Will an American League team be crowned as World Series champions for the first time since 2018? The AL postseason field is set, with the powerhouse Astros and Yankees each receiving a bye through the Wild Card Round. Here is a look at the six teams representing the AL in the 2022 MLB playoffs.
2022 MLB playoff seeding: American League
- Houston Astros (bye)
- New York Yankees (bye)
- Cleveland Guardians
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Seattle Mariners
- Tampa Bay Rays
The Astros secured their fourth 100-win campaign and fifth AL West title over the past five full seasons en route to becoming the junior circuit’s No. 1 seed. Their only World Series win came in 2017, a feat that is shrouded in controversy by the team’s sign-stealing scandal.
The Yankees combined a genuinely historic first half of the season with an oddly poor second half of the season to get the No. 2 seed and a bye. The franchise has 27 rings but hasn’t been in the World Series since 2009, which is the longest pennant-less drought in Yankees history.
The Guardians were a surprise winner of the AL Central — and the team kept the receipts. The youngest team in MLB is led by a strong pitching staff headed by Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie. They also have the best closer in the sport in Emmanuel Clase. The question for them in the postseason will be: Can the Guardians score enough to win? No team has gone longer without a World Series triumph than Cleveland, which last won it all in 1948.
The Blue Jays have the talent to win it all, something they haven’t done since Joe Carter sent Canada into a frenzy with his series-winning homer in 1993. The preseason favorite in the AL East has not played up to its potential this year, but the duo of Kevin Gausman and Alek Manoah can shut down any offense. And speaking of offense, the Blue Jays have plenty of it with Vlad Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, George Springer, et al.
Just getting to the playoffs is a huge accomplishment for the Mariners, who are in the dance for the first time since 2001. It’s a squad that’s a little ahead of schedule, but one with a very bright future thanks to 21-year-old superstar Julio Rodriguez, who is one of the game’s most must-watch players.
The Rays are in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season — that’s something that not even half of the clubs in MLB have ever accomplished. Outfielder Randy Arozarena has already proven his postseason bona fides, but the Rays will need their pitching — namely, ace Shane McClanahan — to carry them because of their streaky, hit-or-miss offense.