The weather is cooling down and the boys of summer have entered hibernation but that doesn’t mean we can’t set our betting sights on some of the best World Series long shot picks for 2022.
The free agent market has slowed down with the new CBA being ironed out but that won't stop us from getting ahead of some of those possible roster-alternating moves that can make a major difference in pricing for MLB World Series odds. It’s never too early to bet on baseball.
Here are our best long shot picks to win the 2022 World Series.
Milwaukee Brewers, +1,600
The Milwaukee Brewers finished with the best record in the NL Central by five games and that was with the Cardinals seemingly winning every game down the stretch. This is one of the worst divisions in baseball and should give the Brewers another great shot at winning the division. They had one losing month all season in 2021, spent 115 days in first, and held a 14-game lead in the division at one point.
Unlike other mid-tier outrights, the Brewers will be returning the majority of their 2021 roster. Pending free agents include trade deadline acquisition LHP Brett Anderson, RHP Brad Boxberger, and RHP Hunter Strickland. Even if the Brewers were to lose all of these (unlikely), their roster is still incredibly strong. Eduardo Escobar has been the only casualty from the 2021 roster, as he has signed with the Mets.
How strong is this roster, though? How about the best rotation in baseball strong. Milwaukee will have a staff that features Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff, Adrian Houser, and Eric Lauer. All five starters posted an ERA below 3.25 in 2021. It also has the best reliever in the game in Josh Hader and finished with a bullpen ERA of 4.02, which was better than league average.
Defensively, the Brewers finished third in the NL in defensive runs saved and had the best DEF mark in baseball. DEF is Defensive Runs Above Average and about 9-10 runs of DEF equates to one win of value, per Fangraphs. Milwaukee finished with a DEF of 56, which was eight more runs than the next best team.
Offensively, there is room for improvement on this team in 2022. Christian Yelich can only get better after posting his worst slugging percentage of his nine-year career. He is only two seasons removed from an NL MVP campaign. Keston Hiura is also in the same boat and we’d hope he can be more like his 2019 self where he slashed .303/.368/.570 as a rookie. Rowdy Tellez will get a full season as a possible everyday player after coming over from Toronto and posted an 0.814 OPS in 54 games with the Crew. This team finished 12th in runs per game in 2021 and could easily sneak into the Top-10 if Yelich and Hiura can pull it together.
No other clubs at this price range have an easier path to the division title than the Brewers. Their pitching and defense are elite and there is room for growth offensively. Don’t expect this team to make any big splashes in the offseason as President of Baseball Operations David Stearns has stated that his team will likely remain a run prevention-first team in 2022.
Not every team that makes a ton of changes will be better. At +1,800 to win it all, very few clubs offer the tangibles that Milwaukee has at this price.
Los Angeles Angels, +4,000
It seems like every year heading into a new MLB season, everyone and their grandpa is high on the Angels. Well, we’re taking the bait again and think getting them at +4,000 before the free agent cupboards are bare is the best time.
As of December 1, the Angels have missed out on some big names, but there are some solid top-of-the-rotation pitchers still available and impact bats that could improve this team and help them keep pace in what has become a more competitive AL West with Texas spending money.
No other teams in this price range have a pair of league MVPs. Mike Trout will come back healthier next season and a possible switch to the corner outfield should help his durability for the upcoming season. Ohtani will be another year more experienced and should be able to build off his incredible season where his production tailed and his supporting cast disappeared. Anthony Rendon is also expected to be healthy for Spring Training. He had posted an OPS of .900 or greater in four straight seasons heading into 2021.
Pitching is obviously an issue with this club but the recent addition of Noah Syndergaard shows that this team is committed to spending and the market is plentiful with pitching options that could turn this Angels team into a contender for the AL West. Marcus Stroman, Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, Michale Pineda, Zack Greinke, and Alex Wood are a handful of names still available that can round out this rotation that is an obvious weak spot. The Halos have some decent young arms and if owner Art Moreno opens his checkbook, the Angels could surprise some.
This team could also add a high-end shortstop, which is a massive need. This might be the best SS free agent market in the history of the sport and Los Angeles could end up with either Carlos Correa or Trevor Story. Landing any of these high-profile FAs will surely drop its outright odds. Getting ahead of the FA signings could offer great value on this +4,000 outright despite it seeming like we do it every season. We just don’t see other teams in this price range offering the possible returns the Halos could potentially be. They’ve already fallen from +5,000 to +4,000. We are running out of time though to reap the proactive value as the Angels missed some big names before the Dec 1 deadline.
Miami Marlins, +8,000
Can we interest you in a true longshot?
The Miami Marlins are a tough franchise to get behind. They were 67-95 last season and finished fourth in the NL East. But as far as longshots go, we believe the Marlins have a shot at capturing their division as no division looks easier to win than the NL East. They could also sneak into the playoffs if the league decides to expand the playoff format to 14 teams in the new CBA.
The Braves have seen their World Series odds drop from +900 to +1,400 with the news of Freddie Freeman possibly jumping ship and Ronald Acuna questionable to be ready to begin the year. The Phillies and Mets also have their own issues and offer outright odds that we're not buying. The Marlins finished 27-30 SU against the three teams that finished ahead of them in the division and their young team is one more year experienced. For a long-shot team, these guys could be playing some meaningful games in the late Summer.
The Marlins finished in the Top-10 in ERA last season while their bullpen posted the fourth-best ERA in the NL behind the Dodgers, Giants, and Padres. The one-two punch of Sandy Alcantara and Trevor Rodgers is as solid as it gets and Pablo Lopez as well as a couple of other high-end prospects should round out this rotation. There is potential for this to be a Top-10 staff in baseball.
The infield has no holes and is led by SS Jazz Chisholm who finished his first extended run with the big club hitting 18 bombs and stealing 23 bases. In the outfield, rookie Jesus Sanchez posted a .808 OPS in his first season with 14 home runs across 64 games. Garrett Cooper should be penciled in for a bigger role as well in the other corner outfield spot after missing half the season in 2021.
The front office committed to Alcantara with a five-year $56 million extension and added Avisail Garcia from the Brewers to strengthen the corner outfield position and the middle of the order. They also added All-Star infielder Joey Wendle from the Rays. The Marlins have quietly made more productive moves than many teams ahead of them in the outright market.
This Miami team doesn’t have as many question marks as other bottom-10 projected teams and its strengths in pitching could take them further in a weak division than some people realize. When it comes between the Cubs, Nationals, and the Rockies, the Marlins have the higher upside in our opinion, and an easier path to the top of the division.