2022 MLB Season: Everything You Need To Know
MLB 2022 Photo by: Joshua Peacock on Unsplash

2022 MLB Season: Everything You Need To Know

Baseball is back! At long last, the MLB 22 season is right around the corner, and we’re more than ready for another batch of home runs, strikeouts, stolen bases, and everything in between.

As you might remember, the 2021 MLB (Major League Baseball) season ended with the Atlanta Braves defeating the Houston Astros in six games to win their fourth World Series in franchise history. Atlanta’s Jorge Soler picked up the World Series Most Valuable Player award after his superb batting performances throughout each game and earning a batting average of .300.

In terms of individual regular-season awards, here are the National League and the American League (the MLB gives out awards for players and managers in both conferences) winners:

  • National League MVP: Bryce Harper (Phillies)
  • American League MVP: Shohei Ohtani (Angels)
  • NL Cy Young Award (best pitcher): Corbin Burnes (Brewers)
  • AL Cy Young Award: Robbie Ray (Blue Jays)
  • NL Rookie of the Year: Jonathan India (Reds)
  • AL Rookie of the Year: Randy Arozarena (Rays)
  • NL Manager of the Year: Gabe Kapler (Giants)
  • AL Manager of the Year: Kevin Cash (Rays)

The end of the 2021 baseball season was also the final year that Cleveland used the “Indians” team name, as they will be called the “Guardians” from now on. It’s about time this happened!

When does the season start?

The new MLB 2022 season will run from April 7th to October 2nd with 162 games. The season is starting one week later than originally planned due to labor disputes between the player’s union and the MLB. The games that would have been played a week earlier will now take place at the end of the regular season as nine-innings doubleheaders.

Rule changes

There have been a few minor and major changes to the latest MLB season that are worth bearing in mind.

  • 12 teams will now compete in the playoffs instead of 10
  • A man on second base is no longer allowed to start extra innings in the post-season
  • To discourage tanking (losing on purpose), a draft lottery is going to be implemented
  • Player uniforms and helmets will feature advertisements
  • There is a limit on how many times a player can be sent down to the Minor Leagues
  • Player salaries will slightly increase
  • The size of the bases themselves will be larger to actually incentivize base stealing (essentially to make baseball a bit more exciting)

Biggest off-season moves

A lot happened during the MLB off-season, but there are several moves that stand out. For one, the Mariners look to get even better with the signing of star pitcher, Robbie Ray. Seattle has been on the up for the last few seasons and this is a huge move that will make an immediate impact.

The Mets signing pitcher Max Scherzer for $130 million was surprising for a 37-year-old, but his 3.16 career pitching average is still rock solid and he’s dependable when it matters.

Then there’s the giant $182 million, 11-year extension that the Tampa Bay Rays gave to Wander Franco. This is a huge bout of trust to put in a 20-year-old, but when you consider his 43-game on-base streak and that he’s already the Rays’ best batter with an average of 0.288, then the money makes total sense.

The Blue Jays made the decision to sign Kevin Gausman for five years, $110 million instead of re-signing Robbie Ray for simply $5 million more, so will it backfire? Probably not. Both pitchers have almost identical ERAs, so things should work out for everyone in the end.

Opening day games to keep an eye on

There are a couple of opening day games that baseball fans will be eager to check out on April 7th, 2022.

Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees – This is a classic rivalry that never gets old. Both teams ended up with the same record last season (92-70), and it appears it will be very similar again in 2022. Expect the Yankees to get the win with the home crowd support.

Cincinnati Reds @ Atlanta Braves – The city of Cincinnati had a tough year when the Bengals lost to the Rams, so perhaps the baseball season will be kinder. The Braves are the current champions, but there has been little buzz about them so far. This could be a good thing, as the next season after a title is always the hardest. The Braves still look great and the lineup is as solid as ever, so they’ll pick up the victory.

Cleveland Guardians @ Kansas City Royals – Both the Guardians and the Royals are languishing in the middle of the MLB Power Rankings, but will Cleveland’s updated name propel them to new heights? It’s certainly possible. The lineups from each team could use some work, but there’s still some intrigue over Bobby Witt Jr. in Kansas City and Shane Bieber (no relation to Justin) over in Cleveland. Guardians will get the win here.

MLB 2022 Power Rankings

These are the top three and worst three teams out of 30 in the MLB at the start of the new season.

The best…

First place – Los Angeles Dodgers

Nobaseball fan can say that the Dodgers don’t currently have the best roster in the MLB right now. Some experts have even stated that this current lineup is one of the best of all time. Corey Seager might be gone, but LA picked up first baseman Freddie Freeman, and infielder Max Muncy is nevertheless one of the best hitters in the game. Justin Turner is 37 years old but is still incredible at his age, hitting 27 home runs last season and ending the year with a .278 batting average.

While it’s true that there has been a bit of worry about pitcher Clayton Kershaw and his elbow issues, the news out of spring training is that he’s looking spry and will dominate when back on the mound.

Second place – Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays are easily a real contender to get to the World Series this year and make some damage while there. The team’s big names of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Teoscar Hernandez are a nightmare on any day, and when all three are firing at the plate, they are easily the best trio in the American League. There are a lot of expectations on the team, but this 2022 season feels like the one where they can deliver.

While it’s true that it hurt to lose Robbie Ray and Steven Matz, adding Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi helped balance things out and there’s a lot of excitement on the team’s offense to become potentially the highest-rated in the MLB.

Third place – Chicago White Sox

The White Sox were in a good place until the news came out that pitcher Lance Lynn will be sidelined until the middle of May after knee surgery. Still, at least it’s not the entire season and Chicago has Lucas Giolito as an incredible backup and Dylan Cease is poised to have a fantastic season. These two should keep things in check until Lynn is fit and ready.

Then there are the offensive weapons like Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, and Luis Robert, with the latter looking great last year with 13 home runs and a batting average of .338. Losing Carlos Rodon doesn’t look too bad on paper, so expect the White Sox to cruise into the playoffs and appear as a major threat.

…and the worst

28th place – Oakland Athletics

Oakland has lost a lot of the best players from last season, even to the point where the lineup looks a bit unrecognizable. The team’s offense will struggle to make a big impact and there’s little in the way of tantalizing future prospects.

29th place – Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh doesn’t have a great lineup rotation at the moment, and there’s a lot in flux over in Pirateland. It’s the pitchers that are perhaps the most worrisome, but it is rebuilding time so this shouldn’t be too shocking to hear.

30th place – Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles went 52-100 in the 2021 MLB season and there’s not much to suggest that things will be different this year. Vets like John Means and Cedric Mullins are likely to be traded to increase the rebuild for the future, so unless something unexpected happens, it looks like Baltimore fans are in for a tough season again.

Author: Joe Garland