The New York Yankees previously had a rollercoaster campaign in the 2021 MLB season before the league went on a lockout. They struggled to piece things together but eventually found their momentum after the all-star break where they had a strong second half to the season. They ended the regular season with a 92-70 record before getting booted out by the Boston Red Sox in the AL Wild Card Game.
Though they didn’t last long in the postseason, their 2021 campaign is still not a complete failure, to say the least. The Yankees managed to see huge performances from their key players in Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole, and Jonathan Loáisiga. They are hoping that these players can carry over their solid individual performances and help lift the team to greater heights in 2022.
Let’s take a look at four bold predictions for the Yankees in the 2022 MLB season.
New York Yankees predictions
4. Aaron Judge will finally earn a contract extension with the New York Yankees.
Signing one of the best all-around players in all of baseball to a contract extension seems like a no-brainer move for a Yankees side that has been trying to climb the division over the past few years. However, it has yet to happen as both sides are looking to see how the 2022 season will go for Judge before agreeing to terms on a long-term contract.
The three-time All-Star previously finished the 2021 season where he hit .287 with 39 home runs to go with 98 RBIs and .916 OPS. in 148 appearances. For the first time since 2017, Judge finally had a relatively healthy year and will need to have another one for 2022 in order to land the megadeal that he desires with the Yankees before hitting free agency.
If he manages to put up another solid campaign then he will surely be rewarded with a fresh paycheck and will have an extended stay in the Bronx for the years to come.
3. Joey Gallo will see a significantly better outing in the 2022 season.
Outfielder Joey Gallo didn’t really get to play at his best when he first landed in New York via a midseason trade from the Texas Rangers last year. He settled on hitting .160 with 88 strikeouts in 58 appearances for the New York Yankees to end the 2021 season.
Yes, he had a slump, especially towards the end of the season but he also managed to show a glimpse of his potential to be an elite hitter in the league at times. At the age of 28, Gallo is just about to enter the prime years of his career and has already gained a year of playing experience with the Yankees.
With the help of their newly-hired hitting coaches, the team is expecting Gallo to hit his strides better and play more comfortably in order to prove that the trade to acquire him was well worth it for the team. If he manages to stay healthy in 2022 then he can surely see a significant improvement and can emerge as a vital contributor for the team on a regular basis.
2. Gerrit Cole will finally win the AL Cy Young award in 2022.
Gerrit Cole has been a solid pitcher both for the Houston Astros and the Yankees from 2018 to 2021. In that span, he has consistently earned at least a top-five spot in the AL Cy Young race, only finishing second behind Robbie Ray last season.
Heading to 2022, Cole is still expected to have another productive campaign and will continue to contend for the said award once again. This time around, it seems like he has a strong chance of finally earning his first-ever major hardware.
Shane Bieber, Lucas Giolito, and the reigning best pitcher in Robbie Ray will still significantly contend for the recognition but a consistent 2022 campaign from Cole will definitely put him in a good position to emerge as the winner by the end of the season.
1. The New York Yankees will improve but will still fall short of topping the AL East
New York’s performance in the second half of the 2021 season has proven that the team can play as one of the best in the league once they develop their chemistry and gain momentum. The Yankees will aim to have a better start to the season as compared to last year’s outing in order to not find themselves in a deep hole early on.
However, the team is still going to have to slug it out in the stacked AL East as the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays have begun their offseason by completing major moves to their roster. Meanwhile, the Yankees reshuffled their lineup and lost a ton of their players in Greg Allen, Clint Frazier, and Chris Gittens, just to name a few.
New York also has to acquire a quality shortstop to complete their roster before they can compete with the best teams out there. The New York Yankees are still poised to make noise though topping the division won’t be an easy task as their rivals will surely make the competition stiffer this time around.