Margaret Maloney ’23
Los Angeles Dodgers
The MLB lockout was 99 days and the uncertainty of when opening days would occur was a question for all. An agreement reached by the Major League Baseball’s club owners and its players’ union after months of heated negotiations will allow for a full season, with opening day scheduled for April 7. Now that baseball is back, everyone wants to know who is predicted to be the World Series champion for 2022. While this is fun to predict, there is always the chance of any team clinching the world series title. However, this year, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the best pick.
There are three key players that will carry LA to the win: Trea Turner, Walker Buehler, and Markus “Mookie” Betts.
Turner has the perfect opportunity to show that he is one of the best shortstops in the league now that Corey Seager, the team’s previous shortstop, has left the Dodgers. With Seager no longer on the team, it’s Turner’s chance to show what he can do at shortstop. It is also the last year of his contract, meaning that he knows he needs to perform. Turner finished the 2021 season leading the majors with a .328 batting average and 195 base hits, his second consecutive season leading the major leagues in hits. He also led the National League with 32 stolen bases and 319 total bases. He had the fastest sprint speed of all major league players at 30.7 feet per second.
Buehler has finally earned the title of Opening Day starting pitcher for the Dodgers. Dave Roberts, manager of the team, said the decision of who would start Opening Day could have gone either way between Clayton Kershaw (the other Dodgers pitcher) and Buehler. It would have been Kershaw’s franchise-leading 10th Opening Day start. Instead, the Dodgers felt that with what Buehler accomplished last season, the timing was right for him to make his first Opening Day start. Buehler has established himself as one of the most dominant pitchers in the National League, as the two-time All-Star went 16-4 with a 2.47 ERA last season and made all 33 of his scheduled starts for the first time in his career. Buehler also pitched a career-high of 207 2/3 innings, going into at least the sixth inning 29 times.
Betts has now won an MVP Award, two World Series titles, been the American League batting champion, and has gone 30-30 in a single season. In 2021, he played in 122 games for the Dodgers, with a .264 batting average, 23 home runs, and 58 RBI. As a crucial right outfielder, Betts will be on a watch list as one of the best performers in the league.
The manager of the Dodgers said in a public setting, “We are winning the World Series in 2022… We will win the World Series this year, put it on record.”
Patrick Walsh ’24
Boston Red Sox
A team with a great chance to earn some hardware is the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox play in one of the league’s toughest divisions, but they are a team that always finds ways to win games. Boston exceeded many baseball fans’ predictions last year by securing a playoff berth and making it to the ALCS before losing to a powerhouse Houston Astros team. The Sox are looking for revenge and are determined to get back to the World Series.
This is another team with a complete roster on both sides of the field. They were also plagued with injuries all season long.
It is hard to see somone competing agains the Los Angeles Dodgers with their free agency moves.
The Los Angeles Dodgers as a team that has a chance to go to their fourth World Series in the last six years.
It is hard to understand how a team with Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Chris Taylor, Cody Bellinger, Clayton Kershaw, etc., can get better, but it did. The Dodgers were the lucky winners in the Freddie Freeman sweepstakes, who was arguably the best free agent available this offseason.
With a healthy roster this season, the Dodgers are a force to be reckoned with.
However, the Red Sox have Chris Sale, their ace who was acquired in 2016 only appeared in nine games with a 5-1 record. Not being able to get a full season of work hurt the team because Sale was not entirely ready to pitch when the postseason came around.
Luckily for the Red Sox, pitchers Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, and Eduardo Rodriguez played major roles in their success last season.
The best part of this team, at least last season, was their bats.
Led by Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and J.D. Martinez, the Red Sox were able to collect 829 runs and 219 home runs. The Red Sox were also part of a blockbuster deal in 2020 that sent Mookie Betts to the Dodgers.
The main players they acquired were Kiké Hernandez and Alex Verdugo. Verdugo had his best career season bringing in 13 homers and 63 runs. Kiké Hernandez also tallied 20 home runs for one of his most memorable seasons. His best moments of the season came in the playoffs, where he went 15-for-25 in his last five games, producing five homers, four doubles, and an incredible .600 batting average.
The Red Sox will make it back and win the final series because of their relentless style of play and complete roster.