Here we look at the highlights from the Major League Baseball season in 2022.
They did it. They completed their second World Series title quest in six seasons. Dusty Baker managed to win his first World Series ring as manager and Justin Verlander landed his first World Series win as a 39-year-old in what could have been his last Astros appearance.
The Astros deserved their title win, they won 106 regular season games, 16 more than their closest challengers in the American League West Division. The team also went undefeated against American League opposition in the postseason.
They also became the first team to clinch the World Series at home since the Boston Red Sox did it in 2013.
Prior to this season, only four franchises had more losses than the Phillies through 2012 to 2021, the Miami Marlins, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles and the San Diego Padres.
Ok they lost the World Series in the end, however the fact that they made the fall classic at all is testament to their spirit and will to win. It took a change of manager at the start of June to push their season forward. Getting Bryce Harper back from injury also helped in their push for the playoffs in September.
Although they very nearly blew it, the Phillies were thankful for the third Wild Card place introduced at the start of the season, and when they made it (ironically, it was a win over the Houston Astros that saw them claim their Wild Card position), from then on, it was fun.
Defeating the St.Louis Cardinals, the Atlanta Braves and the San Diego Padres to reach the World Series, only then did they come up against a side that was simply better than them.
The Mariners reached their first postseason since 2001, just three years ago Seattle lost 94 games. They almost made the playoffs last season with 90 wins, this time with the additional playoff spot, the Mariners made it.
They have some up and coming stars, namely Cal Raleigh, who clinched Seattle’s first postseason in 21 years with a walk-off home run. The 25-year-old is in his second big-league season and is a big hope for the future of the organisation.
However, Raleigh is not the biggest story to come out of the Mariners in this past season. The likely winner of the American League Rookie of the Year award is centre-fielder Julio Rodriguez. The Mariners also improved their pitching with the additions of Luis Castillo and last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, Robbie Ray.
Add Logan Gilbert and George Kirby to the rotation and you can see why the Mariners did well.
Moving onto individuals. This has been an astonishing season for Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees. The outfielder beat the American League and New York Yankee home run target with 62 in an Most Valuable Player like season, only Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels can beat him in my opinion.
The issue Judge has now is who is going to pay a huge contract for him, will he end up back with the Yankees, who he turned down a multi-year, multi-million deal with at the start of the 2022 season.
The 39-year old had a superb year culminating with another World Series ring with the Houston Astros, also winning his first game in the fall classic.
Verlander is out of contract, however he is the number candidate to win his third Cy Young Award and nobody aged 39 has come back from Tommy John surgery to win the accolade, unless there is a fallacy in the voting, then he will win another Cy Young.
Verlander is expected to turn down his qualifying offer with the Houston Astros and they will join a lengthy queue to grab his services. If Max Scherzer at 37-year-old can get a three-year, $130million deal, what can Verlander receive?
If Verlander is going to scoop the American League Cy Young Award, then surely the Miami Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara is on course to win the National League Cy Young Award. He had the NL second-lowest ERA behind the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Julio Urias, however he has pitched 53 more innings.
Alcantara led the league with six complete games, only Aaron Nola pitched two complete games this season, it shows the effort of Alcantara.