Which Division Winner From A Year Ago Has The Most Downside For 2022?

Image credit: Joey Bart (Ezra Shaw/Getty)

This is one of nine burning questions comprising Baseball America’s 2022 MLB Season Preview. To see the full preview, click here

Ben Badler—Rays. They’re still a good team and should make the playoffs, but the AL East looks stacked again, especially with the Blue Jays on the rise.

Carlos Collazo—Giants. Their 2021 season was fantastic in every way, but I don’t know that I would bet on them playing close to 107 wins again, even if I did like the Carlos Rodon signing. I would guess they are much closer to .500 in 2022, but hey I thought that a year ago as well. I’d love another surprise season from San Francisco. I just wouldn’t bet on it. 

Geoff Pontes—Giants. They won 107 games in 2021 and despite a savvy signing in Carlos Rodon I’m less optimistic this season. While I still believe they’re a playoff team I’m not convinced they’re the sort of juggernaut they were last season. They’re more a 90-win team than a 100-plus win division champion.

Chris Hilburn-Trenkle—Giants. The Dodgers added a former MVP to an already loaded lineup. I still like the Giants to make the playoffs, but the division is going to go through Los Angeles.

Matt Eddy—Giants. It would be difficult for any club to replicate a 107-win season, but the loss of franchise icon Buster Posey to retirement and top pitcher Kevin Gausman to free agency make the hill that much harder for the Giants to climb. San Francisco has made savvy moves such as importing Carlos Rodon and Alex Cobb for the rotation, but with a lineup that skews old with the likes of Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt, the club will be just as reliant on hitters surpassing their preseason expectations as they were last year, only this time minus hitting coach Donnie Ecker

Kyle Glaser—Rays. The Rays are relying an awful lot on pitchers who are extremely young and have never thrown a full season’s worth of innings (Shane Baz, Luis Patiño), who have scary injury histories (Corey Kluber) or are a combination of the two (Drew Rasmussen). Plus, injuries to Nick Anderson and Peter Fairbanks have sidelined two of their best bullpen arms. The Rays will probably figure it out, but combine that risky staff with a strikeout-prone lineup and a division full of teams that got markedly better, it’s not hard to see a scenario where the bottom drops out in 2022.

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