Thursday, September 1, 2022

August 2022 in Review [feat. Ha-Seong Kim]


So, clearly a lot happened in August. Two divisions flipped, some wild card races had new storylines, and a different team has become the alpha in the MLB. 

At the top of one of these usual 'month in review' posts, let's look at the predictions I made for August at the end of last month:

1. Soto suits up for a competitor and makes the Nationals regret short-shifting him. That, folks, is exactly what has happened. Since joining the Padres, Juan Soto is hitting .269 with 21 hits, 6 RBIs and 3 homers.
2. One team in particular is going to become a competitor almost overnight because of their deadline acquisitions, and it won't be the Braves because they did that last year. There's a lot of borderline cases to be made here, like San Diego and Seattle, where they already had a big case before the deadline. I think the biggest example of this is the Cardinals, who were good before the deadline, but getting Jordan Montgomery, Jose Quintana and Chris Stratton has made their pitching even more unstoppable and them even more of a 1st place tidal wave.
3. The Red Sox lose sight of Baltimore in the race to stay out of last. Folks, they're still 7 games behind the O's. They're not technically out of it yet, but they're mad close.
4. With not much left to go, a major competitor completely loses steam and exits the race early. This mostly describes the Twins. I don't know how much of a chance they have of making the playoffs. 
5. An incredible comeback story featuring someone we never thought we'd hear about again takes place in a smaller market. Joey Meneses or Wynton Bernard would count for that. 

Now, owing to how much I did predict in this month, here are 5 Things from August 2022 That No One Could Predict:

1. The Yankees finally go cold. Everyone was waiting for it to happen. And in August, it finally did. This team was 70-34 at the start of the month, and now they're 79-51. That's nowhere near as cool. There were long stretches where this team refused to hit, Frankie Montas has been nowhere near as good as either of the pitchers that were traded away to make room for him, Matt Carpenter and Nestor Cortes are now injured and the team is trying to scrounge up bullpen help from ANYWHERE. This team is still good, and is heating up again now before a very tough September, but I worry about its ultimate impact.

2. The Rookies in Atlanta light the way. William Contreras and Spencer Strider we already knew about, but Michael Harris and Vaughn Grissom have been keeping the Braves fresh even throughout some injuries. Grissom has been a wonderful cover for Ozzie Albies, hitting like hell and being great defensively. Gives the Braves a much more reassuring boost not just for the postseason, but for the future.

3. The first 100-win team this year will be the DODGERS. Look, if nobody's looking and you keep doing your thing, you reap the benefits. The Yankees and Mets stuttered, the Astros had a balanced month, and the Dodgers only lost 5 games the whole month. And a lot of them were big wins, too. Not just sneaky little ones. Look, the Dodgers have Craig Kimbrel as a closer and with all the blowouts they're capable of, they really don't need him. So much of this team is incredible, like Mookie's 30-homer year, Gonsolin and Anderson's breakouts, and even Trayce Thompson having a comeback for his old club. I take it the oddsmakers are favoring them for October now. 

4. Just how much Julio Rodriguez would accomplish. People probably figured he'd be good this month, or even this year, but the kid is now just showing off. A 4.4 WAR, 20+ homers, 20+ steals, 65 RBIs, and he's gonna be in Seattle for another decade or so. They might as well just give him Rookie of the Year now, I don't think we even need to wait around for it.

5. The Marlins don't need Sixto Sanchez, they have Edward Cabrera. I swear, I'm beginning to think Sixto Sanchez's month in the majors was just a mirage. It happened so fleetingly, got no press when ROY voting happened, and he hasn't appeared in the majors since. Meanwhile, Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez and Jesus Luzardo have all been strong starters, and now Cabrera has been damn near untouchable this season, with a 2.45 ERA in 8 starts. I'm not sure if the Marlins are gonna keep everybody around next year, but if those four AND Sixto, or maybe healthy versions of Trevor Rogers and Braxton Garrett, are all's gonna be insane. 

And, the antithesis of that, 5 Things from August 2022 That People Probably Could Predict:

1. DeGrom's on fire the second he gets off the IL. Yeah, duh. 

2. Giving Jordan Montgomery to St. Louis was a bad idea. Harrison Bader has yet to play a game as a Yankee, and Montgomery is already a Cardinals legend, with a 4-0 record, a 1.76 ERA and 28 Ks in his first 5 starts. I bet the Yankees could really use that about now.

3. The Phillies undercut a burgeoning wild card case with a pair of embarrassing losses to a non-competitive team on the road. Folks...they do this. It may just keep them out of the postseason. 

4. Framber Valdez's quality starts streak continues. I bet the Astros are really happy with this guy, even with JV having his year. 

5. Any attempt to keep Jesse Chavez out of Atlanta has already been rectified. That's the second time this year the Braves have gotten him back. Somebody really wants to retire as a Brave. 

For posterity, the 5 Most Important Players of August 2022:

1. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
2. Juan Soto, San Diego Padres
3. Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
4. Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners 
5. Jacob deGrom, New York Mets

And, let's have the 5 Predictions for September 2022:

1. The division leaders as they are will not stand pat, and one or more division will flip before the season's up. 
2. Judge will reach 60. That much I am sure of. 
3. One of the playoff droughts, like the Mariners or Phillies, will end. Perhaps not both.
4. Pujols will hit 700. And then after the season it'll be revealed that Manfred had a hand in that as well.
5. We haven't had a no-hitter in a while, I think we get one more. 

So yeah, that was August 2022. I hope September's just as fun.

Coming Tonight: A home run hitter for a team desperately trying to stay in the wild card race, especially after what happened last year.

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