One thing we got wrong for each team in 2022

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There’s been one thing in baseball that’s always held up through the years: You can’t predict this game. And while some predictions might hold up, a lot more look silly — for better or for worse — when the year comes to a close.

So, what did we get wrong this time around? Here’s one prediction for all 30 teams that went south.

All stats through the start of Sunday’s games unless otherwise noted.

AL EAST

Blue Jays: Bo Bichette’s breakoutDown in Dunedin, Fla., for Spring Training, Bo Bichette looked fantastic. Entering his age-24 season, fresh off an All-Star nod the year prior, this looked like the season Bichette would step forward into stardom. Instead, Bichette has hovered near a .260 average and .730 OPS for much of the season. His natural talent kept those numbers afloat and Bichette deserves credit for some defensive improvements, but at his best, Bichette is capable of hitting .300 and chasing a 30-30 season, which he nearly did in ’21 with 29 homers and 25 steals. Brighter days are ahead for the gifted young star, and he could very well be the key to Toronto’s postseason push, but few players on this roster have had to grind through this season like Bichette. — Keegan Matheson

Orioles: EverythingWell, mostly. The Orioles were supposed to have one more trying season before being fully in contending mode. But this ragtag bunch has kept itself relevant for the postseason to this juncture by embracing that identity. The bullpen that was the worst in the Majors a year ago? It’s now one of the best, built by waiver claims and cast-offs. The rotation that’s been bitten by injuries to John Means and, in a way, top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez? It’s held its own. The offense is still leaving something to be desired, but the emergence of Adley Rutschman has many wondering if the club could use a spark from someone like Gunnar Henderson down the stretch — another exciting spark in a season full of them. — Zachary Silver

Rays: This was going to be Wander Franco’s yearComing off a spectacular rookie season and a massive contract extension last year, Franco entered this season with almost unrealistically high expectations. Could he hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases while batting .300? Could he be the youngest American League MVP ever? The 21-year-old shortstop lived up to the hype during a sensational April, then came injuries that have kept him off the field for long stretches and limited his production when he was available. Franco still could make an impact at some point down the stretch, if he can play through lingering soreness in his hand, but his sophomore slump has been real. — Adam Berry

Red Sox: That John Schreiber was just organizational depthDid any media member mention John Schreiber’s name even once during Spring Training? The righty was a non-roster invite to Spring Training and was only called up once by the Red Sox last year when they were in the middle of a COVID outbreak. This season, Schreiber got his second callup on May 6 and never went down. Instead, the 28-year-old side-winder, who never distinguished himself in five years in the Tigers organization, has turned into one of the best relievers in MLB. In his first 45 appearances, Schreiber had a 1.89 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP and a .186 opponents’ batting average while giving up just two homers. — Ian Browne

Yankees: Aaron Judge will sign an extensionA few hours before the first pitch of the season, it still appeared possible that Judge and the Yankees would hammer out a multi-year agreement — both sides clearly wanted each other, and since Judge’s mega-watt star shines brightest on Broadway, many believed it made too much sense not to happen. Yet Judge surprised the Yanks by turning down a seven-year, $213.5 million proposal, betting on himself to have a contract year for the ages. Judge has clearly delivered on that promise, opting to shut down talks until after the season while stepping up as the favorite for the AL MVP Award. Judge is in line for a massive pay day if and when he tests free agency. — Bryan Hoch

AL CENTRAL

Guardians: Franmil Reyes’ breakoutThe writing seemed to be on the wall. Franmil Reyes was confident that he was going to eclipse 40 home runs in 2022 at the end of last season and all signs were pointing toward the slugger finally having his big breakout year. Reyes had been streaky during his time with Cleveland prior to ’22, but his red-hot stretches gave plenty of reasons to be hopeful that this year could be his time to find consistency. Instead, it was the opposite. Reyes hit .213 with a mere .604 OPS in 70 games with the Guardians this season. He launched just nine homers with a whopping 104 strikeouts in 263 at-bats (a brutal 37.1 percent strikeout percentage). It led to a move no one would have predicted, as he was designated for assignment at the beginning of the month and claimed by the Cubs. — Mandy Bell

Royals: This is a .500 teamThe Royals came in with high expectations for 2022, but they hadn’t added much from their ’21 squad, which finished 74-88, beyond veteran starter Zack Greinke. That put a ton of expectation on rookie Bobby Witt Jr. for the start of the season and even more on the steps that young starters would make, which didn’t happen until around mid-season. By then, the Royals were way under .500 and fighting to stay out of last place in the division. As the season comes to a close, you can start to see the vision the organization has with the young position players now in Kansas City and starters like Brady Singer, Kris Bubic and Daniel Lynch making strides. But the Royals will need to make some changes and additions to their roster this offseason to avoid another losing season. — Anne Rogers

Tigers: The rebuild is overDetroit looked like a team ready to challenge for its first winning season since 2016, maybe even a playoff berth. The late Spring Training trade sending Isaac Paredes to the Rays for Austin Meadows reflected that optimism. But between a slew of starting pitching injuries and an offense that ranks last in the Majors in many major categories, including a rough introduction for free-agent signing Javier B?ez and a midseason demotion for former top prospect Spencer Torkelson, the Tigers have major questions that a new general manager will have to answer. — Jason Beck

Twins: Jhoan who?Twins fans are forgiven if they hadn’t really heard the name “Jhoan Duran” entering this season. He existed in some degree of abstraction as a top prospect for several seasons, but he had only thrown 16 competitive innings across 2020 and ’21 combined due to the COVID-19 pandemic and elbow troubles. But the Twins, evidently, had still seen enough to know that they wanted him in their Opening Day bullpen anyway – and the electric right-hander has immediately been a bona fide monster and one of the elite relievers in the American League, with a fastball topping out at 103.3 mph and a wicked curveball that has helped him to a 2.01 ERA in 45 appearances as the unquestioned ace of Minnesota’s bullpen. — Do-Hyoung Park

White Sox: Jos? Abreu is getting olderOk, by the letter of the law, Abreu has of course aged, as he turned 35 on January 29. But the White Sox first baseman and team leader certainly isn’t playing like someone being caught by Father Time. Abreu entered Sunday’s contest leading the American League in hits and with a .500 average in his last eight games and a .369 mark in his last 51. This is Abreu’s finale of a three-year, $50 million deal with the White Sox, so it remains to be seen if this is his last season of an illustrious career in Chicago. But if he chooses to continue on with his career, Abreu is showing he absolutely is playing at an elite level. It would have been easy to pick the White Sox as a preseason lock in the AL Central in this category, but that story is yet to be fully told. — Scott Merkin

AL WEST

Angels: The Angels would be in postseason contentionBefore the season, the Angels had high hopes and aimed to make the postseason for the first time since 2014. They started out the season strong and were 24-13 on May 15. But it all fell apart with a 14-game losing streak that started in late May. It cost manager Joe Maddon his job, but the Angels haven’t played any better under interim manager Phil Nevin. They were again hurt by injuries to key players such as Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon, as the offense has been the culprit more than the rotation. The Angels have an important offseason ahead of them, as general manager Perry Minasian will be trying to build a winner, and the Angels aren’t in position for a rebuild with Shohei Ohtani, Trout and Rendon on the roster. — Rhett Bollinger

Astros: Justin Verlander won’t be as good post-Tommy John surgeryAnybody who thought Verlander would struggle after missing nearly two full seasons because of an elbow injury that eventually required Tommy John surgery doesn’t know Verlander very well. Not only did he return to be an effective starter, he’s having one of his best seasons at 39 years old. Through 22 starts, Verlander was tied for the Major League lead with 15 wins (15-3), led the AL in ERA (1.95) and was second in WHIP (0.88) and quality starts (18). He’s the front-runner to win his third Cy Young Award – second with the Astros – and continues to cement his Hall of Fame r?sum?. Perhaps his most meaningful stat: Verlander is 8-0 with a 0.97 ERA (seven earned runs, 65 innings) in 10 starts following Astros losses this season. — Brian McTaggart

Athletics: The bullpen would be a weaknessWith the A’s losing several key relievers from last year as they entered a rebuild in 2022, the reliability of an inexperienced bullpen was a major question. Although the overall season has been a struggle for the club, the bullpen has actually stood out as a positive with rookie relievers such as A.J. Puk, Domingo Acevedo, Sam Moll, Zach Jackson and Dany Jim?nez, who leads all Major League rookies with 11 saves, emerging as quality late-inning options for manager Mark Kotsay. Entering Sunday, Oakland’s bullpen carried a combined 3.51 ERA since July 13. — Martin Gallegos

Mariners: That they didn’t have enough starting pitchingPart of what has been such a focal point of the Mariners’ late-summer surge has been the consistency of their starting rotation, but also just as vital, their health. All five rotation spots have remained on turn all season when accounting for George Kirby taking Matt Brash’s spot in May. Yet with a lack of depth beyond Kirby, Robbie Ray, Logan Gilbert, Chris Flexen and Marco Gonzales, acquiring Luis Castillo ahead of the Trade Deadline showed that Seattle’s front office saw the need for a reinforcement. When the Mariners explicitly didn’t acquire a starter in Spring Training, it looked like a roll of the dice. But with an eye on the postseason, that move — and the timing of acquiring Castillo — has so far paid off. — Daniel Kramer

Rangers: Mart?n P?rez’s valueThe Rangers signed lefty Mart?n P?rez to a one-year deal during Spring Training, expecting him to be a middle- or back-of-the-rotation arm, a veteran who could eat a ton of innings with a young and inexperienced rotation behind Jon Gray. He’s done all that and more. P?rez has posted a 2.80 ERA in 24 starts over 148 innings amidst his first All-Star season. He’s kept the Rangers afloat for most of the season, including a 19-start run without a loss when P?rez pitched. Texas is 26-17 in games started by P?rez and Gray, but 28-49 in games started by anybody else, illustrating just how important the two veterans have been to the club. — Kennedi Landry

NL EAST

Braves: Spencer StriderSpencer Strider looked like he was a reliever entering this season and once he moved into the rotation, there was reason to question how long he could be effective as a starter. But with a little more than a month left in the regular season, Strider remains both effective and electric as a starter. This is just his second full professional season and he pitched sparingly while at Clemson. But there’s no longer reason to question when he might run out of gas. The Braves will just take him as far as he can go and then possibly use him as both a starter and reliever during the postseason. — Mark Bowman

Marlins: The lineup would perform better than in 2021As one of the worst offenses last season, there was nowhere to go but up. Miami expected more with the additions of Jorge Soler (94 OPS+) and Avisa?l Garc?a (67 OPS+), but they have underperformed. Injuries also have been a factor, with every primary position player from the Opening Day roster being sidelined at some point, except Miguel Rojas and Jacob Stallings. Miami has missed All-Star Jazz Chisholm Jr. sparking the offense since late June. It has put the Marlins in dubious company. Entering Sunday, they had scored four runs or fewer in 21 consecutive games, the longest streak in the Majors since the 1992 Orioles. — Christina De Nicola

Mets: The team wouldn’t survive injuries to Jacob deGrom or Max ScherzerIt almost seems comical now, considering how well the Mets weathered the absences of deGrom (for the entire first half of the season) and Scherzer (for nearly seven weeks). While both pitchers healed, the Mets received significant contributions from Tylor Megill and David Peterson, as well as the other regular starters in their rotation. Being without deGrom and Scherzer wasn’t exactly their preference, but the Mets proved more resilient than most of us thought. — Anthony DiComo

Nationals: Juan Soto would not be tradedWhen the Nationals overhauled their roster at the 2021 Trade Deadline, slugger Juan Soto became the centerpiece of the team. He was under contract with the Nats through the 2024 season, so even though they had not reached a contract extension, the 23-year-old star was poised to be the face of the franchise for the foreseeable future. That changed in June, when the club made Soto available to be traded after he turned down a 15-year, $440 million extension. With the sense they would not re-sign him, the Nationals dealt Soto to the Padres in a blockbuster deal that sent one of the largest prospect packages to Washington to build for its next chapter. — Jess Camerato

Phillies: The bullpen is going to be a problem againThe Phillies made three free-agent signings in the offseason in Corey Knebel, Brad Hand and Jeurys Familia, but there was still plenty of reason to be concerned about the bullpen. The front office seemed to be putting a lot of faith in Seranthony Dom?nguez, who had thrown only one inning since 2021. Well, Dom?nguez has been fantastic this season. Jos? Alvarado and Connor Brogdon have been impressive after slow starts. Andrew Bellatti and Nick Nelson have been under-the-radar pickups that paid off. Hand has been an effective ninth-inning option at times. Knebel rebounded after a rough start, too, before suffering an injury last week. Combined, the relievers are a big reason why the Phillies have a legit chance to make the postseason for the first time since 2011. — Todd Zolecki

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: The pitching would be eliteThe Brewers’ pitching has been just alright – the group entered Sunday 14th of 30 MLB pitching staffs in Fangraphs WAR (11.1), 13th in FIP (3.94), 12th in WHIP (1.24) and 11th in ERA (3.83), all better than the Major League median. But it has not been the dominant run prevention unit talked about during Spring Training for a variety of reasons, including injuries suffered by Freddy Peralta and Brandon Woodruff, and Josh Hader’s July struggles, which preceded his trade to the Padres. Brewers pitchers certainly have performed well enough to keep the team in games, but with a so-so offense, all three phases have to click at once, and the difficulty of syncing those units has produced a season with few prolonged winning streaks. — Adam McCalvy

Cardinals: Albert Pujols’ return to the Cardinals was all based around nostalgiaAs the world has gotten to see over the last two months, Pujols still has plenty of pop left in his bat and that prodigious swing. Now, following the 64th multi-home run game of his career in Arizona on Saturday night to put him at 692 career homers, Pujols seems almost certain to pass Alex Rodriguez (696) for fourth all-time in home runs and possibly reach 700 before the start of the playoffs. Some worried that Pujols’ return to St. Louis might end badly, especially after the way he struggled in May (.188 with two home runs) and June (.158 and homerless). — John Denton

Cubs: Willson Contreras will be tradedGoing into this season, All-Star catcher Willson Contreras found himself facing the same scenario as former teammates Javier B?ez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Extension talks were at a standstill and Contreras was poised to hit the open market after the season. For the rebuilding Cubs, that recipe led to blockbuster trades that sent B?ez, Bryant and Rizzo packing at the 2021 Trade Deadline for a pile of prospects. It seemed inevitable that Contreras would face the same fate, and the catcher even had an emotional farewell with Cubs fans in his final home game before this year’s Deadline. Then, the Deadline came and went and Contreras remained with Chicago. That keeps an extension possible for Contreras, though a one-year Qualifying Offer is likely in his future. That way, the Cubs at least secure a compensatory Draft pick if he signs elsewhere over the winter. — Jordan Bastian

Pirates: Oneil Cruz wins Rookie of the YearComing into the season, Oneil Cruz was the overwhelming favorite to win National League Rookie of the Year. Cruz may still receive a couple votes here and there, but with September around the corner, it’s very unlikely that Cruz will finish in the top-three. Cruz wasn’t called up this season until late-June, and while the Statcast superstar has had his moments, he is still learning to hit at the Major League level. In 50 games in 2022, Cruz has hit nine home runs and stolen six bases but is posting a 74 wRC+. — Justice delos Santos

Reds: Graham AshcraftWhile most of the hype surrounding first-year players during Reds Spring Training camp was directed towards flamethrowing prospect Hunter Greene and 6-foot-6 left-hander Nick Lodolo, it’s 24-year old Graham Ashcraft who has emerged as the team’s most reliable starting pitcher. The rookie is 5-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 16 starts since getting called up in late May. He has also taken on an even greater role following the departures of Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle at the Trade Deadline, posting an ERA of just 2.33 in his four starts during the month of August. — Will Aldrich

NL WEST

D-backs: We lost sight of Jake McCarthyThe D-backs are loaded with young outfielders in their system. Daulton Varsho was already in the Major Leagues and Alek Thomas played well enough in Spring Training that he seemed a sure-bet promotion. Meanwhile, No. 1 prospect Corbin Carroll was climbing the organizational ladder quickly and was expected to make his debut later in the summer. With all the focus on them, there was one outfielder who escaped our radar – Jake McCarthy. Since getting regular playing time following the trade of veteran David Peralta, McCarthy has played well defensively, shown a good approach at the plate and has breathed life and energy into the lineup with the way he flies around the bases. Where he fits in the future remains to be seen, but he’s given the D-backs reason to believe he should be part of it. — Steve Gilbert

Dodgers: The back end of starting rotation wasn’t good enoughThe Dodgers had a quality trio in Julio Ur?as, Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, but the back end of the rotation had some real question marks heading into the season. Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson were complete unknowns and Tony Gonsolin was unreliable last season. Since then, Anderson and Gonsolin have become first-time All Stars and Heaney has been solid when healthy. In fact, Gonsolin and Anderson have had bigger impacts on the team’s success than Buehler, who is out for the season, and Kershaw, who has battled back injuries this season. Who would’ve thought? — Juan Toribio

Giants: They’d be able to defend their National League West titleExpectations were high for the Giants after they won a franchise-record 107 games and outlasted the Dodgers in a division race for the ages last season. They weren’t viewed as the favorite to defend their NL West crown at the beginning of the year, but they felt they could surprise again by bringing back most of the veteran core that spurred their stunning success in 2021. Instead, their aging roster proved too brittle to keep pace with the Dodgers, who are running away with the division. Their only realistic path to the postseason is through a Wild Card spot, though they’ll have to chase down a couple of teams to get back into playoff position. — Maria Guardado

Padres: They couldn’t contend without Fernando Tatis Jr. in the lineupThe Padres opened Spring Training with news that Tatis would miss the first few months of the season due to a fractured wrist. That injury lingered longer than the team anticipated. Then, on the eve of Tatis’ return, he was suspended for 80 games, ruling him out for the remainder of the season and postseason. Sure, the Padres’ lineup is better with Tatis in it. But they still have an excellent rotation, an MVP candidate in Manny Machado and, now, Juan Soto manning right field. All those factors have allowed the Padres to remain squarely in the NL Wild Card race. — AJ Cassavell

Rockies: The starting rotation would be the strength of the clubTrouble started when Germ?n M?rquez made some well-meaning attempts to advance that went wrong in the beginning, Kyle Freeland found consistency fleeting and Antonio Senzatela went through a relentless run of injuries that ended with a season-ending left ACL tear. Also, Austin Gomber went on a winding search for his form of last year, and a trip to the bullpen didn’t yield gold. Chad Kuhl was the team’s best pitcher for a stretch, but he got into a rut that he’s hoping to correct while on the injured list (right hip flexor strain). With injuries to key lineup cog Kris Bryant and primary right-handed setup man Tyler Kinley, hope for competitiveness in the National League West standings depended on the rotation. It didn’t happen. — Thomas Harding