After an exciting six game series that saw the Atlanta Braves win their first World Series since 1995, the postseason has just begun. Even though we have barely had time to fully embrace the Braves’ World Series win, it is never too early to look ahead to 2022 to see if either of these teams could not only make it to the World Series again, but win it.
With that in mind, here are the odds and a rundown of the chances for each of this year’s World Series teams to win it all in 2022.
Houston Astros (+700)
When it comes to name recognition, the Astros have one of the biggest free agent classes in baseball. The Astros’ free agents include the likes of Carlos Correa, Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, and Kendall Graveman.
It is very likely that both Correa and Greinke are gone. Correa is looking for a long-term contract that could surpass $300 million, a demand that the Astros have shown they are not willing to meet, and Greinke has expressed a desire to return to the N.L.
The other two are not as clear cut. It is very likely that Verlander will be offered a qualifying offer, and after not pitching at all in 2021, it is an offer he might not refuse. For Graveman, his phenomenal season may have earned him a rich contract, but the Astros will also be looking for relief help and would likely welcome him back with open arms.
Aside from Correa, the Astros will return the rest of a lineup that ranked first in runs per game this season at 5.34. With Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, and Alex Bregman still in the fold, it should once again be a deadly lineup.
The only real hole offensively for Houston is at shortstop. Their number two (Pedro Leon) and four (Jeremy Pena) prospects both have experience at shortstop in the minors. If GM James Click doesn’t turn to either of them, there is certainly a plethora of free agent options outside of Correa this season with Trevor Story, Marcus Semien, Javy Baez and others hitting the market.
In terms of their pitching, the Astros will return Lance McCullers Jr., Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy, and Jake Odorizzi. That in itself is a formidable rotation, but Houston still may look to add another top-of-the-rotation arm.
After all, they saw in the playoffs what can happen if you don’t have enough pitching.
Still, Houston’s window to win a championship is still very much open and with a good amount of payroll flexibility this offseason, they can make moves to put themselves in a position to try to win it all again in 2022.
Atlanta Braves (+1400)
It is a little surprising to see the Braves have just the sixth-best odds of winning next year’s World Series after the postseason run they just made. For as good as this team was at the end of the year, they could be even better next season.
Keep in mind, the Braves were without Ronald Acuna Jr., Charlie Morton, and Mike Soroka for most of the World Series. Morton pitched in Game 1 before suffering a broken leg, and Acuna and Soroka never even played in the postseason.
Those three, coupled with an already stout lineup and the return of pitchers Max Fried and Ian Anderson, should give the Braves a good chance to win both the NL East and make a run in the postseason.
Granted after an unbelievable trade deadline that saw him bring in the likes of Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario and Adam Duvall, GM Alex Anthropoulos will have some work to do this offseason.
Technically, Freddie Freeman is a free agent. The first baseman has already made his desire to re-sign with Atlanta known, and it would be a shocker if he didn’t return. During the regular season, Freeman hit .300/.393/.503 with 31 home runs, 83 runs batted in, and 120 runs scored.
Aside from Freeman, postseason heroes Jorge Soler and Eddie Rosario are both free agents.
Soler hit .300/.391/.800 with three home runs, six runs batted in, and four runs en route to a World Series MVP award.
Rosario was equally impressive in the postseason hitting .383/.456/.617 with three home runs and 11 runs batted in over 60 postseason at bats.
Between the return of Acuna, the option on Adam Duvall that will likely be picked up, and both Drew Waters and Christian Pache, it would be a bit of a shocker to see them re-sign either of these two.
Regardless, the Braves should remain mostly intact for next season and could bring in some more reinforcements, particularly to the starting rotation, this offseason.
One thing is for sure, their roster should be set up to be in a position to make a run at defending their World Series title.