2022 Season Preview: Part IV

April 11th, 2022 by Kevin

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We’ve reached the final edition of the 2022 DTBL season preview.  As I’ve been stating every step of the way, this year’s projections show a very tight race from top to bottom.  No team is loaded enough to feel confident about winning the league.  But conversely, every team should like their chances of being a contender.  These top two teams are separated by just a single point and the team slated to finish third (Kings) is just one point behind second.  The full projected standings can be found at the bottom of this post.

As it turns out, the top two projected teams are the same as last year, in the same order.  Obviously, that didn’t prove to mean much a year ago as neither team wound up being a serious title contender, for a variety of reasons.  However, it is a sign that these are two very talented rosters again this year.  One is expected to have a very good pitching staff with a mediocre offense while the other is pegged as the projected batting point leader, but near the bottom of the barrel in pitching.  Here are the pair of teams at the top of the 2022 DTBL projected standings.


David’s Darkhorses

Category – Projected Rank (2021 Rank)

  • Batting Average – 9th (9th)
  • Home Runs – 2nd (6th)
  • Runs Batted In - 3rd (7th)
  • Runs Scored – 3rd (4th)
  • Stolen Bases - 9th (2nd)
  • Earned Run Average - 1st (6th)
  • WHIP Ratio - 2nd (3rd)
  • Wins - 7th (8th-T)
  • Saves – 4th (2nd)
  • Strike Outs - 8th (6th)
  • Total Batting Points – 6th (7th)
  • Total Pitching Points - 3rd (6th)
  • Total Points - 2nd (5th)


Last year, the Darkhorses fell well short in their attempt to defend their 2020 championship.  They were unable to meet expectations with the bats or on the mound, in large part due to several of their best players missing significant time with injuries.  Offensively, not too much has changed with the roster construction as their first five draft picks were all used on pitchers.  There wasn’t much reason to shake things up in the infield.  Joey Votto, Brandon Lowe, Xander Bogaerts, Matt Chapman and Tommy Edman give them above average players at every spot.  J.T. Realmuto might be the best catcher in the league.  With better health and a bounceback from Christian Yelich, the outfield could be excellent as well.  Bryce Harper was easily their best hitter a year ago and probably will be this year too.  A full healthy season from George Springer would be a welcome change from 2021.  The Darkhorses aren’t going to steal as many bases as last season, but they should improve in most of the other offensive categories.  The pitching staff went through a major makeover, but one holdover is the most important piece.  Unfortunately though, Jacob deGrom is expected to miss the first two months of the season with an arm injury.  So he’s not a good bet to reach the 8.8 PAR projection that was from before his prognosis was fully known.  Jose Berrios will be asked to pick up the slack, along with three newcomers:  Logan Webb, Sonny Gray and Adam Wainwright.  The Darkhorses probably can’t afford any of those guys to not pan out.  The save projection of fourth makes sense, but it won’t come the way these projections read as Kenley Jansen was yet to sign with the Braves when these numbers were compiled.  Conversely, Blake Treinein looked likely to be the Dodgers closer when the Darkhorses drafted him, but that changed with the Dodgers trade for Craig Kimbrel.  Taylor Rogers was also traded last week, but possibly to a better situation in San Diego.  Meanwhile, the one reliever whose outlook hasn’t changed at all is Liam Hendriks who remains one of the best closers in the game.  All in all, it is a strong bullpen that should boost the pitching staff as a whole.  The Darkhorses should be a better team across the board in 2022.  Winning their second title in three years is a very reasonable expectation.


Marc’s Mavericks

Category – Projected Rank (2021 Rank)

  • Batting Average – 3rd (1st)
  • Home Runs - 1st (5th)
  • Runs Batted In - 1st (5th)
  • Runs Scored - 2nd (7th-T)
  • Stolen Bases – 8th (7th)
  • Earned Run Average – 6th (3rd)
  • WHIP Ratio – 7th (2nd)
  • Wins - 3rd (1st-T)
  • Saves – 10th (5th)
  • Strike Outs – 6th (9th)
  • Total Batting Points – 1st (4th)
  • Total Pitching Points – 8th (2nd)
  • Total Points - 1st (3rd)


Like the Darkhorses, the Mavericks were unable to meet the lofty pre-season expectations a year ago, in large part due to significant injuries to key players.  None more crippling than losing Mike Trout for a majority of the season.  With Trout, Juan Soto and Aaron Judge, the Mavericks have an outfield that simply can’t be matched.  All three of those guys have PAR projections among the best in the league.  So the outfield is already elite, and that’s before even mentioning Eloy Jimenez, who was another player that missed a majority of the season last year, and Nick Castellanos.  The infield may not be quite as good, because how could it be?  That said, Ozzie Albies and Manny Machado are both among the best players in the league at their respective positions.  First round draft pick Jazz Chisholm should provide a boost as well.  They bought low on Yoan Moncada, Gleyber Torres and Miguel Sano, three infielders who have had elite fantasy seasons in the not too distant past.  Yasmani Grandal and Tyler Stephenson form a nice caching duo.  Where things get a little dicey is with the pitching staff, which is a little strange considering how reliable that crew has been for years.  The rotation is led by a pair of Dodger lefties, Clayton Kershaw and Juio Urias.  Jack Flaherty’s shoulder injury is a cause for concern.  Pablo Lopez and Tyler Mahle were unsung heroes a year ago and may need to be again.  Michael Kopech is now a full time starter from the beginning of the season for the first time in his big league career.  There is a lot of intrigue in this group, but also a lot of question marks.  The bullpen is not a strength as they do not currently have any pitchers who are safe bets to rack up a lot of saves.  Andrew Kittredge and Aaron Ashby could be useful contributors depending on how they are utilized by their MLB teams.  It is unlikely the Mavericks will finish far from the bottom in saves.  While it is hard to know what to expect from this pitching staff, it should be good enough to keep them in the mix.  It would be a major surprise if the offense isn’t among the league’s best.  Since winning the league in 2017, the Mavericks have finished between third and sixth each season.  That would seem to be the floor again this year, with the ceiling most definitely being another league title.


And with that, we have concluded the preview of the 2022 DTBL season.  Here are the full projected standings and team point totals for the ten categories:


Good luck to everyone on what should be one of the most competitive seasons we’ve ever seen.  May the best team win!

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