What Will Be The Biggest MLB Storyline Of 2024?


Image credit: OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 31: A general overall aerial view of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 31, 2023 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images)

In a series of MLB predictions and preview posts, BA’s editorial staff goes on record with their bold—and not so bold—thoughts about what’s to come in the 2024 season.

We ask the question: What will be the biggest MLB storyline of 2024?

Our nine prognosticators this year are Ben Badler (BB), Mark Chiarelli (MC), Carlos Collazo (CC), JJ Cooper (JJ), Matt Eddy (ME), Savannah McCann (SM), Josh Norris (JN), Geoff Pontes (GP) and Dylan White (DW).

MLB Predictions 2024: Baseball America’s Ultimate Season Preview

Baseball America is getting fans ready for the start of the 2024 MLB season.

The Future Of Local Media Rights

At the risk of making an extremely complex issue overly reductive, it’s still unclear where fans of roughly 30% of MLB teams will watch their team in market beyond 2024. Diamond Sports Group, which pays for the television rights for 11 MLB clubs, filed for bankruptcy last year. Newfound backing from streaming giant Amazon could help them stave off total collapse and remain viable beyond this season, which was no guarantee several months ago. But cord-cutting has led to dwindling cable revenues and sent the regional sports network model into a death spiral, which is chilling considering 23% of MLB’s $10.9 billion in revenue came from local media rights in 2022, by far the most of any major U.S. professional sports league, according to Sportico. The path forward remains murkier than ever. (MC)

Youth Is Served. Again.

A record 10 rookies hit at least 20 home runs last season. Eleven rookies stole at least 20 bases, which ties the high-water mark. Fourteen rookie pitchers recorded at least 100 strikeouts, tying 2021 for the highest number ever. This is all to say that MLB teams are turning over key roles to untested players at an unprecedented rate. Expect that trend to continue in 2024, especially with teams incentivized to speed up development timelines with Prospect Promotion Incentive picks—and thus bonus pool money—at stake. (ME)

The Athletics’ Continuing Quagmire

The idea that a major league team isn’t certain where it will play its games in 2025, and that it may play for multiple seasons in a Triple-A ballpark, is shocking. (JN)

The Dodgers

With two of the most famous Japanese players in history teaming up for their first season with the Dodgers, this will be the year of Dodger Blue. Love them or hate them, the Dodgers’ spending spree has caught everyone’s interest. Beyond their appeal domestically, the Dodgers are now one of Japan’s national teams, too. (GP)

Something We’re Not Talking About

Occasionally we have a situation like last year where the introduction of the pitch clock will so obviously alter the sport in a way that it will clearly become one of the biggest stories of the year. But most of the time, what makes something the biggest story of the year is that it’s something we didn’t see coming. (BB)

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