As we have pointed out for a long time, you need to spend money to win in MLB—basically, any team that spends more than the league average in payroll has a shot at the World Series title, assuming the organization makes the postseason in the first place. So here is our “magic” formula for our World Series favorites in 2022.
The recipe is simple: take the team’s payroll and multiply it by the team’s current sabermetric rating, as computed by Baseball-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System (SRS). We could get more complicated, but why bother? The outcomes end up being roughly the same, in truth. That being said, here is the list of favorites, in order, to win it all this October.
- New York Yankees (last Series win: 2009): $252M x 1.9 = 478.8 rating.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (2020): $265M x 1.8 = 477.0 rating.
- New York Mets (1986): $261M x 1.0 = 261.0 rating.
- Houston Astros (2017): $183M x 1.2 = 219.6 rating.
- Philadelphia Phillies (2008): $242M x 0.6 = 145.2 rating.
- Toronto Blue Jays (1993): $174M x 0.7 = 119.7 rating.
- Atlanta Braves (2021): $182M x 0.6 = 109.2 rating.
- St. Louis Cardinals (2011): $162M x 0.6 = 97.2 rating.
- San Diego Padres (never): $221M x 0.2 = 44.2 rating.
That’s it for the teams playing over .500 ball right now while also spending more than the league average ($148M) in payroll. It is always possible an outlier can make a charge to the championship, but the odds are very against it. Even in the list above, we see tiers of probability, separating the generic favorites into even tinier groups of potential.
Here they are: 1) The Dodgers and the Yankees, who haven’t faced each other in the Series since 1981; 2) The Mets and the Astros, who are just ready to pounce on the top teams and move up a tier; 3) The Blue Jays and the Phillies, making us all remember 1993, with the Braves and the Cardinals in the fray, too; and 4) The Padres hanging in there, although now expected to rise with the MLB trades they made.
Any other teams out there are just grabbing at straws if they think they have a chance to win it all: Boston and San Francisco (both under .500), for example, even with the respective organizational crookedness. Remember this list as we get closer to October. We will be back later to see how we did with this list.