With just one day left until the first official pitch of the 2022 MLB season, bettors everywhere are looking to finalize their futures bets. Whether they be win totals, player props like predicting a Cy Young winner, or World Series bets, markets exist that can pique anyone baseball fan’s interest.
At the same time, such a massive selection can overwhelm. To help guide you to some potential value or perhaps sway you onto (or away from) a bet where you’re on the fence, TheLines writers Eli Hershkovich and Mo Nuwwarah teamed up to run down a few futures options they like.
2022 MLB Futures
World Series Winner
Mo’s bet: 3 units on Toronto Blue Jays +1000 (current best price )
The Blue Jays barely missed the playoffs last year. Given they closed the season healthy after George Springer only played 78 games, their AL rivals had to secret breathe sighs of relief.
Well, the Jays are coming this year, and potentially even stronger. The lineup is a monster again and should be even stronger despite the loss of Marcus Semien. Vlad Guerrero Jr. already rates as a terror and even a small step forward heading to just his age-23 season should scare pitchers. Matt Chapman should replace a lot of Semien’s production even factoring in his talent level may have dropped. Bo Bichette and George Springer could challenge for MVP (more on that later).
You won’t find many deeper rotations than one with Yusei Kikuchi (4.41 ERA, but 3.85 xFIP and 4.16 SIERA) in the five-hole. Top-of-rotation arm Robbie Ray departed, but the arrival of Kevin Gausman and full seasons from trade acquisition Jose Berrios and ascendant arm Alek Manoah should make up for that.
The real problem in 2021 was a disastrous bullpen. But, that unit enters 2022 looking around league average with a solid closer in Jordan Romano heading the crew.
Toronto looks like it has the best, most complete roster in the AL. I’m a little peeved I missed on the +1300 opening 2022 MLB futures a few days before my bet, but I think +1000 is still fine.
Mo’s bet: 1 unit on Minnesota Twins +575 (current best price: )
I bet the Twins to win the World Series and the AL Central last year and had my dreams dashed in short order as they, incredibly, finished last in a weak division with a 73-89 record. Instead of learning my lesson, I’m going right back to the well.
Part of my optimism comes from the division once again looking quite weak. The Royals and Tigers have considerable upside but still look like they’re at least a year away. Cleveland has some high-end talent but the lineup looks subpar and they could deal away their good players at any moment. Sure, Chicago looks pretty good, but the rotation actually looks pretty fragile beyond Lucas Giolito and Dylan Cease. I also get nervous any time a team ties too much value into their bullpen as performance there can be volatile.
Minnesota, meanwhile, made a massive addition in Carlos Correa that will boost their offense. That part of the team should be strong as long as Byron Buxton remains upright. Sure, that’s not terribly likely, but that’s why we’re getting 60-to-1.
The rotation stunk last season, and looms as an issue again. Sonny Gray was a huge add, as he’s a very good pitcher. I also loved what I saw from Joe Ryan. Bailey Ober looked like a solid, league-average sort of arm. I don’t expect much from the lower-rung guys but they can always make some additions if things are trending well. Plus, they have two prospects in Josh Winder and Jordan Balazovic who look close to MLB-ready and could pop this year.
The pen looks thin but does boast an elite closer in Taylor Rogers.
I just don’t think the White Sox are as far ahead of this team as the market does. I like the Twins in World Series () and wins (over ) markets as well.
Eli’s bet: 1 unit on Miami Marlins over 76.5 wins (current best price: )
Miami tallied 67 wins last season — four short of their win total. The most pressing issue was run production, tying for the third-lowest collective wRC+ in the majors (84). This metric measures offensive value, while comparing it with the league average in regards to the various ballpark effects.
Well, Don Mattingly now boasts a lineup with Jorge Soler (last year’s World Series MVP), Joey Wendle, Jacob Stallings and Avisail Garcia. Garcia’s strikeout rate is always concerning, but the quartet of additions are all upgrades at their respective positions.
Couple that with a trio of stellar, youthful arms in Sandy Alcantara, Trevor Rogers and Pablo López, and these Fish present plenty of upside.
The bullpen does give me pause, but expect it to be bolstered if their high-ceiling roster comes to fruition.
Editor’s note: The Marlins didn’t even wait that long, adding solid Orioles relievers Cole Sulser and Tanner Scott after Eli wrote this. The bullpen now looks around average.
Although this win total has been bet up of late, I still expect Miami to finish over and contend for a postseason berth (playoff odds: ). They’re also to win the NL East, an intriguing number in itself, which Mo bet at +2000.
Eli’s bet: 0.20 units on George Springer AL MVP +6500 (current best price: )
Mo dished out this idea originally, and I’ll jump on board.
The 2017 World Series MVP played in just 78 games last season because of oblique and quad injuries, and he was banged up down the stretch with a knee ailment. Nevertheless, Springer still tied for the league’s 22nd-highest wRC+ (140).
You can make the case that Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. () or Bo Bichette () are more plausible options because of their runs created opportunities. But, Springer is just three years removed from finishing with the 10th-highest WAR among all position players.
Entering his age 32 season, he shouldn’t be far removed from his prime. The projections still forecast All-Star performance around 4 WAR.
On top of that, the Blue Jays showcase the American League’s highest win total (). I’m in agreement with the market that Toronto may very well be the AL’s top team after adding Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi to its rotation.
I’ll take buy-low futures with Springer on a team with an abundance of offensive potential. If the Jays hit their upside and Springer finds the high end of his projection, he can be in the mix for MVP at year’s end.
Good luck with your 2022 MLB futures.