For the last few seasons, the Central has been the weakest division in the NL, and honestly, one of the bottom feeders of the MLB. But it really looks like this division can become pretty competitive in years to come. Here is our predictions for the NL Central in 2022.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
There really isn’t much to say about the 5th place team. They are bad, like bad bad. They have one of the coolest stadiums in the league. Besides Fenway, PNC is for sure next on my bucket list on places to check out a ballgame. But the stadium won’t win them games, and they are going to have another bad season. Ke’Bryan Hayes is one of the rising young superstars in our league, and it is cool that they have them to look forward to until his contract expires and he leaves as quickly as he can. Who knows maybe he sticks around. For Pirates fans, I would say you have a few more years to go until you achieve some happiness. But the future in Pittsburgh doesn’t look half bad.
4. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds got rid of two of the three studs they had in losing Jesse Winker to the Mariners and Nick Castellanos to the Phillies. That’s basically a whole new outfield they are going to have to adjust to this season. Rookie of the year Jonathan India is fun to watch and we can expect him to have another good year in 2022. It seems like the Reds are really getting rid of many of their pieces. They also sent Sonny Gray to the Twins and closing pitcher Amir Garrett to Kansas City. The Reds really aren’t looking like they are trying to compete in 2022, but it may be a tactic to rebuild and bring some more studs to Cincy.
3. Chicago Cubs
As much as it hurts to say it, the Cubs will finish 3rd in the Central this year. As a Cubs fan, It stinks right now seeing all your favorite players get traded and starting fresh. But I love some of the pickups the front office has made so far. Signing starting pitcher Marcus Stroman before the lockout was huge for the Cubs to add some more firepower to their rotation which was not very efficient last year. Kyle Hendricks, Marcus Stroman, and Wade. Miley is a pretty scary 1–2–3. I really like the addition of Seiya Suziki to this young team. He is going to bring a few new energy to this team and I think he can really be a superstar in the MLB. Frank Schwindel and Patrick Wisdom both had a monster season at the plate, really coming out of nowhere after the core got traded at the deadline. These two somewhat softened the blow of seeing Javy, Kris, and Anthony leave and join their new squads. The Cubs will finish 3rd, but don’t count them out of making a potential Wild Card run.
2. St. Louis Cardinals
I hate the Cardinals, I just do. But they were a good team last year. They weren’t great by any means, but they were competitive in the league and can go up against anybody. Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neil are both looking to have another solid season this year. Matt Carpenter had a season to forget last year, batting .169 for 2021. Dylan Carlson was a solid rookie for the Cards last year, and I imagine that he will try to run back his success and hope for a good career. Nolan Arenado is looking to try to help this team be competitive again this year, and I think if they make some changes to the starting rotation and get a little more help in the bullpen, the Cards could be really good in 2022. This team will definitely be fighting for a Wild Cards spot.
- Milwaukee Brewers
It’s hard to look at this division this year and think that anyone wins it besides the Brewers. They arguably have the most stacked rotation with 2021 Cy Young Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta as the top 3. This rotation is really hard to hit on, and they can be a hitters nightmare again in 2022. Christian Yelich is looking to bounce back to Allstar mode as he has had a hard time since 2020. The addition to Hunter Renfroe and Andrew McCutchen to add some more pieces to this team. They lost Avisaíl Garcia to free agency which hurts but is also replaceable. This team really needs to be more desperate for some big bats, and we could still see them potentially try to improve their lineup before the deadline or even before opening day. But this pitching rotation and Josh Hader who is one of the best bullpen pitchers in baseball are a scary threat to any team in the league, and expect the Brew Crew to make a run deep into October.