The Atlanta Braves were crowned as the somewhat unlikely World Series Champions not too long ago, but who will challenge for their National League title in 2022? Our team at SBS is here to break down who the favorites are and who we think will be able to secure the “Senior Circuit” pennant at the culmination of next season. There are plenty of strong contenders, especially on the west coast, but who makes the push to the World Series in 2022? Find out below.
Los Angeles is coming off a somewhat disappointing season where they came up short to the eventual World Series champion Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers do return a solid part of their lineup, including former MVP Mookie Betts, but they will have to contend with a crowded top end of the National League. The Dodgers do have to deal with a chunk of their roster being affected by free agency. This includes pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer and Kenley Jansen. However, Los Angeles always seems to reload and they have the financial resources to fill any gaps that might arise in their lineup. The Dodgers have also won three of the last five NL titles.
Behind Los Angeles in the rankings are the Milwaukee Brewers. Milwaukee’s formula of solid pitching and defense propelled them to a NL Central title last season and we can look for more of the same next year. The Brew Crew is bolstered by the impressive pitching trio of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta and this does not even account for former MVP Christian Yelich who had a down season in 2021 (.248 batting average with nine home runs). For Milwaukee to come alive, they need their offense to pick up the pace on a more consistent basis.
San Diego had a very disappointing 2021 after they were picked by many experts to be the World Series champions. The Padres were decimated by injuries to their pitching rotation but their starting lineup, contrary to popular belief, did achieve a relatively healthy year. That said, the Friars underachieved in many ways and are looking to bounce back in a big way next season.
Buoyed by prospective MVP candidate Fernando Tatis Jr. and third baseman Manny Macahdo, San Diego has the offensive firepower to return to their “Slam Diego” ways. With a new manager in former A’s skipper, Bob Melvin, San Diego has the pieces to challenge L.A. for NL West supremacy.
It is hard to leave off the defending World Series champion Braves, but they have a couple question marks to address as they head into the off-season. The Braves won 88 games last year but showed they can be a complete team when it matters most. Their bullpen came together consistently throughout the season and players like Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley will be cornerstones of their team for the near future. However, their team also heads into free agency with some uncertainty that the team needs to resolve sooner rather than later.
Prediction: Though Los Angeles has been the king of the NL mountain for a while now, their reign is coming to an end. Look for the Padres to usurp the Dodgers not only in the NL West, but in the National League as a whole.
|2021 NL Pennant|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||TBA||TBA|
|San Diego Padres||TBA||TBA|
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