1- Blue Jays win the division
I’m going to start things off with a bang, and yes, I’m aware that the Blue Jays finished last season in 4th place in the American League East.
My only major reservation with making this prediction now is that the rosters for most or even all of the teams in the division aren’t exactly complete yet. The Red Sox made several moves to shore up their roster before the CBA expired, so they might not be that busy once things get fired up again, but I’m not sure I’d say for the same for the Yankees or even the Rays. The former still has major needs that I’m sure GM Brian Cashman would love to address, including at shortstop, in the outfield, and in the starting rotation. There’s also a lot of chatter about what they could do to upgrade first base as well, so it feels pretty early to judge the Yankees in particular.
Still, I’m going to go ahead and predict that the Jays will leap frog the Yankees, Red Sox, and even the Rays. This is what the division standings looked like in 2021:
- Tampa Bay (100-62)
- Boston (92-70)
- New York (92-70)
- Toronto (91-71)
- Baltimore (51-110)
I don’t feel like it’s a major stretch to say that the Jays can or will finish ahead of the Red Sox and Yankees next season, especially when there was only one game separating the clubs at the end of the regular season in 2021. As I said, there is plenty of time for the narrative to change ahead of the 2022 season as well, but I also feel like the Blue Jays have easily been the most aggressive team, and are in great shape overall.
The only real “leap” here might be to say that the Jays are going to be better than the Rays, but I’m going to stick with my gut here anyway. I believe that the Jays will take a slight step forward and win somewhere between 94-97 games, and the Rays will take a step back from the 100-win campaign they had in 2021. I still expect that the two clubs will have to battle it out in the playoffs again one way or another, but I have a feeling the Blue Jays will come out on top in the regular season anyway.
There’s a little voice in the back of my head telling me that I’m a fool for betting against the Rays, but I’m going to ignore it this time around. The Blue Jays will be your 2022 AL East champions. Now feel free to bookmark this and come back in a year to laugh at me if I’m wrong.