Once again, it’s the Los Angeles Dodgers who stand out in the National League. It’s really no secret since the Boys in Blue have been favored to win not only the National League but also the World Series for the last several seasons.
Last year, the Dodgers were the favorite all the way up until Atlanta beat them 4-2 in the National League Championship series. The roster has changed slightly, but Los Angeles will still field a lineup full of All-Stars and a pitching staff full of Cy Young-caliber pitchers.
There are a number of teams that made some offseason moves to put themselves in position to challenge L.A. Can any of them overtake the Dodgers? Here’s a look at the 2022 MLB National League pennant race.
It’s like déjà vu all over again as Yogi Berra used to say. The Dodgers are the overall betting favorite to win the NL pennant at +240. L.A. is an overwhelming favorite despite losing a former NL Rookie of the Year and former World Series MVP. SS Corey Seager is now a Texas Ranger, but the Dodgers still have a lineup full of All-Star talent.
Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Gavin Lux, Will Smith, and Trae Turner are all All-Star worthy. Then, the Dodgers went out and inked another former NL MVP and World Series champion Freddie Freeman. From top to bottom in the batting order, the Dodgers don’t have a weakness.
Then, there is the pitching. Even if Trevor Bauer and Clayton Kershaw (two Cy Young winners) do not return, the Dodgers still have Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, and Dustin May. It’s easy to see why the Dodgers are favored to win the NL pennant again.
Mets on the Move
The way oddsmakers see it, the New York Mets' offseason was enough to propel them into the role of top challenger to the Dodgers' NL supremacy. The Mets are given +500 odds to win the NL pennant after they acquired such players as P Max Scherzer and OF Starling Marte.
Scherzer wound up 15-4 last season with a WHIP of 0.86. Opposing hitters hit just .186 against Scherzer last season. He will pair with a healthy Jacob deGrom to form the best No. 1-No. 2 pitching combination in the majors. The Mets also have Taijuan Walker, Chris Bassitt, and Carlos Carrasco in their rotation.
The offense still has former NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso who hit 37 homers last season as well as Marte, SS Francisco Lindor, and DH Robinson Cano.
You can’t count the defending champion Braves (+500) out of the mix. Despite losing Freeman, the Braves did sign slugger Matt Olson to replace him. Their lineup is pretty deep with Marcell Ozuna, Dansby Swanson, and Austin Riley. Plus, the Braves get a healthy Ronald Acuna Jr. back and the pitching rotation features Max Fried and Charlie Morton and Atlanta added closer Kenley Jansen.
The Padres were a contender last season until injuries ruined their chances. A healthy Fernando Tatis along with Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado gives the Padres plenty of power. The pitching rotation includes former Cy Young winner Blake Snell plus Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove. If San Diego (+850) can stay healthy, they should contend for the NL pennant.
At +700, it’s hard to call Milwaukee a sleeper, but the Brewers get left out of the discussion when it comes time to talk NL pennant. The Brewers have exactly what it takes to win championships – pitching. Both Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes finished in the top five in the NL Cy Young race. Burnes won the award after finishing with an NL-best 2.43 ERA. Woodruff’s was 2.56. With a former NL MVP in Christian Yelich as well as Kolten Wong and Hunter Renfroe, the Brewers are another strong candidate to battle for the NL pennant.