Predicting the winners of the 2022 division and the World Series champion

Each season has its share of surprises that no one expected. Just take, for example, 2021, when the Braves with 88 wins, which lost its best player due to injury at the end of the season in July, beat the Dodgers with 106 wins in the NLCS and defeated Astros in the World Series.

With the expansion of the post-season field in 2022 things could become even more unpredictable, but we asked our forecasters to do their best. A group of 73 MLB.com experts cast their votes for each division winner and Wild Card team in both the American League and the National League, as well as for the two pennant winners and World Series champions. Here are the results.

AL East went down in history in 2021, becoming the first division in the Wild Card era (since 1995) and the second in the division era (since 1969), where four teams won 90 or more victories. Despite a 91-71 score, the Blue Jays remained off the field. This season the division is re-formed, but most MLB.com voters believe Toronto is ready to climb.

Led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bischet, George Springer, Theoscar Hernandez and recently acquired third baseman Matt Chapman, Toronto had to have one of the best crimes in baseball, even after losing Marcus Semen to Rangers in the Rangers. The Blue Jays have also lost El Sai Young award winner Robbie Ray and Stephen Matz from their rotation, but they have signed Kevin Gaussman and Usai Kikuchi as replacements and will have Jose Berios and Alex Manoa for the entire season, potentially giving the club improved staffing.

No team has won in its division with more games last season than the White Sox, which outscored the second-placed Guardians by 13 games. With the Twins added Carlos Correa and Sonny Gray; Javier Baes, Eduardo Rodriguez and overall No. 1 in the 2020 draft Spencer Torkelson (MLB № 4 prospect on the MLB pipeline) joined the Tigers; and Bobby Witt Jr. (prospective number 1 from MLB) debut for the Royals, AL Central may be more competitive in 2022 – but our group sees Chicago take the crown again.

It’s easy to see why the White Sox got so much support in our poll. They have a great core in place; added veterans AJ Pollock, Josh Harrison and Kendall Graveman; and may receive a larger contribution from Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopecha and Andrew Vaughn in 2022.

Although they have lost Gerrit Cole, George Springer, Charlie Morton and others in recent years due to human rights work, Astros has managed to keep the title window open and our voters don’t think Korea’s departure will stop this train .

Houston went into the World Series last season for the third time in five years, and although his short-stop of all stars is gone, the club still has a talent for making noise again in 2022, especially when Justin Verlander returns to form after as missed all last season during recovery from Tommy John’s surgery.

AL Wild Cards: Rays, Red Sox, Yankees

Does AL East have another big year to spare? Our voters, of course, think so, choosing four teams from the division to seize seats after the season.

After entering the World Series in 2020, “Race” won a record 100 franchise games for the season back on the way to the division title, and the prodigy club Wander Franko has the opportunity to earn another place after the season. After debuting last June at the age of 20, the former No. 1 prospect at MLB put together a historic series of 43 games at the base and ended his opening season with 129 OPS +, then signed an 11-year contract for $ 182 million – the richest deal in franchise history.

Boston returned from last place in the shortened 2020 season to earn a Wild Card spot and nearly went on the march in last year’s collection of short stories for the World Series. The Red Sox defeated rival Yankees in the AL Wild Card game at Fenway Park before beating Tampa Bay in the ALDS and playing Houston fiercely in the ALCS. Boston now has Trevor Story at second base after signing a long-standing Rockies short stop for a six-year deal for $ 140 million in March.

The Yankees traded for Josh Donaldson, but they were uncharacteristically quiet when it came to the free agent market. Instead, they are looking forward to rebound seasons from remnants such as DJ Lemahe, Gleiber Torres and Joey Gala, and are looking for Luis Severin and Aaron Hicks to regain their strengths after injuries.

It’s been almost three decades since the Blue Jays last reached the World Series and won the 1992-93 championship. Toronto approached in 2015 and 2016, getting into the ALCS each year, but losing to Kansas City and Cleveland respectively. Our group believes that this is the year when the drought will end, and most voters predict that Vlad Jr., Bo and Co. will reach the fall classics.

The brave would have easily waved a white flag after superstar outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. got a torn PKS last July, but the team didn’t. Supported by the changes of Jorge Soler, Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario and Jock Pederson, Atlanta went on a magical run that led to the first World Series franchise championship since 1995. Most of the club’s key players have returned to defend the title, with one notable exception: first baseman Freddie Freeman, who now wears Dodger Blue.

Freeman’s loss will take some time to overcome, but the Braves have a capable replacement for Matt Olson, who was acquired in A and signed an eight-year deal for $ 168 million. Acuña is expected to return in May, which could give Atlanta enough firepower to deter other contenders in the highly competitive NL East.

In 2021, Milwaukee took fourth place in a row after the season, beating NL Central thanks to an impressive trip led by three aces of NL Cy Young Award winners Corbyn Burns, Brendan Woodruff and Freddie Peralta, and the closure of Josh Hayder.

Our expert team expects the crew to do it again, but for that to work, the club may need to get more production from MVP NL 2018 Christian Elic, who scored .234 / .360 / .392 out of 21 homers in 175 games for the last two seasons.

It’s hard to lose the talent that just made Los Angeles – Max Scherzer, Corey Seeger and Kenley Jansen are gone – and not miss a single hit. But if any team can do that, it’s the Dodgers, who have not only the infrastructure to keep knocking out the stars from the inside, but also the financial strength to add the necessary reinforcements. Tre Turner, acquired by the Nationals as part of the same deal that led Scherzer to Los Angeles in a 2021 trade term, switched to a short stop to replace Seeger, and the Dodgers re-signed Chris Taylor and Clayton Kershaw before transferring Freeman for six- year, a deal for $ 162 million.

It took the Giants a season with 107 wins to break the eight-year Dodgers division title, but our experts believe Los Angeles will return to first place in 2022.

NL Wild Cards: Giants, Metz, Padres

Although there is an additional Wild Card this year, the field of teams vying for three places may be overcrowded. The Cardinals remain a contender after winning second place in the NL Wild Card last season, with Phyllis, Marlins, Nationals and Cubs improving, but MLB.com experts have chosen the Giants, Mets and Padres to get out of the pack.

After a record 107 wins, San Francisco had a lot of work to do after Buster Posey resigned and Chris Bryant became a free agent along with four-fifths of his rotation. The Giants brought back Brendan Belt, Anthony DeSklafani and Alex Wood and signed Carlos Radon, Alex Kobe, Matthew Boyd and Pederson. Joey Bart, MLB prospect № 31, has to take on fishing responsibilities.

The Mats’ chances of a post-season hit have increased with news that ace Jacob deGrom has been deprived of the opportunity to quit for four weeks after an MRI revealed a stress reaction in his right shoulder blade, but the team’s off-season action makes it better equipped to deal with injury deGroma than it was last year when he threw just 92 innings. New York added Scherzer and Chris Basito to its rotation and eliminated its crime with the additions of Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Marc Kanya.

As for the injured stars, Fernando Tatis Jr. is expected to miss a few months after surgery on a fractured left wrist. Tatis ’injury came after an epic crash in San Diego last season when the club ended the year 12-34. But the Friars still have plenty of talent, especially on the serve side: new acquisitions Sean Monet and Nick Martinez, prospect Mackenzie Gore and Mike Clevinger, who has returned, have joined Yu Darvis, Joe Musgrove, Blake Snell and Chris Pedak in the team’s stables. weapons.

The Dodgers in the World Series have become a common sight for baseball fans: Los Angeles has represented the NL in the Fall Classic for three of the past five years. The Dodgers seem to have set themselves up to make another race in 2022.

World Series Champion: Dodgers

The team has stars all over the diamond – including four former MVPs in Freeman, Kershaw, Muki Bates and Cody Bellinger – and it is eager for another championship after failing a year ago. Our experts see the Dodgers dominate the World Series match against the Blue Jays and lift the trophy for the second time in three years.

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