UNITED STATES—With over 40 games played in the 2022 MLB season, the campaign has taken shape. Small sample sizes have grown to something more significant. Hot starts have largely calmed and early season slumps have been left behind. We have a far clearer picture of where this season is heading.
The latest MLB odds have shifted. Some teams have seen their World Series prices shorten, others have drifted from contender to also-ran. As June nears, expectations are being tweaked. For some fan bases, it is a pivot to player development and trading away Major Leaguers for young talent. There is still time to turn things around, but the pressure is already building for several teams.
These three franchises face a big few weeks.
Ranking 22nd in xwOBA given up by their pitchers and 29th in xwOBA from their hitters, it’s looking bleak for the Detroit Tigers. The big offseason moves to bring in Eduardo Rodriguez and Javier Baez have not paid off thus far. Casey Mize is hurt, Spencer Torkelson is taking his time to adapt to the Majors, and several of their other hitters have started the season really poorly.
Already 10.5 games back in the American League Central, the Tigers are facing an uphill battle to even compete for a postseason berth. They share the same record as the lowly Kansas City Royals.
What looked like it had the makings of a breakout season after a strong second half of 2021 has already been a massive disappointment in Michigan. Series against Minnesota and Cleveland in the next fortnight could make or break the Tigers’ season.
After all the offseason excitement with the Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber additions, the Philadelphia Phillies are again languishing around .500. With a 19-22 record at the time of writing, the Phils are eight back of the New York Mets.
Where there are limited positive signs with the Tigers, Philadelphia can take some hope from their strong underlying numbers on both sides of the ball. Bryce Harper is still available despite a persistent injury, and there’s optimism he will be able to play the field in the not-too-distant future.
Still, the wildcard spots already look like they could be out of reach for the East teams. The Phillies are several games behind the Giants and Cardinals, and with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer out, they need to seize the opportunity and close the gap to the Mets.
Boston Red Sox
The Yankees are off to a flyer. Boston is not. Trailing their arch rivals by 10 games already, it has been a rough start to the season. Trevor Story started off ice-cold, and the rotation has been inconsistent at best.
There is a route back to contention, which has become clearer thanks to a winning streak. The Red Sox are far from out of it, aided by the extra wildcard spot. This is a team with enough talent to go on a run, and they are only a few games behind the Rays and Blue Jays in the AL East.
Projections for Boston varied coming into this season, and perhaps being around .500 isn’t that surprising. The next few series will give us a strong indication of where this team is heading.