We are near the midway mark in the 2022 MLB season. Halfway to 162 games, we decided to revisit our preseason predictions and make revisions based on what we just witnessed in the year’s first half. Sure, there is plenty of ball left, including the trade deadline, the waiver wire, and even the September roster expansion, but let’s see which teams we will still buy and which ones we will sell. (Note: our preseason predictions only included 2 Wild Card spots in the old playoff format. New predictions have been updated to include a 6th team per league).
Preseason Prediction: Toronto Blue Jays
New Prediction: New York Yankees
The Yankees, hands down, are the best team in baseball. With a 54-20 record and a .730 winning percentage at the time of this publication, it will be a stretch even for the surging Red Sox to overtake them in the East. While there has been buzz surrounding Aaron Judge’s looming free agency, the slugger still leads the team in BA (.293), HR (28), and RBIs (57). Anthony Rizzo has also contributed significantly in his first full season as a Yankee, accounting for 20 HRs and 50 RBIs. New York has the best runs scored-runs allowed differential in the league and is bolstered by arguably the top starting pitching staff in the league led by Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery, James Tallion, and Nestor Cortes. Barring any injuries, the Yankees will be the team to beat come October.
Preseason Prediction: Chicago White Sox
New Prediction: Cleveland Guardians
Entering June, the Guardians were teetering under .500 with a 21-24 record. Since the calendar turned, Cleveland has gone 15-9 this month and is only 3 games back of the division-leading Minnesota Twins. Though the red-hot Red Sox recently swept them, Cleveland is a serious contender for the division title. Jose Ramirez is a potential MVP candidate. He leads the Guardians in HRs, RBIs, OBP, and hits. If there is one area that needs improvement, it is in the starting pitching. Behind Shane Bieber, Cal Quantrill, Triston McKenzie, and Zach Plesac have all been impressive in the win column, but the Guardians could use another ace to bolster their core. Though they rank 3rd in the AL in quality starts, the Guardians sit in the middle in ERA at 8th. Another starter and maybe some bullpen help could significantly improve their standings.
Preseason Prediction: Houston Astros
New Prediction: Houston Astros
It should be no surprise that the defending AL champs sit atop their division again. With a 45-27 at the time of publication, they are sitting with a comfortable 10-game lead on the Rangers. Despite losing Carlos Correa to free agency, the offense has yet to regress due partly to the incredible year by Yordan Alvarez, who leads the team in HRs, BA, RBIs, OBP, and hits. The pitcher, too, has been on point with the duo of Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez leading the team. Overall, the Astros rank 3rd in the league in both wins and ERA. If Houston keeps up its play thus far, the Astros should be on cruise control heading into the second half of the season.
Preseason Prediction: Red Sox & White Sox
New Prediction: Red Sox, Twins & Blue Jays
The AL East is by far the most competitive division in the league. Even though the Tampa Bay Rays sit in 4th place, they would be in 2nd in any other division in the AL. Even the Baltimore Orioles are hovering below the .500 line with a 35-40 record. That is why we are sticking with the Red Sox to claim the top Wild Card spot, followed by the Twins and Blue Jays.
Since beginning the season 14-22, the Sox have been on a roll, winning 28 of their last 37 games. They lead the league in BA and rank 5th in RBIs and runs scored. They own the 3rd-best record in the AL and have been the hottest team in the league, and still are playing without their ace Chris Sale who is due back in the rotation later in the season.
The Twins have cooled off in the last month, going 12-12 since beginning the season 30-21, allowing the Guardians to gain ground in the AL Central. Still, they should be able to secure a playoff berth given that they play in a weak division and the AL West is only more vulnerable. Luis Arraez has emerged on the offense with a .345 BA alongside Byron Buxton. However, they lack a bonafide starting pitcher, with Dylan Bundy, Sonny Gray, and Chris Archer manning the rotation.
The Blue Jays have one of the most potent offenses in the league, ranking 4th in the league in BA and 5th in HRs. Led by Bo Bichette, Vlad Guerrero Jr., and George Springer, Toronto has remained competitive in the AL East, sitting at 41-32. They will have to fight off the Rays for the final Wild Card spot, but it will have to be their offense carrying them. On the pitching front, they allowed 289 earned runs, the 11th-most in the league. After Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman, they lack starting pitching and will be looking for an upgrade before the trade deadline.
Preseason Prediction: Atlanta Braves
New Prediction: Atlanta Braves
After a slow start, the defending World Series champs turned in a 19-5 record in June to propel them within striking distance of the division-leading Mets. Despite allowing World Series MVP Freddie Freeman to depart in free agency, the Braves have rediscovered their offense. Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson have stepped up to lead the team, and Ronald Acuna Jr. is still returning from injury. This team has only room for improvement and can take advantage of the Mets missing Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom from the rotation to take over the division lead.
Preseason Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals
New Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals have the 2nd-best runs scored-runs allowed differential in the NL yet are still trailing the Brewers in the Central division. Paul Goldschmidt has been tremendous on offense, and the emergence of rookie Juan Yepez has rejuvenated St. Louis as DH, but their pitching effectiveness has held them back. The Cardinals currently have allowed the 8th-most walks in the league and rank 26th in strikeouts. They lack starting pitching, with veteran Adam Wainwright leading the team with 6 wins. Still, they only trail the Brewers by half a game in the Central and rank 5th in the league in BA and 3rd in RBIs. If they can land a legit No. 1 or No. 2 starter with a good strikeout to walk ratio and some bullpen help before the trade deadline, then the division is theirs to lose.
Preseason Prediction: LA Dodgers
New Prediction: San Diego Padres
I know. You must think I am crazy for changing my pick from the Dodgers, who currently hold a 1.5 lead over the Padres in the West. However, given the injuries affecting the Dodgers and the Padres’ consistency over the first 3 months of the season, I’m going out on a limb and picking San Diego to win the division. The Padres have depth both on the offensive and pitching front and are one of the complete teams in the league. Manny Machado has been explosive on offense, leading the team in all top categories. They also have a solid starting 5, with Yu Darvish, Sean Mannea, and Joe Musgrove rounding out the top of the rotation. Fernando Tatis Jr. is also remarkable because the Padres have been this successful and competitive without their top players. Once he returns in the next few weeks, they will be a dangerous team to beat.
Preseason Prediction: Padres & Phillies
New Prediction: LA Dodgers, NY Mets & Brewers
The Dodgers currently have the 2nd-best record in the NL, but they have been hit by a slew of injuries that could affect their play moving forward. Ace Walker Buehler will be out until September, and Mookie Betts will also miss significant time with a cracked rib. Their bullpen also took a hit, with Blake Treinen landing on the IL. Still, this team has been one of the perennial best in the majors the last few seasons and should be able to weather the storm and clinch one of the top Wild Card seeds.
The Mets have been one of the surprise teams of the first half of the season. They spent big in the offseason, signing Max Scherzer to a hefty deal, which has paid off thus far. However, their pitching has also been plagued by injuries lately as Scherzer will be forced to miss time along with Jacob deGrom. Jeff McNeil is also currently day-to-day and vital to their offense. Their offense has dived their outburst at the beginning of the season, but behind Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor, the Mets have the roster to secure a playoff berth.
The Brewers started the year on fire but have dipped in June with a 10-14 record. It will be a battle for the NL Central between Milwaukee and St. Louis, but whichever team misses out on clinching the division should be able to snag a playoff berth nonetheless. While Christian Yelich has still not reclaimed his MVP form, the team is 3rd overall in the league in home runs, and their bullpen has still been one of the best in baseball, with Josh Hader ready to close out the 9th.