We’re just over a month into the 2022 Major League Baseball season, and it’s been an eventful year already. The record offensive pace of the past few years has seemed to regress due to some factors taken by MLB that have reduced the distance the baseball is flying.
Some teams seem to be thriving under the circumstances, while others are struggling.
For our first stock watch futures update for 2022, let’s take a look at some of the biggest odds shifts (both positive and negative) among our preseason favorites and World Series dark horses.
STOCK UP: New York Mets
Preseason odds to Win World Series: +1700 | Current Odds: +800 (UniBet)
We wrote last month that if the Mets could play well without starting pitcher Jacob DeGrom until his return (likely in June), that +1700 would probably be the best price you could get on New York all season.
Well, the Mets are 20-10, have the most wins in baseball, and lead the National League East by six games over Atlanta and Miami. Their pitching–without DeGrom–is lights out and among the best in baseball with Max Scherzer pitching well, solid outings from Chris Bassitt, the resurgence of Carlos Carrasco, and surprising dominance from Tylor Megill, who started a combined no-hitter against the Phillies in late April.
Despite being in the middle of the pack in home runs, the Mets have the second-most runs scored in the NL, as offensive pieces brought in like Starling Marte, Mark Canha, and Eduardo Escobar are producing, and Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil have returned to their pre-2021 ways after slumping last year.
The Braves started slow last year and ended up winning the World Series, as the Mets were in first place for 100 days before collapsing. But this team seems to be built better, has a better manager in Buck Showalter, and DeGrom is on track to return and could send the rotation over the top.
STOCK UP: San Diego Padres
Preseason Odds to Win World Series: +1800 | Current Odds: +1500 (Caesars)
Like the Mets, the Padres folded in 2021 under solid expectations and started this year off on the wrong foot with some injuries, namely to Fernando Tatis Jr. and Blake Snell. San Diego, however, is 19-10 and just 1.5 games behind Los Angeles for first place in the NL West.
Manny Machado is an early MVP candidate, hitting .385 with seven home runs, and Eric Hosmer is having a bounce-back season with a .350 average so far. Joe Musgrove is pitching like an ace, Yu Darvish is healthy, Sean Manaea was a solid acquisition from Oakland, prospect Mackenzie Gore has started off his career well, and also like the Mets, the addition of a successful, veteran manager in Bob Melvin has also made a big difference to bring a winning culture to San Diego.
STOCK DOWN: Chicago White Sox
Preseason Odds to Win World Series: +1000 | Current Odds: +1900 (DraftKings)
This is an odd one, as the White Sox had a miserable start thanks to a slow offense and injuries to the pitching staff, but Chicago has come on strong in the past week, sweeping the crosstown Cubs and then the Red Sox in Boston. Those two teams are struggling as well, however, and Chicago remains three games behind Minnesota in the AL Central, so the oddsmakers aren’t sold on this hot streak for the ChiSox because even with the win streak, they are 14-13 in 2022.
Tim Anderson and Luis Robert are the only position players hitting over .250, and the back end of the rotation has been shaky with Vince Velasquez and Dallas Keuchel. In good news, however, Lucas Giolito is back from injury, Michael Kopech has pitched tremendously coming off Tommy John surgery, and Dylan Cease has improved from last year, but this doesn’t have the feel of a team that can go deep into the playoffs at the current moment.
STOCK DOWN: Atlanta Braves
Preseason Odds to Win World Series: +1200 | Current Odds: +1500 (FanDuel)
The Braves are 14-16 and likely in the midst of a World Series hangover, but things could be a lot worse for the defending champs. Atlanta survived a four-game series with the Mets by splitting and then took two out of three from the first-place Brewers, going 4-3 in a stretch that could’ve made things very difficult if they went 2-5 or 1-6, as Atlanta is already six games behind the Mets in the NL East.
Atlanta lost Freddie Freeman, who’s crushing it with the Dodgers so far this year, and Matt Olson has been okay replacing him, but he has just three home runs at this point in the season. Adam Duvall, a star from last year’s trade deadline, has had a slow start, but the Braves are also working Ronald Acuna Jr. back into getting regular playing time in the outfield, so the offense may improve.
Kyle Wright is living up to his potential on the pitching side of things, and Max Fried is solid as always, but the Braves need much better from the rest of the rotation–Ian Anderson and Charlie Morton are struggling, and there isn’t a dedicated fifth starter right now. Kenley Jansen and Will Smith each have an ERA under 1, so the back of the bullpen is performing at an elite level, and the offense could come around, but the Braves will need the rotation to perform better if they are to catch the Mets this summer.