Predictions from Wild Card to World Series

The 2022 MLB playoffs start Friday afternoon, debuting a brand new structure with 12 groups hoping to lift this yr’s World Series trophy.

The Dodgers — who input October with MLB’s excellent file and a franchise file selection of wins — glance to upload every other identify to turn out their 2020 championship used to be no fluke. Meanwhile, the Braves have hopes of turning into baseball’s first repeat champions for the reason that Yankees gained 3 directly from 1998 to 2000. The Yankees, alternatively, will take a look at to go back to their early-season shape and make a run on the Fall Classic from the No. 2 seed within the American League.

Who will win each and every spherical? And which squad would be the closing status on the finish of the postseason? We requested greater than 30 of our MLB professionals — from, TV, Stats & Information and extra — to give us their predictions.

Below are their alternatives for wild-card winners (two groups will make it out of each and every league), department sequence winners, league championship sequence winners and World Series champion.

Everything you want to know | Bracket | Watch on ESPN, ABC

American League Wild Card Series

ALWC: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Cleveland Guardians

Cleveland Guardians 19

Tampa Bay Rays 12

While the Guardians are the favourite, you picked the Rays. How do they arrive out of wild-card weekend triumphant? The Rays could be the most productive group at perennially outpunching its weight on the subject of regular-season file and playoff runs, with professionals unfold in every single place the league to turn out I’m now not the one person who believes this. I typically give then the good thing about the doubt in a toss-up, yet I believe the Rays are a greater workforce as a result of the awesome intensity in their rotation and lineup. That stated, I see those dangers on this select: Guardians relievers James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase scare me if the Rays fall in the back of, and Rays ace Shane McClanahan hasn’t been that groovy of past due. — Kiley McDaniel

ALWC: Seattle Mariners vs. Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays 18

Seattle Mariners 13

Our electorate are nearly break up between the Mariners and Blue Jays. Why do you assume Toronto will be successful? The Mariners-Blue Jays sequence is a soar ball. I’ll take the Blue Jays in part as a result of they’re at house. Rogers Centre is a noisy position. “It will be crazy,” Blue Jays center fielder George Springer said. Only the Yankees scored more runs in the American League this year than the Jays. They are swinging it really well these days, especially Bo Bichette, who had 48 hits in September. Plus, the Jays have Alek Manoah going in Game 1. He has been one of the best pitchers in the league, totally fearless, totally oblivious to the pressure. The Mariners are really good, have won seven of 10 and can win this series, but home-field advantage means the Jays win in three. — Tim Kurkjian

National League Wild Card Series

NLWC: Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals 19

Philadelphia Phillies 12

A fair number of our voters went with the Phillies. Why did you choose the Cardinals? In a short series, I’m going to trust their defense — especially in a park as spacious as Busch Stadium — and the likes of Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and Albert Pujols to do what’s necessary to advance. The Phillies certainly seem to have a major advantage with their starting pitching, but I think the Cardinals have it, perhaps to a lesser extent, in the bullpen. And I think having all three games at home will be a major advantage. — Alden Gonzalez

NLWC: San Diego Padres vs. New York Mets

New York Mets 27

San Diego Padres 4

Why do you think San Diego can pull off the wild-card upset against the 100-plus-win Mets? When it comes to the Mets, the conversation rightfully almost always starts with Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom. But when the Mets were really rolling this year, it seemed Starling Marte was in the middle of everything good going on in their lineup. Now that there is a very real chance New York will have to start the postseason without their dynamic outfielder — and that could be enough of a difference to tip the scales in a best-of-three series. On the other hand, if the Mets do get through the opening weekend and Marte comes back playing like the star he is at any point this month, this is a Mets team that could still make a lot of noise this October. — Dan Mullen

American League Division Series

ALDS: Winner of Rays-Guardians vs. New York Yankees

New York Yankees 21

Cleveland Guardians 9

Tampa Bay Rays 1

A majority of our voters picked the Yankees. Why do you think the Guardians can win? There’s no doubt it would be an upset for the $68 million Guardians to knock off the $246 million Yankees. But upsets happen in October, and I like the way Cleveland’s pitching staff stacks up against the Yankees. Since around the first week of August, this has been arguably the best staff in baseball. Both the rotation and the bullpen have contributed to that, but the relievers in particular have gone to another level.

The Yankees have the firepower to simply club the Guardians into submission. But if games stay tight and terse into the late innings, the pendulum swings in the direction of Cleveland. You might think the Guardians’ AL Central-heavy schedule accounts for some of their lofty numbers. But here’s a stat: After the All-Star break, if you remove games against any AL Central team from the numbers, only the Dodgers and Astros had a better team ERA than Cleveland, and the Guardians were just a tick behind the Astros for No. 2. — Bradford Doolittle

ALDS: Winner of Mariners-Blue Jays vs. Houston Astros

Houston Astros 28

Seattle Mariners 2

Toronto Blue Jays 1

What makes the Astros the overpowering favourite? These Astros are somewhat other from fresh Houston powerhouses on the subject of lineup intensity and the dynamism of an offense this is nonetheless superb. But what in point of fact units this model of Houston aside is the intensity and flexibility of a pitching team of workers preferably positioned for the October event. The Astros have a vintage large rotation 3 in Framber Valdez, Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers Jr. They have superb choices when a fourth starter is wanted in Jose Urquidy, Luis Garcia and Cristian Javier.

Houston additionally has a top quality staff within the bullpen, together with Ryan Pressly, Hector Neris, Ryne Stanek, Rafael Montero, Will Smith and Bryan Abreu. Then they have got the added layer of having the ability to use Urquidy, Garcia and, particularly, Javier to fill within the gaps between as elite bridge guys. On most sensible of all that, rookie Hunter Brown lurks as an enormous imaginable X issue as a multi-inning bullpen possibility if they are able to make room for him at the playoff roster. It’s going to be arduous to ranking in this staff, particularly as it is sponsored via terrific protection. And with all that intensity, no person has to be overworked throughout an strangely compressed playoff agenda. — Doolittle

National League Division Series

NLDS: Winner of Phillies-Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves 26

St. Louis Cardinals 4

Philadelphia Phillies 1

What makes the Braves the favourite right here? As a lot as I would really like to see the Phillies lengthen their season, the Braves are just too robust. Frankly, they could be the favourite without reference to foe, together with the Dodgers and Astros. The Phillies have two beginning pitchers and a questionable bullpen. The Braves don’t have any such considerations. — Eric Karabell

NLDS: Winner of Padres-Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers 27

New York Mets 4

How can the Mets disillusioned the Dodgers to advance? Short playoff sequence are not about intensity — they are about beginning pitching, offensive heroes and bullpens. The Mets have simply sufficient of all 3 to beat the Dodgers, in a brief sequence. The Dodgers’ intensity merely does not come into play love it did over 162. This isn’t any positive factor — not anything within the playoffs is — however the Mets have the correct mix of avid gamers to pull off the disillusioned. — Jesse Rogers

American League Championship Series

Houston Astros 25

Seattle Mariners 2

New York Yankees 3

Toronto Blue Jays 1

Houston is the overpowering favourite right here. How can the Yankees pull this off? The Yankees picked issues again up after a susceptible August and will have to be getting key avid gamers again at the roster, similar to Matt Carpenter, Frankie Montas, Clay Holmes and Wandy Peralta. This is an skilled workforce that has a large number of intensity on each offense and the pitching team of workers. If the lineup can get sizzling love it did within the first part, this will likely be a difficult workforce to forestall, without reference to how up and down the second one part of the season used to be. I take a look at now not to think about regular-season good fortune an excessive amount of into postseason predictions as a result of, because the Braves proved closing yr, it is ceaselessly about hitting your stride on the correct time. The Yankees have all of the items to just do that. — Joon Lee

National League Championship Series

Los Angeles Dodgers 15

Atlanta Braves 13

St. Louis Cardinals 2

New York Mets 1

Why did you select the Braves to win the NLCS over the Dodgers? Choosing in opposition to a 111-win juggernaut that scored probably the most runs in baseball and allowed the fewest would appear to be a galaxy-brained maneuver, and possibly it’ll be. But imagine: Over the overall 112 video games of the season, the Dodgers went 78-34. And over the overall 112 video games of the season, the Braves went … 78-34. Los Angeles outscored warring parties 573-351. Atlanta outscored warring parties … 582-386. These are extremely calmly matched groups, each and every with a dynamic, star-filled offense, abundant starting-pitching choices and forged protection.

The Braves, on the other hand, separate themselves in an important space for playoff baseball: the bullpen. Yes, the Dodgers have the most productive aid ERA within the National League at 2.87 and a cornucopia of choices from all sides: right-handers Evan Phillips, Chris Martin, Yency Almonte, Brusdar Graterol and Tommy Kahnle, left-handers Alex Vesia and David Price – all of whom theoretically may just shut in lieu of the deposed-but-still-around Craig Kimbrel. And if Dustin May and particularly Blake Treinen go back from accidents, they may well be game-changers. But Atlanta’s array of aid choices – nearer Kenley Jansen, longtime-closer-elsewhere Raisel Iglesias, right-hander Collin McHugh, left-handers A.J. Minter, Dylan Lee and Tyler Matzek – are all, excluding Lee, confirmed veterans or playoff-tested. This is such a sequence that might come down to one inning a sport, a real toss-up between two in reality elite groups. There is certain to be a loser in the event that they face off, yet in point of fact we are all winners for the likelihood. — Jeff Passan

World Series

Los Angeles Dodgers 12

(Joon Lee, Brianna Williams, Tim Kurkjian, Ben Ward, Kyle Peterson, David Schoenfield, Dan Mullen, Bradford Doolittle, Alex Rodriguez, Enrique Rojas, Matt Marrone, Joe DeMartino)

Atlanta Braves 10

(Eduardo Perez, Phil Orlins, Paul Hembekides, Jeff Passan, Gregg Colli, Tristan Cockcroft, Buster Olney, Clinton Yates, Rachel Ullrich)

Houston Astros 8

(Eric Karabell, Michael Kay, Jesse Rogers, Kiley McDaniel, Alden Gonzalez, Liz Finny, Tim Keown, David Flemming)

New York Yankees 1

(Jeremy Willis)

The Dodgers have been our hottest select. Why did you pass with Los Angeles right here? I’m in fact somewhat stunned the Dodgers have been the most well liked select as a result of it sort of feels like everybody has been making an attempt to in finding causes to select in opposition to them. Foremost: the bullpen and the loss of an outlined nearer. Well, the Dodgers completed with the second-best bullpen ERA within the majors (2.87). Also: Cody Bellinger did not have a excellent season, and Joey Gallo hit .162 with the Dodgers. Well, the Dodgers scored probably the most runs within the majors. And: Walker Buehler is injured, and Tony Gonsolin has pitched simply two innings since August. They nonetheless have Julio Urias (2.16 ERA), Clayton Kershaw (2.28 ERA) and Tyler Anderson (2.57 ERA). They outscored their warring parties via a whopping 334 runs — the absolute best differential for the reason that 1939 Yankees. I’m now not going to overthink this: The Dodgers are the most productive workforce in baseball. — Schoenfield

A Braves repeat used to be correct in the back of the Dodgers. Why do you assume they are going to pull it off? Because house runs are baseball’s most precious foreign money, and the Braves have that marketplace cornered. Since June 1, they personal the most productive file in MLB (78-34) in the back of a plus-72 house run differential (absolute best in majors). Teams are 156-26 (.857 win proportion) within the postseason when outhomering their opponent since 2016. — Hembekides

I imagine the Braves probably the most well-rounded workforce, particularly at the pitching facet, the place their aid intensity will have to supply a considerable benefit in a postseason brief on leisure days. The two largest threats to them in my estimation, the Dodgers and Mets, have handled rotation accidents, a shaky ninth-inning image (Dodgers) and the additional spherical throwing their rotation out of whack due to shedding the department (Mets). The Braves appear higher arrange to resist the 12-games-across-15-days whirlwind that’s the department and championship rounds, and they are going to be those with the additional leisure heading into the World Series. No one is about up higher to mix’n’match at the pitching facet. — Cockcroft

Make your case for why you assume the Astros will win: Houston can win in such a lot of alternative ways. That will turn out to be useful over the direction of 3 rounds of the postseason. The Astros are balanced and feature skilled pitching and a forged bullpen. And in contrast to a yr in the past, they have got Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers wholesome for a complete postseason. Ranking fourth in house runs whilst putting out the second one fewest instances in MLB says all of it concerning the Astros’ offense. It’s loaded. They’re simply higher than everybody. Sometimes it is that straightforward. — Rogers

Leave a Comment