The key when it comes to baseball is realizing the length of the season. Even though we are two months into the 2022 campaign, there are still nearly four months left to go! There have been teams that look like world-beaters in June that are forgotten about come October.
But the teams to watch for are the ones who are succeeding despite either missing key pieces or performing while undermanned.
When this happens, teams that have injured players get a boost when they return from the injured list. And teams that are succeeding despite glaring weaknesses can improve their team at the trade deadline in late July.
Today, we’re going to see whose stock is up or down based on their personnel and who they may be able to get before the end of the season.
Stock Up: New York Mets
Odds to Win 2022 World Series: +800
The New York Mets had a great April from Tylor Megill, who took the rotation spot of Jacob DeGrom, which included starting a combined no-hitter against the Phillies. But then Megill went down, followed by Max Scherzer. While Megill returned on Friday, Scherzer and DeGrom are out until likely the All-Star break.
But the Mets have gone 14-8 since Scherzer’s injury, including a 5-5 road trip against the Dodgers, Padres, and Angels–a record not to be ashamed of at all! Their lead in the NL East is down to five games due to the Braves having won 11-straight games, but Atlanta has beaten up on Colorado, Oakland, and Pittsburgh. The Braves do have more games against sub-.500 teams, but the Mets play Atlanta 14 more times this year, so there will be plenty of time to see who’s the best in the East.
The thing is, whether the Mets win the East or earn a wild card spot, they are likely going to be in the playoffs since they currently have the best record in the National League and don’t have any glaring holes. Sure, they may need an extra starter or reliever for depth, and catcher could use an upgrade, but they are one of the most complete teams in baseball.
New York has also played 34 road games to 27 home games, and whether they’re at home or on the road to open a playoff series, if they get Scherzer and DeGrom back to health, it would be hard to see them being underdogs against any team, but +800 seems like good value still.
Stock Up: San Diego Padres
Odds to Win 2022 World Series: +1500 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Even if the Padres fall to the Dodgers or Giants in the NL West race, San Diego is currently 20-11 on the road, which is the best winning percentage in away games in all of MLB.
Also take into consideration that the Padres are just a half-game back in the West despite the following: Fernando Tatis Jr. hasn’t had an at-bat all season, Wil Myers and Luke Voit have missed considerable playing time, Blake Snell has made five starts and has an ERA over 5, and Yu Darvish and Sean Manaea have ERAs over 3.5.
Snell was a playoff hero in 2020, and Davish and Manaea have been better as of late. The other two pieces of the rotation have been excellent–Joe Musgrove has a 1.50 ERA and has 72 strikeouts in 72 innings pitched, and rookie MacKenzie Gore has a 2.50 ERA in nine starts with 60 Ks in 50 innings pitched.
We’ve been saying it for over a year now, but the Padres have the pitching talent to dominate for long stretches, and the eventual return of Tatis will be a boon for the offense. If they keep trending the way they are, you won’t be able to get San Diego at +1500 for long.
Stock Down: National League Central
Let us explain. Last week, we had stock up for St. Louis and stock down for Milwaukee. The Brewers snapped an eight-game losing streak in Washington on Sunday, while the Cardinals were swept in Tampa Bay last week before battling to take two of three over Cincinnati this weekend.
Right now, St. Louis is ahead of the Brewers by a half-game, but Milwaukee would be out of the wild card race due to Atlanta’s surge. Milwaukee has good pitching but their hitting has underperformed. The Cardinals have good hitters in Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, but their rotation isn’t very deep.
We mentioned last week that these teams being able to beat up on the lower 60% of the division would help, but they are doing so and still not impressing all that much. Taking out their record against NL Central teams, the Cardinals would be at .500 and Milwaukee would be two games under that mark.
Of course, each team could go on a tear–St. Louis did win 17 games in a row last September–but up and down, the teams are a step behind the elite clubs in the National League, and it would be hard to see them win three playoff series to reach the World Series.
Stock Down: Chicago White Sox
Odds to Win 2022 World Series: +2500 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
The White Sox’ odds to win the World Series have dropped by more than double since the start of the season. While they have had flashes of good pitching, especially from a returning Michael Koepka, the pitching hasn’t been great (especially the bullpen) and the offense hasn’t produced enough, leaving Chicago with a run differential of -56–only five teams have a worse mark than that.
That means Chicago has a lot of work to do, and not only are they six games behind Minnesota, but they are also three games behind Cleveland as well in the AL Central. It seems like Chicago has too many holes to make a significant run this year, and there’s also louder and louder rumblings about manager Tony LaRussa, especially after the veteran skipper chose to intentionally walk Trea Turner on a 1-2 count last week, only for Max Muncy to come up to the plate and smack a three-run home run.
It appears like it’s going to be that kind of a season on the South Side of Chicago, and with the Yankees and Astros appearing to be light years ahead of the White Sox, we don’t see Chicago closing the gap this year.