You don’t need sportswriters to tell you that the Dodgers are going to be better than the Diamondbacks this year. You already know that. At the same time, it feels wrong to go into the baseball season without looking ahead at it, without trying to gaze into a crystal ball to make some kind of picks.
We’re not interested in whether or not anyone is going to be good, because baseball teams tell us that themselves with the rosters they assemble and the money they spend. We want to know how frustrated we’re going to be watching these teams play all summer.
That’s why Deadspin’s 2022 MLB season preview is calibrated by each team’s season win total over/under line. Take the Yankees, for instance. Caesars’ sportsbook set their line at 92.5 wins. Of the 10 Deadspin preview panelists, two of us think they’ll go over, and eight think under.
That gives the Yankees a 2. Our methodology is simple: teams are ranked from 0-10, based on how many of us think they’re going over their win total line. Teams at a 5, we’re evenly split. Above that, we’re calling for the over. Below it, the under. And our confidence is reflected in the score. It’s simpler to discern just by looking at the list than by reading this explanation, so let’s just go ahead to the teams. Their target tumblers are in parentheses.
8: Chi. White Sox (91.5), St. Louis (85.5)
7: L.A. Dodgers (97.5) Houston (92.5), Tampa Bay (89.5), Boston (85.5), San Francisco (85.5), Washington (70.5)
6: Toronto (91.5), San Diego (88.5), Milwaukee (88.5), Seattle (84.5), Minnesota (80.5), Detroit (78.5)
5: Atlanta (90.5) L.A. Angels (84.5), Chi. Cubs (74.5), Texas (74.5), Colorado (69.5), Baltimore (62.5)
4: Philadelphia (84.5), Cleveland (75.5), Miami (75.5), Oakland (71.5)
3: Arizona (65.5), Pittsburgh (64.5)
2: N.Y. Yankees (92.5), N.Y. Mets (90.5), Cincinnati (75.5) Kansas City (75.5)
So, we don’t think any of the lines are… all that out of line. Looks like a lot of groans ahead in New York, though. And to be clear, this means that Deadspin is saying the 2022 Cardinals are underrated. When they say nobody believed in them, that will be a lie.
Except we’re still not picking the Cards to win the NL Central. We think they’ll be overachievers, yes, but when we picked division winners, it was still Milwaukee with the edge over St. Louis. Should be a fun summer between those teams in the Midwest, with the rest of the division also existing.
Here’s how we see the divisions, the breakdown of our picks to win each…
AL East: Toronto (5), Tampa Bay (3), Boston, New York
AL Central: Chicago (7), (Minnesota (2), Cleveland
AL West: Houston (8), Los Angeles, Oakland
NL East: Atlanta (5), New York (2), Philadelphia (2), Washington
NL Central: Milwaukee (5), St. Louis (4), Chicago
NL West: Los Angeles (8), Colorado, San Diego
We have more staff debate over who will win the NL East than who will have the most wins in the majors. That vote was a landslide (not all panelists voted on every question).
Most wins: L.A. Dodgers (5), Chi. White Sox (2), N.Y. Mets
Most losses: Baltimore (3), Oakland (2), Arizona, Miami, Pittsburgh, Seattle
The first manager out? We don’t know. David Bell of the Reds was the only person picked twice, with votes also going to Terry Francona (Cleveland), Bud Black (Colorado), Craig Counsell (Milwaukee), Rocco Baldelli (Minnesota), Aaron Boone (N.Y. Yankees), Derek Shelton (Pittsburgh), and Chris Woodward (Texas).
How about some individual predictions?
AL batting champion: Tim Anderson (5), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3), Wander Franco
NL batting champion: Juan Soto (4), Mookie Betts (2), Trea Turner (2), Ozzie Albies
AL home runs leader: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (6), Joey Gallo, Aaron Judge, Shohei Ohtani
NL home runs leader: Bryce Harper (3), Ronald Acuña Jr., Pete Alonso, Kris Bryant, Matt Olson, Kyle Schwarber, Juan Soto
AL RBI leader: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (5), Jose Abreu (2), Luis Robert, Mike Trout
NL RBI leader: Freddie Freeman (6), Pete Alonso, Matt Olson, Juan Soto
AL wins leader: Lucas Giolito (2), Justin Verlander (2), Gerrit Cole, Nathan Eovaldi, Kevin Gausman, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Framber Valdez
NL wins leaders: Jacob deGrom (3), Max Scherzer (2), Walker Buehler, Aaron Nola, Julio Urias, Logan Webb
AL ERA leader: Shane Bieber (3), Shohei Ohtani (3), Lucas Giolito, Tyler Glasnow, Justin Verlander
NL ERA leader: Walker Buehler (3), Jacob deGrom (3), Max Scherzer (2), Corbin Burnes
AL strikeouts leader: Gerrit Cole (4), Shane Bieber (3), Jose Berrios
NL strikeouts leader: Max Scherzer (3), Walker Buehler (2), Jacob deGrom (2), Corbin Burnes
Obviously, more than one of us made our picks before Jacob deGrom’s injury news. Of course, if there’s anyone who could miss a month and still lead the league in strikeouts, it’s deGrom.
When we got to the pennants, again, the Dodgers are clearly the favorites…
American League champion: Chicago (4), Houston (2), Boston, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, Toronto
National League champion: Los Angeles (7), Colorado, New York, St. Louis
And for the whole ball of wax? We’re actually pretty settled. Deadspin predicts the 2022 World Series will be Dodgers over White Sox. Unless it isn’t.
World Series winner: L.A. Dodgers (4), Chi. White Sox (2), Boston, Houston, N.Y. Mets, Toronto