October is here and so are the playoffs! Can the Dodgers finish off their year of dominance? Is this the year of destiny in New York? How did Cleveland get here, again? All those answers and more await in The Circuit’s awards and playoff predictions!
After a disastrous offseason that almost led to no baseball this summer, the MLB trudged on and had some great storylines! From the Mariners ending the longest playoff drought in North American Sports (sorry Sacramento Kings, you got next), to Aaron Judge breaking a 61 year-record that we are pretending we knew or cared about until this week, this was the most interesting MLB season in years. Before I hand out my awards and make my playoff predictions, let’s have some fun and see what I got wrong (and right) about the 2022 season!
3 Things I Got Right…
The Cardinals would win the NL Central…
I should get extra credit for this, as I made this pick without knowing they went back in time and signed Albert Pujols from 2005. I loved this team from the preseason, and have always thought they had a chance to be special this season. With two MVP candidates and Pujols turning back the clock, the Cards are primed for a deep October run.
The Cincinnati Reds would be bad…
Let’s stay in the NL Central because that’s where I thrived! I predicted the Reds would finish last, which they did (okay they tied, but on ESPN they’re at the bottom so I’m considering it a win). Granted they did pick it up after a historically awful start, but this team was about as bad as I expected. Really bad.
The Houston Astros would be fine without Correa
If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times; huge free agents switching teams almost never work. Correa going to the Twins smelled fishy from the start, and I expected the Astors to be just fine. Turns out they were 106 wins worth of just fine and won the AL West with ease.
3 Things I Got Wrong…
The Colorado Rockies would make the playoffs…
What the fuck was I thinking.
The Angels would make the playoffs…
I feel like I’m taking crazy pills with this team. They basically have Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron on the same team and had a championship manager… How were they this bad???
The Chicago White Sox would win the AL Central…
I’ve always been skeptical of this team with LaRussa managing them, but I thought their talent would prevail. Nope. This division was an absolute mess, which makes this disappointing season all the more disappointing.
Now let’s see how I did on my over/under predictions from the preseason!
1- Toronto Blue Jays (O/U 92.5= OVER) 92-70
2- New York Yankees (O/U 91.5= UNDER) 99-63
3- Boston Red Sox (O/U 85.5= OVER) 78-84
4- Tampa Bay Rays (O/U 89.5=UNDER) 86-76
5- Baltimore Orioles (O/U 62.5= UNDER) 83-79
1- Chicago White Sox (O/U 91.5= UNDER) 81-81
2- Detroit Tigers (O/U 77.5=OVER) 66-96
3- Minnesota Twins (O/U 81.5= OVER) 78-84
4- Kansas City Royals (O/U 74.5= OVER) 65-97
5- Cleveland Guardians (O/U 76.5= UNDER) 92-70
1- Houston Astros (O/U 91.5= OVER) 106-56
2- Los Angeles Angels (O/U 83.5= OVER) 73-89
3- Texas Rangers (O/U 74.5= OVER) 68-94
4- Seattle Mariners (O/U 83.5 UNDER) 90-72
5- Oakland Athletics (O/U 68.5= UNDER) 60-102
1- Philadelphia Phillies (O/U 86.5= OVER) 87-75
2- Atlanta Braves (O/U 91.5= UNDER) 101-61
3- New York Mets (O/U 88.5= UNDER) 101-61
4- Washington Nationals (O/U 71.5= OVER) 55-107
5- Miami Marlins (O/U 77.5= UNDER) 69-93
1- St. Louis Cardinals (O/U 84.5= OVER) 93-69
2- Milwaukee Brewers (O/U 89.5= UNDER) 86-76
3- Chicago Cubs (O/U 75.5= OVER) 74-88
4- Pittsburgh Pirates (O/U 65.5= OVER) 62-100
5- Cincinnati Reds (O/U 74.5= UNDER) 62-100
1- Los Angeles Dodgers (O/U 98.5= OVER) 111-51
2- Colorado Rockies (O/U 68.5= OVER) 68-94
3- San Francisco Giants (O/U 86.5= UNDER) 81-81
4- San Diego Padres (O/U 89.5= UNDER) 89-73
5- Arizona Diamondbacks (O/U 67.5= UNDER) 74-88
Wow. Excuse me while I go vomit in the dumpster behind the local iHop. Not my best work this season. I swear, I’m usually good at this (see my 2021-22 NBA over/unders; 23-30!). 11-30 is pretty abysmal, however in my defense, three of the ones I got wrong I was half a game off. But even flipping all those in my favor, I would still be under .500. Next year I vow to get over 20 correct! Mark my words.
Now let’s get to the awards!
American League MVP: Aaron Judge (New York Yankees)
Anyone who votes for Shohei Ohtani is a moron. I said it. Judge hit 62 home runs and nearly won the triple crown for a 99-win team; Ohtani played for a 73-win team. There is no argument here! Take Judge off the Yankees and they are probably as bad as the Angels are with Ohtani… Take Ohtani off the Angels and they’re, what, a 69-win team? This isn’t a conversation. Aaron Judge is the MVP and anything else is an atrocity.
American League Cy Young: Justin Verlander (Houston Astros)
What a season. After essentially missing two seasons, Verlander came back at his advanced age and absolutely dominated. He led the AL in wins and was the only pitcher in baseball (who qualified) with an ERA under 2. Cease had a strong season, but Verlander is the obvious choice.
American League Rookie of the Year: Julio Rodgriguez (Seattle Mariners)
He had a great season and he got the Mariners back in the playoffs. Is there another option here?
American League Manager of the Year: Brandon Hyde (Baltimore Orioles)
Usually I only give awards to playoff teams, but what Hyde did with the Orioles is nothing short of amazing. This team had no business winning 60 games, forget about 83.
National League MVP: Paul Goldschmidt (St. Louis Cardinals)
Goldy has been my MVP pick for a while now. He was top 5 in the NL in average, hits, home runs and RBIs and was the best player on a division winner. He deserves the award.
National League Cy Young: Julio Urias (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Urias was second in wins and led the league in ERA for one of the best teams ever. Sandy Alcantra had a wonderful season, but he pitched for a terrible Marlins team and I like to reward success. Urias won’t win the actual award, but he has my vote.
National League Rookie of the Year: Spencer Strider (Atlanta Braves)
Another pick that won’t actually win. Michael Harris, Strider’s teammate, will win this award. But Strider was particularly dominant this season, including setting the Braves single game strikeout record. Harris was great, but I preferred Strider.
National League Manager of the Year: Dave Roberts (Los Angeles Dodgers)
I don’t think Roberts is a particularly great manager. Why do I think that? The numerous playoff exits and questionable decisions. Anyone could manage this team to 90 wins in the regular season, but 111? At some point, the win total gets too high to ignore. I still don’t believe in him, but he gets the award.
The time has come! Let’s make some playoff predictions!
AL Wild Card:
Tampa Bay Rays def Cleveland Guardians 2-0
Seattle Mariners def Toronto Blue Jays 2-1
I picked Toronto to win the World Series in my preseason predictions, but they have literally provided no evidence that they are a great team, and they are up against the team of destiny in Seattle. But you better believe I will take full credit if they win, and will forget all the quarter polls where I abandoned them.
NL Wild Card:
St. Louis Cardinals def Philadelphia Phillies 2-1
New York Mets def San Diego Padres 2-0
Like Toronto, I picked Philadelphia to make the World Series in the preseason but I’m bailing on them as well. The Cardinals are red-hot and Pujols doesn’t appear to be ready to retire any time soon.
Houston Astros def Seattle Mariners 3-2
New York Yankees def Tampa Bay Rays 3-1
The Astors and Yankees are on a collision course; not even the Mariners of Destiny can stop them.
New York Mets def Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1
St. Louis Cardinals def Atlanta Braves 3-2
Like I said, I don’t trust Roberts in the playoffs. Plus the Mets have an incredible 1-2 punch that should thrive in October. And with all due respect to Atlanta, the Cardinals are rolling and will keep going into the NLCS.
New York Yankees def Houston Astros 4-2
This is the year of Judge and the year of the Yankees. The pitching finally matches the hitting, and the Astros make the World Series every other year, so they can’t get there in 2022. But they’ll be back in 2023!
New York Mets def St. Louis Cardinals 4-3
Despite Pujols, The Mets are destined to face the Yankees. I don’t make the rules, the universe does.
New York Yankees def New York Mets 4-2 (WS MVP: Gerrit Cole)
The Subway Series Part II will live up to the hype with deGrom vs. Judge, but in the end the Yankees end their “drought” and win banner #28!
There you have it! Let’s see how well I did as the playoffs go on, and make sure to come back next spring for my (hopefully improved) 2023 MLB predictions!