Stock Watch – How projections for all 30 MLB teams have risen or fallen since Opening Day

Stock Watch – How projections for all 30 MLB teams have risen or fallen since Opening Day post thumbnail image

The young season has already seen a lot of jostling in baseball’s pecking order. Expected contenders such as the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox have struggled, while middling teams from last season such as the New York Mets and Los Angeles Angels have made moves toward baseball’s elite. And the Cincinnati Reds simply can’t win a game. The journey is just getting started.

Taking a snapshot of this movement is what Stock Watch is all about. In addition to that snapshot for each club, we’re going to dig hard and try to point out something positive. After a bleak winter, it feels like the least we could do. Alas, for some teams, we’ll have to dig a little bit deeper than others.

Note: Power ratings are based on each team’s performance to date and rest-of-season projections. The average power rating is 100. Win projections and postseason probabilities are based on 10,000 simulations of the remaining schedule and the estimated baseline talent of each team’s roster.

Power rating: 120.0 (Change from Opening Day: 2.0)
Avg. simulation wins: 102.0
Playoff %: 98.1 | Title %: 19.4

Best news so far: The Dodgers have been exactly what most observers thought they would be, and that’s bad news for the rest of baseball. Freddie Freeman has fit right in by being the same player he was in Atlanta. That’s no surprise, but when a player changes teams, you never know. The only surprise is that the oddity of seeing Freeman in Dodger blue wore off almost immediately.

Power rating: 116.1 (+4.5)
Avg. simulation wins: 99.6
Playoff %: 97.1 | Title %: 13.1

Best news so far: Don’t tell the Yankees that homers have become scarce. New York has been bashing the opposition in classic Yankee fashion, outhomering its opponents by more than a 2-to-1 basis in the early going. A deadened ball might hurt a lot of hitters who have been homer-reliant in recent years. It seems less likely to hurt New York’s sequoia tree lineup, where Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton are all off to good starts.

Power rating: 113.7 (+2.3)
Avg. simulation wins: 96.5
Playoff %: 94.5 | Title %: 10.8

Best news so far: The Brewers were built for run prevention and have been following that blueprint so far with a pitching staff that has allowed the lowest OPS in the majors. But Milwaukee’s offense has looked championship caliber as well. The best development: A recent surge by hibernating former MVP Christian Yelich. It’s too soon to declare Yelich is back, but if it turns out that he is, this might be the best recent version of the Brewers we’ve seen.

Power rating: 110.9 (+5.9)
Avg. simulation wins: 92.0
Playoff %: 79.5 | Title %: 5.4

Best news so far: The Mets have a very different feel about them this season, and that begins with new manager Buck Showalter. New York has looked like an elite team in the early going, but consider this: The Mets have enjoyed elite starting pitching over the first few weeks. And that’s happened even though Jacob deGrom has yet to throw to his first big league hitter in 2022.

Power rating: 110.5 (-1.8)
Avg. simulation wins: 98.3
Playoff %: 96.5 | Title %: 12.6

Best news so far: If you saw Justin Verlander pitch in 2019, when he won the AL Cy Young Award, and then heard nothing about him until you saw what he’s done so far in 2022, you’d never know he suffered a major elbow injury in between that time that limited him to one outing. Verlander has been Verlander, and the Astros could not have asked for better news. Though Jeremy Pena outplaying Carlos Correa over the season’s opening weeks comes pretty close.

Power rating: 109.4 (-4.3)
Avg. simulation wins: 96.4
Playoff %: 94.1 | Title %: 11.7

Best news so far: Over his first six starts, key free-agent pickup Kevin Gausman struck out 46 batters … and walked one. He also didn’t allow any homers. He has been baseball’s best pitcher in the early going. Second-year righty Alek Manoah has been just behind Gausman, giving the Blue Jays the best one-two rotation punch in the majors. For a team we already knew had a potent lineup, that qualifies as pretty good news.

Power rating: 109.0 (+0.7)
Avg. simulation wins: 92.8
Playoff %: 82.6 | Title %: 4.5

Best news so far: If Fernando Tatis Jr.’s preseason injury turns out to be San Diego’s nadir, it’s been a whole lot of good news since. Manny Machado has been baseball’s best performer early in 2022. Eric Hosmer went from an incessant trade rumor to an on-base machine. And as with the Mets, the Padres have built a foundation for a strong season without their best player.

Power rating: 107.4 (+2.9)
Avg. simulation wins: 87.1
Playoff %: 62.3 | Title %: 2.2

Best news so far: Corey Kluber doesn’t get as deep into games as he once did, but beyond that, Kluber has looked more like the pitcher who was a mainstay for years in Cleveland than the struggling veteran who is with his fourth team in four seasons. He’s been the perfect complement to the Rays’ youth-infused starting rotation.

Power rating: 106.6 (+2.8)
Avg. simulation wins: 90.7
Playoff %: 72.6 | Title %: 3.1

Best news so far: The Giants could be swooning in regret over letting Gausman slip away, only their own free-agent signee for the rotation, Carlos Rodon, has been almost as good. Rodon can’t match Gausman’s walk-free spree, but he can match him in the zero homers allowed department. If Gausman is the early Cy Young front-runner in the AL, Rodon may be his counterpart in the NL.

Power rating: 105.2 (+3.9)
Avg. simulation wins: 85.6
Playoff %: 53.2 | Title %: 1.4

Best news so far: The Angels have been struggling for years to piece together a contending-worthy starting rotation. One month in, this looks like their best group in some time. Noah Syndergaard hasn’t been Thor in terms of dominance, but he has been effective. It’s a description that applies to Michael Lorenzen and Patrick Sandoval as well. Shohei Ohtani has mixed in the dominance and rookie Reid Detmers brings the upside. The Angels may need more depth, but they shouldn’t have to scramble to fill innings again.

Power rating: 104.6 (-6.8)
Avg. simulation wins: 89.5
Playoff %: 70.4 | Title %: 5.3

Best news so far: Kyle Wright was an elite starting pitching prospect for so long that eventually, the shine wore off. Through last season, he’d made 26 big league appearances and had a 2-8 record and 6.56 ERA to show for them. This season, Wright has been the pitcher the Braves waited on for so long with the best sustained stretch of success in his career. Wright’s strikeout-to-walk ratio entering the season was just 1-2. Over his first five outings in 2022, it’s been 5-3.

Power rating: 103.6 (+3.8)
Avg. simulation wins: 82.9
Playoff %: 33.0 | Title %: 0.6

Best news so far: Nolan Arenado has played like a man on a hero’s quest so far in his second season for the Redbirds. Arenado has been hitting everything on the screws with the highest line-drive rate in the National League, resulting in percentages that look like he still calls Coors Field home. Add in Arenado’s typically transcendent defense and he looks very much like an early front-runner in the NL’s MVP chase.

Power rating: 103.5 (-6.9)
Avg. simulation wins: 91.2
Playoff %: 83.6 | Title %: 5.1

Best news so far: Between injuries and disappointing starts, it hasn’t been that much of a good-news start for the ChiSox. But one clear positive development is the emergence of Dylan Cease as a front-line starter. Cease has shown a new level of overall command with his arsenal and confidence in his slider, giving him more sustained consistency than we’ve seen from him yet. Even better, Cease appears to be getting better with every outing.

Power rating: 103.2 (-3.9)
Avg. simulation wins: 86.2
Playoff %: 50.4 | Title %: 2.7

Best news so far: The Phillies’ mostly lackluster start has been in part redeemed by what looks like an early breakout by former top prospect Alec Bohm, at least at the plate. It may be less of a breakout and more of a return of the form that Bohm flashed as a rookie in 2020. With the rest of the Phillies’ infield off to starts ranging from poor to terrible, Bohm has helped keep the ship afloat.

Power rating: 102.7 (+3.1)
Avg. simulation wins: 82.6
Playoff %: 37.1 | Title %: 0.6

Best news so far: Joe Ryan made five starts last season but retained his rookie status. So far in 2022, he earned the Twins’ Opening Day nod and justified that decision by being one of the AL’s better hurlers during his subsequent outings. At the very least, Ryan is an early AL Rookie of the Year contender and if he keeps this up, he just might be the top-of-the-rotation anchor this Twins roster desperately needs.

Power rating: 99.0 (+2.4)
Avg. simulation wins: 77.3
Playoff %: 11.3 | Title %: 0.2

Best news so far: Yes, pitching remains the key for the Marlins to contend but, my goodness, have you seen what Jazz Chisholm Jr. has done so far this season? If not, well, he’s done it all. Chisholm has slugged .621 while still flashing his elite wheels that have gotten him a league-leading three triples and six stolen bases. Chisholm looks like a star in the making.

Power rating: 98.5 (-2.8)
Avg. simulation wins: 80.5
Playoff %: 25.8 | Title %: 0.4

Best news so far: Is it possible that J.P. Crawford is having one of those outlying age-27 seasons? One month in, we’ve seen a version of Crawford unlike any we’ve seen before. Crawford hit for power and average and has walked as many times as he’s struck out. Altogether, his dossier has made Crawford baseball’s best shortstop so far in 2022.

Power rating: 98.4 (-7.1)
Avg. simulation wins: 80.2
Playoff %: 25.9 | Title %: 0.7

Best news so far: With our rosy glint today, we’re sidestepping questions of sustainability. So with that in mind, we can point out that despite a career-low strikeout rate, Michael Wacha has been a sorely needed boost to a Red Sox club fighting to find its footing. Over his first five outings before hitting the injured list, Wacha held the opposition to two runs or fewer each time.

Power rating: 97.8 (+1.8)
Avg. simulation wins: 77.8
Playoff %: 16.4 | Title %: 0.2

Best news so far: Sometimes a team’s fan base gets its biggest wish — a homegrown star who inks a big contract to stick around for the long term — only to see that contract is paying for services previously rendered. That certainly does not seem to be the case with Jose Ramirez. Somehow, Ramirez is hitting the ball harder than ever, all while making contact with virtually everything he swings at. Cleveland fans have a lot to look forward to with Ramirez.

Power rating: 94.6 (+7.7)
Avg. simulation wins: 71.3
Playoff %: 2.5 | Title %: 0.0

Best news so far: The Rockies have been good! They’ve been good even though prized free agent Kris Bryant is injured and has yet to hit his first homer in a Colorado uniform. Leading the charge has been C.J. Cron, who seems to be enjoying actually getting to stick with the same club for consecutive seasons. Cron is the NL’s early home run leader and sports an OPS north of 1.000.

Power rating: 92.8 (+5.9)
Avg. simulation wins: 70.2
Playoff %: 1.8 | Title %: 0.0

Best news so far: If you’ve been tapping your foot, waiting for Daulton Varsho to become a top-flight catcher, would you settle for him being a top-flight center fielder? That’s what Varsho has been so far in 2022. Varsho has been Arizona’s top hitter with a solid mix of patience and pop. He has also played a respectable center field on a near-everyday basis.

Power rating: 91.2 (-2.2)
Avg. simulation wins: 70.2
Playoff %: 2.0 | Title %: 0.0

Best news so far: David Robertson was an elite closer for a few years, but you have to go back to 2016 since he topped the 30-save mark. This year, he has looked right at home at the back of the Cubs’ bullpen. Robertson went unscored upon over his first 10 outings while racking up five saves and a relief win. His strikeout rate is higher than it’s been in eight years.

Power rating: 91.1 (+1.2)
Avg. simulation wins: 69.5
Playoff %: 2.1 | Title %: 0.0

Best news so far: The Rangers generated a lot of preseason buzz with their offseason spending spree, and the players they splurged for … well, it’s early. That said, one of Texas’ less splashy pickups has performed really well. Martin Perez has been more than solid over five starts as yet another pitcher who has possibly benefitted from the new homer conditions. Perez has not allowed a homer to his first 109 batters faced.

Power rating: 89.3 (-6.0)
Avg. simulation wins: 70.2
Playoff %: 2.8 | Title %: 0.0

Best news so far: The Tigers’ start has not been what they’d hoped, but one young player who has taken a step forward is lefty Tarik Skubal. Skubal has flashed improved command thus far, demonstrated not just by slicing his walk rate in half over last season, but by allowing zero homers to his first 88 batters faced. Weather, ball, whatever. Skubal gave up 35 homers last season. His command isn’t just finding the strike zone but avoiding the heart of it.

Power rating: 88.2 (-2.8)
Avg. simulation wins: 69.7
Playoff %: 2.7 | Title %: 0.0

Best news so far: Righty Brad Keller has shown signs of becoming the top-of-the-rotation starter the Royals hoped he was poised to become in 2021. The ground ball pitcher has revved up his ability to keep balls on the dirt, and it has played well with the Royals’ plus infield defense. Keller won’t finish with the sub-.200 BABIP he has so far, but he can have a lot of success if he keeps doing what he’s doing.

Power rating: 88.0 (+1.3)
Avg. simulation wins: 65.8
Playoff %: 0.4 | Title %: 0.0

Best news so far: Ke’Bryan Hayes‘ defensive excellence has been evident all through his professional career and has echoed on scouting reports and advanced metrics alike. So far this season, his average/on-base-heavy offensive arsenal has put him solidly on the second tier of big league third basemen behind MVP candidates Machado, Arenado and Ramirez.

Power rating: 87.8 (-1.8)
Avg. simulation wins: 63.5
Playoff %: 0.2 | Title %: 0.0

Best news so far: Juan Soto continues to get on base at a plus-.400 clip, and he hit six early homers. However, those blasts contributed to an almost surreally low total of eight RBIs. Over his first 27 games, Soto had a very Soto-like 1.114 OPS with the bases empty. With runners in scoring position, that figure was .269. The good news? No way that disparity is going to last, and with Soto, it will regress closer to the 1.114 than the .269.

Power rating: 87.6 (+0.6)
Avg. simulation wins: 65.1
Playoff %: 0.5 | Title %: 0.0

Best news so far: A.J. Puk is healthy and dealing. After a long string of injury woes, that’s more than good news. In another universe, Puk might have become a dominant lefty reminiscent of Josh Hader. But the Athletics will take this version. Puk allowed just one run over his first nine outings with 14 strikeouts and three walks.

Power rating: 84.5 (-12.0)
Avg. simulation wins: 67.1
Playoff %: 0.8 | Title %: 0.0

Best news so far: The good news, Reds fans, is that time is linear. You won’t have to go backwards and live through your team’s April again, nor what lies ahead in the months to come. Each day that passes brings you closer to Bengals training camp and ultimately the merciful end of a regrettable baseball season.

Power rating: 83.5 (+4.3)
Avg. simulation wins: 58.2
Playoff %: 0.0 | Title %: 0.0

Best news so far: Prized catching prospect Adley Rutschman had his race to the big leagues slowed by a triceps injury during spring training. The good news is that not only did he make it through a rehab stint over two levels of the lower minors, but he raked while doing so, hitting .429/.500/.667 over 24 plate appearances. He was then moved up to Triple-A Norfolk for what Orioles fans can hope was one last tuneup before a very long stay in Baltimore.

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