After a grueling 162 regular season games, the 2022 MLB regular season has finally ended. The long season contained many headlines — some good, some bad, depending on which side of the fence your coveted MLB team fell on.
Now, it’s time for October postseason baseball. But first, let’s discuss the biggest winners and losers of the 2022 regular season.
Kicking things off with my biggest winner of the regular season (literally): the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers continue to demonstrate their premiere talent from all ends of the spectrum. Their front office, management, the farm system and, most importantly, their loaded roster.
They cranked 111 wins this season, a franchise record for most wins in a single season. This year, the Dodgers are in a championship-or-bust situation with the amount of All-Stars and former MVPs this roster contains. Look for Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman to have a huge month of October.
Now, the Dodgers aren’t the only winners of the regular season; their American League, or AL, rivals, the New York Yankees, had a historic season as Aaron Judge popped 62 home runs to break the AL home-run regular season record. Coming into the regular season with an expiring contract, he had a lot to prove to the management that couldn’t come to a contract extension this past offseason. After a momentous season, expect Judge and the Bronx-bombers to make some noise in this post-season.
The 2021 World Series champions, the Atlanta Braves, are once again one of the best teams in baseball. Think about it: They won the pennant last year even without their young phenom, Ronald Acuna Jr., who tore his ACL during the 2021 regular season.
The Braves are loaded this year, with all-around talent including Ronald Acuna Jr, Dansby Swanson and NL MVP candidate Austin Riley. They also had stellar pitching from their ace, Kyle Wright, who finished with 21 wins and five losses. Atlanta finished with 13 more wins this year compared to their 2021 regular season record that resulted in a championship.
Now, outside of the biggest winners of the 2022 regular season, here are some of the biggest losers. The old saying “there’s no crying in baseball” might not ring wonders for the following teams.
It’s only right I begin this list with the Oakland Athletics, who continue to remain one of the worst-performing teams in Major League Baseball. The A’s finished with the second-worst record in all of baseball: a staggering 60-102.
There weren’t too many bright spots for this makeshift team constructed by the general manager, David Forst. The only positive thing about the A’s in recent years is Moneyball (thank you, Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill). The A’s have plenty of questions to answer after another losing season, and it remains to be seen if the franchise will stay in Oakland, or relocate to another city.
Keeping things on the west coast, let’s cook up the San Diego Padres. Despite sneaking into the playoffs and acquiring Juan Soto, Josh Bell and Josh Hader, the Padres lost Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. The young shortstop was expected to contribute midseason after recovering from wrist surgery as a result of a motorcycle crash in the Dominican Republic this past offseason.
And imagine how scary this team would look with Tatis in the lineup. Tatis signed a 14-year, $340 million contract extension last February. As one of the premiere talents in the game, however, Tatis hasn’t been reliable for the Padres throughout his tenure, halting a “what could have been” season for the Padres.
Still, keeping the attention on California ball clubs, the Los Angeles Angels finished 16 games below .500. Manager Joe Madden was given his pink slip early on after a 12-game losing skid. The Angels haven’t made the playoffs since 2014 — and only once in the last 12 years. One would think having three-time AL MVP Mike Trout would lead to multiple playoff appearances and possibly even championships, but that hasn’t been the case.
To make matters worse, the Angels had the 2021 AL MVP, Shohei Ohtani, and yet still missed the playoffs. Ohtani, a two-way talent, is one of those special athletes in all of sports. Ohtani finished with 219 strikeouts on the mound and hit 34 home runs at the plate. The clock is ticking for the Angels: Trout turns 32 next August, and the Angels have yet to ink a long-term contract extension with Ohtani.
Regardless of the biggest losers and winners — the 2022 regular season was one of the best in recent memory. Judge and Ohtani put up historic seasons for their individual teams; it’ll be interesting to see which of them will take home the American League MVP. Other veterans like Justin Verlander and Paul Goldschmidt had renaissance years and reemerged as some of the best in their respective positions.
It’s safe to say that baseball is in good hands as young stars like Julio Rodriguez, O’Neil Cruz and others emerge as elite prospects and potential faces of the league in the coming years. In the meantime, veterans in their prime like Mookie Betts, Aaron Judge and Ohtani will continue to carry the game. No doubt, with the influx of major league talent, the game will be exciting for years to come: America’s old pastime is here to stay.