April 7, 2022
It's Opening Day! Well, not for the Mariners, their opener got pushed to tomorrow thanks to the weather in Minneapolis. Regardless, it means it's time once more for us to consult our tarot cards and exercise our talents at clairvoyance and predict how things will play out in 2022. Last year we got some right, some wrong, some really wrong, and generally demonstrated that sometimes we don't know nothin'. But what the hey, it's fun. So here goes! Participating are grandsalami.net contributors Andy Williams, Bill Abelson, Erik Lundegaard, Mark Nash, and myself. Last year it was Mark that had the best precognitive powers.
Who will win?
AL East winner
Andy: Blue Jays
Bill: Blue Jays
Mark: Blue Jays
Tim: Blue Jays
A clear favorite here despite the conventional wisdom that says the AL East is the most competitive division. Toronto is certainly packed with talent, though, and might have an advantage at home since Canada won't let anyone in that hasn't had their shots. Looking at you, Aaron Judge (among others). Erik differs with the rest of us, never underestimating the Yankees' ability to be a thorn in the side of righteousness.
AL Central winner
Andy: White Sox
Mark: White Sox
Tim: White Sox
The Chisox are still the class of the division, but Minnesota will rebound to at least respectability if not contention with their offseason makeover.
AL West winner
I think all of us would like to say Seattle takes the West, but, you know, we've been burned before. Andy seems to think the Angels will be healthy all year. Silly Andy.
AL Wild Cards
Andy: Yankees, Mariners, Rays
Bill: Astros, Red Sox, Yankees
Erik: Rays, Blue Jays, Red Sox
Mark: Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners
Tim: Mariners, Yankees, Angels
Except for Erik, who thinks last year's East division craziness will carry over to ’22, we all pick the M's to make the playoffs in some way. This three Wild Card thing is ridiculous, though.
NL East winner
Does Atlanta build on their World Series win, do the Phillies slug their way to a title, or do the Mets win with massive payroll? Atlanta seems the safer bet, yet the Mets still look good despite questions. Does Scherzer still got it? Will DeGrom miss too much time? Is Lindor going to rebound? Will Robbie Canó take more PEDs?
NL Central winner
Milwaukee has the pitching. St. Louis has the know-how. And the Nolan Arenado.
NL West winner
LA is obviously the favorite, they're stacked to the rafters. But now that Bob Melvin is out of Oakland and in San Diego, it's the Padres that will surpass the general expectations just like the A's did for so long and they'll challenge the Dodgers.
NL Wild Cards
Andy: Giants, Padres, Phillies
Bill: Giants, Braves, Padres
Erik: Padres, Braves, Cardinals
Mark: Giants, Padres, Mets
Tim: Dodgers, Braves, Cardinals
Am I the only one that doesn't think the Giants are going to be that good again? Then again, last year I thought they'd be lucky to be .500 and they had the best record in the Majors. <shrug>
Andy: Yankees, Braves ("I hope they both lose.")
Bill: Giants, Mariners
Erik: Twins, Brewers
Mark: Dodgers, Blue Jays
Tim: Blue Jays, Dodgers
Andy: No answer
Bill: Francisco Lindor, Shohei Ohtani
Erik: Juan Soto, Byron Buxton
Mark: Juan Soto, Vlad Guerrero Jr.
Tim: Freddie Freeman, Ty France
Vladdy Jr. is a solid choice, but don't sleep on Ty. Vlad will have more homers, but Ty the better overall line. Soto is on a bad team, which hurts his chances, but last-place teams have produced MVPs before (Andre Dawson, 1987, for one).
Cy Young winners
Once and future (?) Cy Young winner Robbie Ray
Andy: No answer
Bill: Julio Urias, Robbie Ray
Erik: Walker Buehler, José Berrios
Mark: Jacob DeGrom, Gerrit Cole
Tim: Brandon Woodruff, Lucas Giolito
Buehler and Cole are the conventional-wisdom favorites, but Urias and Berrios are interesting picks. Dark horses for sure, but plausible ones.
What about the Mariners?
Erik: 84-78, 1 game behind Boston for the last Wild Card berth
Who won't be a Mariner anymore by July 31st?
Andy: Drew Steckenrider
Bill: Diego Castillo
Erik: No answer
Mark: Luis Torrens
Tim: Justus Sheffield
None of us said Haniger, which is hopeful.
How many errors will be committed by 3B Eugenio Suárez?
Erik: No answer
Geno led NL third basemen in errors four times, with a career high of 23 in 2016. I think Perry Hill's coaching will keep him under 20. Don't know what Mark is thinking with just 12; maybe that he doesn't end up playing a lot of 3B?
Julio Rodríguez got Rookie of the Year support from everyone.
Andy: The M's will make the playoffs and lose in the 1st round. Suárez will post offensive numbers below Kyle Seager's 2021 stats. Jesse Winker will be the first Mariner on the injured list. Cal Raleigh will be optioned to Tacoma early. And the A's will announce a move out of Oakland.
Bill: James Paxton will win Pitcher of the Month in September, after another IL stint.
Erik: Twins beat the Brewers, 4 games to 3, in what’s called the Upper Midwest World Series. Game 7 at Target Field will be postponed three times because of snow and will finally be played on Nov. 5 in 28-degree weather, ending at 2:00am on the east coast. TV ratings are abysmal and baseball fans demand that the season/postseason be shortened so games are no longer scheduled for November. Rob Manfred and his committee respond by adding two more teams to the postseason and moving the World Series to a neutral, warm weather site. The first bidding war is won by Las Vegas, which hosts the 2025 World Series. “Betting is encouraged,” Manfred says with a grin. Pete Rose throws out the first pitch.
Tim: Fans in Philadelphia will riot when those that haven't kept up with the offseason realize the DH has infiltrated the National League. Citizen's Bank Park will have to close for repairs for a time and several hundred arrests will be made, all of which will be dismissed as the judge declares rioting against the DH is only sensible and not worthy of reprimand. Also: Bob Melvin wins NL Manager of the Year, the Angels keep sending guys to the injured list, Daniel Vogelbach becomes a Pittsburgh TV celebrity doing commercials for Primanti Brothers, the Mets win more games than the Yankees, and the Orioles lose 119 games as fans at Camden Yards hope for most losses in a season since 1900 only to fall one short. The Rays are in the race until the final game of the year, yet end up drawing less than 1,000,000 in home attendance for the season. Toronto bests the Dodgers in seven games in the World Series, prompting a "Canadian melee," which differs from a Detroit riot in that instead of setting cars on fire participants leave friendly notes of celebration under the wipers as they dance through the streets in Blue Jay toques singing along to Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
Disagreements? Other thoughts? Sound off in the comments below, let us know your own predictions!