Top Three AL Pennant Contenders in August 2022

August signals a shift in baseball. As playoff baseball looms, teams shift focus to the postseason, a rebuild or experimenting with prospects for next season.

It is never too early to discuss playoff baseball, and with the start of August, it feels just right.

Here are the top three potential American League pennant winners.

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New York Yankees +140

It is no surprise the Bronx Bombers own the best odds for the pennant. The Yankees own the best record in the AL entering August.

Aaron Judge played at an MVP level up to August. He hit over 40 home runs at the end of July, and is projected for over 60. An acquisition that may go under the radar for casual fans is when New York signed Matt Carpenter. In the past three seasons, Carpenter’s career looked over as his batting average was .226, .186 and 1.89 from 2019 to ’21, but a resurgence for the longtime Cardinals player gives him a spot in the batting order for the Yankees.

At the end of July, Carpenter owned a .321 average, hit 15 homers and drove in 36.

The Yankees bolstered its’ pitching more at the trade deadline acquiring Scott Effross, Lou Trivino, and one of the top starting pitchers available in Frankie Montas.

Hard to bet against the best team in the AL, especially when it adds more weapons.

Houston Astros +225

Another perennial playoff team, pennant favorite and World Series favorite, the Astros own the division lead by 12 games at the start of August.

The offense for Houston at a glance looks above average in terms of batting average with a .240 entering August. Slugging percentage of .425 is amazing, and that correlates to the third-most homers in the league with 146 entering play Aug. 1.

Pitching is the Astros’ stronger suit. Led by a the trio of Justin Verlander, Cristian Javier, and Framber Valdez, Houston’s pitching is elite. Verlander owns a sub 2.00 ERA while Valdez possesses a 2.80 ERA. The team pitches to an overall ERA of 3.04, a whip of 1.10 and opponent BA of .211. All of those stats are in the top three league-wide at the end of July.

Toronto Blue Jays +650

A projected wild card team owns the third-best odds entering August. It is easy to see why as Toronto plays in the loaded AL East with the New York Yankees.

This team owns a potent lineup of young players that shown before the offensive capabilities, just ask the Red Sox.

Toronto sits atop the league in team BA at the end of July with .265. In runs scored, hits, doubles, home runs, RBIs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, the Blue Jays are in the top five. Clearly this is a team carried by a powerful offense.

While the team ERA is a modest 3.89 for 14th in the league entering August the opponent’s BA of .248 is alarming.

Moving further into the season it is crucial for the Blue Jays to improve the pitching to complement the hitting.