We’re now simply two weeks clear of the tip of the 2022 MLB common season, and plenty of races are nonetheless up within the air.
Four of our best 5 groups have now secured a postseason berth, with the Yankees, Cardinals and Guardians the 3 department leaders left nonetheless scuffling with for a playoff spot.
While we’ve a good suggestion of which contenders will probably be within the wild card, the location continues to be up within the air — with the Mariners, Blue Jays and Rays, particularly, going from side to side within the American League seeding. The Phillies and Padres, with the Brewers at the out of doors having a look in, are the National league squads that also have a lot to combat for within the wild-card race.
Where do our mavens rank all of those golf equipment?
Our panel has mixed to rank each workforce in baseball in keeping with a mixture of what we now have observed up to now and what we already knew going into the 162-game marathon that may be a complete baseball season. We additionally requested ESPN MLB mavens Buster Olney, Bradford Doolittle, Jesse Rogers and Alden Gonzalez to weigh in with an commentary for all 30 groups.
Week 23 | Second-half preview | Preseason scores
Previous score: 1
The common season is nearing its conclusion, the stakes have all however been eradicated, and but the Dodgers’ good fortune stays exceptional. They’ve had little or no to play for in September, and but they have gained 13 of 20 video games. They’ve gained 73% of the time because the get started of July and feature secured triple-digit wins for the 3rd consecutive complete season (no longer counting the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, despite the fact that they had been on tempo for greater than 100 wins that 12 months, too).
By the tip of the week, they may protected a franchise report for victories with 107. A large number of outsiders stay citing pitching issues relating to the Dodgers within the postseason, however this workforce regularly reveals tactics to win, steadily convincingly. And there aren’t any indicators of that letting up. — Gonzalez
Previous score: 2
The Astros have clinched the AL West, have a hammerlock at the league’s best seed within the postseason bracket and, relying on how the playoffs pass, are situated for attention as the most productive Houston membership in franchise historical past. They are the workforce to overcome within the AL and the favourite to go back to the World Series for the fourth time in six seasons.
Still, their catchers cannot hit. It’s a minor quibble however in all probability price noting since that is in a different way so on the subject of an excellent roster. Midseason pickup Christian Vazquez used to be meant to lend a hand on the plate however after hanging up a 110 OPS+ in Boston, that determine has been 51 in Houston. Overall, Astros catchers have hit .183/.247/.305 for a MLB-worst .551 OPS thru Tuesday. Obviously Houston favors protection and the dealing with of pitchers when opting for its catchers, however that is nonetheless lovely unhealthy. Apparently, no workforce is best possible. — Doolittle
Previous score: 4
If the Mets do not play deep into October, it is inevitable that any errors shall be picked aside on communicate radio, and the chorus that the entrance place of job must’ve executed extra on the industry cut-off date shall be repeated time and again. But with the Mets locked right into a postseason berth and flirting with 100 wins, this season in reality must be considered as a good fortune — the primary important manifestation of proprietor Steve Cohen’s dedication to profitable. — Olney
Previous score: 3
In 2021, the Braves determined that Kyle Wright wanted a longer duration of building within the minors, and in consequence, he made simply two appearances within the primary leagues within the common season. But after Wright pitched in with two sturdy World Series appearances, the Atlanta team of workers idea he may jump this 12 months — and actually, he has a possibility to be the majors’ solely 20-game winner in 2022. Wright’s victory Monday used to be his nineteenth. –– Olney
Previous score: 5
Aaron Judge has generated a zillion statistics this season that shall be gobbled and digested for many years yet to come, whilst construction historical past. Here’s a easy set of numbers that underscores simply how he has been the barometer of good fortune for a workforce loaded with established stars: In video games the Yankees have gained, Judge has a slash line of .350/.438/.832; in video games they have misplaced, he has long past .256/.388/.482. — Olney
Previous score: 6
It’s now not if Albert Pujols will succeed in 700 house runs, it is only a topic of when. His 698th, accomplished Friday in opposition to Cincinnati, used to be but every other grab lengthy ball. It may well be what is maximum spectacular about Pujols — he is not hitting house runs in rubbish time in opposition to the opposite workforce’s worst pitchers. St. Louis will clinch the NL Central briefly order, and the large lead within the department is what is permitting supervisor Oliver Marmol to play his slugger in opposition to each righties and lefties. — Rogers
Previous score: 9
Obviously, the Blue Jays want to stay profitable and protected the fourth seed within the AL bracket. That a lot is going with out announcing. Still, if Toronto had been to slide right down to the 5th and even the 6th slot, their touchdown may well be a comfortable one. That’s since the Blue Jays have in truth been a lot better at the highway this season than at Rogers Centre. The win-loss information are an identical, however at house Toronto’s run differential (thru Tuesday) interprets to that of a 79-win workforce over 162 video games.
The similar determine for highway video games is 100 wins. Only the White Sox and A’s have a better disparity in prefer of highway video games. Also, given the power of the Astros because the AL’s most probably best seed, it is conceivable that the circuit’s six seed shall be higher situated than the 5th seed to make a deep run. Regardless, the Blue Jays need to stay profitable. — Doolittle
Previous score: 7
There had been a few notable trends in regards to the Rays’ beginning rotation popping out of stories from Tampa Bay final week. One is not so just right: While Shane Baz has recovered sufficient from his elbow hassle to renew throwing, it’s not regarded as most probably that he’s going to go back to sport motion this season.
On the opposite hand, Tyler Glasnow has now made 3 rehab appearances for Triple-A Durham. His workload has been restricted however up to now, hitters are 1-for-14 in opposition to Glasnow and he has struck out 8 of the 17 hitters he has confronted. Glasnow is now more likely to rejoin the Rays’ rotation earlier than the tip of the season and provides them an elite pitcher heading into October, albeit in a restricted function. Still, if Glasnow is not anything greater than a glorified opener throughout the playoffs, dealing with six to 9 batters, that is an enormous spice up to the Rays’ ceiling coming into the playoffs. — Doolittle
Previous score: 8
The get started of the playoffs gifts an annual alternative for a reset for any suffering participant, and the Mariners may just in reality use a late-season bounce-back from Jesse Winker, who has had a disappointing first season in Seattle. He’s hitting .218 with 13 homers, his reasonable in September is .147 and his final homer used to be Aug. 17. With Eugenio Suarez now out with a damaged finger — although he does come again at season’s finish, it is such a damage that would impact him the remainder of this 12 months — Winker’s manufacturing is much more vital. — Olney
Previous score: 10
There had been occasions when it seemed the Phillies may just constitute a captivating danger to the NL powers — the Dodgers, Mets and Braves. But the tough sequence in Atlanta over the weekend, during which Philadelphia mustered simply seven runs in 3 days, used to be a reminder of the workforce’s flaws, together with its aid pitching. The Phillies rank twenty third amongst 30 groups in bullpen ERA, although Philadelphia’s relievers collected the second-fewest innings within the majors. — Olney
Previous score: 12
Why are the Guardians ultimate in at the AL Central crown? Pitching and protection. Since the All-Star destroy, Cleveland ranks within the best 3 within the majors in ERA and BABIP. The starters’ ERA ranks within the best 10 amongst rotations because the destroy after score simply seventeenth throughout the primary half of. But the tale of the season for the Guardians and their largest hope for a protracted playoff run is still the bullpen.
The relievers ranked twelfth in bullpen earlier than the destroy however since then, the gang has coalesced into in all probability the most productive within the majors. The bullpen ranks within the best 3 throughout the second one half of in the entire following: ERA, batting reasonable allowed, strikeout proportion, stroll price and price of homers allowed. If Cleveland is to live on a rugged AL playoff box, supervisor Terry Francona’s lights-out bullpen is perhaps the main reason why. — Doolittle
Previous score: 11
Don’t put out of your mind that one of the crucial Padres’ largest causes for optimism heading into this season stemmed from their acquisition of Bob Melvin, an skilled, celebrated supervisor who at all times turns out to strike the best tone within the clubhouse. That used to be on show lately. The Padres seemed torpid and uninspired whilst getting close out via the D-backs final Thursday, and Melvin spoke back via doing one thing he hardly does — firmly criticizing his gamers publicly.
A players-only assembly used to be held the next day to come, and the Padres spoke back via reeling off 5 consecutive wins, throughout which their team of workers has pitched to a zero.80 ERA. During that reach, their beginning pitchers carried out smartly, their offense flowed, and Juan Soto began to get going. And it could have all stemmed from Melvin selecting the very best time and position to lose his cool. — Gonzalez
Previous score: 13
Milwaukee’s playoff hopes are on existence strengthen, however each time it seems like their season is over, the Brewers pull out a few wins and stay tempo with the groups forward of them within the wild-card hunt. A sweep of the Yankees over the weekend would have long past a protracted strategy to ultimate the space some extra, however Milwaukee blew a lead at house on Sunday and settled for a sequence win. And that used to be adopted via a loss to the Mets, so the space is still a number of video games within the NL wild-card race during which the Brewers lose tiebreakers to each San Diego and Philadelphia. — Rogers
Previous score: 15
Baltimore’s playoff hopes may well be slipping away, however an 82-win season — or extra — is definitely within the playing cards. Rookie Adley Rutschman continues a tremendous first season within the large leagues, compiling a .935 OPS and his eleventh house run final week. Baltimore will almost certainly want to overhaul its pitching team of workers, because the numbers have in any case begun to dip. The Orioles gave up 27 runs over a four-day stretch from Sept. 16 to Sept. 19, speeding their playoff hopes, which are actually on existence strengthen. — Rogers
Previous score: 14
For Chicago, the shortcoming to profit from susceptible festival within the department has been a relentless theme — no longer that the Guardians may also be checked out as susceptible festival at this level. The White Sox have taken 12 of 16 in opposition to last-place Detroit, as you would be expecting. But they’re below .500 in opposition to the opposite 3 golf equipment within the department, which incorporates a 9-10 mark in opposition to Kansas City. Compounding the high-leverage loss used to be that it overshadowed what may have been every other vital information level for Dylan Cease in his run on the AL Cy Young Award. Cease allowed only one run over six innings regardless of no longer having dominant stuff. But the White Sox allowed 9 runs after he departed. — Doolittle
Previous score: 16
The Twins’ discouraging second-half flop is all however whole, as the newest playoff odds display that Minnesota’s probabilities have dwindled right down to mathematical 0. Injuries are a part of that consequence, however because the web page begins to show to making plans for the 2023 season, one vibrant spot is still righty Joe Ryan.
The Twins’ not likely Opening Day starter has certainly proved to be the Twins’ highest of the 13 performers on this 12 months’s revolving-door rotation. Ryan has been remarkable in his previous two outings, throwing 14 2/3 scoreless innings with simply 3 hits allowed. His 10 high quality begins is probably the most at the Twins, as is his reasonable sport rating of 55.4. Ryan has now made 30 occupation begins throughout which he is long past 14-9 with a three.68 ERA and 106 ERA+. An ace? Probably no longer, however Ryan has cemented himself as a long-term resolution for the Twins. — Doolittle
Previous score: 18
Remember final 12 months, when the Giants gained 107 video games to in any case overtake the Dodgers within the NL West, then performed them right down to the cord in an exhilarating five-game NL Division Series? Well, this is not at all the case in 2022. The Giants obviously don’t seem to be the similar workforce, and that’s in all probability captured maximum successfully in how they have got fared in opposition to their sour department competitors. In 2021, the two groups cut up their 24 head-to-head matchups in the event you rely the postseason. In 2022, the Giants misplaced 15 of nineteen video games to the Dodgers, together with all 3 at house over the weekend. The Dodgers have outscored them 99-55. — Gonzalez
Previous score: 17
Boston must glance no additional than its report in opposition to its personal department to grasp why it is on the backside of the AL East. After shedding two extra to the Yankees final week, the Red Sox fell to 6-9 in opposition to them this season. Add that to a 4-12 report in opposition to Tampa Bay and a 3-13 mark as opposed to Toronto, and also you begin to see Boston’s season in a nutshell. The Red Sox actually have a shedding report in opposition to Baltimore, so there is in reality not anything concerning the workforce to love in 2022. Having stated that, Xander Bogaerts may win the batting name. He’s hitting .377 this month, hanging him in an excellent place. — Rogers
Previous score: 19
Merrill Kelly‘s 2022 ERA in opposition to the Dodgers: 8.25. Merrill Kelly’s 2022 ERA in opposition to everyone else: 2.38. The 33-year-old right-hander has put in combination a tremendous season total (12-7, 3.15 ERA in 182 2/3 innings), however he’d be a Cy Young contender if no longer for his struggles in opposition to the most productive workforce in baseball. That used to be evidenced as soon as once more on Monday, when Kelly gave up 5 runs in six innings whilst taking the loss at Dodger Stadium. He described his courting with the Dodgers thusly: “It’s like having a big brother you keep wrestling. And every time, he taps you out.” — Gonzalez
Previous score: 20
There’s been first rate enlargement in catcher Jonah Heim‘s sport this season. He had a two-homer week, giving him 15 at the season to head alongside with 20 doubles. His .406 slugging proportion is a minimum of one thing to paintings with for Texas. The Rangers have first rate energy and stolen-base threats of their lineup, making them probably bold on the plate in 2023. Heim must be a larger a part of that offense subsequent 12 months. — Rogers
Previous score: 21
One of the few vibrant spots within the Angels’ disappointing season has been that they could have in truth tapped into some organizational beginning pitching, the part that has lengthy plagued them. Reid Detmers and Jose Suarez have proven some promise, however Patrick Sandoval is the person who has in reality stood out. The 25-year-old left-hander restricted the Rangers to two runs in 5 innings on Tuesday and has allowed simply seven runs in his previous 22 1/3 innings, hanging his ERA at 3.01 as he nears the tip of his moment complete season within the primary leagues. The Angels want masses extra of those contributions from their farm machine in the event that they hope to contend within the close to long run. — Gonzalez
Previous score: 22
Kris Bryant hasn’t been formally close down via the Rockies simply but, however his go back earlier than season’s finish is turning into an increasing number of not likely. The former MVP hasn’t performed since July 31 and has tallied solely 42 video games within the first season of a seven-year, $182 million contract. Bryant hasn’t essentially carried out poorly, slashing .306/.376/.475, however he has required 3 separate stints at the injured checklist to deal with plantar fasciitis and a strained decrease again. He’ll be 31 subsequent 12 months, and the Rockies, with moderately scant assets to start with, can solely hope this used to be simply an outlier season. — Gonzalez
Previous score: 23
The Cubs’ offense has long past quiet however accidents have contributed to that, as catcher Willson Contreras, shortstop Nico Hoerner and moment baseman Nick Madrigal have all been out. They constitute numerous hits for Chicago, so it is no wonder the workforce batted simply .204 final week. Rookie Christopher Morel broke out of a hunch with a house run on Monday in opposition to the Marlins however hit simply .059 from Sept. 12 to Sept. 19. The Cubs shall be in search of extra energy this wintry weather. — Rogers
Previous score: 24
The 1972 Phillies controlled 59 wins, and Steve Carlton used to be the profitable pitcher in 27 of them, in a season during which he had a 1.97 ERA, struck out 310 batters and had an adjusted ERA+ of 182. What Sandy Alcantara has executed with the Marlins in a 12 months during which Miami is horrible is not rather as much as the Carlton same old, however it is shut — a 2.37 ERA, an MLB-high 212⅔ innings and an adjusted ERA+ of 172. — Olney
Previous score: 26
The Royals do not determine to make a lot noise within the postseason awards races. One exception might be heart fielder Michael A. Taylor, who may well be situated for a moment immediately Gold Glove. Taylor leads AL heart fielders in defensive runs stored, simply forward of Cleveland’s Myles Straw. But Straw and others have higher metrics in different programs.
According to the present SABR Defensive Index (SDI) rankings, a composite rating of metrics that may be a element of the Gold Glove variety procedure, Taylor ranks moment to Straw with two weeks to head within the season. Last season, Taylor led the AL in SDI via a comfy margin, with Straw coming in moment. The Royals’ total defensive metrics mark them as a median fielding membership. At least via SDI, Taylor seems to be KC’s solely viable Gold Glove hopeful. — Doolittle
Previous score: 25
Despite giving up a few house runs in his newest get started, lefty Nick Lodolo may well be the most productive storyline for Cincinnati in the second one half of. His strikeout totals in September, by myself, bounce off the web page. He adopted a nine-strikeout time out in opposition to Colorado with 11 in each and every of his subsequent two begins in opposition to Milwaukee and Pittsburgh. He added seven extra on Tuesday in opposition to Boston, giving him the second-most K’s within the NL this month. — Rogers
Previous score: 27
The center of attention in Detroit stays squarely at the long run, particularly now that the membership has employed former Cubs and Giants exec Scott Harris to move up the baseball operations division. On the sphere, one glimmer in that conceivable long run has been the upward thrust this season of lefty Joey Wentz. The 24-year-old’s gradual climb in the course of the minors has been, to position it kindly, non-linear. Last season, Wentz crowned out at Double-A and went 0-7 with a 4.50 ERA throughout two ranges. This season, regardless of tepid expectancies, Wentz carried out smartly at Triple-A and earned a couple of huge league promotions. Since being recalled for a get started on Sept. 9, Wentz has posted a sterling 1.69 ERA over 3 outings and put himself within the dialog for a place in Detroit’s 2023 rotation. — Doolittle
Previous score: 28
The Pirates are getting the great and the unhealthy from Oneil Cruz, who hit 3 house runs final week however struck out 14 occasions in 21 at-bats. In doing so, he hit simply .191 from Sept. 14 to Sept. 18 as he continues to confound scouts. Some have their doubts about his long-term viability, despite the fact that nobody doubts the ability. Cruz has simply 21 walks to 118 strikeouts at the season. It’s method too early to attract conclusions, however growth has to return in plate self-discipline before everything. — Rogers
Previous score: 29
One of the game’s most up to date hitters this month is none as opposed to Tony Kemp. The diminutive moment baseman and left fielder — with a occupation .698 OPS — is slashing .322/.394/.559 this month, one in every of a couple of vibrant spots on a rebuilding A’s workforce that has misplaced 29 of 45 video games because the get started of August. Kemp’s three-run homer off Mariners ace Luis Castillo on Tuesday propelled the workforce to victory. — Gonzalez
Previous score: 30
It’s truthful to wonder whether we’re seeing the final days within the occupation of the extremely revered Nelson Cruz, the 42-year-old DH who’s hitting .234 with 10 homers. Cruz has 439 homers in his occupation, however this 12 months, his slugging proportion is .337 with an OPS of .631 — the bottom for him in any season since 2006. Cruz has constructed a name for bearing a robust clubhouse presence, so when no contender made a transfer for him on the cut-off date, that used to be a clue about how rival evaluators really feel about his efficiency. — Olney