Throughout the season, the experts at CBS Sports MLB will bring you a weekly Batting Around panel discussion breaking down just about everything. Breaking news, a historical question, thoughts on the future of baseball, all sorts of things. Last week we detailed what we would want in exchange for a scoring baseball. This week, we’re going to discuss the biggest surprises of 2022.
Which team surprised you the most this season, good or bad?
R. J. Anderson: There are several teams that suit me both ways. I was too bearish on the Guardians and Orioles, and too bullish on the Twins, White Sox and Angels. I suspect others will pick the Orioles and White Sox, so I’ll roll with the Guardians. See the article : What’s New on Netflix in August 2022. I was expecting star-level performances from Shane Bieber and José Ramírez, of course, but I underestimated their supporting cast – and I certainly didn’t see Andrés Giménez having that kind of offensive output. (Don’t get me started on Oscar Gonzalez.) Kudos to the Guardians players and their coaches and front office staff for making me look more like a clown than usual.
Matt Snyder: With major props for the Guardians and sneers heading for the White Sox, I’m going with the Orioles. Heading into the season, the Orioles had an over/under bet at 62.5 wins. It was the lowest total in all of baseball, a shockingly low number and those in gaming circles realize it and eight wins below what was expected for the A’s and Nationals. Not only were they expected to be bad, but if we looked at the expectations of their peers, they had to face the strongest foursome in any division. They started badly, as expected, ace John Means had to undergo Tommy John surgery and it looked like another 100-game losing streak. Instead, they’ll likely go from 52-110 to a winning record despite having one of the toughest schedules, statistically, in baseball.
For me, if we look at other picks here, you might be heading towards the outcome we’ve seen unfold this season. With the Orioles, anyone predicting a 2022 winning record in the spring would have been outright ignored on the premise that that person has no credibility and there isn’t even much to argue about. And yet, here we are.
Dayn Perry: I too was very surprised by the quality of the Guardians and the Orioles, but I’ll go the other way and say the Giants. I certainly expected them to come back down to earth in 2022 after winning 107 games last year, but I didn’t really expect “30 games worse” levels of regression. I think the lesson is that you need frontline talent to compete in non-central divisions, and the Giants don’t have a lot of that. Coached retreads can only take you so far.
Mike Axisa: Yeah, the Guardians and Orioles are 1-2 for me, in that order. No. 3 is the Tigers. I didn’t expect them to be good, but I thought they would take a few steps forward and be a .500 team in this division after incorporating a few more young players into the roster (i.e. i.e. Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene). Instead, they’re going to lose 95+ games for the fourth time in the last five 162-game seasons (they also played to a 98-game losing streak in 2020). We all refer to the Astros and Cubs as rebuilding success stories and it’s understandable. This is the flip side. The Tigers are half a decade into their rebuild and still aren’t particularly close to the fight. A throwback like this to 2022 is a big disappointment.