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Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire)
March 28th, 2022
Opening Day of the 2022 MLB season is just around the corner, but there’s still plenty of time to get involved in the futures markets.
There’s a wide variety of props available – from World Series futures to home run leaders – but among the most interesting are season win totals. Oddsmakers assign a number to each club, and bettors select either the Over or the Under before watching the year unfold for their team of choice.
Here are our top three sides for 2022 win totals among American League teams.
Oddsmakers are calling for significant regression for the Red Sox this season following a 92-win campaign, but bettors should take a more optimistic view.
Chief innings-eater Eduardo Rodriguez (4.74 ERA) departed for Detroit in the offseason, but he’ll effectively be replaced by a full-season version of Chris Sale. Sale – a seven-time All-Star – tossed only 42 2/3 innings in 2021 following Tommy John surgery, going 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA.
8 Ks for Chris Sale in his 2021 debut 🔥 pic.twitter.com/8DUbqrIJa7— MLB (@MLB) August 14, 2021
8 Ks for Chris Sale in his 2021 debut 🔥 pic.twitter.com/8DUbqrIJa7
Boston also took some fliers on Rich Hill, Michael Wacha, and James Paxton – one of them should work out well enough in the rotation.
Trading Hunter Renfroe for Jackie Bradley Jr. in the outfield was a downgrade, but the power bat of Renfroe is replaced by that of prized free agent Trevor Story, who will slide over to second base to form a double-play tandem with shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
The star power doesn’t end there, with Rafael Devers at third, J.D. Martinez at DH, and Alex Verdugo in the outfield. The Red Sox may not have the firepower to win the AL East, but they should be competitive.
One might have thought that the Guardians would make a splash or two during the offseason to gin up some fan interest after dropping their old moniker, but they instead stood pat with one of the most uninspiring rosters in either league.
Backup catcher Luke Maile was the lone offseason addition to a Cleveland roster that sports only two bonafide stars in Shane Bieber and Jose Ramirez. The rotation is questionable behind Bieber, with Aaron Civale and Cal Quantrill due for regression based on FIP, and Zach Plesac and Triston McKenzie being inconsistent sources of production.
Emmanuel Clase, Filth.That last dead zone cutter. ☠️ pic.twitter.com/UslTA17RCH— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 26, 2022
Emmanuel Clase, Filth.That last dead zone cutter. ☠️ pic.twitter.com/UslTA17RCH
Emmanuel Clase is a talented closer, but getting to him with the save chance still intact could be challenging.
Cesar Hernandez didn’t work out at second base last season, but replacing him with Andres Gimenez – who hit .218 in 2021 – likely won’t help. The projected starting outfield of Josh Naylor, Myles Straw, and Bradley Zimmer combined for 17 home runs in 771 at-bats last season.
The AL Central is a fairly weak division behind the Chicago White Sox, but the Guardians will probably still struggle to top 75 wins this year.
The Mariners are a team on the rise in a winnable division, yet their season win total is a modest one.
Seattle won 90 games a year ago, and added the reigning AL Cy Young winner in Robbie Ray to replace Yusei Kikuchi in their rotation. They also upgraded at second base with Adam Frazier, and in the outfield with Jesse Winker.
Check it out, @Mariners fans!Jesse Winker is @MLBNow's top left fielder heading into the 2022 season. #Top10RightNow pic.twitter.com/Ll0KWEBKec— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) March 25, 2022
Check it out, @Mariners fans!Jesse Winker is @MLBNow's top left fielder heading into the 2022 season. #Top10RightNow pic.twitter.com/Ll0KWEBKec
The biggest question mark for the Mariners might be their bullpen, as a staggering 38 pitchers recorded at least one out for Seattle in 2021. But they possess relief pitchers like Drew Steckenrider (2.00 ERA) and Paul Sewald (104 strikeouts over 64 2/3 innings) that can come in and pitch very effectively.
Three NL win totals to target before Opening Day
Three AL win totals to target before Opening Day
Juan Soto narrowly favored to win NL MVP in 2022