The MLB regular season finished up on October 3 with the possibility of a series of tie-breaker games ending when the Boston Red Sox beat the Washington Nationals 7-5. There was still plenty of drama on offer though, as a number of teams bucked the pre-season baseball odds to extend their seasons.
In this article we take a look at the main winners and losers from a season to remember in MLB. Let us know in the comments section below who impressed you this season and conversely, who disappointed you.
Winner: San Francisco Giants
Sports throw up a lot of odd scenarios, one of which is overweight men in their 40s labeling elite athletes in their early 30s as ‘past it’ and ‘too old to compete’. At the beginning of the season there were plenty of baseball fans saying similar things about the San Francisco Giants roster.
Their opening day team featured a staggering 10 hitters over the age of 30 with Wilmer Flores joining that group when he turned 30 in August. In many season preview articles the Giants were predicted to finish 4th in the National League.
Yet they surprised everyone by finishing top of the pile and recording a franchise record 107 wins over the regular season. Despite posting a poor hard-hit rate, the Giants found themselves either top or second in many of the league’s advanced batting statistics.
Buster Posey was a key performer with .302/.288/.499 and Logan Webb, Kevin Gausman and Anthony DeSclafani were also in top form in the pitching department. Despite an NLDS loss to the rival Dodgers, Giants fans will remember this team fondly for a long time.
Loser: San Diego Padres
There were some quarters that thought that the San Diego Padres could pip the Dodgers to the National League West and then go on to win their first World Series this season. Instead, the Padres finished third and posted a losing season.
New additions Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove failed to have the type of impact on the franchise that fans had hoped for preseason. What really cost the Padres though were the performances of Fernando Tatis and Manny Machado.
Tensions boiled over in September when Machado shouted and cursed at Tatis in an ugly scene of discord during the franchise’s crucial loss to the St Louis Cardinals. That ‘disagreement’ perhaps highlighted why the Padres had performed so poorly throughout the season.
With the roster reportedly struggling to let bygones be bygones, there is growing pressure on the management structure to step aside.
(Frustrations boiled over in the Padres recent loss to the Cardinals.)
Winner: Chicago White Sox
In Chicago there were concerns about Andrew Vaughn’s suitability to the MLB and worries that Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal would suffer sophomore slumps. The hiring of Tony La Russa as manager was also seen as somewhat of a gamble but, everything’s coming up Milhouse for the White Sox thus far.
The franchise posted a more than respectable 93-69 winning season, ranking in the top five in ERA and WHIP. The White Sox’s pitching has been phenomenal throughout the regular season, typified when they threw four scoreless innings against the Detroit Tigers toward the end of the campaign.
Unfortunately for La Russa and his team, they lost the ALDS to the Houston Astros. They will look to build off their strong season in 2022.
Loser: Los Angeles Angels
There were many in LA that thought the Angels would win the American League West and perform well in the offseason. In the end though the Angels were no better than the Detroit Tigers as they struggled by for 104 games without Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon.
Their one positive did come with a downside though as Shohei Ohtani made more than 10 starts and had over 425 plate appearances. He also became the first player in American League history to post 45 home runs, 25 stolen bases and 100 runs.
That was the upside, the downside was that Ohtani made it very clear in the media that he is focused on performing better in the future and crucially, on playing in a winning team. A 77-85 season is hardly likely to convince him to stay with the Angels when hits the open market after the 2023 season.
(Shohei Ohtani was a standout performer for the Angels this season, but can the franchise keep hold of him?)
Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers
Whilst Angels’ fans have been tearing their hair out at the performances of their team, Dodgers fans have been over the moon with their team. The Dodgers boast the league’s highest run differential and are quite possibly, the best team in baseball.
They lit up the National League West and defeated the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS. At the time of this writing though, they trail the Atlanta Braves three games to one in the NLCS.
Loser: The National League West
The San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers were absolutely rampant in the NL West leaving the Padres, Rockies and Diamondbacks to battle it out over the scraps.
The Diamondbacks, who perhaps had the lowest expectations of all teams were even worse than first feared, losing 17 straight games in June.
The Rockies weren’t much better either and had one of the worst producing outfields in the MLB.