Hot Takes For The 2022 MLB Season

Story posted April 7, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Jayson O’Connell

Every season, the MLB has a lot of surprise players and teams. There always seems to be a group of players and certain squads that outperform expectations.

Spring Training performances and performances in previous seasons have given some players and teams hope of having a big year.

Cody Bellinger will have an average over .270 and will hit over 100 RBIs

Last season was Cody Bellinger’s worst of his career. He hit for an average of .165 and an OPS of .542.

Bellinger has also had a poor Spring Training, having only four hits in 33 at bats.

Both these signs point to the Dodgers outfielder having another poor season at the plate.

But part of Bellinger’s struggles last year had to do with multiple injuries that he suffered throughout the season. The combination of playing through injuries and missing long periods of time never allowed him to get into a groove at the plate.

The poor performance in Arizona isn’t the best sign, but Bellinger posted three solid seasons to start his career. Playing that well over three years isn’t a fluke and he should be able to return to his old self if he stays healthy.

The Pirates won’t finish last in the NL Central

Last season, the Pirates finished 10 games behind the Chicago Cubs to find themselves at the bottom of the NL Central.

Pittsburgh did very little to improve its roster this offseason, so it may seem like the Pirates will stay at the bottom.
But the Pirates’ bats have come alive in Spring Training. Cole Tucker, Bryan Reynolds, Diego Castillo, Yoshi Tsutsugo, Kevin Newman and Greg Allen have all had an average over .290 in Florida this spring.

Chicago has made changes to what was one of the worst starting rotations in baseball, but a lot of its starters aren’t performing well in Spring Training.

Yes, Spring Training is a very small sample size, but if these trends continue it’ll be a tight race for fourth place in the NL Central.

Tarik Skubal will be a CY Young contender

Detroit’s 25-year-old reliever has had a rough go at it in his first two seasons in the majors. Skubal has posted an ERA over 4.00 in 2020 and 2021.

But his performance in Spring Training has been very promising for the Tigers. Skubal is second in strikeouts in the spring with 21 and has an ERA of 1.32.

He can change speeds very well with a sinker around 95 mph, a changeup around 85 mph and a curveball around 75 mph.

He has been really working on his curveball and changeup, which he’s been using to leave hitters looking lost at the plate this spring.

Hitters will eventually start to figure him out. But if he can keep his strikeout rates high, he’ll be able to keep his ERA down and be among the top pitchers in the American League this year.

Kyle Schwarber will be an MVP candidate

Schwarber had the best year of his career last year. He had his highest average ever with .266 and his highest OPS ever with .928.

Part of what held Schwarber’s home runs totals and RBIs totals back was that he only played 113 games.

Playing a full season in Citizens Bank Park, one of the most hitter friendly ballparks in the league, will certainly allow him to hit over 40 home runs and bring in around 110 RBIs.

Some may say batting first in the lineup will hurt his chances at reaching a large number of RBIs. However, Jean Segura, Alec Bohm and Matt Vierling will be hitting at the bottom of the order and have all shown flashes of being able to have a high on base percentage.


Jayson O’Connell is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email