Predictions for the 2022 MLB season


Solomon Bernstein

Baseball has returned in its entirety. The question now is: what teams and players will do well this year? That’s what we’re here to answer.

The National Pastime underwent a long and difficult process during the 2021-2022 offseason, with animosity and disagreements frustrating fans, players, and owners alike. On Dec. 2, 2021, baseball found itself with the problem of a work stoppage, marking the first such issue since 1995. As the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Players Association and the team owners expired, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred explained the reasoning behind the lockout: he said that halting all trades, signings, and communication from teams to players would likely speed up the process of bargaining between the players and the owners. Unfortunately, it was a long six weeks before the owners made their first proposal to the Association regarding playoff formats, minimum player salaries, and much more. 

The process took so long that after the two sides failed to agree in Feb., Manfred reported that the first two weeks of the season were to be canceled, marking a new low in the sport’s long, up-and-down history. Luckily, after another week of meetings, an agreement was reached between the two sides on March 10, a full 162-game schedule was reinstated, and the 99-day lockout came to an end. After an abridged Spring Training, Opening Day was set for Apr. 7, with all 30 teams having played a game by Apr. 8.

The game of baseball avoided a catastrophic problem. Had games actually been canceled over disputes regarding rules and money, many fans would have given up on baseball, whose Commissioner is already widely disliked. Fortunately for the world of sports, this did not end up being too big an issue. Baseball has returned in its entirety. The question now is: what teams and players will do well this year? And that’s what I’m here to answer.

The best built team:

The Toronto Blue Jays. Their starting pitchers include Hyun-jin Ryu, runner-up for the Cy Young award in 2019, Jose Berrios, who had a 3.52 Earned Run Average in 2021, and Kevin Gausman, who had a sub-three ERA last year. On the offensive side, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette are two exciting players who are just now entering their primes, while veteran third baseman Matt Chapman was acquired from the Oakland Athletics and will surely make a huge impact on the team, with his home run-hitting ability. Oh, and let’s not forget outfielder George Springer, who, (assuming he avoids injury), will add yet another source of power to a scary lineup, in addition to his impressive outfield defense.

Runners-up include the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Yankees, and the Atlanta Braves.

The Comeback Team:

Detroit Tigers. In 2019, the Tigers had an MLB-worst 47 wins and 114 losses. In 2021 (I’m purposefully ignoring the pandemic-shortened, 60-game season of 2020), they had risen to a bad, but not terrible 77-85, enough for third place in a very weak American League Central. Since last year, however, they’ve been given reason to believe. Austin Meadows, with his speed and power, adds some depth to their offensive forces and infielder Spencer Torkelson is a prospect that carries lots of hope for the team’s future. Javier Baez, with his flare and his pop off of the bat, is a scary addition to the lineup, and will be playing in the same lineup as veteran Tiger Jonathon Schoop, who is a career .262 hitter. Plus, Miguel Cabrera as the Designated Hitter is still a feared player, even well past his prime, as he hit an incredible 3,000 career hits. On the mound, Casey Mize is a promising young prospect who can be of value to Detroit for many years to come. Now, I’m not saying that 2022 is “The Year” for the Tigers. They need more reliable starting pitching and a better bullpen. But I am saying that they can seriously compete in 2022, and with the right front office management, they can be a force to be reckoned with.

Runners-up include the San Diego Padres, the New York Mets, the Minnesota Twins, and the Los Angeles Angels.

Best Player in MLB:

Shohei Ohtani. Is he the best hitter in baseball? No. That would be Mike Trout (pending injury), Guerrero Jr., Juan Soto, or Freddie Freeman. Is he the best pitcher? No. Jacob deGrom (pending injury), Max Scherzer, Corbin Burnes, or Zach Wheeler win that category. But Ohtani’s special because he does both. And he’s very good at both. In 2021, the 27-year-old hit an incredible 46 home runs, and stole 26 bases, all while pitching to an impressive 3.52 ERA in over 130 innings. He is truly a new star for baseball, and assuming he stays off of the Injured List, he will be incredibly fun to watch.

World Series Prediction:

Dodgers vs. Blue Jays. The Dodgers lineup includes Trea Turner, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Cody Belinger, Mookie Betts, and newly-acquired Freddie Freeman. That’s the best lineup in baseball. Meanwhile, their pitching staff includes Julio Urias, who had a sub-three ERA in 2021, Walker Buehler, who has been consistently dominant since 2018, and future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw. That team against the Blue Jays, whom I believe are the best team in baseball, will be a fun World Series. It is worth noting, however, that each team has a tough road to the Series. The San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres are formidable foes for the Dodgers in the National League West division, while the Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays are difficult opponents for the Blue Jays in the AL East. 

Baseball is back, and it’s going to be a great year. All 30 teams will have exciting highs and painful lows. Twelve teams will reach the postseason, and one will win it all. Let the race begin.