“There are only two seasons - Winter and Baseball” — Bill Veeck
Today it is my absolute pleasure to announce the turning of the calendar from the former to the latter. The offseason was bumpy to say the least, and us fans had to actually grapple with the prospect of not watching our teams hit the field this spring. Not fun! So today and for the rest of the season, let us all be grateful that this game will be there for us nearly every day for the next six months.
Before we get into team breakdowns, let’s take a look at the splits for our Futures Markets.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
World Series Splits
League Pennant Splits
Cy Young Splits
Rookie of the Year Splits
- Despite losing their two best pitchers to injury to start the season, the Mets’ 89.5 season total wins has only moved one game since the line opened
- After winning a stunning 107 games last year, the Giants enter the year at a measly 86.5 wins (more on them later)
The reigning World Series champs are the No. 2 favorite to make it back to the big dance. For fans, the loss of a franchise player can be painful, usually because the player replacing the local legend is a significant step down in talent. Braves Country will surely miss Freddie Freeman, but in his place, they get Atlanta native and Gold Glover Matt Olson, who is just about the best possible successor. In fact, Freeman (+1200) and Olson (+2200) currently sit at sixth and eighth, respectively, in NL MVP odds.
The Mets are starting the season in very Mets fashion. Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer are all-time talents. Their names will certainly be in the conversation when we look back on the best of the best in this era of baseball. They became teammates this winter. Then they were both scratched from starting Opening Day due to injury. Scherzer’s absence will only be one game, after which point he will kick off his campaign as the NL Cy Young favorite (+600). deGrom’s absence will be felt for a little longer. But, the star power doesn’t stop on the mound. Big bats include two guys who are tied at No. 9 in MVP odds with Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso (+2800), and speedster Starling Marte is the No. 2 favorite for stolen bases leader (+350). This team is going to be fun to watch.
Led by MVP candidate Bryce Harper (+900), the Phillies are a boom-or-bust style team with some big bats and big arms. Ace Aaron Nola is in contention for the NL Cy Young (+1800), newly acquired first baseman Kyle Schwarber is a sneaky +3000 play for home run leader, as there’s a drive into deep left by Castellanos…..
The Marlins are quietly rising from the ashes after trading away a literal playoff team a few years back. Enough about the past though — remember Jorge Soler, the World Series MVP from last year? The one who hit 48 dingers in 2019? Yeah, he’s in their outfield now. I hope the Marlins are good this year, because a good Marlins team means we get to watch more Jazz Chisholm, which is never ever a bad thing.
It’s been a tough two years for the Nats after celebrating their first World Series victory in franchise history. Since then, almost the entire core has been traded or lost to free agency. The lineup is sure to give pitchers their share of headaches. It’s hard enough to get MVP front runner Juan Soto out (seriously, the absurdity of his hitting ability is absolutely ridiculous). No wonder his odds are +280. After Soto comes ageless wonder Nelson Cruz, the king of light-tower-power home runs, followed by all 6’4” 240lbs of Josh Bell. If there’s any team the new universal DH rule benefits most, it’s the Nats for being able to field all three of these guys with minimal defensive liability. While the Nationals are likely not doing much in the W/L column this year, that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth keeping an eye on this year. The chance to watch “Childish Bambino” be a master of his craft alone is worth the price of admission. Juan Soto is only 23 years old and is an elite hitter by just about every statistic in the sabermetric arsenal. His greatness is almost universally agreed upon by traditionalists and Bill James truthers alike (which is saying something!). His future in Washington is only certain for one more year, and he has a *checks notes* a sizeable paycheck coming his way (one does not simply turn down a $350M extension with the expectation of making less). Will the Nats pony up and look to rebuild a championship team around him? Only time will tell, but we have 162 whole games ahead of us to appreciate first.
The Brew Crew returns as a solid favorite to win a weak division. Last year’s Cy Young winner, Corbin Burnes, returns to the mound at +700, with staffmate Brandon Woodruff coming in behind him at +1000. After two down seasons, former MVP Christian Yelich looks to return to form alongside his new partners in the outfield, Hunter Renfroe and Andrew McCutchen.
The big story of the offseason for the Cardinals was Albert Pujols’ return to St. Louis. The brand new universal designated hitter rule could be a perfect opportunity for the 42-year-old to play in enough games to hit 21 home runs and reach the legendary 700 HR milestone, which would slide him ahead of Alex Rodriguez for fourth-most in MLB history!
FUN FACT: DraftKings offers these markets under ‘Season Milestones!’
The Cubs take the field as a mediocre team with a bright future. Kyle “The Professor” Hendricks and Marcus Stroman lead the pitching staff, with Japanese prospect and RoY favorite (+380) Seiya Suzuki expected to start in right field. 2018 first rounders Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal look to take the next step in their young careers and help this team return to its 2016 form.
After a playoff run in the shortened 2020 season, the Reds are poised to repeat their mediocre results from last season. While they finished top 10 in most standard offensive stats last year, they have since lost Nick Castellanos to the Phillies and traded away lineup mainstays Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker to the Mariners. On the mound, starter Sonny Gray and stud reliever Amir Garrett were also dealt in exchange for a few pieces. The lineup remains solid, but there are still many questions on how this staff will hold up this season.
The Pirates sadly don’t have much to root for this season. Still, they added more than they subtracted, bringing in several veterans on short-term deals, including starter Jose Quintana and first baseman Daniel Vogelbach. In a weak NL Central, the Pirates have a real chance to disrupt the divisional picture.
Thanks to a miraculous 107-55 season by the Giants, the 106-win Dodgers ownership decided they didn’t have enough MVPs on their roster and scooped 1B Freddie Freeman from the reigning World Series champion Atlanta Braves. Their current roster now boasts three of the top six NL MVP favorites (Mookie Betts +900, Freeman +1200, Trea Turner +1400), not to mention Walker Buehler (+800) and Julio Urias (+2000) being in the running for Cy Young and the standard All-Star level play from their corner infielders (Max Muncy and Justin Turner). Even though they lost longtime closer Kenley Jansen to the Braves, they did mention to pick up Craig Kimbrel from the White Sox to fit into the bullpen alongside Blake Treinen (1.99 ERA in 2021 with 7 saves). So overall… yeah, they’re the favorites to win the World Series for a reason.
The Padres limp into the 2022 season thanks to an injury to star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. in Spring Training. However, they still have Manny Machado holding down the hot corner (+3500 NL MVP) and added Luke Voit to fill the cleanup spot. Former Cleveland pitcher Mike Clevinger returns to the hill after a long absence on the injured list, and lefty Sean Manaea was brought in as part of the Oakland fire sale. If ace Yu Darvish (+3000 NL Cy Young) and Blake Snell (+2000) can come back from below-average years, look out for this team to be firmly in the playoff race when the calendar turns to September.
Every few years, the Giants seem to catch lightning in a bottle. Last year, they shattered everyone’s expectations and made a mockery of all the preseason numbers experts shelled out. They go into this year projected behind the Dodgers, again, and without Kris Bryant, Johnny Cueto and Kevin Gausman, along with perennial all-star and the backbone of their franchise, Buster Posey. They’ll look to make a run at the NL West again this year with their ace, Logan Webb, (+1400 to win the Cy Young) and a few fun additions in Joc Pederson and Carlos Rodon, but overall, the expectation is the lightning will pass them by this year.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Rockies really seem to like paying franchise third basemen lots of money while failing to improve the rest of the team. They signed Bryant (+4500 NL MVP) to a $182M contract. He joins a decent hitting lineup, but the physics of Coors Field pose questions around the pitching staff’s ability to prevent runs.
Wrapping up with the D-backs! The likely cellar dwellers of the NL West are unlikely to make much noise this year, but they have some exciting players to watch. The future is bright in Arizona, as top prospect first baseman Seth Beer (+3000 RoY) will be making his MLB debut this season. Leadoff hitter Ketel Marte just signed a big contract extension with the team and is a core building block of the D-backs’ future. He’s currently +3000 for hits leader.
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