Two months into the 2022 MLB season, we have surprises and disappointments, leaders and laggards, heroes and goats. Yet there are more games left to play than have been played so far, and we know the shape of things will change.
As we take a snapshot of the season halfway through June, speculation about the Aug. 2 trade deadline is just starting to ramp up. It’s customary this time of year to start wondering about the general behavior of teams, based on what we’ve seen and what still might be to come.
One new twist is that 2022 is the first year of the expanded playoff format, which, love it or hate it, at least accomplishes the feat of making it really hard to play yourself totally out of contention this early. Through Sunday, only five of the 30 teams were 10 or more games out of a playoff slot. Everyone else was 8½ games or closer to a spot, a gap that could be closed with one blazing stretch of play.
What this means in terms of the trade deadline is that it’s harder than ever to slot teams into easy categories this early. Who will add? Who will subtract? How might that picture change over the weeks to come?
As ever, we include each team’s current power rating, based on my formula that considers record, run differential, roster strength, schedule, etc. The ratings serve as the basis for 10,000 simulations of the remaining schedule, which gives us projected win totals and postseason probabilities.
Teams are grouped by likely deadline approach, but be warned: At this point, few teams fit easy classification.
New York Yankees
Power rating: 103.1 (1st in MLB)
Avg. simulation wins: 107.8
Playoff %: 100 | Title %: 29.5
Why they will definitely add at the deadline: The Yankees are having one of those seasons that constantly sends you looking for historical context. They have outperformed forecasts, but any team playing like this will do that. On one hand, such a team doesn’t need to add much. But it always does, if only because a passive approach sends the wrong message to the clubhouse. Expect New York to be in on top available bats or arms, whether it’s for the bullpen or the rotation. The Yankees have learned from their injury-riddled recent seasons that no amount of depth is too much.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Power rating: 99.9 (2nd)
Avg. simulation wins: 99.9
Playoff %: 98.4 | Title %: 19.7
Why they will definitely add at the deadline: The Dodgers’ first half has been uneven, by their standards. L.A. is on pace for around 100 wins and owns a run differential that profiles that of a 110-win team. Yet the Dodgers have cooled considerably since Memorial Day and have been lackluster overall for about a month. Because of their inability to keep their projected rotation healthy at the same time, a long summer of battling the Padres, Mets and Braves for NL playoff positioning looms. As with Max Scherzer last season, expect Los Angeles to be looking for a top starter who can help it most in October.