The Line Movers: Midseason MLB
By: Tyler Liddick
Yankees - The Yankees have remained healthy, they were the first team to 60 wins, and they have a run differential of +177. They are a comfortable 14 games up on the second place Red Sox. The Yankees have 6 all stars this year, Judge is in the AL MVP favorite (+125) and they’ll probably trade away Joey Gallo at the deadline for a better batting average hitter, many think it will be Andrew Benintendi.
Astros - The Astros pitching staff is in the top 5 in 3 major categories, (2) ERA, (1) Batting Average, (3) WHIP. This is a long term winning formula during playoff baseball. They also played a good series in NY where they led the entire game all 4 games and split 2-2 on two walk off Home runs. Yordan Alvarez is another MVP candidate in the AL. The Astros are a proven playoff winner and will be a tough out come October.
Dodgers - 50-56 wins have been by 2 runs or more. The Dodgers sport a run differential of +153. Mookie Betts just returned from injury, and Tony Gonsolin is leading the way with a 1.62 ERA and an undefeated record at 11-0. The Dodgers rotation is a bit of a question mark, but they have until October to figure it out.
Braves - The Braves are 8-2 in the last 10 games, and that comes off the 14 game win streak they put together in June. Ronald Acuna Jr. is back in the lineup and the offense is firing on all cylinders right now. Ranking in the top 10 in Batting average, Runs, and Home runs, This team has scary chemistry and seems to have gotten better since the World Series last year. Currently 2nd in the league in homers, and 1st in slugging percentage. They also rank in the top 10 in three important pitching categories, ERA (5th), Batting Average (6th), and WHIP (9th).
Mets - The Mets lineup has stayed healthy for the most part in 2022. New York gets Max Scherzer back, and DeGrom will be back from injury as well. The Braves have been the kryptonite for the mets, being outscored by an average of 2 runs in the last 19 meetings versus Atlanta. That’s not good news for Mets fans after the Braves closed a 10 game lead in the division all in the month of June and sit only 1.5 games back. Just like Atlanta they also sit in the top 10 in three pitching categories. ERA (9th), Batting Average (8th), and WHIP (6th). This will be a fantastic finish to the NL east and it will all depend on who can stay healthy.
Brewers - The Brewers struggle to score runs, and they benefit from maybe the worst division in baseball. The division should secure them a spot in the playoffs unless the Cardinals can put together a normal September run. The pitching staff is led by Cy Young candidate Corbin Burnes who has a 2.20 ERA and a .89 WHIP. Josh Hader has been solid this year as usual, only blowing 1 save and converting 26 times. The Brewers will need to add a bat or two at the deadline to make a deep playoff run.
Padres - It is impressive what the Padres have done without Fernando Tatis Jr. in the lineup. They rank outside of the top 15 in all major batting categories, but the pitching staff picks up the lineup often. Musgrove is a solid Cy Young candidate and he is the current ace in the rotation. If the Padres make the playoffs, they will have a solid 4 man rotation if they want to go that route, with Musgrove, Darvish, Clevinger, and Manaea. I had to leave Blake Snell off that list as he still can’t work through 6 innings. This team should improve in every offensive category during the second half of the season with the return of Fernando Tatis Jr.
Red Sox - The Red Sox have no chance of catching the yankees in the division but good news for them, the entire AL is bad except for the east. Boston is currently 2.5 games up on the wild card, and with 3 teams grabbing WC spots in 2022, barring a second half collapse they should cruise to one of these spots. They have a +51 run differential and rank 1st in batting average which is crucial in playoff baseball. Teams who get runners on base usually fare well in October. They are going to need to secure some starting pitching at the deadline, and Chris Sale isn’t the answer as his contract has paid him more than 10 million a win over the last 3 seasons.
Phillies - The injury to Bryce Harper hit the Phillies at the worst time, coming off the great June. The pitching staff has cemented themselves in the top 10 in all three major categories, and they have a solid 1-2 punch with Wheeler and Nola. The question here is how many bombs can Schwarber hit, and can they survive not having Harper in the lineup for the second half of the season. They have 19 games remaining versus the Mets, and Braves, and a weak second half schedule otherwise. They have seven games versus the Reds, and Pirates in the second half of the season, winning 10/14 will be a must if they want to play in October.
Cardinals - Led by Paul Goldschmidt, NL MVP favorite at the moment this team could make a playoff run, they are known for playing extremely well in the second half of the season and the resurgence of Adam Wainwright is good news for Cardinals fans. They’re going to need Jack Flaherty to get back to Cy Young form, if they want to be competitive in October. The Cardinals will benefit from playing in the weakest division in baseball and should be able to make a run with 33 games remaining versus the Cubs, Reds, and Pirates. St Louis will also finish off the season with a 6 game stretch versus the Pirates who they have owned in recent years.
World Series Predictions:
We have reached the halfway point, and it looks like we have some clear cut favorites to make the World Series. We already have small wagers on the Brewers from the preseason at 12-1. If I were to pick an exact matchup and a winner at this point, I would have to go with the Subway Series, NYM vs NYY, with the Yankees winning. It isn’t a long shot to think we could see a rematch of 2021 with the Braves and Astros as well. I don’t think the Dodgers have the pitching to get it done, also believe they are still overpriced.
MVP and CY Young Predictions:
We took a free MGM wager flier on Jameson Taillon to win Cy Young only for him to get blown to shreds his next 3 starts. A preseason wage on Justin Verlander still looks good and at +260 i wouldn’t recommend. In the National League it is Sandy Alcantara’s award to lose. He is currently 9-3 with a 1.73 ERA and leading the league in innings pitched. The current price is -110 and if you can afford to wait 3 months to double your money, this is as sure fire a bet as i see on the futures market today.