Wow. What a year it has been. Fans returned to their beloved ballparks as teams completed a combined 2,429 regular season games. We saw a new member inducted into the illustrious 500 Home Run Club. We saw players breakout, superstars succumb to injuries, and nearly every team fell short of the ultimate goal. But the champion doesn’t define the entire story. We’re looking to tell the big picture here. So, as the World Series gets ready to begin, we’re going to take a retrospective look at the 2021 season and make a few predictions for 2022. We hope you enjoy it!
Major Events from the 2021 MLB Season
Francisco Lindor Signs the Extension
It was Opening Day, but the headlines were stolen by Mets superstar Francisco Lindor when he signed a 10-year, $341 million contract. Unfortunately for the Amazins, Lindor got off to a slow start and could never return to his typical form. Look for a big bounce back in 2022 from the 27-year-old shortstop as the Mets try to return to postseason play for the first time since 2016.
Six No-Hitters Before Memorial Day
With hitters more focused on launch angles than contact rate, pitchers feasted in the early portion of the season. By May 19, six different no-hitters had already been recorded. Weirdly, all six were thrown by American League pitchers. The following four months only saw three more no-hitters, and all three of those were thrown by National League teams. Baseball...it’s a funny sport.
The Shohei Kid
Remarkably, we made it this far without mentioning (arguably) the most outstanding baseball season in history. The two-way sensation, Shohei Ohtani, set the Junior Circuit on fire to the tune of *deep inhale* 46 home runs, 100 RBIs, 26 stolen bases, a 9-2 record on the bump, 3.18 ERA, and a stellar 10.8 K/9. He quite literally did it all. Sadly, we didn’t get to see him in the postseason as fellow Angels stars Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon managed to appear in only 104 combined games.
Schwarber’s Red-Hot June
Before launching baseballs deep into the Boston night, Kyle Schwarber was setting the world on fire in Washington. From June 12 to June 29, Schwarber tallied a ridiculous 16 home runs and 27 RBIs. The Nationals eventually traded Schwarber to the Red Sox, where he helped jumpstart their offense in the postseason.
Relocation of the All Star Game
2021 was a tense year around the world. Political pressure resulted in the MLB’s midseason decision to move the All Star game from Truist Park in Atlanta, GA, to Coors Field in Denver, CO. While the decision was controversial, nobody complained about the power display put on during the Home Run Derby at Mile High. [Side note: Pete Alonso defended his crown and cemented himself as one of the greatest Home Run Derby contestants of all time.]
Field of Dreams
On August 12, the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees squared off in Dyersville, IA, at the same location where 1989 blockbuster hit, Field of Dreams, was filmed. What started out as primarily a nostalgic, visual spectacle quickly intensified into one of the best baseball games of the 2021 season. The two eventual playoff teams traded blows for nine innings before Tim Anderson walked off with a blast into the cornfield. It was even better than a movie, just like unscripted baseball usually is.
Dodgers Acquire Scherzer & Turner
In what may go down as the most significant MLB trade of the decade, the Dodgers secured a veteran ace to an already loaded staff along with a budding superstar shortstop to an already loaded lineup. The Dodgers never lost a regular season game started by Scherzer the rest of the way, and Turner hit a casual .338 during his 52-game tenure with LA. We may have buried the lead here, though. The most significant aspect of this trade was that the Dodgers stole Scherzer away from their divisional rivals in San Diego, which uncoincidentally led to the Padres’ downward spiral over the final two months of the season.
Cardinals Win 17 Straight
For just the 14th time in the last 121 seasons, an MLB team won 17 straight baseball games. The St. Louis Cardinals spent the first five months of the year playing .500 ball. There was very little to suggest what they were about to accomplish during a three-week stretch in September. When the day began on September 11, the Cardinals were a meager 71-69 and 3.5 games out of the final Wild Card spot. On September 28, they beat the Milwaukee Brewers to improve to 88-69 and extend their Wild Card lead to 6.5 games. While their magical run came to an end at the hands of the Dodgers, some may end up remembering the win streak by the Cardinals more than anything else that happened in 2021.
Salvador Perez’s Record-Breaking Season
It’s hard to find a reason not to like Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez. Which made it even more exciting to watch as Perez had a career year. He shattered his previous season-high for home runs (27) by August 10 before rattling off a power surge that hitters typically only dream of. As Perez continued launching balls into the fountains of Kauffman Stadium, he broke every power record previously held by a catcher along the way. He finished the season with 48 home runs, tying Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the most in the league.
The Giants Took the League by Storm
Absolutely nobody saw the San Francisco Giants finishing the season with the best record in baseball with a ludicrous 107(!) wins. It turned out that they needed every win they could get as the Dodgers snuck by with a single game to claim the NL West crown. Veterans like Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey, and Kevin Gausman led the charge for Gabe Kapler’s bunch. Don’t let the final result fool you though; the Giants had a terrific team and a remarkable season.
Miggy Joins the 500 Club
Following the 2016 season, Miguel Cabrera had 446 career home runs and appeared to be a lock for 500 dingers (and probably more.) However, multiple factors led to Cabrera’s slowed power pace. This made it even more exciting when the future Hall of Famer connected with his 500th career home run on August 23 in Toronto. While many expected he would also reach his 3,000th career hit, Cabrera will have to wait another offseason before attempting to add 13 more to his tally.
A Look Ahead | 2022 MLB Predictions
We’re going to have some fun predicting the future happenings of the 2022 MLB season. By no means are these predictions meant to be taken seriously (unless we nail them.)
- Gerrit Cole wins the AL Cy Young Award
- Luis Robert wins the AL MVP
- Bobby Witt Jr. wins the AL Rookie of the Year
- Walker Buehler wins the NL Cy Young Award
- Juan Soto wins the NL MVP
- Brennen Davis wins the NL Rookie of the Year
- We see a noticeable shift from hitters in an attempt to cut down on strikeouts
- Brusdar Graterol throws a 104 mph pitch
- The Mariners make the playoffs for the first time since 2001
- The Padres win the NL West
- The Dodgers fail to make the NLCS for just the second time in the last six years
- The Tampa Bay Rays win the World Series
If you want to join in on the fun, tag us in a social post with five of your 2022 predictions!
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