Initial 2022 ZiPS Projections Have Dodgers Winning NL West With Best Record

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The initial ZiPS projections for the 2022 season forecast the Los Angeles Dodgers finishing atop the National League West with an MLB-best 94-68 record.

The analytical model takes into account player projections and playing time, then generates a million versions of each team. Dan Szymborski of FanGraphs noted that the ZiPS projections will be updated in during Spring Training after the lockout ends and business resumes.

The Dodgers tied a franchise record with 106 wins last season, but lost several key players in free agency, including Corey Seager and Max Scherzer. Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen and Joe Kelly remain on the open market as well.

In terms of additions, the Dodgers signed Andrew Heaney and Daniel Hudson to one-year contracts. L.A. also retained super utility man Chris Taylor on a four-year deal.

As for the rest of the NL West, the San Diego Padres are projected to finish four games behind the Dodgers with a 90-72 record. That’s tied with the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees for the third-best mark in baseball.

The San Francisco Giants, who won the division behind a franchise-best 107 games last season, are forecast to finish .500 with an 81-81 record. The club added Alex Cobb in free agency, but lost Kevin Gausman and saw longtime catcher Buster Posey retire.

Meanwhile, the rebuilding Arizona Diamondbacks (72-90) and Colorado Rockies (66-96) are projected to finish at the bottom of the NL West.

Elsewhere in the NL, the defending World Series champion Braves have been pegged to finish ahead of the New York Mets (88-74) by two games. The Philadelphia Phillies (82-80), Miami Marlins (80-82) and Washington Nationals (75-87) round out the NL East standings.

For a second consecutive year, the NL Central is expected to be a two-way race between the St. Louis Cardinals (89-73) and Milwaukee Brewers (88-74). The Cincinnati Reds (80-82), Chicago Cubs (76-86) and Pittsburgh Pirates (68-94) are projected to finish under .500.

ZiPS’ American League projections

ZiPS has the Houston Astros finishing with the second-best record in baseball at 91-71, which is 10 games better than the L.A. Angels and Oakland Athletics (81-81). That’s tied for the largest disparity among all projected division winners.

The Chicago White Sox are also forecast to finish 10 games ahead of the Cleveland Guardians in the American League Central. The AL East is the closest race of them all as the Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays are within two games of each other.

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