The Biggest Storyline Of 2022 Will Be?
This is one of nine burning questions comprising Baseball America's 2022 MLB Season Preview. To see the full preview, click here.
Kyle Glaser—Lack of Innings From Starting Pitchers. The number of innings thrown by starters has declined in each of the last six full seasons, a concerning trend that reached a nadir last season when teams opted to throw bullpen games in the World Series. It only figures to get worse this season with a shortened spring training hampering starters’ ability to ramp up, leading to more reliever churn than ever and harming the game’s entertainment appeal at a time it desperately needs more.
Ben Badler—Something we’re not talking about right now. Baseball is full of surprises. Every year one of the biggest stories is something we weren’t talking about coming into the season. Perhaps, even, because we weren’t talking about it at the beginning of the year. I don’t know what the answer is, other than that something will surprise us again.
Josh Norris—The Rise of the Big Five. Early in the season, if not immediately, all of Baseball America’s top five prospects—Adley Rutschman, Julio Rodriguez, Bobby Witt Jr., Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson—should each make their MLB debuts. Each of these players has a ceiling of a perennial all-star, if not more, and all are on teams on the upswing after bottoming out. Once they get settled, the sport should be in for a real treat.
Carlos Collazo—Juan Soto vs. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Both have proven to be two of the best hitters in the league at just 22 years old and I expect them both to continue playing at that level this year. Imagine a home run race between the two of them? Is this partially just wishful thinking? Sure. Is it possible? Absolutely!
Geoff Pontes—The Increase In Offense. The league always goes in cycles, offense was down across the board in 2020 and 2021. With rule changes and less ramp-up time for pitchers this offseason offense could be up. The biggest factor of course is the addition of the DH in the National League which should prove to be a factor in offensive improvement across the league. As it will impact NL clubs, but also visiting American League teams during interleague play.
Matt Eddy—Stability in the minor leagues. Having a near-complete 2021 minor league season followed by a standard offseason rhythm and on-time minor league spring training camp should help smooth the rough edges we saw in the minors last year. The quality of play in 2021 appeared down at all levels as players grappled with the lost 2020 season and the overall condensing of the minor leagues from seven domestic levels to five. This should lend more credibility to minor league performances in 2022, especially for Triple-A players making the jump to MLB.