Extra Innings: 2022’s Underperformers

Graphic by Lily Davis
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While most of the preseason favorites held serve and made the postseason in 2022, there were a few notable exceptions. These teams were the biggest disappointments of the 2022 MLB season. 

San Francisco Giants

The Giants were never going to match their magical 2021 season where they won 107 games, but that doesn’t mean 2022 wasn’t underwhelming, as they missed the playoffs for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Their offense and pitching were around the league average after both being among the best in the majors last year, but the biggest drop off was in the bullpen. They led the majors last year with a 2.99 bullpen ERA, but this year it’s been below average at 4.08. Buster Posey’s retirement can’t explain everything — the Giants are an aging team, reflected by subpar performances from elder statesmen Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt, both of whom dealt with injuries. There’s been heavy speculation that the Giants will pursue Aaron Judge this offseason, but realistically, this team is more than one star outfielder away from contention, especially if ace Carlos Rodón walks this offseason. However, San Francisco has so far proven reluctant to rebuild, and the front office will likely offer Judge a monster deal. 

Boston Red Sox 

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After making the American League Championship Series last year, the Red Sox were expected to be a playoff team in 2022. Instead, they finished the year 78–84 and in fifth place in the American League East. Granted, they were in a tough division, but that doesn’t change the fact that this team cannot pitch. They allowed an abysmal 4.86 runs per game this year, while their bullpen posted a 4.59 ERA, both among the worst in baseball. Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers put up great numbers to lead a strong offense, but it wasn’t enough to save Boston from an unsuccessful season. Instead of investing in a new pitching staff, the Red Sox will likely opt to offer Devers an extension, and he’ll be the piece for this team to build around. After losing Mookie Betts in 2020 due to failed extension talks, the Red Sox should learn from their mistake and pay Devers what he’s owed. 

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox were undoubtedly the most disappointing team in 2022. Many people, including myself, thought this team could win the World Series, and ESPN placed them fourth in their preseason power rankings. Instead, Chicago flirted with .500 all season long and found a way to miss the playoffs despite playing in the arguably weakest division in baseball. Tim Anderson, Luis Robert and Yoán Moncada all missed time due to injury, but that was only part of the problem. Their starting rotation, one of the best in baseball last year, was below average at best in 2022. Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn posted 4.90 and 3.99 ERAs respectively, after 3.53 and 2.69 seasons last year. Meanwhile, the bullpen pitched to a pedestrian 4.00 ERA. Dylan Cease was terrific, but he’s only one man. The White Sox need to take a good look at their roster and determine whether or not this team can win going forward. 2022 wasn’t very encouraging. 

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