Most of the top World Series contenders have revealed themselves as we’ve passed the quarter mark of the season.
Five current division leaders are legitimate contending teams, while others vying for a playoff spot within crowded divisions can also stake a claim to that group.
There are also teams showing flashes of potential, but not even an expanded playoff with two extra wild cards should fool anyone into overstating them.
In this exercise, we’ll go through the pretenders and contenders to determine which MLB teams are for real in 2022. Teams bottom of their division haven’t been included in the process, since their status goes without saying.
Let’s start with the easiest.
For Sure Contenders
New York Yankees
There should be no question about the legitimacy of the top team in the American League. The Yankees lead the AL in home runs and have the third-highest OPS behind the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox.
Perhaps more surprisingly, the Yankees also have the third-lowest ERA in baseball, behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros.
While Houston’s offense is not as good as it has been in the past, the Astros are still the class of the AL West on the strength of an excellent starting rotation and bullpen.
The Los Angeles Angels will challenge them, and the Texas Rangers are playing better as of late, but the defending AL champions figure to be right there in the mix with the best teams in baseball and could make another run at it if their bats ever wake up.
Who said they didn’t have offense in Milwaukee? No one told the Brewers, who have the most home runs in baseball this year.
The Cardinals are Milwaukee’s only competition in the NL Central, and both teams should be good enough to make the playoffs via a division crown or through one of the three wild cards available.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have the highest run differential in baseball through 50 games and a 6-1 record against teams above .500. They also have the highest OPS and second-most RBI behind the New York Mets.
On the pitching side, Los Angeles has the lowest ERA in baseball and the second-lowest WHIP and opponent batting average. This is the most complete team in the National League.
New York Mets
No team has knocked in more runs than the New York Mets. Granted, the Dodgers have played two fewer games, but with New York performing at that level, you get the point.
This is flat out a prolific offense, trailing on the Dodgers in OPS and total runs scored. There are legitimate health questions about the Mets long term, but for now, they are the only NL East team with a winning record and one of only two NL teams with a winning record against others above .500.