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MLB 2022: Who are the World Series hopefuls?

With the commencement of the 2022 MLB season questions are circling around whether the Braves have what it takes to bring the Commissioner’s Trophy home once again. This year they’ve got stiff competition, not only from a resurgent LA Dodgers, but a rising force from north of the border. Pundits are strongly suggesting that the Toronto Blue Jays may carry the World Series to Canadian soil for the first time since 1993 after an impressive 2021 season saw them finish with a 91-71 record. The latest odds and predictions from Sports Interaction hedge this preliminary view, showing the Blue Jays heading into a new year with a money-line of 15. Not a long chance per-se, but considerably behind Atlanta at -283 at present. Still, there’s a whole season of games between now and October, and with everything to play for new contenders are likely to emerge. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the 2022 World Series hopefuls, from favorites to rank outsiders, and take the temperature of what looks set to be an outstanding year of ball games.

Image – Unsplash

The Returning Champions: Atlanta Braves

Atlanta’s sensational performance last year tore up a winning streak of monumental proportions: the last time the Braves held aloft the World Series trophy was in 1995. Several attempts to break through, reaching the finals in ‘96 and ‘99 steadily gave way to a slump that kept them out of contention for 2 decades. Atlanta will be pleased to see Ronald Acuna return to the starting line-up after sitting out the playoffs last year due to injury. With Acuna considered likely to bag MVP, his presence will come as a boon to the defending side.

The Shortest Odds: Texas Rangers

At present the Rangers are weighing in at the shortest odds of any team in the American and National Leagues. A moneyline of -304 speaks volumes to the perceived strength of the team at the outset of the current season. A great deal of speculation surrounds the off-season spending spree the Rangers went on, with a focus on upping the overall performance of the roster. While some suggest these adjustments may not bear fruit until 2023, discounting Texas out of hand may be a mistake. While the side hasn’t made it to the World Series in almost a decade, they have demonstrated time and again that they know how to run a play-off caliber squad.

Image – Unsplash

The Northern Upstart: Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays are putting forward a once in a generation roster this year, and following their strong showing last year pundits have sat up and taken notice of this once rank outsider. Cautious optimism surrounds the team that is hotly tipped to walk the American League East and challenge the Dodgers for chief usurper in the World Series. The squad, headed up by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., is young, skilled and full of the self-belief that they can deliver. Proactive investment in new talent over the past several years finally looks to be paying off for the Canadians, and with the stars seemingly aligned, few industry watchfuls expect this team to fall short of the play-offs. Should they carry the finals, it’s a victory that will be felt from Alberta to Newfoundland.

Most Consistent: LA Dodgers

Depending on who you ask, the LA Dodgers are the favourites for this year’s title. A current moneyline of 144 must be hedged against a keen understanding of where the Dodgers are at in the early 2020s. Over the previous 5 World Series finals, the Dodgers have been present at 3 of them, and won their most recent in 2020. Only Houston are displaying similar form, though despite the Astros runner up status from last year, the Dodgers look objectively more rounded at the outset of this year’s games. In fact, they appear to be putting forth one of the most formidable squads in the history of the MLB. Braves winner Freddie Freeman will be joining the likes of Mookie Betts in presenting a championship DNA squad that’s looking unstoppable on paper.

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