2022 MLB Playoff Predictions

A breakdown of the PL staff's playoff predictions

Wild Card Round

 

Rays (6) @ Guardians (3)

51.2% (21 votes) say the Rays will win.

48.8% (20 votes) say the Guardians will win.

The staff voted in favor of the Rays to win this series by a margin of just one vote. This split likely represents two different, and valid, strains of thinking. The people who believe in the Rays may be emphasizing the Rays’ postseason experience and the Guardians’ lack thereof. 2022 marks the fourth consecutive season in which the Rays have reached the postseason. As for Cleveland, aside from a wild card berth in the 2020 expanded postseason, it has not reached the postseason since 2018 when its roster looked completely different.

Those in favor of the Guardians may have chosen to overlook the Rays’ past and instead look towards the Guardians’ final push during September which skyrocketed the team to win their first AL Central title in years. Momentum is one of, if not, the biggest factors in a postseason push. That factor, combined with the home-field advantage that Cleveland possesses makes a good case for the Guardians to be favored to advance.

 

Mariners (5) @ Blue Jays (4)

61% (25 votes) say the Mariners will win.

39% (16 votes) say the Blue Jays will win.

The Mariners and Blue Jays offer an interesting matchup. On paper, their rosters have several similarities. Each lineup contains some powerful components: both starting rotations have a few highly reliable members, and each bullpen has several dependable arms – although Seattle may have the advantage in that latter part.

Although Toronto completed the regular season with a better record than Seattle, the staff chose the Mariners to win this series. This points to an emphasis on how the two teams’ seasons played out as a whole. The Blue Jays season was a story of inconsistencies. There were several ups and downs which included the firing of their manager. That trend lasted until September when the team, and Bo Bichette in particular, got hot enough to pass the Mariners and land themselves the first wild card seed.

Aside from a slow start, which can be written off as a common phenomenon, the Mariners experienced several incredibly consistent months throughout the summer. What may be overlooked is that Seattle lost much of its momentum in September despite its easy schedule. The loss in momentum and their lack of home-field advantage may ultimately lead to the Mariners’ demise.

 

Phillies (6) @ Cardinals (3)

85.4% (35 votes) say the Cardinals will win.

14.6% (6 votes) say the Phillies will win.

The Phillies have had their moments throughout 2022, especially since they fired Joe Girardi, but it is hard to envision them knocking the Cardinals out of the postseason. That feeling is reflected in how the staff voted on the outcome of this series.

When making the playoffs, the Cardinals can almost always be expected to turn heads. This holds especially true when Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and Adam Wainwright are on their roster. Manager Oliver Marmol and the roster appeared to finally find themselves around midway through the season and have not looked back since.

Unlike the Cardinals, the Phillies are a team that has not sniffed the postseason in just over a decade. The fact that they finally will play October baseball this year shows progress. Nevertheless, even with the likes of Zack Wheeler, Bryce Harper, and Kyle Schwarber, Philadelphia is not yet built for a sustained playoff run, nor do they appear to have what it takes to beat the Cardinals in St. Louis in the postseason.

 

Padres (5) @ Mets (4)

85.4% (35 votes) say the Mets will win.

14.6% (6 votes) say the Padres will win.

Over the first few months of the season, the Padres and Mets played around the same level of baseball. The Padres have since tapered off. To bolster their roster, the Padres made the biggest splash prior to the deadline, acquiring Juan Soto. This, among some other acquisitions, has done little to significantly help the team’s effort to win ballgames. To make matters worse, Fernando Tatis Jr. was suspended for PED usage. The clubhouse appeared to be in disarray in the aftermath of the suspension. It is reasonable to believe that the clubhouse cannot survive that chain of events and to conclude that it is simply not the Padres’ year.

The 85.4% percent of respondents who believe the Mets will win could have based their opinion on the Padres’ problems, but they could just as easily have based it on the Mets’ advantages. The first leg up that the Mets have is their home-field advantage; they were a far better home team than they were a road team during the regular season. Another advantage is the Mets have three-time Manager of the Year, Buck Showalter leading them into October.

 

The Pennants

 

AL Pennant Winner

70.7% (29 votes) Astros

22% (9 votes) Yankees

2.4% (1 vote) Blue Jays

2.4% (1 vote) Mariners

2.4% (1 vote) Rays

0% (0 votes) Guardians

It is hard to argue against the Astros becoming the eventual pennant winners. It is hard to find a team as complete as Houston. They have the hitting and they have the pitching. The odds say that they have a pretty good chance to win their fourth pennant since 2017.

The Yankees could not stay healthy enough to finish the season in the same tier as the Astros. Their bullpen looks different than it did in the first few months of the season, and, aside from Aaron Judge, the lineup has had its fair share of struggles.

Of the remaining teams, it is somewhat surprising that the Guardians failed to garner even one vote. Cleveland does have the youngest roster in baseball, it has Terry Francona at its helm, and the team got hot at the perfect time. Other teams possess far better rosters than the Guardians, but their momentum should not be ignored.

 

ALCS Loser

41.5% (17 votes) Yankees

22% (9 votes) Astros

12.2% (5 votes) Guardians

9.8% (4 votes) Rays

7.3% (3 votes) Blue Jays

7.3% (3 votes) Mariners

The majority of the staff believes that this ALCS will be a rematch of its 2017 and 2019 predecessors. The Astros dominated the Yankees during the regular season, for the most part, and there is little reason to believe the opposite will happen in the playoffs, especially with the Astros possessing home-field advantage.

A hat was tipped to the Guardians with the five votes that they garnered. They have shown that if the cards fall their way, they have what it takes to reach the championship series.

 

NL Pennant Winner

53.7% (22 votes) Dodgers

26.8% (11 votes) Atlanta

17.1% (7 votes) Mets

2.4% (1 votes) Padres

0% (0 votes) Cardinals

0% (0 votes) Phillies

The National League’s field for potential pennant winner is far more complex than that of the American League. Los Angeles just barely earned a majority of the votes, while Atlanta and New York both took significant shares. The Dodgers and Atlanta similarly possess the experience advantage, while the Mets spent the money and have, for the most part, played as if they belong in the pennant conversation. As for the Padres, Cardinals, and Phillies, they are unlikely to reach the World Series, barring a miracle.

 

NLCS Loser

43.9% (18 votes) Atlanta

29.3% (12 votes) Dodgers

14.6% (6 votes) Cardinals

7.3% (3 votes) Mets

4.9% (2 votes) Phillies

0% (0 votes) Padres

Aside from the obvious (and classic) Dodgers vs. Atlanta NLCS matchup that the staff tends to favor, there is also a significant belief that the Cardinals have what it takes to find themselves playing for the pennant. They may not have a complete enough lineup to go all the way, but there is recognition that the Cardinals can put up a decent fight against even the best of the best.

The Phillies interestingly earned two votes to lose the NLCS. While it is unlikely they will outplay the Cardinals and Atlanta, anything can happen if Schwarber and Harper hit enough home runs.

 

World Series

 

World Series Winner

34.1% (14 votes) Dodgers

24.4% (10 votes) Astros

14.6% (6 votes) Atlanta

9.8% (4 votes) Yankees

7.3% (3 votes) Mets

2.4% (1 vote) Padres

2.4% (1 vote) Rays

2.4% (1 vote) Mariners

2.4% (1 vote) Blue Jays

0% (0 votes) Phillies

0% (0 votes) Cardinals

0% (0 votes) Guardians

The Dodgers earned the edge in the staff vote over the Astros to take home the World Series trophy; they are both clearly the best teams in the playoff mix. The reigning champions also rightfully earned a significant percentage of the vote. Atlanta will be a serious threat to anyone in its way if they stay as hot as they have over the past several months.

 

Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter) / Photography by Cliff Welch, Brian Rothmuller, Quinn Harris & Leslie Plaza Johnson / Icon Sportswire

Gabe Goralnick

A senior at Yeshiva University studying political science and a diehard baseball lover from the Big Apple. He's either watching baseball, writing about baseball, or cooking some awesome food.

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