2022 AL Pennant Futures
There are about seven weeks left in the Major League Baseball season, and the American League looks like it is going to be an exciting battle between two teams to see who has the top record come playoff time.
At the time this article was written, the Yankees had suddenly slumped. After it looked like it was a near lock that this team was going to finish with the top record, the Houston Astros have sped past them and hold the top record in the American League.
That has helped to shake up who oddsmakers believe will be the AL representative in the World Series. Here is a look at five teams who are likely to reach baseballs pinnacle series.
Houston Astros (+160)
There are a lot of things like about this Houston Astros team. Not only do they have the second-best ERA in baseball (3.05), but they are also an excellent power-hitting team, third in homeruns (197) and they are seventh in OPS (.740). The first thing to consider about Houston is the fact that they are a complete lock to make the playoffs.
Two weeks into August the club is 13 games ahead of Seattle in AL West and there is no one catching them. They are likely to wind up with the top record in the American League as 17 of the remaining games are within the division. That bodes well for them having the top record.
New York Yankees (+180)
New York suddenly find themselves in a slump. Through the first 21 games following the All-Star break, the Yankees are 7-14 with a 4.24 ERA. This was the team with the top pitching staff in baseball for much of the season but now find themselves struggling to turn things around. The fact that the Astros are 5-2 against the Yankees the season does not bode well for this club advancing to the World Series.
Seattle Mariners (+1200)
If you are looking for a hot team, then the Seattle Mariners are just the ticket. The club is 11-10 since the All-Star break. This comes after they put together a 14-game winning streak just before the break. The Mariners have outstanding pitching, sixth overall with a 3.65 ERA. However, this is not a very good offensive team.
They are 25th in team batting average (.232) and 17th in OPS (.690). Think of them as a poor man’s Houston Astros, but get a couple of pitchers hot in the postseason and they could suddenly be on your way to the World Series.
Cleveland Guardians (+1600)
Cleveland has jumped ahead of the slumping Minnesota Twins to grab the top record in the AL Central. It was a six-game winning streak but boosted this team into the top spot. Their fates are in their hands, as they have 23 games against division foes over the next seven weeks, including eight against Kansas City and four against Detroit.
Plus, they face the Mariners in late August in Seattle and then welcome the Mariners to town the following weekend. We are going to see if this team is battle-tested in those series.
Baltimore Orioles (+3000)
Speaking of being on a roll, you have to love the Baltimore Orioles. They are still seen as a dark horse but have moved themselves into the final wildcard spot in the AL at the time this article was written. Since the All-Star break, the Orioles are 13-7 with a 3.64 ERA and a .270 batting average.
That has helped them to produce 94 runs in 20 games, an average of 4.70 per contest while allowing 73 during that stretch (3.65 runs allowed per game). This team has themselves believing they are true World Series competitors, so no one better sleep on them.
AL Pennant Pick & Prediction
Go Against Minnesota
The Minnesota Twins (+1800) have been bumped out of the top spot in the AL Central, and are now battling for their playoff lives. This is a club struggling since the All-Star break, going 8-9 with a 4.84 ERA. That ERA is not going to be good enough to help this club reach the playoffs, especially considering that the offense is not picking up the slack. The Twins are hitting .241 over their last 17 games.
Minnesota returns home to welcome the Royals and the Rangers before traveling to take on the Astros, then welcome the Giants and Red Sox. We are going to learn a lot about this team over the final three weeks of August. If they go 11-5 during that stretch, they will be a playoff contender. If they are at .500 or below, they are not going to make the postseason at all.
Get Excited about the Orioles
This sounds really weird to say, especially considering the fact that this team has not been part of the postseason since 2016 and have made the playoffs just three times in the last 25 seasons, but the Baltimore Orioles are legitimate contenders.
A Cinderella story like this always garners a great deal of attention and really can get a team fired up entering the postseason. They are the underdogs. The team with nothing to lose. Plus, at +3000, it pays to put a little money down. You could easily turn a $10 wager into a significant return.
What about Those White Sox
Chicago was in third place in the AL Central at the time this article was written, 3.5 games out, and 2.5 games behind in the wildcard chase.
The Chicago White Sox (+2000) have the benefit of six games against the Guardians and nine against the Twins. In that way, they truly hold their destiny in their own hands, as they can put themselves right back into the playoff hunt by taking 11 of those 15 games.
What is a concern is that they have some very formidable series coming up, including taking on the Padres, Mariners, and Astros. However, the White Sox have 16 games against teams with losing records. That could bode well for them to make a playoff run, and this is the team you should go out on a limb on if that’s the way you want to wager.