With the next MLB season due to start in the spring, we have taken a look at the prospects of every team using two different measures.
Firstly we have analysed how well each team might start the new campaign using bwin’s MLB outright odds to assess the strength of their first 10 opponents, starting with the American League.
In the East Division there appears to be little hope of the Baltimore Orioles enjoying a successful season and their tough start will not offer many opportunities to dispel that impression. All their first five opponents are of above-average strength.
Moving across to the Central Division, the Chicago White Sox are among the favourites to win the American League pennant in 2022 and an easy opening schedule gives them the chance to build some momentum. Just one of their first 10 opponents have a similarly short price in the early betting for the World Series.
The Oakland Athletics have been handed a tricky start in the West Division with all of their first five opponents expected to perform well this season. American League favourites the Houston Astros will also have to prove themselves early on with just one ‘easy’ match-up in their first seven.
Turning our attention to the National League, the East Division contains another strong team who could make a fast start in 2002: the New York Mets.
Four of their first seven opponents are considered long shots this season and their first game is against the unfancied Washington Nationals, who have a tougher first four encounters than any other MLB franchise.
The strongest teams in the Central Division have been given gentle starts to the new season. The St Louis Cardinals’ first four opponents are all among the seven weakest according to the MLB outright odds, including two meetings with outsiders the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Finally the West Division contains the current favourites to win the World Series: the Los Angeles Dodgers. Their MLB outright odds are likely to get shorter as they face three weak opponents at the start of their campaign and just one of the first 10 teams they play are of a similar level.
Who will reach the MLB postseason?
There are seven teams who have reached the Division Series in at least half of the last 10 seasons.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have set the standard, failing to reach this stage only once in the previous decade, with the next most successful team – the Houston Astros – having done so just six times.
Only two teams have failed to reach the Division Series in all of the last 10 seasons: the Philadelphia Phillies and the Seattle Mariners.
Which MLB teams have been making progress?
There are five teams whose win-loss percentage has improved for at least three successive seasons.
The San Francisco Giants have improved for five years in a row, incrementally boosting a dismal 0.395 in 2017 to 0.483 in 2020 before it shot up to 0.660 last season.
There are also four teams whose win-loss percentage has fallen for three consecutive seasons, with the Arizona Diamondbacks’ decline of particular concern. A respectable 0.525 in 2019 plummeted to just 0.321 last season and they are surely due a bounce soon.
Which MLB matches should we watch out for?
Where the Diamondbacks have delivered is in entertainment value, with their matches against the Colorado Rockies generating more runs than any other intra-divisional rivalry over the last five seasons.
Their clashes have generated an average of 11 runs, slightly more than the 10.7 typically shared by the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees.
Conversely, neutral fans would be advised to avoid tuning in when the Los Angeles Dodgers are entertaining the San Francisco Giants. Over the last five seasons their encounters have produced an average of just 7.5 runs, which is lower than any combination of two teams in the same division.
The rebranded Cleveland Guardians have benefited from the most one-sided rivalry over this period, with a 0.733 win percentage in their American League Central clashes with the Detroit Tigers.
No other team has won more than 70% of their games against a team from the same division in the last five seasons.
Join bwin today and receive up to £20 money back as a FreeBet if your first wager (3+ selections at odds of 1/2 (1.5) or greater) is a loser! Terms and conditions apply.