2022 MLB Playoff Power Rankings: Where All 8 Teams Stand Ahead of Divisional Round

Joel ReuterOctober 10, 2022

2022 MLB Playoff Power Rankings: Where All 8 Teams Stand Ahead of Divisional Round

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    TORONTO, ONTARIO - OCTOBER 08: The Seattle Mariners celebrate after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays in game two to win the American League Wild Card Series at Rogers Centre on October 08, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario. The Seattle Mariners defeated the Toronto Blue Jays with a score of 10 to 9. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
    Mark Blinch/Getty Images

    With the San Diego Padres' upset of the New York Mets on Sunday night, the Division Series field is now set, as the list of teams still in the running for the 2022 World Series title has been trimmed to eight.

    The St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays were also sent packing, with the Philadelphia Phillies, Cleveland Guardians and Seattle Mariners advancing with 2-0 sweeps in their respective series.

    While regular-season power rankings took into account recent performance, these rankings will look ahead to each team's postseason outlook. In an effort to illustrate strengths and weaknesses, each team's leaguewide ranking in a handful of relevant statistical categories is provided for further context.

8. San Diego Padres

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 09: Joe Musgrove #44 of the San Diego Padres pitches against the New York Mets during the sixth inning in game three of the National League Wild Card Series at Citi Field on October 09, 2022 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
    Joe Musgrove (Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

    Team Ranks

    OPS: .700, 15th
    153, 21st
    4.35, 13th

    ERA: 3.81, 11th
    SP ERA:
    3.80, 13th
    RP ERA:
    3.83, 13th

    The San Diego Padres were the only team that took three games to advance through the wild-card round, but they did it in impressive fashion, holding the New York Mets to a single hit in the decisive Game 3 behind a brilliant start from Joe Musgrove.

    Both Musgrove (7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER) and Game 1 starter Yu Darvish (7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER) silenced the Mets offense. And while Game 2 starter Blake Snell failed to make it out of the fourth inning, he was brilliant down the stretch with a 1.76 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 41 innings over his final seven starts.

    Those starting pitchers will need to continue serving as the driving force behind the team's success, as the offense has been a middle-of-the-pack group for much of the year, especially relative to the rest of the remaining playoff field.

    Now it's on to a meeting with the division-rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, a team they went just 5-14 against with a minus-62 run differential during the regular season. Anything can happen in October, but it's a tough road ahead.

7. Philadelphia Phillies

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    ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - OCTOBER 08: Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals during the fourth inning in game two of the National League Wild Card Series at Busch Stadium on October 08, 2022 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
    Aaron Nola (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

    Team Ranks

    OPS: .739, eighth
    HR: 205, sixth
    4.61, seventh

    ERA: 3.97, 18th
    SP ERA: 3.80, 14th
    RP ERA:
    4.27, 23rd

    The Philadelphia Phillies were the final team to punch their ticket to October. They nearly squandered things with a five-game losing streak in September, but they came out swinging in the postseason to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild-card round.

    The offense plated six runs in the ninth inning for a 6-3 comeback victory in Game 1, and starter Aaron Nola tossed 6.2 shutout innings in Game 2 en route to a 2-0 win to advance to the NLDS.

    There is no question they have enough offensive firepower. However, the one-two punch of Zack Wheeler and Nola will need to shoulder a significant workload to help take some pressure off a shaky bullpen that could be stretched thin when those two are not taking the ball.

    The Atlanta Braves await in the NLDS. Atlanta won the season series 11-8, including going 5-2 in seven September meetings.

6. Seattle Mariners

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    SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 05: Julio Rodriguez #44 of the Seattle Mariners at bat during the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at T-Mobile Park on October 05, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
    Julio Rodríguez (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

    Team Ranks

    OPS: .705, 13th
    197, ninth
    4.26, 18th

    ERA: 3.59, eighth
    SP ERA:
    3.75, 11th
    RP ERA:
    3.33, sixth

    The Seattle Mariners trailed 8-1 after five innings in Game 2 of their wild-card round matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays but stormed back for a 10-9 victory capped by an RBI double from Adam Frazier.

    That came after Luis Castillo and Andrés Muñoz combined on a shutout in Game 1. Despite Saturday's offensive explosion, pitching is going to be the driving force if this upstart squad is going to upend the Houston Astros in the ALDS.

    The Astros held a 12-7 advantage during the regular season, but the two teams haven't played since July 31, and the Mariners have all the momentum in the world after their dramatic comeback win.

    In four starts against Houston this season, young right-hander Logan Gilbert went 2-1 with a 2.52 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and just one home run allowed among the 100 batters he faced, so he'll be an X-factor in the No. 3 starter role.

5. Cleveland Guardians

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    CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 07: Cleveland Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez (11) celebrates after hitting a 2-run home run during the sixth inning of the Major League Baseball Wild Card Series Game 1 between the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Guardians on October 7, 2022, at Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    José Ramírez (Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Team Ranks

    OPS: .699, 16th
    127, 29th
    4.31, 15th

    ERA: 3.46, sixth
    SP ERA:
    3.73, 10th
    RP ERA:
    3.05, fifth

    The Cleveland Guardians went 28-17 in one-run games and 13-6 in extra innings during the regular season, so it should come as no surprise that their wild-card round sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays featured a pair of one-run contests and a 15-inning marathon game on Saturday.

    Shane Bieber (7.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 8 K) and Triston McKenzie (6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 8 K) both threw well in their respective starts, and seven different relievers combined for 10.1 scoreless innings while allowing just four hits and racking up 13 strikeouts.

    For a team that ranked 29th in the majors in home runs this year, the Guardians can't continue to rely on homers after a two-run shot from José Ramírez and a solo homer from Oscar González accounted for all of their offense over the weekend.

    The New York Yankees are up next, and they dominated the two regular-season meetings between the teams, finishing 5-1 with a plus-24 run differential. However, both of those series were played before the All-Star break, and this Guardians team has really hit its stride of late with a 26-10 record since the beginning of September.

4. New York Yankees

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Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees watches the ball after hitting his 62nd home run of the season against the Texas Rangers during the first inning in game two of a double header at Globe Life Field on October 4, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. Judge has now set the American League record for home runs in a single season. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
    Aaron Judge (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

    Team Ranks

    OPS: .751, fourth
    254, first
    4.98, second

    ERA: 3.30, third
    SP ERA:
    3.51, fourth
    RP ERA:
    2.97, third

    After a shaky month of August, the New York Yankees returned to their impressive early season form to close out the regular season with a 20-11 record and plus-45 run differential since the start of September.

    The strarting rotation looks strong with Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortés and a healthy Luis Severino lined up to start the first three games of the ALDS, but the bullpen is another story and is by far the biggest question mark for the AL East champions. Deadline pickups Scott Effross and Lou Trivino will be two of the most important players on the roster.

    Offensively, second baseman Gleyber Torres was swinging a hot bat down the stretch with a .323/.389/.573 line that included six doubles, six home runs and 25 RBI in his final 24 games. Someone will need to step up as a consistent middle-of-the-order threat alongside Aaron Judge, and he could be the guy.

    Slugger Giancarlo Stanton is a .297/.373/.734 hitter with nine home runs and 17 RBI in 18 career playoff games with the Yankees, so despite less-than-stellar regular-season numbers by his standards, he's one to watch as well.

3. Atlanta Braves

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 12: Austin Riley #27 of the Atlanta Braves warms up in the on-deck circle during the game against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on September 12, 2022 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
    Austin Riley (Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

    Team Ranks

    OPS: .760, second
    HR: 243, second
    R/G: 4.87, third

    ERA: 3.46, fifth
    SP ERA: 3.72, ninth
    RP ERA: 3.03, fourth

    The Atlanta Braves have the best record in baseball (78-34) since the beginning of June, a month that started with a 14-game winning streak that put their season back on track after a disappointing start.

    Despite Ozzie Albies being sidelined for most of the second half with a fractured foot and fractured finger and Ronald Acuña Jr. not performing at his usual elite level while dealing with a nagging knee issue, the Atlanta offense has still been one of the best in baseball.

    Austin Riley is having another great season, Dansby Swanson has put together a career year at the plate, Matt Olson has done well replacing Freddie Freeman and rookie Michael Harris II has made as big an impact as any first-year player in the league.

    Max Fried and Kyle Wright have been rock-solid all season atop the rotation, and the bullpen rounded into form after Raisel Iglesias was acquired at the deadline, but there are some questions at the back of the rotation. Charlie Morton struggled to a 6.23 ERA in his final five starts and Spencer Strider has been sidelined since Sept. 18 with an oblique strain.

2. Houston Astros

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    HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 28: Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park on August 28, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Justin Verlander (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

    Team Ranks

    OPS: .743, seventh
    214, fourth
    R/G: 4.55, eighth

    ERA: 2.90, second
    SP ERA:
    2.95, second
    RP ERA:
    2.80, first

    The Houston Astros have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to pitching, with two of Cristian Javier (148.2 IP, 2.54 ERA, 0.95 WHIP), Luis García (157.1 IP, 3.72 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) and José Urquidy (164.1 IP, 3.94 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) headed for a bullpen role in October.

    The pitcher who does get the nod for a potential Game 4 start will join Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez and Lance McCullers Jr. to give the Astros a rotation capable of carrying them to a championship. The fact that baseball's best bullpen is backing that group is borderline unfair.

    On the offensive side, the lineup is not quite as potent top-to-bottom as it has been in years past, but there's still plenty of thunder with José Altuve, Yordan Álvarez, Kyle Tucker and Alex Bregman all putting up numbers.

    Pitching wins championships, and this Houston squad has the best all-around pitching depth of any team heading into the Division Series.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 03: Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias (7) pitches the ball during a regular season game between the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers on September 03, 2022, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Julio Urías (Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Team Ranks

    OPS: .775, first
    212, fifth
    5.23, first

    ERA: 2.80, first
    SP ERA:
    2.75, first
    RP ERA:
    2.87, second

    The Los Angeles Dodgers held a double-digit lead in the NL West standings from July 21 through the end of the season en route to a franchise-record 111 wins. Can they flip the switch after coasting for months?

    The trio of Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman have led the way offensively all season, and veteran Justin Turner is also hitting his stride at the perfect time after batting .322/.394/.552 in September. Throw in Will Smith, Max Muncy, Gavin Lux, Cody Bellinger and whoever is playing left field between Chris Taylor, Trayce Thompson and Joey Gallo, and the offense is an absolute juggernaut.

    The starting rotation looks different without Walker Buehler serving as co-ace, and closing out games has been an adventure with Craig Kimbrel struggling, but the pitching staff is far from a weakness.

    Ideally they would be a bit more balanced with three lefties atop the rotation in Julio Urías, Clayton Kershaw and Tyler Anderson, and that's a storyline worth monitoring if the Atlanta Braves are their NLCS opponent after they logged a .782 OPS against southpaws, but for now, that's just three really good pitchers anchoring a postseason staff.

    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.