Perfect 5-year model

Rich Fyle column

From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:

They share a spring training complex in Glendale, Ariz., and don’t be surprised if the White Sox and Dodgers meet in October’s World Series now that we will have a complete 162-game MLB regular season despite a 99-day lockout that ended earlier this month.

The White Sox and Dodgers each have the best rosters in their respective leagues, bolstered with solid starting pitching and staunch hitters up and down the lineup.

Each team features two of the game’s best managers — the White Sox’s Tony La Russa, who ranks second all-time with 2,821 managerial wins and the Dodgers’ Dave Roberts, who is the winning percentage leader among active skippers.

Many followers will be interested to see how the defending World Series champion Braves fare this season, with hometown boy Matt Olson replacing the popular Freddie Freeman at first base.

The Mets have taken great strides to be more relevant in New York City, hiring well-traveled manager Buck Showalter to guide a much stronger lineup and rotation.

The same question will follow the Yankees: Will they stay healthy for the entire year?

Amongst the changes for the season include a third wild-card team in league, bringing the total playoff field to 12; the DH added to the NL, virtually eliminating all pitchers in the batter’s box; 28-man rosters for each club; a limit of only five moves for a certain player between the majors and the minors; while the “ghost runner” at second base to begin extra innings will remain intact.

Here are my projected final division standings, postseason outlook and individual award winners for 2022:

AL EAST — Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, Red Sox, Orioles.

AL CENTRAL — White Sox, Tigers, Royals, Guardians, Twins.

AL WEST — Astros, Angels, Mariners, Rangers, A’s.

NL EAST — Mets, Braves, Phillies, Marlins, Nationals.

NL CENTRAL — Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs, Reds, Pirates.

NL WEST — Dodgers, Padres, Giants, D’backs, Rockies.

WILD CARDS — AL: Blue Jays, Rays, Angels; NL: Braves, Brewers, Padres.

ALCS — White Sox over Blue Jays.

NLCS — Dodgers over Mets.

WORLD SERIES — Dodgers over White Sox.

MVPs — AL: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays); NL: Fernando Tatis, Jr. (Padres).

CY YOUNG — AL: Gerrit Cole (Yankees); NL: Jacob deGrom (Mets).

ROOKIES — AL: Bobby Witt Jr. (Royals); NL: Oneil Cruz (Pirates).

MANAGERS — AL: Joe Maddon (Angels); NL: Showalter (Mets).

■ Note: Top Secret Fyles will return April 12.

Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at rfyle@wdt.net

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