If you read the way too early 2022 MLB power rankings, you might be wondering if the Houston Astros’ hot start is a fluke. Or whether the Atlanta Braves’ offensive surge is a fluke. In other words, it’s too early to declare the Houston Astros the best team in baseball. Fortunately, the season is still far from over. In fact, the White Sox are off to a bad start and still have much work to do. In general, the Astros are rattling off wins and working their way back from a slump. But before that happens, they’ll all have to prove themselves in the playoffs.
Houston Astros’ hot start is a fluke
Is the Houston Astros’ hot start in 2022 a fluke? The team has started the season on the road, and their home opener is scheduled for April 18. But despite their impressive start, the Astros haven’t exactly ripped off the covers of the baseball. They’re only 7-9 through their first 16 games, which isn’t exactly tearing the covers off the ball. After all, they did have an 8-run inning during a series against the Angels.
Of course, the team’s hot start is more likely a fluke than a trend, but the Astros’ rotation is already a roller coaster. While Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole were the star players last year, the team’s pitching staff posted a 3.63 fWAR combined. The Astros’ pitching development is good, with Framber Valdez signed for $10,000 after impressing scouts in the Dominican Republic. The rookie pitcher has already made five starts.
Los Angeles Angels’ surge is a fluke
Whether the surge in the Los Angeles Angels’ record is a fluke remains to be seen. While the Angels’ offense has been hot, it’s not all the fault of Trout. There are a number of factors to consider, including Gray’s health and the strong farm system. Of those, three are in the top 100 prospects. And several of those can make the team’s roster within two years.
The Angels’ offensive potency has not yet been fully manifested. However, the media-proclaimed greatest player of our generation has displayed some signs of life. His bat swung for three home runs in the series against the Athletics, and he’s slashed six times in the last four games. The Angels’ offense has improved as a whole. And while the Angels’ pitching has been average overall this year, the emergence of Shohei Ohtani has given them some hope.
Ohtani’s home run in the fourth inning ignited the Angels’ home crowd and sparked the team’s offense. Justin Upton homered in the fourth inning, and Shohei Ohtani hit another three-run home run in the fifth inning. Ohtani has hit three home runs since the start of the second half. His power and control of himself at the plate have been impressive.
Atlanta Braves’ offense is a fluke
If you’re looking for a reason to believe the Atlanta Braves’ offense is a blip, look no further than the team’s pitching staff. Its pitching staff has been a dynamite this season, leading the majors in ERA and the WHIP. In fact, the Braves are the only team in baseball to have a team ERA under three. The team’s pitching staff has been balanced with lefties Chris Hammond and Mike Remlinger, who both have a 1.34 ERA.
This year, the Atlanta Braves had a lot of things go their way. They signed three good relievers, two of which were breakout candidates, and stayed healthy and effective for seven months. The team also re-signed rookie Dylan Lee, who came into the lineup when they needed him most. Even though Lee is still a young player, his postseason innings are already higher than those of the entire regular season.
The Atlanta Braves’ offense has a meatgrinder lineup. It has the likes of Austin Riley and Eddie Rosario at the cornerstone. The lineup also features Adam Duvall and Dansby Swanson, who have combined for a 98 wRC+ last year. In addition to Freeman, the Atlanta Braves also boast two young sluggers, Matt Olson and Ozzie Albies.
New York Mets are the best team in baseball
The New York Mets have become so red-hot this season that the “Mets Gonna Met” meme has been left for dead. With strong starting pitching, the team has gone 4-2 in the past week, including sweeps of the Phillies and Cardinals. So hot, in fact, that Major League Baseball has begun to mic players on the field when their games are played on national TV.
The New York Mets started out promisingly in 2022, winning three of four games against the San Francisco Giants. With that, the team has won its first four series. The Mets are also 10-4, thanks largely to their clutch offense. And if they don’t win those series, they’re likely to finish in the bottom half of the league. However, it’s too early to be writing off the Mets.
Last season, the Mets’ collapse was largely due to their inability to drive in runners late in games. From August 13th to the end of the season, the team lost 15 games by one run. Their stellar starting pitching, meanwhile, couldn’t overcome their inability to perform in big moments. As a result, they were ranked 28th among 30 teams in batting average with runners in scoring position.
Philadelphia Phillies’ rotation ERA is too low
The Phillies’ starting rotation is considered the team’s strength heading into 2022, but it could be a question mark heading into the season. In other words, the rotation could be either top-five or bottom-10. That is why they must make the right moves. Here are a few things to consider. First, ERA is a measure of how effective a pitcher is at a certain point in his career. If the ERA is below seven in 2022, the team’s starters will likely struggle to make the playoffs.
The rotation needs to improve. The team’s ERA is too low in 2022. That is one reason why the Philadelphia Phillies have been a contender for so long. However, if the Phillies’ starting rotation has to be better, the team needs to win more games. The team’s starters cannot rely on Corey Knebel or Jose Alvarado to make the team go deep. A third reliever would be essential. Otherwise, the team would have to go to a playoff series and blow a close game.
With Wheeler, Nola, Suarez, Eflin, and Gibson, the Philadelphia Phillies’ rotation could be above-average. Suarez could be a fringe ace. Suarez could be a top-three starter, but if not, then the rotation could be mediocre. Nola’s last two months may be a fluke, and Suarez’s rebound will mean he’s not worth a lot of money. The Philadelphia Phillies’ bullpen, meanwhile, could be the worst in MLB.
Minnesota Twins’ surge is a fluke
While the 2021 Minnesota Twins finished last in the American League Central, they still were favored to compete for the division title. If the 73-89 finish is a fluke, they might need a lengthy rebuild before they can be confident in their future. That said, the Twins do have a strong pitching staff and some of the team’s prospects will push for playing time in 2022.
The 2022 Twins are loaded with injuries, starting pitchers are out and the lineup is thin, but Sonny Gray comes back to form as a legitimate ace and Joe Ryan and Chris Paddack both look legit options. In the back end, the bullpen is thin, but Jhoan Duran is a viable option behind the plate. The team wins 105 games and finally win their first World Series.
The team is also struggling against top rotations. While the Twins do have an advantage at the bottom of the rotation, they need to continue to pile up wins to be competitive. Additionally, the team struggles with small ball. With eight players with home run potential, the Twins will need to focus on the long ball if they want to win the division. The only team that has won every series so far is the New York Mets.
Cleveland Guardians’ hot start is a fluke
The Cleveland Guardians’ hot start is nothing more than a fluke, and the entire team knows it. In the first 10 games of the season, the team was only 4-7, losing nine of those games. It’s still early in the season, and the team has lost four of six road games. In addition, the pitching staff has struggled this season, ranking 11th in the ERA, after five straight years of top-four finishes.
Aside from the hot start, the team has been able to find some solid talent in its farm system. Rookie Steven Kwan has hit.317 in 2022 with four runs scored and three walks while also playing center field. He’s got legit on-base skills and has some power, but his upside is more modest. In fact, Kwan’s performance compared to Trout’s is a fluke, and he’s not even the most talented player in the team.