Favorites, Smart Picks and Dark Horses for the MLB Season after Week 1

Favorites, Smart Picks and Dark Horses for the MLB Season after Week 1

Are the New York Mets legitimate World Series contenders under first-year manager Buck Showalter? New York is off to a terrific start, especially its rotation, despite remaining without ace and two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom, who is not expected on a big-league mound until late May due to a stress reaction in his right shoulder. Let’s take a look at the following analysis for your MLB odds.

MLB Season 2022 after Week 1

The 33-year-old ‘s next MRI is scheduled for around April 25. The right-hander also recently had a bone scan, which confirmed the original stress reaction diagnosis. Showalter said recently that deGrom’s injury is looking “pretty positive so far.” If deGrom gets cleared to throw at the end of the month, it will likely take him about four weeks to build up his arm to be ready to pitch in games. This would potentially put him on track to return from the injured list by late-May or early-June.

Entering this week, the New York rotation has an absurdly low 1.07 ERA. This is the best 10-game stretch to begin a season by any starting staff in baseball history since the earned run became a statistic in 1913.

Five of the six players to start a game for the Mets have ERAs that begin with zero. In nine of their 10 games, the Mets starter has not allowed more than one run. In eight of 10, he has left with the lead. (He’s left in a scoreless tie in the other two.)

The Mets’ rotation has tossed 50.1 innings, allowing just six earned runs, while striking out 59 batters and issuing a mere 11 walks. Opposing offenses have slugged a measly three home runs and are hitting .158 off of the staff as well.  All this without deGrom and the fact that future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer has not been his usual dominant self, but has still managed to go a solid 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA.

“It’s really good and It’s going to be like this the whole year,” Carlos Carrasco said of the rotation’s fast start after throwing five shutout innings on Saturday. “We’re missing Jake, but we have (Tylor) Megill and all these guys. We’re going to be fine.”

Since 1996, 46 teams have finished April with a rotation ERA of 3.00 or lower; those teams have averaged more than 90 wins on the season, with 28 of them advancing to the postseason. Twenty won their divisions, six the pennant, three the championship (2005 White Sox, 2010 Giants and 2016 Cubs). To win the World Series, the Mets are now +1100.

One of the early disappointments also resides in the NL East: the Philadelphia Phillies, who are +2200 to win the World Series. The Phillies are slashing .325/.405/.542 on fastballs and that .325 average and .542 slugging on fastballs is tops among all ML clubs and their .405 OBP ranks 3rd behind the Rockies (.408) and Cubs (.407). The problem is the Phils are struggling on other pitches and their rotation hasn’t been great.

Manager Joe Girardi has made a change to the lineup at the top: “I think ironing out a leadoff hitter is important,” Girardi said over the weekend. But no one had expected Girardi to remove that status from Kyle Schwarber, despite a 1-for-28 slump. It’s early. Schwarber was touted by Phillies officials as an untraditional but effective hitter for the leadoff spot. He batted fifth Sunday, and that will be his place in games to come. He homered Sunday in the eighth inning.

Catcher J.T. Realmuto is the new hitter atop the lineup. Reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper will hit second. The goal, Girardi said, is to prevent teams from summoning a lefty reliever late in the game to face three batters with two of them being Schwarber and Harper.

In the AL East, the Toronto Blue Jays are now +750 second favorites to win the World Series and their lineup is scary. The bullpen is anchored by Jordan Romano. He has become the 9th player in MLB history to record at least six saves in a team’s first 10 games of a season. Romano has converted 29 consecutive save opportunities, dating back to last season, the longest streak in franchise history (Tom Henke – 25 in 1991) and currently the longest active streak in the Majors.

Some bad news, though, as starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu is going to miss a while. Ryu, 35, was pulled after just four innings in Saturday’s 7-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics. He lasted less than that in his first start of the season April 10, when he allowed six earned runs over 3 innings in a 12-6 loss to Texas. He is currently listed as having forearm inflammation and does not have a timeline for when he will return. Ryu, who won 14 games for the Blue Jays last season, is in the third year of a $80-million, four-year contract.


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