Updated: Sep 21, 2022
With just over one month left in the season, it’s time for the MLB 3rd quarter polls! From things I got very wrong to who will win the World Series, this post covers everything from the first 120(ish) games of the MLB season!
Getty Images/Circuit Artwork
A few months ago we all thought there might not be baseball until the 4th of July… Now we’re halfway through the season! From the Dodgers kicking everyone’s ass to the Orioles making a run, I cover it all! Before we get into playoff & award predictions, let’s have some fun and see what I appear to be right about, and what I appear to be very very wrong about!
3 Things I Hit Out of the Park…
1- The Cardinals would win the NL Central…
I know I used the Cardinals in this section in the 2nd Quarter Polls, but I got so few things right I’m hoping you can cut me some slack. The Cards are rolling right now as they start to pull away from Milwaukee and the rest of the poo-poo platter that is the NL Central. With Goldschmidt playing at an MVP-level and Pujols looking like Donkey Kong in Mario Baseball, St. Louis will be a tough out come October.
2- The Astros wouldn’t skip a beat…
Many worried losing Correa would be a big loss, but those people have just never watched baseball before; Big free agent signings almost never work, and the teams those players leave almost never miss them. I call this the Pujols Polarization (this theory does not pertain to trades; sorry Red sox fans, you really fucked that Betts thing up). I knew Houston would roll the AL West, especially with Verlander coming back. Altuve, Tucker, Alvarez, way too much talent to be denied. Look for them to make another deep run this fall.
3- The Dodgers would win 100 games…
Like I said, I didn’t hit on much this season. This is pretty low-hanging fruit, but I did say the Dodgers would go over 98.5 wins, and I expected to easily clear the 100 win bar. Whether or not they can win the World Series is another question entirely, but they will win more than enough games to be in that position.
Now what I swung and missed on…
1- The Orioles would be awful…
Can you blame me??? Did anyone think this team could win 70 games? If your hand is up, you’re lying. Did anyone see them in the playoff hunt? If your hand is up, then you are definitely lying not only to me, but to yourself. For them to be in striking distance of a wild card and comfortably ahead of the Red Sox (my fellow New Englander’s are catching some strays in this quarter poll) is astounding. They’re the antithesis of the Rockies for me this season. Fuck the Rockies.
2- The Mariners would miss the playoffs…
I had the Angels getting in and Seattle missing out. Very wrong indeed. But in my defense, they haven’t made the playoffs since I was 5, so I thought I was safe. But they are rolling with some really exciting players, so I should be able to watch a Mariners playoff game for the first time in my life this fall.
3- The White Sox would be contenders…
I picked Chicago to go under 91.5, but I did expect them to win the AL Central and be a tough out in the playoffs. I have always been firmly against LaRussa coaching them, but with Anderson and Lynn I thought they could overcome poor managing. Nope. Now I played baseball through middle school and some travel ball, so I wasn’t exactly a top prospect. However, I do think I know that intentionally walking a batter with two strikes is probably not the best strategic move. With a roster as talented as this, I expect a new skipper next year and a rejuvenated contender. Until then, The White Sox will be watching the playoffs on TBS.
Now Let’s Make Some Playoff Predictions!
AL Wild Card:
Seattle Mariners def Cleveland Guardians 2-1
Just getting in isn't enough; these Mariners came to win! Cleveland is a fun story but I don't see them actually winning a series, so J-Rod carries Seattle to the ALDS.
Tampa Bay Rays def Toronto Blue Jays 2-0
My World Series pick going up in smoke! What a disappointing season north of the border. Tampa is too disciplined and too skilled to lose to the Blue Jays.
NL Wild Card:
St. Louis Cardinals def San Diego Padres 2-0
This Tatis situation is a mess, and I don't see the Padres getting through the Cards. Maybe next year San Diego (please re-read that in Ron Burngandy's voice).
Atlanta Braves def Philadelphia Phillies 2-0
They're the champs for a reason. I don't see them going on a run like last fall, but I do see them outlasting the Phillies.
Houston Astros def Tampa Bay Rays 3-1
Tampa is the best talent-developing franchise in all of sports. I said it. Unfortunately, they struggle keeping that talent at a certain point, and I see Houston being too deep to overcome.
New York Yankees def Seattle Mariners 3-0
The Mariners feel-good season will come crashing down upon them when they go up against the Yankees. Remember the last time these teams met in the playoffs? I don't. Because I was 5, remember? But I've heard it wasn't pretty.
Los Angeles Dodgers def Atlanta Braves 3-2
Just too much talent here. I respect the hell out of the Braves for being this good after losing Freeman and dealing with a World Series hangover, but the Dodgers get to the NLCS. It's what they do.
New York Mets def St. Louis Cardinals 3-1
The Cardinals are really good. Unfortunately I don't think Pujols will continue his home run parade in the fall, and the Mets pitching will win out.
New York Yankees def Houston Astros 4-2
This is the year for the Yankees. I can feel it. Judge has reached supernova levels, they actually have pitching and Boone might be good? (I've always thought he is good, for the record). Houston will be a tough out, but the Yankees will overcome.
New York Mets def Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2
As great as the Dodgers are, they have proven to be vulnerable in the playoffs. The over/under for World Series titles for them since 2016 should be 2.5, and I would probably have bet on the over. So to only (*only*, tell that to Cubs fans!) have 1 shows they aren't as unstoppable as they may seem. If the Mets are healthy, they will be the latest to upset the mighty Dodgers.
New York Mets def New York Yankees 4-2 (WS MVP: Jacob deGrom)
A Subway Series for the ages! Does anyone object to a Judge-deGrom showdown in late October? I think the Mets pitching will be too much for the Yankee bats to overcome, and the Mets will finally topple the big brother Yankees (but they still will be #2 in that city. Nothing could ever change that.)
AL MVP: Aaron Judge (New York Yankees)
The Yankees have been slipping as of late, but Judge is still mashing homers at a 60-something clip. He’s the best player on one of the top teams in the sport, he should win this award. Altuve already screwed him once back in 2017, so an MVP is in order for Judge.
NL MVP: Paul Goldschmidt (St. Louis Cardinals)
Goldschmidt is in a really great position here; the Dodgers are too loaded so none of them stand out (unless you’re a Red Sox fan, then Betts does. Okay, that was my final Boston shot. Maybe.), the Padres are starting to fade PLUS they just traded for Soto, so Machado feels like he’s falling behind. Goldschmidt’s own teammate Arenado is underachieving and the best Mets players are pitchers who have fought injuries. Goldy is likely to win this award on attrition alone, but he is a deserving winner on a very good team.
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander (Houston Astros)
Verlander has been way out in front for a long time now. He’s been the leader at all 3 quarter polls to this point, and I don’t really see anyone who could stop him. He leads the AL in wins by 4, ERA by 0.4 (which is a metric shit-ton) and is second in quality starts behind his teammate. Pretty good for a 39 year-old coming off of Tommy John surgery.
NL Cy Young: Tony Gonsolin (Los Angeles Dodgers)
This one truly is anyone’s game. I had Scherzer after 40 games and Musgrove after 80, but Gonsolin seems to be *slightly* ahead now after 120. He leads the NL in wins and ERA, and he’s on the best team, so that’s good enough for me.
AL Manager of the Year: Brandon Hyde (Baltimore Orioles)
Wow. Usually I only give awards to playoff participants, and I don’t see the Orioles making it, but this has to go to Hyde. The Orioles were expected to lose 100+ games and they’re likely going to finish over .500. If the Yankees had continued at their historic clip I probably would have leaned Boone, but because they cracked the door open I have Hyde smashing through it.
NL Manager of the Year: Buck Showalter (New York Mets)
Showalter has dealt with a lot of injuries to his pitching staff, as well as lofty expectations from an owner in win-now mode, and has lived up to them. I’ve seen too many Dodgers playoff games to actually say with a straight face Roberts is the Manager of the Year, so there aren’t many options here. Buck is the best of the crop.
AL RoY: Julio Rodriguez (Seattle Mariners)
This has become a tight race between Rodriguez and Andy Rutschman of the Orioles. I’m going to give Rodriguez the edge since he’s been the leader for this award all season, but the gap is closing quickly. If Baltimore does end up in the playoffs, I’m giving it to Rutschman, but for now Rodriguez holds it.
NL RoY: Spencer Strider (Atlanta Braves)
What a crapshoot. I don’t feel great about any of the rookies in the NL, and since I recently befriended a Braves fan, I will throw them a bone here.
There you have it! Make sure to check back in after the regular season is over for the playoff predictions to see who I pick to win it all, who I think should win the awards and my overall thoughts on the 2022 season!