We may be over a week into the season, but I wanted to finish my predictions before we got too far in. Here's the top 10!
2021 Prediction: #14, 4th in NL East
2021 Fearless Prediction: Joe Girardi will be fired after the season.
2021 Result: #15, 82-80, 2nd in NL East
Most Important Hitter: Bryce Harper
Most Important Pitcher: Ranger Suarez
Prospect to Watch: Bryson Stott
2022 Prediction: 2nd in NL East, WILD CARD, lose in Wild Card Round
Bryce Harper rode a hot second half to the NL MVP. If he is able to put another season together like that, it might finally be the time for this Phillies core group to make a postseason run. If not, this will truly be the end of Joe Girardi's run in Philly. It might also mean the dismantling of this roster.
Los Angeles Angels
2021 Prediction: #16, 3rd in AL West
2021 Fearless Prediction: Justin Upton and Dexter Fowler will be traded for prospects at the Trade Deadline.
2021 Result: #19, 77-85, 4th in AL West
Most Important Hitter: Anthony Rendon
Most Important Pitcher: Noah Syndergaard
Prospect to Watch: Reid Detmers
2022 Prediction: 1st in AL West, lose in Wild Card Round
The success or failure of the Angels all has to do with health. If Ohtani, Trout, Rendon, and Syndergaard all stay healthy for the majority of the season, then the Angels could surprise everyone and come away with this division. Can you imagine the hysteria around the league if Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani finally play their first postseason games? It would only make sense if they lose in the first round.
2021 Prediction: #22, 4th in AL West
2021 Fearless Prediction: The Mariners will have four straight Rookies of the Year.
2021 Result: #10, 90-72, 2nd in AL West
Most Important Hitter: Jesse Winker
Most Important Pitcher: Logan Gilbert
Prospect to Watch: Julio Rodriguez
2022 Prediction: 3rd in AL West, WILD CARD, lose in ALDS
As a Mariners fan, it scares me to place them this high in my preseason rankings. Maybe that's why I'm predicting them to finish 3rd, but still make the playoffs and get out of the Wild Card Round. The M's were a surprise success last year and have definitely upgraded the rotation and the lineup. If everything pays off, the longest playoff draught around should end.
2021 Prediction: #13, 2nd in AL West
2021 Fearless Prediction: One of the Astros three core players left is playing their last season as an Astro.
2021 Result: #2, 95-67, 1st in AL West, lost in World Series
Most Important Hitter: Kyle Tucker
Most Important Pitcher: Justin Verlander
Prospect to Watch: Jeremy Pena
2022 Prediction: 2nd in AL West, WILD CARD, lose in ALDS
How many times can a team lose a superstar and not skip a beat? After the 2019 season, Gerrit Cole (3rd in team WAR) signs with the Yankees. After the 2020 season, George Springer (team leader in WAR) signs with the Blue Jays. After the 2021 season, Carlos Correa (team leader in WAR) signs with the Twins. Somehow they keep excelling. They have to be coming to the end of this magical run though.
San Diego Padres
2021 Prediction: #9, 2nd in NL West, WILD CARD, lose in Wild Card Game
2021 Fearless Prediction: The San Diego Padres will win the NL West in 2022.
2021 Result: #16, 79-83, 3rd in NL West
Most Important Hitter: Manny Machado
Most Important Pitcher: Yu Darvish
Prospect to Watch: C.J. Abrams
2022 Prediction: 2nd in NL West, WILD CARD, lose in NLDS
The Padres had an epic meltdown in 2021, going from one of the best teams in baseball in the first half to looking like a mess in the second half. Now they have one of the best managers in the game, one of the best young stars in the game, and still one of the best storylines in the game. The Padres are still ready to break out. They might not win the division this year, but they have to take a step forward.
2021 Prediction: #15, 2nd in NL Central
2021 Fearless Prediction: The Brewers will have no offensive players make the All Star Team.
2021 Result: #3, 95-67, 1st in NL Central, lost in NLDS
Most Important Hitter: Christian Yelich
Most Important Pitcher: Corbin Burnes
Prospect to Watch: Ethan Small
2022 Prediction: 1st in NL Central, lose in NLDS
The Brewers rode one of the best pitching staffs in baseball to another playoff run. They will need a repeat performance from the pitchers, led by reigning Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes, and a resurgence from former MVP Christian Yelich, to make a deep run in 2022.
New York Mets
2021 Prediction: #7, 2nd in NL East, WILD CARD, lose in NLDS
2021 Fearless Prediction: Robinson Cano has played his last game in the big leagues.
2021 Result: #17, 77-85, 3rd in NL East
Most Important Hitter: Francisco Lindor
Most Important Pitcher: Max Scherzer
Prospect to Watch: Brett Baty
2022 Prediction: 1st in NL East, lose in NLCS
If it was possible to buy a championship, the Mets did so this offseason. Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Mark Canha, Chris Bassitt ... they definitely spent the most money over the offseason. Now they have an All Star lineup with an old school veteran manager in Buck Showalter. They just might have what it takes to make a deep run in 2022.
Chicago White Sox
2021 Prediction: #2, 1st in AL Central, lose in World Series
2021 Fearless Prediction: Tony La Russa wins AL Manager of the Year.
2021 Result: #6, 93-69, 1st in AL Central, lose in ALDS
Most Important Hitter: Luis Robert
Most Important Pitcher: Michael Kopech
Prospect to Watch: Yoelqui Cespedes
2022 Prediction: 1st in AL Central, lose in ALCS
The White Sox have put together a terrific roster that looks ready to make a deep run in the postseason. They have had some experience the last few years. Even though they are starting the season with a bunch of injuries, they look ready to take another step forward this year.
Los Angeles Dodgers
2021 Prediction: #3, 1st in NL West, lose in NLCS
2021 Fearless Prediction: This is the last year Clayton Kershaw wears Dodgers blue.
2021 Result: #2, 106-56, 2nd in NL West, lose in NLCS
Most Important Hitter: Cody Bellinger
Most Important Pitcher: Julio Urias
Prospect to Watch: Michael Busch
2022 Prediction: 1st in NL West, lose in World Series
The amount of talent on the Dodgers roster is borderline ridiculous. To pick anyone other than the Dodgers to win it all should be considered controversial. It's also extremely boring. On top of that, the only time the Dodgers actually pulled out a championship during this run was the COVID-shortened 2020 season. They will be right there again in 2022, but I have them just short once again.
Toronto Blue Jays
2021 Prediction: #5, 2nd in AL East, WILD CARD, lose in ALDS
2021 Fearless Prediction: The Blue Jays will trade for a closer before Memorial Day.
2021 Result: #9, 91-71, 4th in AL East
Most Important Hitter: George Springer
Most Important Pitcher: Jose Berrios
Prospect to Watch: Gabriel Moreno
2022 Prediction: 1st in AL East, win World Series
No team has been through more adversity over the last two years than the Toronto Blue Jays. The 2020 season was spent in Buffalo, the 2021 season was split between their Spring Training home, Buffalo, and finally Toronto when COVID protocols allowed the border to be opened enough to let them travel there. They also play in probably the best division in baseball. They also have one of the greatest young cores in the game. They are battle tested, they have a perennial MVP candidate ... as long as their pitching can hold out, they have to be a candidate for the title. I can see it happen in 2022!