2022 MLB Playoff Power Rankings: Where All 8 Teams Stand Ahead of Divisional Round
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
OPS: .700, 15th
HR: 153, 21st
R/G: 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
OPS: .739, eighth
HR: 205, sixth
R/G: 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
OPS: .705, 13th
HR: 197, ninth
R/G: 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
OPS: .699, 16th
HR: 127, 29th
R/G: 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
OPS: .751, fourth
HR: 254, first
R/G: 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
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
OPS: .743, seventh
HR: 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
OPS: .775, first
HR: 212, fifth
R/G: 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.