2022 MLB Awards Predictions

With just over two and a half weeks left in the regular season, the MLB playoff picture has come clearly into view. There are two division races up for grabs at this moment with the AL Central coming down to Cleveland and Chicago and the NL East looking like a race to the finish between the Mets and the Braves. Let’s take a deep dive into how it will likely shake out, the likely award winners and a brief playoff preview.

Stay tuned for my MLB playoffs preview and some of my best bets as we head for the best time of the sporting year, October. Also, be sure to check out my premium bets and packages here for all the inside knowledge in baseball, NFL and college football.

American League

Playoff Seeding

#1 Seed: Houston Astros (+175) - Houston is comfortably in front of the Yankees for the top spot with a 7-game cushion with 16 to play. They will be the #1 seed in the AL.

#2 Seed: New York Yankees (+210) - It was fun while it lasted all you Yankees-haters, but the Bronx Bombers look like a lock for the #2 seed despite nearly blowing a 15 ½ game lead in the AL East. With series against Pittsburgh and Boston this week, they should all but wrap-up the AL East.

#3 Seed: Cleveland Guardians (+1300) - Terry Francona’s squad wiped out the Twins chances over the weekend and now faces a 3-game set in Chicago that should decide the AL Central. Unless the Guardians get swept, and their starting pitching is too good for that, this is their division to lose.

Wildcards: Toronto (+550), Tampa Bay (+1000) and Seattle (+950) - currently this is the order and all three look like locks as the wildcards. Seattle would benefit from staying in the sixth spot as they would take on Cleveland in the opening round while Toronto and Tampa could fight it out in the other wildcard round. As it stands, however, Seattle finishes with games against all teams under .500 so they may move up to shuffle the wildcard teams.

National League

Playoff Seeding

#1 Seed: LA Dodgers (+170) - LA was the first team to clinch a playoff spot and is already over 100 wins. They will be afforded the luxury of setting up their rotation as well as a first-round bye as they look for their second World Series title in three seasons.

#2 Seed: New York Mets (+265) - This is the most tentative of all the division leads and the most important. No team in baseball would benefit more from the first-round bye than the Mets. The Mets have two of the best but perhaps most fragile pitchers heading into the playoffs in Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom and an overworked closer in Edwin Diaz. A bye would make the Mets a favorite to go to the World Series but a wildcard spot and an extra round of playoffs could severely hurt their chances.

#3 Seed: St. Louis Cardinals (+900) - The Cardinals completely turned their fortunes around at the trade deadline with the additions of Jordan Montgomery and Jose Quintana. Montgomery will need to pitch like an ace in the playoffs if they are to be a threat to the likes of Atlanta, New York and LA.

Wildcards: Atlanta (+370), San Diego (+1300) and Philadelphia (+1500) - The Brewers are on the outside looking in at two games back but these three look like the prohibitive favorites. Atlanta is in and their seeding will likely come down to the final series of the season against the Mets. The Padres have underperformed since the trade deadline deals and will need closer Josh Hader to return to form if they want to be a playoff threat. Philadelphia took a hit over the weekend against the Braves and their pitching staff lacks a real bell cow #1 starter.

*Current Odds to win the league are in parenthesis, courtesy of draftkings.com

And the winner is…

Let’s look at the major awards for both the American and National leagues and who is still in the running and the likely winners for each league.

American League

MVP: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees (-10,000) - Could it be anyone else? Judge will likely break Roger Maris’ team record for home runs and has a better-than-average shot at winning the triple crown. As the Yankees lineup faltered through July, August and into September, Judge carried the load. In the 53 games since the all-star break, Judge is hitting .374 with 26 home runs, 57 RBI and an OPS of 1.359. All this while being shuffled around the order trying to get the Yankees offense jump started. He is as clear an MVP as there has been in the last ten years.

Runner-up: Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels (+1500) - 36 home runs, a 3.5 WAR while winning 13 games on the mound and striking out nearly 200 batters. Ohtani is redefining what it means to be a complete baseball player.

Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Houston Astros (-370) - Verlander likely edges out his teammate Framber Valdez for the honor. He leads the league in wins, ERA and WHIP. He is fifth in quality starts and third in WAR. Verlander is not the strikeout pitcher he was five years ago but he still has a 9.3 K/9 rate and still can get it up there when he has to. This will likely be his 5th Cy Young in his Hall of Fame career at the age of 39.

Runner-up: Framber Valdez, Houston Astros (+1500) - A case can certainly be made for Ohtani but Valdez looks to be the stronger candidate. The lefty came into his own this season, earning an all-star nod and becoming the rock of the Astros rotation. He leads the AL in quality starts and innings pitched, is second in wins and eighth in WAR.

Rookie of the Year: Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners (-4000) - Next to Judge, this is the easiest pick of the bunch. The budding superstar has 27 home runs and 25 stolen bases while manning CF for a playoff team. He will be in the MVP discussion for years to and may even garner some votes this season.

Runner-up: Steven Kwan, Cleveland Guardians (OTB) - Kwan is batting nearly .290 with 15 steals and a 4.5 WAR for a playoff team.

National League

MVP: Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals (-2500) - He leads the National League in total bases and WAR, is third in home runs and second in RBI. This looked like Pete Alonso’s award to lose in the first half but Goldschmidt has been more consistent and he also plays for a division winner.

Runner-up: Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers (+9000) - Betts has already established a career-high in home runs, is the best right fielder in the game and is the catalyst for a team that is about to win well over 100 games. An argument could be made that this is as good or better than his 2018 MVP season for Boston, also on a team that had the best record in baseball. Not a coincidence.

Cy Young: Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins (-400) - The game’s most dominant pitcher resides in South Beach this season. Alcantara has an outstanding 7.4 WAR, leads the league in innings pitched and is second in ERA. All this while pitching in front of one of the worst hitting teams in the league over the second half of the season.

Runner-up: Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks (+1100) - Another pitcher getting it done on a mediocre team. Gallen became the 4th pitcher to have a scoreless streak over six starts and has the best WHIP in the NL at 0.92.

Rookie of the Year: Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves (-115) - Strider has stepped right into the Braves rotation and become a dominant force. He has 11 wins and half of his 20 starts have been quality starts while striking out 13.8 per nine innings. The rookie has thrown 131.2 innings while allowing just 86 hits.

Runner-up: Michael Harris II, Atlanta Braves (-125) - The rich keep getting richer as the deep and talented Braves welcomed Harris II into their lineup this season. He rewarded them with 18 home runs, 16 stolen bases and a .305 average. He also has played outstanding in center field and looks like a future all-star.

*Current odds to win the awards are in parenthesis, courtesy of draftkings.com

Down the stretch they come!

I’ll dig deeper into the playoffs once the seeds are set and we can talk about matchups. In the meantime, from a betting perspective, here are some things to consider as the season wraps up.

Must-wins: The Braves and Mets should be two teams that you look to ride with down the stretch as each team still has a ton of incentive to earn that first-round bye.

Contracts: It is a business of course so there are some marquee players that will continue to try and put up numbers even if their team is out of it. The Red Sox are loaded with potential free-agents this offseason like Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez and Nick Pivetta. Rest assured they will not be making golf plans as the season winds down. Boston could be a good play down the stretch.

Rest Reward: The Houston Astros have rewarded the betting public on numerous occasions this season but be wary of the Astros now that they have the playoffs in hand. Houston has a number of veterans that they will probably rest including Jose Altuve, Justin Verlander and Yuli Gurriel. Once the #1 seed is official, the Astros will not be chasing wins.

Stay tuned for my MLB playoffs preview and some of my best bets as we head for the best time of the sporting year, October. Also, be sure to check out my premium bets and packages here for all the inside knowledge in baseball, NFL and college football.

Author Profile
Mark Ruelle

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.