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2022 Major League Baseball predictions

In which I go out on the usual limb to pick this year’s order of finish and playoff results.

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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

With the crunch of time and the large number of deals and signings made between the CBA agreement announcement March 11 and now, it wasn’t possible for me to write my usual “Know your enemy” series for Cubs opponents. In addition, many of those teams changed personnel quite a bit over the last four weeks.

Instead, today I will join thousands of other bloggers, websites, pundits, etc. in making my so-called “expert” predictions for the baseball season that begins tomorrow. If you have been here at BCB for the last 17 years, you’ll find this prediction format familiar — and yes, you’ll find most of this introductory text familiar too (copy/paste being a useful tool). For those of you new to this site, read on.

I started this format nearly 30 years ago, when I was passing out my annual predictions to any of my friends who were willing to read them either with or without scoffing, because I found this method both more interesting and challenging to do than traditional predictions. Even more so, if you’re here I don’t need to insult your intelligence by telling you who the ballclubs’ best hitters, pitchers, etc. are. You already know. Instead, you’ll find a pithy word or phrase describing the hitting, pitching, defense and intangibles of the 30 contenders for October glory.

I’m also not going to “predict” award winners. How hard would it be for me to sit here clacking away on a keyboard and be master of the obvious by telling you that Shohei Ohtani is a top choice to win another AL MVP award, that Bryce Harper could contend for another NL MVP or that Corbin Burnes has an excellent chance to repeat as NL Cy Young? Just before the 2021 season started, would you have predicted that Gabe Kapler would be the NL Manager of the Year? Last spring, did you predict Jonathan India would win the 2021 NL Rookie of the Year Award? (No. No, you did not. Neither did MLB.com, USA Today, The Athletic or ESPN. Not a single mention of India anywhere in those.)

And in any case, anyone using the search function here, or Google, can come back here in October and tell me how wrong I was.

Here are my predictions for the 2021 season. I got three of the six division winners (Braves, Dodgers, White Sox) correct, and did have the Yankees and Rays both in the postseason, though with the wrong positions (I had the Yankees as the division winner and Rays as a wild card; the actual result was the reverse.)

I did manage to correctly predict the Braves would be NL champions, but had them losing the World Series to the Yankees. Close!

In last year’s prediction article, 31 percent of the 406 people who voted in the poll said the Cubs would miss the postseason. Congratulations, you were the correct ones.

Without further ado, my picks for 2022!

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

1) ATLANTA BRAVES

Hitting: Recovering
Pitching: Solid
Defense: Very good
Intangibles: Defending World Series champions

2) NEW YORK METS (Wild card)

Hitting: They have some
Pitching: Expensive, and already injured
Defense: Acceptable
Intangibles: They’re the Mets

3) PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Hitting: Sign all the DH’s!
Pitching: Who needs pitching?
Defense: Optional
Intangibles: I can say all kinds of nice things and they’ll still finish at .500.

4) MIAMI MARLINS

Hitting: Soler power!
Pitching: Young
Defense: Adequate
Intangibles: No more Derek Jeter

5) WASHINGTON NATIONALS

Hitting: Young
Pitching: Revamped
Defense: Very good
Intangibles: That WS title seems like it was a loooong time ago.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

1) MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Hitting: Returning
Pitching: Returning
Defense: Returning
Intangibles: ♬♪♫ “Zing! Boom! Tarrarel!” ♬♪♫ (Also, what’s a “tarrarel”?)

2) ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Hitting: Old
Pitching: Old
Defense: Old
Intangibles: Pixie dust

3) CHICAGO CUBS

Hitting: Better than you think
Pitching: Wing and a prayer
Defense: Much improved over 2021
Intangibles: Aiming for 2023

4) CINCINNATI REDS

Hitting: This...
Pitching: ... team is...
Defense: ... tanking.
Intangibles: I thought the new CBA was supposed to reduce tanking.

5) PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Hitting: Who...
Pitching: ... are ...
Defense: these guys?
Intangibles: Can you figure this team out? I can’t.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

1) LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Hitting: An embarrassment of riches
Pitching: Expensive
Defense: Good
Intangibles: They’re what the Yankees aspire to be

2) SAN DIEGO PADRES (Wild card)

Hitting: Waiting for Tatis
Pitching: Uh, next question?
Defense: Very good
Intangibles: Always seem to find a way to fail

3) SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (Wild card)

Hitting: How did...
Pitching: ... this team win...
Defense: ... 107 games last year?
Intangibles: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

4) COLORADO ROCKIES

Hitting: Welcome KB!
Pitching: In that park? Never
Defense: Good enough
Intangibles: Weirdest ownership/management in MLB

5) ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Hitting: All over the place
Pitching: Zach Davies? C’mon
Defense: Good
Intangibles: Will struggle to avoid 100 losses

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

1) TAMPA BAY RAYS

Hitting: Anonymous
Pitching: Anonymous
Defense: Anonymous
Intangibles: Always, always play better than you’d expect

2) TORONTO BLUE JAYS (Wild card)

Hitting: Better than you might imagine
Pitching: Improved
Defense: Very good
Intangibles: One of these years, a breakthrough will come

3) NEW YORK YANKEES (Wild card)

Hitting: Lots of home runs! Fun!
Pitching: They have depth. They will need it
Defense: Good enough
Intangibles: A manager who’s better than you think he is

4) BOSTON RED SOX

Hitting: Expensive
Pitching: Miscellaneous
Defense: Very good
Intangibles: Toughest division in baseball

5) BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Hitting: OMG
Pitching: Lots of home runs! F — oh, wait.
Defense: I guess they have some
Intangibles: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

1) CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Hitting: Powerful
Pitching: Still a few questions
Defense: Infield? Yes. Outfield...
Intangibles: Tony La Russa continues to get older

2) DETROIT TIGERS (Wild card)

Hitting: Javy!
Pitching: Anonymous
Defense: Javy!
Intangibles: The sexy underrated pick of the year

3) MINNESOTA TWINS

Hitting: Wow!
Pitching: Vastly improved
Defense: Wing and a prayer
Intangibles: Can Carlos Correa bring them to a playoff spot?

4) CLEVELAND GUARDIANS

Hitting: Who are these guys?
Pitching: Well, there’s a bullpen
Defense: Acceptable
Intangibles: Could be fighting with the Royals for last place

5) KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Hitting: A bit of this and a bit of that
Pitching: Hey, look, Greinke’s back!
Defense: Reasonable
Intangibles: I just don’t see it

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

1) HOUSTON ASTROS

Hitting: Mostly the same
Pitching: The return of Verlander
Defense: Very good
Intangibles: Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

2) TEXAS RANGERS

Hitting: Expensive
Pitching: Hoo boy
Defense: Good enough
Intangibles: Did they spend enough to contend?

3) SEATTLE MARINERS

Hitting: Not your older brother’s Mariners
Pitching: Robbie Ray and what army?
Defense: Acceptable
Intangibles: Trades are inevitable

4) LOS ANGELES ANGELS

Hitting: Trout. Rendon. Ohtani. Who needs more?
Pitching: Did someone mention pitching?
Defense: Irrelevant
Intangibles: Have not had a winning season since 2015

5) OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Hitting: This...
Pitching: ... team is...
Defense: ... tanking.
Intangibles: Fanatically loyal fanbase

Postseason predictions

First round byes: NL, Dodgers and Braves. AL: Rays and Astros.

Wild-card series: NL, Giants over Padres, Mets over Brewers. AL: Yankees over White Sox, Blue Jays over Tigers.

Division series: NL: Giants over Dodgers, Braves over Mets. AL: Rays over Yankees, Blue Jays over Astros.

Championship series: NL: Braves over Giants. AL: Rays over Blue Jays.

World Series: The Tampa Bay Rays win the first World Series in franchise history.

Poll

Where will the Cubs finish in 2022?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    World Series champions
    (23 votes)
  • 0%
    NL champions, but lose the World Series
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Win a division series but lose the NLCS
    (6 votes)
  • 1%
    Win a wild card series as NL Central champion, lose in a division series
    (7 votes)
  • 7%
    Win a wild card series as a wild card team, lose in a division series
    (25 votes)
  • 14%
    Lose in a wild card series
    (51 votes)
  • 67%
    Miss the postseason
    (238 votes)
351 votes total Vote Now