The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.


Sports Authority

Moller: 2022 Major League Baseball Predictions

| Tuesday, March 29, 2022

With the Major League Baseball season kicking off in just over a week, it’s time to make some preseason playoff and World Series picks. With the newly expanded playoffs, there will now be three Wild Card teams, which should be exciting. I’ll give my playoff teams and then my playoff predictions.

American League

1. Chicago White Sox (AL Central Champs): The White Sox have high expectations this season, and the sky should be the limit. The AL Central is weak, and the White Sox should win the division comfortably. No other team in the division has anything close to the pitching staff that the White Sox possess in Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Dylan Cease, Dallas Keuchel and Michael Kopech. They have plenty of firepower behind the plate in Tim Anderson, Luis Robert, Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez as well.

2. Toronto Blue Jays (AL East Champs): The Blue Jays are poised to finally win the AL East for the first time since 2015. They have a very solid rotation in Jose Berrios, Kevin Gausman, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Alek Manoah and Yusei Kikuchi. Behind the plate they will have George Springer, Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez, which should be enough firepower to lead the Jays to a division title.

3. Houston Astros (AL West Champs): Losing Carlos Correa will hurt, but the Astros return the majority of their lineup from last year, as they will still have Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez. The Astros should be able to win yet another AL West title with the firepower they have from behind the plate.

4. New York Yankees (Wild Card #1): The Yankees have been in the playoffs nearly every year in recent memory, but they surprisingly only have one AL East title since 2013. They have a great lineup once again, yet some questionable offseason moves will relegate them to a wild card yet again.

5. Tampa Bay Rays (Wild Card #2): The Rays never seem to have a ton of stars, but they are a fundamentally sound baseball team that simply knows how to win. The Rays have dominated the East the last two seasons and there is no reason to believe they won’t find success again this year.

6. Minnesota Twins (Wild Card #3): The Twins would have been nowhere near the playoffs just a couple of weeks ago, but after a series of impressive offseason moves gave the Twins Carlos Correa, Gio Urshela and Sonny Gray, the Twins should be right in the thick of the playoff conversation. Correa and Urshela will be inserted into a lineup that has Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco and Luis Arraez, and I expect this team to score a lot of runs. The starting pitching and bullpen is a huge concern, though, and it will prevent the Twins from being a serious contender.

National League

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (NL West Champs): Believe it or not, the Dodgers managed to improve their lineup in the offseason, adding Freddie Freeman to a lineup that already had Mookie Betts, Max Muncy, Trea Turner and Justin Turner among others. Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw are one of the best 1-2 punches in baseball as well. On paper, the Dodgers are definitely the best team in baseball this season, so now they will just have to prove it on the field.

2. Atlanta Braves (NL East Champs): The defending champs have Matt Olson instead of Freddie Freeman, but the rest of the team remains largely unchanged. Getting Ronald Acuña Jr. back in May will certainly help as well as the Braves look to defend their title. Like the Dodgers, the Braves have one of the best rosters on paper, but it remains to be seen if the Braves have the same type of magic they had in last year’s World Series run.

3. Milwaukee Brewers (NL Central Champs): The Brew Crew is poised to defend their NL Central title behind a starting rotation led by Corbin Burnes. The Brewers should have one of the best bullpens in baseball this year too, and if their hitting can come together, they could be one of the favorites to win the World Series.

4. New York Mets (Wild Card #1): Having Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer as a 1-2 punch will win you a lot of games, and the Mets should win a lot of games in 2022. This team has underperformed for a long time, though, but the Mets should 100% be a playoff team in 2022. I don’t believe they have quite the offensive firepower to beat the Braves in the division, but they should make the division race interesting at the very least.

5. San Francisco Giants: The Giants had a surprisingly successful 2021 season come to an end at the hands of the Dodgers in the NLDS, and they will look to avenge that loss this year. They added Carlos Rodon to their starting rotation in the offseason, which should help. I see the Giants as a playoff team, but I do see them regressing significantly from the 107 wins they had last year.

6. St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals finally gelled at the end of last season, going 22-7 in the month of September to claim a Wild Card spot. That should be a good sign for the Cardinals this year as they look to make the playoffs again and keep pace with the Brewers in the central. With a lineup constant of Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Tommy Edman and Tyler O’Neill, the Cards should be a legitimate contender in 2022.

Playoff Predictions

First Round (Best of three series)
(3) Houston Astros over (6) Minnesota Twins (two games)
(4) New York Yankees over (5) Tampa Bay Rays (three games)

(6) St. Louis Cardinals over (3) Milwaukee Brewers (three games)
(4) New York Mets over (5) San Francisco Giants (three games)

Second Round (Best of five series)
(4) New York Yankees over (1) Chicago White Sox (five games)
(2) Toronto Blue Jays over (3) Houston Astros (four games)

(1) Los Angeles Dodgers over (4) New York Mets (five games)
(2) Atlanta Braves over (6) St. Louis Cardinals (three games)

Championship Series (Best of seven series)
(2) Toronto Blue Jays over (4) New York Yankees (seven games)
(1) Los Angeles Dodgers over (2) Atlanta Braves (five games)

World Series

Toronto Blue Jays over Los Angeles Dodgers (seven games)

Picking the Blue Jays is a bold pick, but I really think this team has one of the best overall lineups and starting rotations in all of baseball. Yes, the Dodgers will be the favorites, but I think they will choke again, giving the Blue Jays their first World Series title since 1993.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Tags: , , , ,

About Nate Moller

Nate is a junior majoring in chemical engineering. He is originally from a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota and is currently living in Siegfried Hall. Some of his passions include running, cross country skiing, and getting too worked up about Notre Dame and Minnesota sports teams.

Contact Nate