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MLB Futures Update: Buy Mariners To Win AL West Before It’s Too Late

MLB Futures Update: Buy Mariners To Win AL West Before It’s Too Late article feature image
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Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Eugenio Suarez and Adam Frazier.

One month into the MLB season gives us a portion of the data needed to generate support for a team to rise up and win the World Series.

April was the month pitchers and batters were rushed back into play only to find nightly battles against umpires. A team can never lose the season in April, but without adjustments the month of May can free up an organization to make tee times in October. There is never a better time to assess the futures market versus the standings than the upcoming quarter pole.

Investors that peppered division tickets in February and March may look to invest in other teams to hedge wagers. The Rays present plenty of hedge support for any investor with a Yankees ticket on the board.

As for the National League, the Dodgers are boat racing every team on the scoreboard with twice as many runs scored as runs allowed. The best indicator of a team that is due to breakout is run scoring differential and a number of advanced analytics.

As of this writing, there are three clubs that have a losing record but a positive run differential. Two of the teams are properly priced in the market, but one division contender deserves an immediate futures stake.

This article will take a look at those three teams. A few of these teams are priced properly in the Futures Market but one has value that may evaporate between now and the All-Star break.

Quick look @MLB wRC+ by lefty/righty through a month

@whitesox and @RaysBaseball leading all teams
• Bet on the @Rockies against Left handed pitching
• The @Dbacks not discriminating no matter the pitcher pic.twitter.com/bls6nPBPeZ

— Collin Wilson (@_Collin1) May 2, 2022

The Cleveland Guardians, Seattle Mariners and the Philadelphia Phillies have scored more runs than they’ve allowed while posting a losing record.

In the case of the Phillies, the domination of the Mets and the strength of the division justify a price of +750 for the NL East. The Guardians are in a softer division, but have failed to meet expectations at the plate. Cleveland is 23rd in barrel percentage and second-to-last in walk rate. In addition to a bullpen that surrenders runs at a high clip, the Guardians are a pass from a futures perspective. 

JULIOOOOO 👏👏

First career home run for @JRODshow44

(via @Mariners) pic.twitter.com/fYL3ivxI1O

— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) May 1, 2022

Plenty has been made about the struggles of rookie Julio Rodriguez at the plate. A lot of off-plate pitches were called as strikes, but an adjustment in batting stance with proximity to home plate ignited contact for Rodriguez. For the Seattle Mariners to win the division , the rookie remains the X-factor in providing elite hitting and defense in the race to beat the Astros and Angels. 

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The Mariners entered Thursday with a run differential of plus-8, scoring more than 4.1 runs per game. Just two games back of the Astros, the Mariners were swept by Houston after scoring just two runs the entire series. There is reason to believe that Seattle will start to hit, as the best bullpen in baseball continues to plow through opposing offenses. 

Seattle is currently second in the league offensively in xwOBA. This advanced stat takes in on-base average but calculates exit velocity, launch angle, batted balls and sprint speed.

To capture a deserving total value of balls in play, strikeouts and walks the xwOBA is the best number to predict a breakout. A healthy offense that includes Kyle Lewis and Mitch Haniger will help Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic hit their stride at the plate. 

Welcome back Kyle Lewis. First AB and goes yard. That sound! @Mariners @RainiersLand pic.twitter.com/Q490ZVcIFg

— Matt (@bsblshots42) May 4, 2022

From a pitching perspective, this is the best bullpen in baseball. Drew Steckenrider, Diego Castillo and Paul Sewald could close for most major league teams, but the addition of Andres Munoz has solidified the Seattle ‘pen. The Mariners are the best overall bullpen in left on base percentage (LOB rate) with top-5 ranks in xFIP and strikeout rate. Assisting the ‘pen and starting staff is a defense that is second in defensive runs saved. 

¡RÉCORD MEXICANO!🔥

Además de tener una entrada perfecta, Andrés Muñoz justo lanzó la pichada mas rápida en la historia de Los Marineros de Seattle 🤯.

102.8 Millas por Hora 😳🔥🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/vVydcHAhTH

— El Jonronero (@eljonroneromx) April 14, 2022

The Mariners have plenty of value at +475 to win the AL West when sitting just two games back of Houston. The biggest wild card for the Mariners during the pennant race is GM Jerry Dipoto, who may elect to add to the electric bullpen or add additional offense.

Dipoto is notorious for making deadline deals, and 2022 will be no different. Expect Seattle to be in the race if not in the lead through the month of September.

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