Sunday, April 3, 2022

2022 Major League Baseball Predictions

The Major League Baseball season gets underway a little later than normal this year (on April 7, 2022) due to a lockout that lasted 99 days, from December 2, 2021 thru March 12, 2022. There were plenty of reasons why the lockout happened. For the average baseball fan, it may have been a surprise, but for the hardcore baseball fan, they knew the lockout was coming all along. Eventually, a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between MLB and the MLBPA (Major League Baseball Players Association) was finally agreed upon. With the new CBA, some new rules now exist for the 2022 season, some of which you can see here.  The biggest changes are there will now be a DH in both leagues and 12 playoff teams instead of 10.  After initially announcing that the automatic runner at 2nd base to start extra innings would be no longer in 2022, MLB and MLBPA have decided to bring it back for 2022 afterall. I'm still not a fan of the extra inning "ghost runner." 

For those who love interleague play, the 2023 season will bring you a lot of joy. It has been announced that in 2023, there will no longer be 19 games each between division rivals like there are currently (such as Dodgers vs. Giants, Red Sox vs. Yankees, Cubs vs. Cardinals, etc.). Instead, there will be 12 games each between division rivals and every team will play all the other twenty-nine teams during the regular season. I'm not a fan of this news either as it takes away from the World Series. Also, it feels like it'd be much more of a pain as far as travel for teams and harder to make up any games that get rained out during the season. 

But hey, that's not til 2023, and I'm writing this to discuss the 2022 season. Due to the lockout, Spring Training has been cut shorter this year. After initially saying the season would be shorter than 162 games, MLB reversed course and said it would be 162 games afterall. With Spring Training being shorter, it could potentially lead to more injuries at the start of the season, especially in pitchers. There are still a number of Free Agents not signed to contracts yet either. With all that being said, here are my predictions for the 2022 MLB season.

* denotes Wild-Card

American League West 
Corey Seager
Houston Astros (90-72)
Seattle Mariners (87-75)*
Los Angeles Angels (83-79)
Texas Rangers (80-82)
Oakland Athletics (56-106)

The Houston Astros lost some key players during the offseason, but they get back starting pitcher Justin Verlander, who missed all of last season after having Tommy John surgery. Verlander was a free agent after the 2021 season, but Houston gave Verlander a big pay day too, by signing him to a 2 year, 50 million dollar contract (he can opt out after the first year if he wishes) to bring him back. If Spring Training is any indication, it looks like he is ready to go again at the age of 39. I almost picked the Seattle Mariners to finish in first place but then I remembered that they're the Seattle Mariners. The team definitely looks to have improved on paper though. But as they say, the game isn't played on paper. The Mariners brought over CY Young winner, Robbie Ray, to anchor their starting rotation. They also brought over big bats Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker in a trade with the Reds. Beyond Ray though, I'm not sure if their rotation has quite enough to reach the top. The Los Angeles Angels have a scary lineup that can hit the ball. Every season the question surrounding them always seems to be pitching. The Angels are hoping their gamble on Noah Syndegaard pays off for them. Once a star for the New York Mets, Syndegaard hasn't pitched a full season since 2019. Shohei Ohtani will continue to impress everyone with his hitting and pitching skills as arguably the best two-way player ever. How long his body holds up doing both is the only question. Mike Trout looks to rebound from a lost 2021 season in which he only played 36 games. After a calf injury, many speculate that he won't be the base stealing threat he was previously. The Texas Rangers spent a lot of money on two middle infielders when they acquired free agents shortstop, Corey Seager, and second baseman, Marcus Semien. While their offense should definitely see a boost in Texas, there is still plenty to be desired for the pitching staff. The ace of their starting rotation looks to be Jon Gray, who probably wouldn't be the ace of many other ballclubs. If you're an Oakland Athletics fan like me then you saw this coming. If you're an Oakland Athletics fan and didn't see this coming then you're not paying enough attention. Once again, the Athletics have traded away All-Star fan favorites during the offseason as they rebuild. On the plus side, they did get some good returns from the trades and helped a very depleted farm system. On the down side, they have upset a lot of their fan base once again. In a perfect world, owner John Fisher would sell the team. That doesn't appear likely. In June 2022, we'll have a better idea of how likely it will be of the Athletics getting a new ballpark in Oakland. (I sure hope they stay.) In 2022 though, fans should get a good look at new acquired prospect, Cristian Pache

Jose Abreu

American League Central
Chicago White Sox (95-67)
Minnesota Twins (91-71)*
Detroit Tigers (83-79)
Cleveland Guardians (76-86)
Kansas City Royals (73-89)

The Chicago White Sox look to repeat being on top of the American League Central. Overall, the team has not lost many pieces from their
2021 roster. They added Kendall Graveman to their bullpen options which allowed them to trade Craig Kimbrel to the Dodgers for outfielder, AJ Pollock. First baseman, Jose Abreu, will become a free agent after the 2022 season, so look for him to put up some big numbers in his contract year. The Minnesota Twins surprised many baseball fans when they signed free agent shortstop, Carlos Correa, to a 3 year, 105 million dollar deal. Many people expected that the 27 year old Correa would sign a longer term deal. Instead, Correa has an option to opt out of his contract after the first and second season with the Twins. The deal as it is now makes Correa the highest paid player by average annual salary. Does it bring the Twins to the top of their division though? The Twins acquired starting pitcher, Sonny Gray, from the Cincinatti Reds, and they hope Kenta Maeda can return to being the pitcher he was in the short 2020 season. Centerfielder, Byron Buxton, is always a question mark too as he is great when healthy, but that never seems to be often. The Detroit Tigers were rumored to be the favorite landing spots of Correa early in the offseason as he could re-unite with former Astros manager, AJ Hinch. A deal never came to fruition though and the Tigers instead brought in Javier Baez on a deal. Eduardo Rodriguez comes to Detroit looking to bolster their starting rotation and the young Casey Mize looks to only get better. Miguel Cabrera is still playing and will start the season only 13 hits away from 3,000 for his career. The team in Cleveland may have a new name, but whatever you call them, they still have room for improvement. The Guardians didn't do much in the offseason to improve and being in the last year of his contract, Jose Ramirez could be dealt around the trade deadline to help a contender. The Kansas City Royals are bringing back a blast from their past as they signed starting pitcher Zack Greinke during the offseason. Greinke, who started his career with the Royals, will be the opening day starter for them once again, 12 years after last starting on opening day for them. It will become the longest span between opening day starts by a pitcher for one team. While it will be a nice reunion for Greinke and their fans, the guy the Royals are really excited about is Bobby Witt, Jr., who should be a Rookie of the Year favorite. It appears Witt, Jr. is slated to be the team's everyday third baseman and it'll be interesting to see how he adjusts to the majors. 

Kevin Gausman
American League East
Toronto Blue Jays (96-66)
Tampa Bay Rays (92-70)*
New York Yankees (85-77)
Boston Red Sox (81-81)
Baltimore Orioles (77-85)

The Toronto Blue Jays just missed out on making the playoffs in 2021, but it would be shocking if they missed out again in 2022 especially since playoffs are expanding to 12 teams now. The Blue Jays team will now have a full season of starting pitcher Jose Berrios, whom they acquired from the  Minnesota Twins at the trade deadline in 2021. They also signed starting pitcher, Kevin Gausman. They join a starting rotation that already had Hyun Jin Ryu. The three of them make a pretty good 1-2-3 punch. Marcus Semien left for Texas via free agency, but the Blue Jays traded for third baseman, Matt Chapman, from the Oakland Athletics to help replace some of the offense, and of course Chapman is a gold glove third baseman too.  A year after the New York Yankees took a gamble on starting pitcher, Corey Kluber, the Tampa Bay Rays are now doing the same. While the Rays may not have a lot of superstar names of their roster, they have a manager in Kevin Cash that seems to always know how to get the best out of everyone. Shortstop, Wander Franco, will look to improve on his rookie campaign last season. With the experience the Rays team has had the past two years, you can't count them out to appear in the postseason again. The New York Yankees didn't really make any moves during the offseason that really excited their fan base. It was a very un-Yankees like way of doing business. They acquired third baseman, Josh Donaldson, in a trade with the Minnesota Twins. They ended up re-signing first baseman, Anthony Rizzo, after bringing him over in a trade last year. They still have a good team, but it just isn't the loaded Yankees team we've come used to seeing on paper.  The Boston Red Sox picked up free agent, Trevor Story, who will be moving from shortstop to play second base for the time being. Chris Sale will miss the start of the season with stress fracture in his rib cage. When Sale is healthy, he can be one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. Other than Nathan Eovaldi, their starting rotation seems a lot more thin without a healthy Chris Sale. The Baltimore Orioles will likely finish in last place in the American League East for the 6th season in a row. However, they should lose far less than 100 games this time. John Means will continue to be the ace for the pitching staff. Cedric Mullins will look to continue to thrive after his amazing 2021 campaign. Not too far off in the distance for Baltimore, is catching prospect, Adley Rutschman, although he had a little injury setback recently.

Trea Turner
National League West
Los Angeles Dodgers (98-64)
San Francisco Giants (89-73)*
Arizona Diamondbacks (83-79)
San Diego Padres (83-79)
Colorado Rockies (70-92)

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the team to beat in the National League West in 2022. The San Francisco Giants had a remarkable 2021 season and surprised a lot of people. It will be tough for them to be as big of a surprise in 2022. Even without starting pitcher, Trevor Bauer, currently on administrative leave for some shit he may or may not have actually done, the Dodgers have a roster built to win. Gone is Kenley Jansen as closer, but the Dodgers picked up Craig Kimbrel in a trade and still have Blake Treinen to help close out games as well. Trea Turner is the guy that will be drafted high in about every fantasy baseball draft this year because of his ability to hit for average, power, and to steal bases. The San Francisco Giants lost starting pitcher, Kevin Gausman, to Toronto via free agency, but picked up Carlos Rodon to take his spot in the rotation. Evan Longoria will miss some time at third base to start the season, but if given a real chance, Jason Vosler might end up being even better. Of course, catcher, Buster Posey's retirement presents the biggest change of all. How will Curt Casali and Joey Bart fare in filling his void? I feel like the Diamondbacks may be the team that turns some heads in the National League West this season. They've picked up closer Mark Melancon, who was solid last season. They also brought back now reliever, Ian Kennedy, to help the bullpen as well. If the starting pitchers can leave the game with a lead then Arizona should have a good shot at picking up a win. The San Diego Padres have a great team despite me saying they're going to end up tied for 3rd place. They just have some bad luck. Fernando Tatis, Jr. is already out for around 3 months with a fractured wrist, but when healthy, he is one of the most exciting players to watch. As of this writing, it is uncertain if prospect, C.J. Abrams , will make the club, but if he does then he could help provide some of the excitement missing from Tatis. Another key for the Padres will be how well starting pitcher, Mike Clevinger, can rebound after missing all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery. However, with Bob Melvin now managing the squad in San Diego, it wouldn't surprise me if he leads the team into the playoffs and captures himself his 4th Manager of the Year award of his career. The Padres also just acquired Sean Manaea from Oakland which should help a little more in the pitching department. It appeared as though the Colorado Rockies weren't going to make much noise on the free agent market during the offseason, but then then ended up signing Kris Bryant to a pretty big 7 year deal. The starting rotation for Colorado isn't much to write home about and even their bullpen has some question marks. The team should be able to score some runs though. Don't be surprised if Ryan McMahon is an All-Star this season. 

Seiya Suzuki
National League Central
Milwaukee Brewers (92-70)
St. Louis Cardinals (91-71)*
Chicago Cubs (80-82)
Cincinnati Reds (69-93)
Pittsburgh Pirates (65-97)

Between Milwaukee and St. Louis, the Milwaukee Brewers look to have a better pitching staff overall. With CY Young winner, Corbin Burnes, and Brandon Woodruff leading the pitching rotation, the Brewers should manage enough offense to finish at top of the division. If outfielder, Christian Yelich, can return to his 2018/2019 form, then the Brewers will be even more dangerous. The St. Louis Cardinals not only have Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright returning in what might be the final season of their careers, but they also brought back Albert Pujols to where he started his career. Pujols has stated that 2022 will be his final season. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado will continue to carry the Cardinals offense. The Chicago Cubs traded away almost everybody last season at the trade deadline. During the offseason, they ended up signing outfielder, Seiya Suzuki, out of Japan, to a 5 year deal. Marcus Stroman and Wade Miley join Kyle Hendricks in the Cubs starting rotation. The Cubs offense mostly consists of young players, with Jason Heyward and Andrelton Simmons providing some veteran leadership. In Cincinnati, Joey Votto will be looking around wondering where all his friends have gone. The Reds have made numerous trades to free up salary space. Even with the trades they made, they still have reigning Rookie of the Year, Jonathan India, and a potential rookie of the year in 2022 with starting pitcher, Hunter Greene. Greene reaches 100+ mph on the radar gun consistently so it'll be interesting to see how long the Reds keep him in the rotation or if they eventually move him to the bullpen. The Pittsburgh Pirates will try to avoid last place in 2022, however there are still rumors circulating that All-Star outfielder, Bryan Reynolds, may be traded. It appears as though David Bednar will get the opportunity to be the Pirates closer. Propsect, Oneil Cruz, will start the season in the minors, but if called up early in the year, he may be a Rookie of the Year candidate as well. If the Pirates can avoid losing 100 games this year then it should be considered a small victory itself. 

Matt Olson
National League East
Atlanta Braves (100-62)
Philadelphia Phillies (90-72)*
New York Mets (87-75)
Miami Marlins (78-82)
Washington Nationals (74-88)

The reigning World Series Champion, Atlanta Braves, will look to repeat in 2022. The face of their franchise, Freddie Freeman, and the Braves could not reach an agreement prior to Freeman going to the Dodgers. Instead, the Braves brought in first baseman, Matt Olson, in a trade with the Oakland Athletics. Olson provides gold glove defense at first base, a great eye at the plate, and tremendous power to all fields. Last year's closer, Will Smith, will move into a setup role now that the Braves signed Kenley Jansen to close out games. No, this Will Smith did not lose his job because he slapped somebody. The most exciting part as a Braves fan will be the return of Ronald Acuña, Jr. to the lineup after a horrific injury in 2021. Acuña is expected to rejoin the ballclub a couple weeks into the season. The Philadelphia Phillies have brought in Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber on deals and they should help the Phillies offense tremendously. Zack Wheeler looks to improve on a wonderful 2021 season as the ace of the pitching staff. It sounds like Corey Knebel will the be the Phillies closer, but even if he falters, they have other pitchers with closer experience. I was going to pick the New York Mets as the second place team, but recent news made me change my prediction. During the offseason, the Mets signed Max Scherzer and traded for All-Star starter, Chris Bassitt, from Oakland. Along with Jacob deGrom, that was going to give them arguably the best 1-2-3 starting rotation in baseball. However, deGrom recently was diagnosed with a stress reaction in the scapula (aka the shoulder blade) which will shut him down at least four weeks. To make matters worse for the Mets, it appears as though Scherzer is now questionable for opening day as well. However, it would be surprising to nobody if the Mets also pulled off another crazy trade to acquire some help if needed. I predict they'll come up short because they're still the Mets. The Miami Marlins have one of the more exciting players in Jazz Chisholm, Jr. and he should just keep getting better. Last year's World Series MVP, Jorge Soler, has now found himself in Miami, where he'll try to continue launching home runs. I'm curious how well starting pitcher, Jesus Luzardo, will do in his first full season with Miami. Luzardo, once a highly touted prospect, had his struggles with Oakland before being traded to Miami last season. Dylan Floro looks to be first in line for save opportunities out of the Miami bullpen. The Washington Nationals lost a Spring Training game to the Cardinals the other day by a score of 29-8. I know Spring Training games don't count, but if that's any indication of what to expect this season then things don't look too promising. The Nationals still have some pop in their lineup with Juan Soto and the soon to be 42-year old, Nelson Cruz. It will be weird to see the Nationals take the field without recently retired, Ryan Zimmerman. Ace starting pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, is almost fully recovered from an injury, but the Nationals are not going to push him back. When he is back though, they hope he has a season identical to the one he had in 2019 and can stay injury free the rest of the way.

Wild Card Round (Best of 3 Series)
Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners (Astros win 2-1)
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Minnesota Twins (Rays win 2-1)
Milwaukee Brewers vs. San Francisco Giants (Brewers win 2-1)
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies  (Phillies win 2-0)
Bye Round: Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves

Division Round (Best of 5 series)
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Houston Astros (Blue Jays win 3-2)
Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays (Rays win 3-1)
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Milwaukee Brewers (Dodgers win 3-2)
Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Braves win 3-0)

Championship Round (Best of 7 series)
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays (Blue Jays win 4-2)
Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Dodgers win 4-3)

World Series (Best of 7 series)
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Blue Jays win 4-3)

2022 Season Awards

AL MVP: Matt Chapman, Toronto Blue Jays
NL MVP:  Nick Castellanos, Philadelphia Phillies
AL CY YOUNG: Gerritt Cole, New York Yankees
NL CY YOUNG:  Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers
AL ROOKIE OF YEAR: Bobby Witt, Jr., Kansas City Royals
NL ROOKIE OF YEAR: Seiya Suzuki, Chicago Cubs
AL MANAGER OF YEAR: Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners
NL MANAGER OF YEAR: Craig Counsell, Milwaukee Brewers
AL COMEBACK PLAYER OF YEAR: Justin Verlander, Houston Astros
NL COMEBACK PLAYER OF YEAR: Mike Clevinger, San Diego Padres

Monday, March 21, 2022

2022 Oscars Awards Predictions

As someone who enjoys watching movies, one of my favorite nights of the year is coming up soon with the 94th Academy Awards taking place on March 27, 2022. Sadly, this year, the awards for Documentary Short, Film Editing, Hair and Makeup, Original Score, Production Design, Animated Short, Live Action Short, and Sound will not be presented live on-air. Instead, they'll be edited into a telecast. The reasoning for this is because apparently viewership of the Oscars is down and they think this will fix the problem. I highly doubt it myself. It is a slap in the face to those who were nominated in those categories if you ask me. 

I was fortunate to see many of the nominated films this year, including all the moving nominated for Best Picture. Below are my predictions. If bold, it means I think they will be the winner. If in italics, it means I think they should be the winner but don't expect them to win. 


JAVIER BARDEM -Being the Ricardos
ANDREW GARFIELD - tick, tick...BOOM!
WILL SMITH - King Richard
DENZEL WASHINGTON -The Tragedy of Macbeth


JESSE PLEMONS -The Power of the Dog
J.K. SIMMONS - Being the Ricardos
KODI SMIT-MCPHEE -The Power of the Dog


JESSICA CHASTAIN - The Eyes of Tammy Faye
OLIVIA COLMAN -The Lost Daughter
PENÉLOPE CRUZ - Parallel Mothers
NICOLE KIDMAN - Being the Ricardos


JESSIE BUCKLEY - The Lost Daughter
ARIANA DEBOSE - West Side Story
JUDI DENCH - Belfast
KIRSTEN DUNST - The Power of the Dog




DUNE - Greig Fraser
WEST SIDE STORY - Janusz Kaminski


CRUELLA -Jenny Beavan
CYRANO -Massimo Cantini Parrini and Jacqueline Durran
DUNE -Jacqueline West and Robert Morgan
WEST SIDE STORY -Paul Tazewell


BELFAST -Kenneth Branagh
DRIVE MY CAR -Ryusuke Hamaguchi
LICORICE PIZZA -Paul Thomas Anderson
WEST SIDE STORY -Steven Spielberg






DON'T LOOK UP -Hank Corwin
DUNE - Joe Walker
KING RICHARD - Pamela Martin
THE POWER OF THE DOG - Peter Sciberras
TICK, TICK...BOOM! - Myron Kerstein and Andrew Weisblum


FLEE - Denmark


COMING 2 AMERICA - Mike Marino, Stacey Morris and Carla Farmer
CRUELLA - Nadia Stacey, Naomi Donne and Julia Vernon
DUNE - Donald Mowat, Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE - Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram and Justin Raleigh
HOUSE OF GUCCI - Göran Lundström, Anna Carin Lock and Frederic Aspiras


DON'T LOOK UP - Nicholas Britell
DUNE - Hans Zimmer
ENCANTO - Germaine Franco
PARALLEL MOTHERS - Alberto Iglesias
THE POWER OF THE DOG - Jonny Greenwood


BE ALIVE - from King Richard; Music and Lyric by DIXSON and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
DOS ORUGUITAS - from Encanto; Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda
DOWN TO JOY - from Belfast; Music and Lyric by Van Morrison
NO TIME TO DIE - from No Time to Die; Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell
SOMEHOW YOU DO - from Four Good Days; Music and Lyric by Diane Warren




DUNE - Production Design: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Zsuzsanna Sipos
NIGHTMARE ALLEY - Production Design: Tamara Deverell; Set Decoration: Shane Vieau
THE POWER OF THE DOG - Production Design: Grant Major; Set Decoration: Amber Richards
THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH - Production Design: Stefan Dechant; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh
WEST SIDE STORY - Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo






BELFAST - Denise Yarde, Simon Chase, James Mather and Niv Adiri
DUNE - Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett
NO TIME TO DIE - Simon Hayes, Oliver Tarney, James Harrison, Paul Massey and Mark Taylor
THE POWER OF THE DOG - Richard Flynn, Robert Mackenzie and Tara Webb
WEST SIDE STORY - Tod A. Maitland, Gary Rydstrom, Brian Chumney, Andy Nelson and Shawn Murphy


DUNE - Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor and Gerd Nefzer
FREE GUY - Swen Gillberg, Bryan Grill, Nikos Kalaitzidis and Dan Sudick
NO TIME TO DIE - Charlie Noble, Joel Green, Jonathan Fawkner and Chris Corbould
SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS -Christopher Townsend, Joe Farrell, Sean Noel Walker and Dan Oliver
SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME - Kelly Port, Chris Waegner, Scott Edelstein and Dan Sudick


CODA - Screenplay by Siân Heder
DRIVE MY CAR - Screenplay by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Takamasa Oe
DUNE - Screenplay by Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth
THE LOST DAUGHTER - Written by Maggie Gyllenhaal
THE POWER OF THE DOG - Written by Jane Campion


BELFAST -Written by Kenneth Branagh
DON'T LOOK UP - Screenplay by Adam McKay; Story by Adam McKay & David Sirota
KING RICHARD -Written by Zach Baylin
LICORICE PIZZA -Written by Paul Thomas Anderson
THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD -Written by Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier