The Major League Baseball awards are being finalized and various teams and players are being recognized for their performances this past season. The winter meetings are quickly approaching and before you know it will be time for Spring Training. Before pitchers & catchers report, let’s take a way-too-early look at the predicted standings for the National League in 2022.
- Atlanta Braves
When healthy, the Braves should perform better than their 88 wins from last season. They are the defending champs and they show no signs of slowing down. They have young players ready to perform on an everyday basis and a pitching staff looking to improve on their 2021 campaign. Expect the Braves to win this division and once again compete for a world series championship.
- Philadelphia Phillies
This team has all of the makings to be a world series contender. A consistent MVP candidate in Bryce Harper and a potential Cy Young candidate with Zack Wheeler but their depth is what kills them. The price for some of their players is high and that ultimately has made it difficult for the Phillies to add much-needed assistance. Look for them to bolster their fielding and lineup in free agency. A wild card position is a good outcome for Philadelphia in 2022.
- Miami Marlins
A franchise whose main goal last season was to improve the farm system did just that. In 2022, the Marlins will expect those young guns to make slight improvements to the already young major league club. If some of those young prospects can slowly blossom in the majors, this team will be much improved this upcoming season.
- New York Mets
The Mets need a complete reset. They had such high hopes in 2021 but just cannot seem to get over the hump and be a consistent contender for a pennant. They truly will have to decide this winter if they are going to put their money into improving this roster or sell and start fresh with some new faces.
- Washington Nationals
The success of the Nationals ultimately comes down to their ability to bring in free agents. They have the starting pitching to get them to the post season, but they don’t have the depth in the lineup. Unfortunately this isn’t the Washington team that won the world series and it is showing. If the ownership and management is able to obtain some key free agents they may be able to work themselves out of the cellar, but if not expect a rebuild in the future.
- Milwaukee Brewers
The pitching is clearly there for the Brewers as they allowed the third lowest runs against last season. The deciding factor on if this team will win in the postseason is their consistent bats. The pitching staff will win the NL Central, but will the hitting perform playoff quality and help Milwaukee compete for a world series is the major question.
- St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals hired a new manager for the 2022 season. It is always hard to predict the outcome of a team with a new manager, and take the youngest in the MLB at that. Fortunately for Oliver Marmol, the roster is going to stay majority intact from last season. He was promoted form within so his knowledge of the franchise, players, facility, and staff will make it a seamless transition into the manager role. Expect the Cardinals to compete as always for the NL Central crown this season.
- Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati has a roster and farm system that is built to contend for a division crown in two years or more. Even with a steady helping of run production from their lineup, they just need the combination of pitching to go with it. Give the Reds a few more years to compete for a division championship, but they will hover around .500 for the majority of the season.
- Chicago Cubs
The Cubs are far from the form that won them a world series in years past. They find themselves once again competing to stay out of the cellar in the NL Central. They don’t have the steady supply of bats in the lineup and their lack of quality pitching isn’t doing them any favors when it comes to the final standings. Look for the Cubs to go through another rebuild to get back to playoff contention.
- Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh doesn’t have a true number one ace to even give them a chance to win games next season. They are hoping one of their young prospects comes along and continues to move things in the right direction. The Pirates are on the long term building plan and it is obvious with this roster that is assembled.
- Los Angeles Dodgers
If the Dodgers can manage the offseason roster shake up effectively, this team will once again contend for a World Series championship. They have a bunch of members of the 2021 roster that are set to be free agents and their work to either resign them or invest in new players will determine how far this roster will go. A NL West championship is right in their grasp, the issue is how deep can this team be to win another World Series.
- San Francisco Giants
The Giants have a lot of question marks coming into the 2022 season. How many pitchers will they re-sign? Will the age and game numbers start to become an impact for the veteran leaders? Can they repeat the success from 2021? If the Giants are able to re-sign their core pieces and maintain health and top form throughout the Summer, the Giants will not only compete for a NL West title, but can make a case for a World Series along with it.
- San Diego Padres
San Diego must perform better. They have no other choice with a roster that has as much firepower as they do. Led by Fernando Tatis Jr and Manny Machado, this team must find a way to compete for a playoff spot. With a new manager in town, maybe the new found leadership will help bring some confidence to a potential top lineup in baseball.
- Colorado Rockies
Colorado may find themselves in a very tough situation if they aren’t able to secure some long term free agents this Winter. Their farm system is average at best and their total depth at the major league level needs work. Their plan must be for the future and working on building up their minor league teams. That will only benefit the Rockies in the future.
- Arizona Diamondbacks
With many players last season getting their first games in the majors, the Diamondbacks can expect an improvement from last season’s lackluster performance. Their pitching staff needs the most work as they were unable to stop opposing teams from scoring. Management must be patient with the roster in Arizona as these newcomers are slowly finding their way in the Major League ranks.
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