FanGraphs 2022 Staff Predictions

© Clayton Freeman/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK

After an offseason that saw labor acrimony bookended by two frenetic free agency periods, the 2022 season is almost upon us; we made it. And on this, the morning of Opening Day, we engage in our annual tradition of asking our staff to open themselves up to public ridicule and predict the year in baseball. Some of these predictions will prove to be prescient; others will make their forecaster feel a little silly. Last year’s Braves? Our staff thought they’d win the NL East. Last year’s Angels, Mets, Twins, and Padres? Whoops! Such is the prognostication business.

We asked the staff to predict the expanded playoff field, pennant and World Series winners, and the individual award recipients. Folks from FanGraphs and RotoGraphs weighed in; here are the results.

American League

A number of the American League’s rebuilding clubs made big moves this offseason, but our staff sees the Seattle Mariners as the only ones likely to play October baseball this year. Despite adding Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Jon Gray, the Texas Rangers didn’t receive a single postseason vote. Signing Javier Báez and Eduardo Rodriguez (and promoting Spencer Torkelson) is sure to pay dividends for the Detroit Tigers eventually, but it only netted one third Wild Card vote; the now Carlos Correa-rich Minnesota Twins secured nine playoff votes, but are on the outside looking in.

Meanwhile, the AL East is on deck to send three teams to the postseason. The Toronto Blue Jays, who trail only the Los Angeles Dodgers in their odds to make the playoffs and win the World Series, are strong favorites to win the division, but the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays barely trail in their total playoff votes. The Boston Red Sox are the odd squad out here, though it’s worth noting their playoff odds exceed those of the Rays. I suspect the staff is accounting for Tampa’s vaunted depth in a way our postseason odds sometimes struggle to.

Staff Predictions: AL West
Team Division Wild Card 1 Wild Card 2 Wild Card 3 Playoffs
Houston Astros 17 2 1 1 21
Seattle Mariners 6 1 3 3 13
Los Angeles Angels 0 0 2 2 4
Oakland Athletics 0 0 0 0 0
Texas Rangers 0 0 0 0 0

Staff Predictions: AL Central
Team Division Wild Card 1 Wild Card 2 Wild Card 3 Playoffs
Chicago White Sox 21 0 0 1 22
Minnesota Twins 2 1 2 4 9
Kansas City Royals 0 1 0 1 2
Detroit Tigers 0 0 0 1 1
Cleveland Guardians 0 0 0 0 0

Staff Predictions: AL East
Team Division Wild Card 1 Wild Card 2 Wild Card 3 Playoffs
Toronto Blue Jays 15 5 1 0 21
New York Yankees 4 6 6 4 20
Tampa Bay Rays 4 6 4 3 17
Boston Red Sox 0 1 4 3 8
Baltimore Orioles 0 0 0 0 0

American League: One Seed
Team Votes
Toronto Blue Jays 7
Houston Astros 6
Chicago White Sox 6
New York Yankees 3
Minnesota Twins 1

American League: Two Seed
Team Votes
Chicago White Sox 9
Toronto Blue Jays 7
Tampa Bay Rays 4
Houston Astros 3

National League

If the AL East is rich in playoff potential, the National League finds its answer in the West and East divisions. The Dodgers were the only unanimous division winner in either league, though we don’t think the San Diego Padres and San Francisco will go down without a fight.

The Atlanta Braves’ hold on the East isn’t quite as strong, though they still outpaced the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Marlins don’t make the cut here, but did garner three votes; their playoff odds sit at 29.1%, buoyed by a terrific young pitching staff and a competent if unspectacular offense. The Milwaukee Brewers are the beneficiaries of a relatively weak NL Central, though the St. Louis Cardinals aren’t without their champions.

Staff Predictions: NL West
Team Division Wild Card 1 Wild Card 2 Wild Card 3 Playoffs
Los Angeles Dodgers 23 0 0 0 23
San Diego Padres 0 2 6 6 14
San Francisco Giants 0 0 10 2 12
Colorado Rockies 0 0 0 1 1
Arizona Diamondbacks 0 0 0 0 0

Staff Predictions: NL Central
Team Division Wild Card 1 Wild Card 2 Wild Card 3 Playoffs
Milwaukee Brewers 18 3 0 0 21
St. Louis Cardinals 5 1 0 3 9
Cincinnati Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Chicago Cubs 0 0 0 0 0
Pittsburgh Pirates 0 0 0 0 0

Staff Predictions: NL East
Team Division Wild Card 1 Wild Card 2 Wild Card 3 Playoffs
Atlanta Braves 17 4 1 0 22
New York Mets 4 8 4 5 21
Philadelphia Phillies 2 4 2 4 12
Miami Marlins 0 1 0 2 3
Washington Nationals 0 0 0 0 0

National League: One Seed
Team Votes
Los Angeles Dodgers 22
Milwaukee Brewers 1

National League: Two Seed
Team Votes
Atlanta Braves 9
Milwaukee Brewers 8
St. Louis Cardinals 2
New York Mets 2
Los Angeles Dodgers 1
Philadelphia Phillies 1

Pennant and World Series Winners

It isn’t especially surprising given their general postseason support, but the Blue Jays and Dodgers are expected to do quite well in their respective pennant races, as well as in the World Series. Our ballots yielded 12 possible Fall Classic matchups; the Dodgers represent the NL in seven of them.

American League Pennant Winner
Team Votes
Toronto Blue Jays 11
Chicago White Sox 4
New York Yankees 3
Houston Astros 2
Los Angeles Angels 1
Seattle Mariners 1
Minnesota Twins 1

National League Pennant Winner
Team Votes
Los Angeles Dodgers 18
Milwaukee Brewers 3
Atlanta Braves 1
Philadelphia Phillies 1

World Series Matchups
Matchup Votes
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 9
Chicago White Sox vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 3
Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 2
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Milwaukee Brewers 1
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Atlanta Braves 1
Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 1
New York Yankees vs. Philadelphia Phillies 1
New York Yankees vs. Milwaukee Brewers 1
New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 1
Minnesota Twins vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 1
Los Angeles Angels vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 1
Chicago White Sox vs. Milwaukee Brewers 1

World Series Winner
Team Votes
Los Angeles Dodgers 11
Toronto Blue Jays 5
Milwaukee Brewers 2
Chicago White Sox 2
Los Angeles Angels 1
Minnesota Twins 1
New York Yankees 1

Individual Awards

For the first time since 2013, when Evan Longoria edged ahead by two votes, someone other than Mike Trout is predicted to win the AL MVP. It’s hard to say Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doesn’t merit consideration. His 6.7 WAR 2021 campaign would almost certainly have netted him some hardware were it not for Shohei Ohtani’s superlative two-way effort. Speaking of, I’ll admit to being a bit surprised the phenom didn’t do better here, though I’m pleased with the range of selections in this field, from the recently extended (and somehow still underappreciated) José Ramírez to Rays wunderkind Wander Franco.

Staff Predictions: AL MVP
Player Votes
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 7
Mike Trout 6
José Ramírez 2
Byron Buxton 2
Tim Anderson 1
Rafael Devers 1
Wander Franco 1
Aaron Judge 1
Shohei Ohtani 1
Luis Robert 1

Gerrit Cole tops our pitching projections by almost a full win. By our Depth Charts, he’s third in projected ERA and FIP, and first in both among AL pitchers (trailing only Jacob deGrom and Corbin Burnes). And in a 2021 that saw him swoon midseason in the wake of sticky stuff enforcement, he still managed a 3.23 ERA, a 2.92 FIP, the third best strikeout rate in baseball among starters, and 5.3 WAR.

Staff Predictions: AL Cy Young

A number of top AL prospects, including Bobby Witt Jr. (No. 2 overall), Julio Rodríguez (No. 4), and Torkelson (No. 5) are ticketed for debuts this week, and No. 1 overall prospect Adley Rutschman, who is currently nursing an injury, looms. It all makes for a highly competitive AL Rookie of the Year field, with Witt expected to emerge victorious.

Staff Predictions: AL ROY
Player Votes
Bobby Witt Jr. 9
Julio Rodríguez 4
Steven Kwan 3
Adley Rutschman 2
Spencer Torkelson 1
Riley Greene 1
Nick Pratto 1
Shane Baz 1
A.J. Alexy 1

In four major league seasons, Juan Soto has accumulated 17.7 WAR, posted a .301/.432/.550 line (156 wRC+), and hit 98 home runs. He is 23. He projects for a 172 wRC+ in 2022. The Nationals might not be very good, but Soto most definitely is.

Staff Predictions: NL MVP

The Brewers’ rotation is well represented here (it no doubt accounts for a good deal of their strong division tally above), but Dodgers ace Walker Buehler takes the cake. He projects for the second-most innings in the NL by our Depth Charts, narrowly edging out Zack Wheeler, and falling just behind Sandy Alcantara. Burnes projects for 174 innings, just in case you thought we might be spared Discourse.

Staff Predictions: NL Cy Young
Player Votes
Walker Buehler 7
Corbin Burnes 6
Sandy Alcantara 3
Logan Webb 2
Brandon Woodruff 2
Germán Márquez 1
Freddy Peralta 1
Zack Wheeler 1

Seiya Suzuki is a former four-time NPB All-Star and a five-time NPB Best Nine Award winner. He also boasts three NPB Gold Gloves, and our staff expects him to add some NL Rookie of the Year hardware to his mantel. Oneil Cruz might have done better here if it weren’t for the Pirates’ decision to send him to Triple-A to start the year. As is, he barely edges out the Phillies’ Bryson Stott, who did make his team’s Opening Day roster.

Staff Predictions: NL ROY
Player Votes
Seiya Suzuki 14
Oneil Cruz 3
Bryson Stott 2
Brennen Davis 1
Hunter Greene 1
Max Meyer 1
Alek Thomas 1

That’s the whole shebang. Each voter’s full ballot for each league is below; these tables are sortable. We’ll check in on how close to right we were when the season wraps up, and look forward to writing about all of the ways we end up being surprised in the meantime. We hope you’ll tag along. Happy Opening Day, everyone!

Full Staff Predictions

2022 Staff Predictions: American League
Author West Central East WC1 WC2 WC3 1 Seed 2 Seed
Alex Chamberlain HOU CHW TOR NYY TBR LAA TOR HOU
Alex Sonty HOU CHW TOR NYY MIN BOS CHW TOR
Ariel Cohen HOU CHW TOR NYY BOS TBR TOR HOU
Ben Clemens HOU CHW TBR BOS MIN NYY HOU TBR
Birchwood Bros. SEA CHW NYY HOU TBR KCR NYY CHW
Chad Young HOU CHW TBR TOR SEA BOS CHW TBR
Dan Szymborski HOU CHW NYY TOR SEA TBR NYY CHW
David Laurila SEA CHW TOR HOU BOS MIN CHW TOR
Dylan Higgins HOU CHW TOR NYY BOS MIN CHW TOR
Eric Longenhagen HOU CHW NYY KCR TOR TBR HOU CHW
Jake Mailhot SEA CHW TOR TBR HOU NYY TOR CHW
Jason Martinez SEA CHW NYY TOR LAA DET NYY CHW
Jay Jaffe HOU CHW TOR TBR NYY MIN HOU TOR
Jeffrey Bellone HOU CHW TOR TBR NYY SEA HOU TOR
Jon Becker SEA CHW TOR TBR NYY HOU TOR CHW
Jon Tayler HOU CHW TOR TBR NYY BOS HOU CHW
Justin Choi HOU CHW TOR NYY TBR SEA TOR CHW
Luke Hooper HOU MIN TBR TOR SEA LAA MIN TBR
Meg Rowley HOU CHW TOR TBR NYY SEA TOR CHW
Mike Podhorzer HOU CHW TOR NYY BOS NYY TOR HOU
Nicklaus Gaut HOU CHW TOR SEA NYY MIN CHW TOR
Paul Sporer HOU MIN TBR TOR LAA CHW HOU TBR
Tess Taruskin SEA CHW TOR MIN TBR NYY CHW TOR

2022 Staff Predictions: AL Individual Awards
Author MVP Cy Young RoY
Alex Chamberlain Ramírez Cole Kwan
Alex Sonty Trout Cole Baz
Ariel Cohen Guerrero Cole Witt
Ben Clemens Trout Berríos Witt
Birchwood Bros. Judge Valdez Alexy
Chad Young Robert Verlander R. Greene
Dan Szymborski Guerrero Cole Rutschman
David Laurila Devers Manoah Pratto
Dylan Higgins Guerrero Cole Witt
Eric Longenhagen T. Anderson Bieber Kwan
Jake Mailhot Guerrero Giolito Rodríguez
Jason Martinez Buxton Gausman Witt
Jay Jaffe Franco Cole Rodríguez
Jeffrey Bellone Guerrero Cole Witt
Jon Becker Trout Cole Kwan
Jon Tayler Guerrero Cole Witt
Justin Choi Buxton Cease Rutschman
Luke Hooper Trout Cole Rodríguez
Meg Rowley Ramírez Bieber Rodríguez
Mike Podhorzer Trout Cole Witt
Nicklaus Gaut Guerrero Giolito Witt
Paul Sporer Ohtani Verlander Torkelson
Tess Taruskin Trout Giolito Witt

2022 Staff Predictions: National League
Author West Central East WC1 WC2 WC3 1 Seed 2 Seed
Alex Chamberlain LAD MIL ATL SDP PHI NYM LAD ATL
Alex Sonty LAD MIL ATL NYM SDP PHI LAD MIL
Ariel Cohen LAD MIL ATL NYM PHI SDP LAD ATL
Ben Clemens LAD STL NYM ATL SFG SDP LAD NYM
Birchwood Bros. LAD MIL ATL MIA NYM COL MIL LAD
Chad Young LAD MIL ATL PHI NYM SFG LAD MIL
Dan Szymborski LAD STL ATL MIL SDP SFG LAD ATL
David Laurila LAD MIL PHI ATL SDP NYM LAD PHI
Dylan Higgins LAD MIL ATL NYM SDP PHI LAD MIL
Eric Longenhagen LAD STL NYM MIL ATL MIA LAD STL
Jake Mailhot LAD MIL ATL PHI SFG NYM LAD MIL
Jason Martinez LAD MIL ATL PHI NYM SDP LAD ATL
Jay Jaffe LAD MIL ATL NYM SFG SDP LAD ATL
Jeffrey Bellone LAD MIL ATL NYM SFG STL LAD MIL
Jon Becker LAD MIL ATL NYM SFG PHI LAD ATL
Jon Tayler LAD MIL ATL SDP NYM STL LAD ATL
Justin Choi LAD MIL NYM ATL SDP STL LAD NYM
Luke Hooper LAD STL PHI MIL SFG NYM LAD STL
Meg Rowley LAD MIL ATL NYM SFG SDP LAD ATL
Mike Podhorzer LAD MIL ATL PHI SDP NYM LAD MIL
Nicklaus Gaut LAD MIL NYM ATL SFG PHI LAD MIL
Paul Sporer LAD MIL ATL STL SFG MIA LAD MIL
Tess Taruskin LAD STL ATL NYM SFG SDP LAD ATL

2022 Staff Predictions: NL Individual Awards
Author MVP Cy Young RoY
Alex Chamberlain Soto Peralta Suzuki
Alex Sonty Soto Burnes Suzuki
Ariel Cohen Soto Burnes O. Cruz
Ben Clemens Soto Burnes Suzuki
Birchwood Bros. T. Turner Alcantara Suzuki
Chad Young Freeman Woodruff Suzuki
Dan Szymborski Soto Wheeler Suzuki
David Laurila Soto Buehler Meyer
Dylan Higgins Freeman Buehler Suzuki
Eric Longenhagen W. Smith (LAD) Marquez Stott
Jake Mailhot Harper Webb Suzuki
Jason Martinez Lindor Buehler H. Greene
Jay Jaffe Soto Buehler Suzuki
Jeffrey Bellone Soto Buehler Suzuki
Jon Becker Soto Webb Stott
Jon Tayler Machado Woodruff Suzuki
Justin Choi Soto Buehler Suzuki
Luke Hooper Betts Alcantara B. Davis
Meg Rowley Soto Buehler Suzuki
Mike Podhorzer Soto Burnes Suzuki
Nicklaus Gaut Soto Burnes O. Cruz
Paul Sporer T. Turner Alcantara A. Thomas
Tess Taruskin Soto Burnes O. Cruz

2022 Staff Predictions: Pennant and World Series Winners
Author AL Pennant Winner NL Pennant Winner World Series Winner
Alex Chamberlain Toronto Blue Jays Los Angeles Dodgers Toronto Blue Jays
Alex Sonty Chicago White Sox Milwaukee Brewers Chicago White Sox
Ariel Cohen Toronto Blue Jays Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers
Ben Clemens Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers
Birchwood Bros. New York Yankees Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee Brewers
Chad Young Chicago White Sox Los Angeles Dodgers Chicago White Sox
Dan Szymborski Chicago White Sox Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers
David Laurila Toronto Blue Jays Los Angeles Dodgers Toronto Blue Jays
Dylan Higgins Toronto Blue Jays Los Angeles Dodgers Toronto Blue Jays
Eric Longenhagen New York Yankees Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers
Jake Mailhot Toronto Blue Jays Los Angeles Dodgers Toronto Blue Jays
Jason Martinez New York Yankees Philadelphia Phillies New York Yankees
Jay Jaffe Toronto Blue Jays Atlanta Braves Toronto Blue Jays
Jeffrey Bellone Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers
Jon Becker Seattle Mariners Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers
Jon Tayler Toronto Blue Jays Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers
Justin Choi Toronto Blue Jays Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers
Luke Hooper Minnesota Twins Los Angeles Dodgers Minnesota Twins
Meg Rowley Toronto Blue Jays Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers
Mike Podhorzer Toronto Blue Jays Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers
Nicklaus Gaut Toronto Blue Jays Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee Brewers
Paul Sporer Los Angeles Angels Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Angels
Tess Taruskin Chicago White Sox Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers





Meg is the managing editor of FanGraphs and the co-host of Effectively Wild. Prior to joining FanGraphs, her work appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Lookout Landing, and Just A Bit Outside. You can follow her on twitter @megrowler.

57 Comments
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eely225member
5 months ago

Steven Kwan Squad represent

soddingjunkmailmember
5 months ago
Reply to  eely225

Disappointed Meg didn’t go for the AL award clean sweep by including him.

Bobo Polaroidsmember
5 months ago

It would be very amusing for Cleveland to have the MVP, Cy Young, and ROY on their roster and not make the (expanded) playoffs.

sadtrombonemember
5 months ago
Reply to  eely225

I love it. If I had money on the line, I’d do Julio Rodriguez, but if I didn’t? Kwan would be way more fun to pick.

free-range turducken
5 months ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

If Kwan and Rodriguez are deadlocked for the 2022 AL RoY, and Kwan gets a bonus for this, do we call the bonus money “Tie Kwan Dough”?

Benjaminmember
5 months ago
Reply to  eely225

Kwan Sqwad?

Jason Bmember
5 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin

Skwad. It was right there. 😀