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MLB Opening Day Predictions 2022

Day 1 playoff predictions for Day 162

Happy Baseball Day, everyone!

After the lockout and the offseason that wasn’t, MLB fans everywhere are excited to get back to baseball (except the rained out Red Sox-Yankees opener). The free agent market was hotter than it’s been in a long time with big names changing teams. It’s going to take some time to adjust to seeing Freddie Freeman in Dodgers blue. Here are my predictions on which teams will take their divisions and which teams may sneak into the Wild Card with the expanded playoff format.

AL East: Toronto Blue Jays

The AL East has been stacked for a long time. Now that this young Blue Jays core has had a couple years together in the big league and they will finally have a full season at their regular home in Toronto (thanks, Dunedin and Buffalo), the Jays are going to be dangerous this season. The most impressive addition for them has been starting pitching, that should stifle a lot of bats in a very competitive division. The Jays may even some MVP hardware make it’s way north this year.

NL East: Philadelphia Phillies

I’m tempted to go with the Mets here, and while they have great starting pitching, I don’t know if they have the bats to carry them through the season. While I think the Atlanta Braves will make a push, I have a feeling that injuries might keep them chasing a Wild Card spot. The Phillies have a strong starting rotation and bats to back them up. Hopefully, good management will keep them on pace for an 85+ win season; should be enough to take the division.

AL Central: Chicago White Sox

Detroit and Minnesota made some great signings in the offseason, but it won’t be enough to topple the White Sox this season. Who knows? With the new playoff format, maybe the White Sox will actually make it through the first round of the playoffs this year.

NL Central: Milwaukee Brewers

Starting pitching is going to be what carries this team to the playoffs, and potentially the NLCS. Hunter Renfroe will add a strong right-handed bat to the lineup that should have an immediate impact. The Cardinals will make a strong push, but I think they’ll end up in the Wild Card hunt.

AL West: Seattle Mariners

I have an upset going down in the West. Seattle should win more than 90 games this season. While Correa leaving the Astros will have an impact on the team, Houston will still be a strong competitor for the division. But the AL’s path to the World Series may not run through Houston this year.

NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers

It’s not fair. This team’s pitching depth is insane. There is no excuse why this team can’t go 162-0 this season, but they’ll find a way to lose close to 50 games this season. As long as they aren’t plagued by injuries–and the Giant’s don’t post another miracle (regular) season–the Dodgers should have the division wrapped up in mid-September.

AL Wild Card: Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, and Boston Red Sox

The AL East is stacked with four potential playoff teams and the Baltimore Orioles, who might as well start the season eliminated from playoff contention. Tampa put up an impressive 100-win season, ate some popcorn, and got eliminated in an intense ALDS by the Red Sox.

The Red Sox are being counted out by a lot of “experts” but the same thing happened last year. What’s up Boston’s sleeve this year? Pitching depth. The Sox acquired Michael Wacha, Rich Hill, and James Paxton before the lockout. With Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta leading the staff while Chris Sale and Paxton work their way back–and young stars Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck in relief (and possible future starters)–the Red Sox should post a stronger season than they did last year. Oh, and Trevor Story is the starting second baseman.

Houston has been dominant in the West and made the ALCS every year since 2017, but this might be the year the train starts to fall off the tracks. Look for Houston to make some mid-season moves for pitching, especially in the bullpen. It will be interesting to see how much Correa’s missing platinum glove will impact the team.

NL Wild Card: San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, and New York Mets

The Giants should come down to Earth this season after last season’s incredible battle against the Dodgers to win the division. While they won’t likely push another 100-win season, 90+ wins sounds more than reasonable for this staff.

St. Louis will make a push for the division, but I’m not sure they have what it takes to bump the Brew Crew down a peg. Look for the red birds to make the playoffs. At the very least, Albert Pujols will put in the work to try to go out on top.

I’ll be honest, I feel shaky about the Mets. I’m sure some Mets fans feel the same. The additions they were able to make over the offseason will certainly help, but will it be enough to post an 80+ win season?

 

As always, feel free to tell me I’m wrong in the comments or on Twitter @prof_spoopy.

Written by Ryan Fay

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