Gerrit Cole
Dan Hamilton | USA TODAY Sports

Let’s get crazy. What will happen in 2022?

We’re now exactly two weeks away from Opening Day for Major League Baseball. The big-name free agents have signed, and some major trades have changed the dynamics of rosters all over the leagues.

With the excitement building for the new season to finally begin, here are five bold predictions for the American League for this coming year. What are your hot takes on 2022? Let us know on Twitter!

Seattle wins the AL West

This team was fascinating down the stretch last year, and now they’re deeper. The additions of Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker in a steal trade from the Reds were two nice bats in a lineup that was already strong. And they have young depth coming to help, too.

With Houston taking a step back after Carlos Correa left and the Rangers and Angels still needing pitching, the time is now for the Mariners.

Detroit makes the playoffs

The Tigers brought in Javier Baez and Eduardo Rodriguez to provide veteran leadership in the clubhouse. But it’s the youth movement in Detroit that excites us as fans. Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene could both make a push for Rookie of the Year honors and their young pitching got much-needed experience last year.

 

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Gerrit Cole will win 20

The defense behind Cole should be better this year. And the lineup is still deep and powerful. But after a rough patch in the middle of last year, Cole turned it around and was dominant late in the season.

With the Yankees in a crowded playoff race, and with questions about the rest of their rotation, they’re going to need their ace to earn his enormous contract. And he will — and the 20-goal plateau will happen.

The biggest name to be traded is…

If you look at the lineup in Cleveland, it’s going to be a rough season for the Guardians. Yes, the Guardians. But they have a legit MVP-caliber player at third base in Jose Ramirez. And he’s on an incredibly team-friendly deal right now.

We’re betting Ramirez doesn’t finish the 2022 season with the Guardians. They’re going to look around their division in mid-May and see the Royals and Tigers improved, the White Sox dominating and the Twins… who knows. But they need to overhaul their offense and the best way to do it is moving their best bat.

The MVP goes to…

If the lineup around him can stay healthy, and Mike Trout himself can stay on the field, the best player in baseball will be hard to vote against for the American League’s Most Valuable Player. But there will be other options.

Aaron Judge will put up numbers in the re-tooled Yankees’ lineup this year. Wander Franco is a special talent and is going to put up numbers. And last year’s top-two — Shohei Ohtani and Vladi Jr — will be there as well.

But we’re going out on a limb and predicting White Sox outfielder Luis Robert is your AL MVP when the dust settles in November. He’s a five-tool guy in a loaded lineup. If he’s healthy, he could be a 30-30 guy on a team that should win their division.

 

 

Tab has written about MLB, the NHL and the NFL for more than a decade for publications including The Fourth Period, Bleacher Report and La Vida Baseball. He is the author of two books about the Chicago Blackhawks and has been credentialed for the MLB All-Star Game and postseason and multiple Stanley Cup Finals. He is the co-host of the Line Drive Radio podcast.