However, the dynamic duo can’t return soon enough, as the Mets have a number of teams hot on their heels.
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Who’s Hot on the Mets’ Heels?
Los Angeles Dodgers
This lineup looked like the closest thing to a fantasy baseball team coming into the season, but some recent slumps and an injury to outfielder Mookie Betts have seen the Dodgers struggle through June.
Regardless, no team wants to face the 2020 World Series champs come October – not with the aforementioned loaded offense, the National League’s deepest pitching staff, and a payroll that proves they’re willing to pay the price to acquire additional talent.
One of baseball’s hottest teams, the defending world champions are benefitting as Austin Riley continues to prove his breakout 2021 campaign was no fluke.
Dansby Swanson, Matt Olson, and young superstar Ronald AcuñaJr. haven’t even hit their stride yet, so the Braves figure to be nipping at the Mets’ heels throughout the summer.
These are some of the leading contenders in the American and National Leagues, but this is far from a complete list of playoff-bound teams. Remember, 12 teams in all make the MLB postseason – six each from the National and American Leagues. And once they get to October, short series in baseball mean a wide-open fight for the 2022 World Series title.
Odds to Win 2022 World Series
Below is a look at each squad’s odds to win the pennant in their respective leagues, as well as their odds to win the World Series.
(All odds listed as amount you’d win on a $100 bet. For example, +1000 means you’d win $1,000, plus your original $100 stake):
World Series Odds for 2022 Major League Baseball
Current odds at DraftKings Sportsbook:
|TEAM||ODDS TO WIN NATIONAL/AMERICAN LEAGUE||ODDS TO WIN 2022 WORLD SERIES|
|New York Yankees (AL)||+200||+450|
|Los Angeles Dodgers (NL)||+245||+450|
|Houston Astros (AL)||+275||+600|
|New York Mets (NL)||+350||+750|
|Toronto Blue Jays (AL)||+475||+1000|
|Atlanta Braves (NL)||+600||+1200|
|San Diego Padres (NL)||+600||+1300|
|Milwaukee Brewers (NL)||+700||+1500|
|Tampa Bay Rays (AL)||+1100||+2500|
|San Francisco Giants (NL)||+1200||+2500|
|Chicago White Sox (AL)||+1000||+2500|
|St. Louis Cardinals (NL)||+1500||+3000|
|Philadelphia Phillies (NL)||+1700||+3500|
|Boston Red Sox (AL)||+1700||+4000|
|Minnesota Twins (AL)||+1500||+4000|
|Los Angeles Angels (AL)||+3000||+7000|
|Cleveland Guardians (AL)||+4000||+10000|
|Seattle Mariners (AL)||+7000||+14000|
|Miami Marlins (NL)||+10000||+20000|
|Texas Rangers (AL)||+20000||+40000|
|Baltimore Orioles (AL)||+100000||+100000|
|Colorado Rockies (NL)||+100000||+100000|
|Kansas City Royals (AL)||+100000||+100000|
|Cincinnati Reds (NL)||+100000||+100000|
|Pittsburgh Pirates (NL)||+100000||+100000|
|Washington Nationals (NL)||+100000||+100000|
|Oakland Athletics (AL)||+100000||+100000|
|Chicago Cubs (NL)||+100000||+100000|
|Arizona Diamondbacks (NL)||+70000||+100000|
|Detroit Tigers (AL)||+60000||+100000|