2022 MLB standings predictions: Where will the Cubs finish?
American League West: Can the Astros stay on top without Carlos Correa?
1: Houston Astros (91-71)
Losing Carlos Correa is very significant. One could wonder how much that will end up impacting the Astros. The thing is, the team is still very good. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Michael Brantley, Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker and Yuli Gurriel will all return. Bregman has had some wrist issues but if he is healthy he is one of the best hitting infielders in baseball.
Tucker had a huge breakout season last year with 30 homers and a 5.0 fWAR season. The rotation will hopefully see the return of a healthy Justin Verlander, along with Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, Jake Odorizzi and eventually Lance McCullers Jr, who is recovering from injury. Right now it makes sense to pick them winning the division again, even without Correa.
2: Seattle Mariners (90-72)
Is this FINALLY the year the Mariners play baseball in October? Hopes are high in Seattle after they just missed out on the postseason last year. The team built around 22-year-old Jarred Kelenic has made some notable additions including signing pitcher Robbie Ray, trading for outfielders Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker from the Reds, and acquiring second baseman Adam Frazier from the Padres.
Mitch Haniger is coming off a 30-homer season with first baseman Ty France coming off a 3.5 fWAR campaign. The rest of the pitching rotation under Ray was not out of this world last year, but decent. Marco Gonzales when at his best is a very solid starter. This team can finally take that step forward, especially in a “meh” division.
3: Los Angeles Angels (79-83)
It is incredibly frustrating to see the talents of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani go to waste. These two electrify baseball but never have a good enough team around them. Trout is your centerfielder with Ohtani as both your ace and slugging DH. You will get a ton of strikeouts and home runs from Ohtani…in a good way.
Manager Joe Maddon will be praying for Anthony Rendon to be healthy this year, who only appeared in 58 games in 2021. They’re taking a flyer on former Mets fireballer Noah Syndergaard, and who knows how that will work out. At best, this is probably a team that finishes just under or at .500 yet again.
4: Texas Rangers (77-85)
The Rangers made some massive moves this offseason, getting former Dodgers star Corey Seager and 2021 All-Star Marcus Semien via free agency. Another solid addition was former Rockies starter Jon Gray. While these moves obviously make them better, they are coming off a 100+ loss season and the roster just is not very strong around those three guys.
Luckily their future looks promising as they have five of baseball’s top 100 prospects, including pitcher Jack Leiter. Seager and Semien will be around for a while as they are the building blocks of the next era of Rangers baseball. 2022 is going to be a big step forward for this franchise.
5: Oakland A’s (60-102)
It’s a teardown in Oakland. Billy Beane is going in rebuild mode and stocking up on prospects as he has sold off most of the A’s core. A few veteran role players remain in Elvis Andrus, Stephen Piscotty and Tony Kemp. Beane can find a way to build them back into contention soon, but this year will be very rough in Oakland. Queue the Moneyball memes.
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There will certainly be some teams that surprise in both good and bad ways. It was a wild offseason with everything that happened, but we got 162 games to go before we see how accurate people’s predictions are. Let’s play ball.