Jeff Passan’s 2022 MLB season preview

In a sport that is seen as antiquated, populated by aging players, and dominated by one team from the previous generation of stars. What’s life like for the Houston Astros in 2022? Is this youth movement enough to make them World Series contenders with an all-time great on their roster?

Jeff Passan’s 2022 MLB season preview is a book that predicts the winners and losers of the upcoming baseball season. In this book, it predicts that the Boston Red Sox will win their first World Series since 1918. The author also predicts that Clayton Kershaw will not be on an active roster for any of the teams in 2021. Read more in detail here: when does the mlb season start.

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  • ESPN’s Jeff Passan


      • MLB insider on ESPN
      • Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of Sports’ Most Valuable Commodity,” “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of Sports’ Most Valuable Commodity”

The start of the 2022 MLB season is precisely one week away. With Opening Day (finally) approaching, it’s time to make some predictions about what we’ll see this season.

Last year, gamblers who paid attention made a lot of money, fantasy gamers discovered a handful of sleepers, and prospect seekers learned a few names in this section. Naturally, I predicted that Codi Heuer would have a stronger season than Liam Hendriks. It’s impossible to win them all.

Predictions are a fickle game, but with the input of hundreds of evaluators, coaches, and players, I’m much more confident in my ability to help better anticipate the baseball season. So join me as I wear a number of hats to preview 2022, from the players who will help you win your league and fatten your bank account to the season’s most important transactions and must-see stars.

Hat with a fantasy theme

Here are ten players worth snagging at the conclusion of a draft or in a salary cap league: a handful of top choices and eight others worth snagging in your salary cap league.

  • Atlanta’s Austin Riley, 3B: Aside from catcher, third base is the most shallow position in fantasy baseball, and Riley is in an ideal location. He’s 24, bats behind Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson, hits line drives at a high rate, and was one of the top 10 hitters in the second part of the season.

  • Seattle’s Logan Gilbert, RHP: Gilbert spent the offseason adding 6 mph to his slider, which now sits in the area of 89 mph, as if his fantastic fastball of 96 mph wasn’t enough. Gilbert’s soft slider was his weakest pitch last season, but now that he has a potentially exceptional secondary pitch to compliment his already-elite fastball, he’s poised to take the next step.

  • Jo Adell, RF, Angels of Anaheim: Adell, a post-hype prospect, is always a nice fantasy option, and after halving his strikeout rate from his rookie season last year, he’s poised to unleash his tremendous power. The Angels’ postseason hopes aren’t a pipe dream if Adell can be what he can be and Anthony Rendon remains healthy. Be careful if you’re in an OBP league. Adell isn’t the kind to go for a stroll.

  • Joe Ryan, RHP, Minnesota: When it comes to pitchers that throw a lot of fastballs, Ryan throws his invisiball two-thirds of the time, and it works wonders. Ryan, who is prone to flyballs, relies on Byron Buxton to remain healthy. If he does, Ryan’s combination of high strikeouts and low walks might propel him to the head of the Twins’ rotation.

  • Minnesota’s Byron Buxton, CF: Ahem. Buxton is now ready to be the player he was meant to be seven years ago when he began, after earning a $100 million deal. Last season, he was sensational, barreling the ball every eight swings and producing an average exit velocity of 92.5 mph, the same as National League MVP Bryce Harper. Please, injury gods, let him play a complete season so we can see what Buxton is capable of.


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  • Pittsburgh’s Mitch Keller, RHP: Keller’s fastest pitch last season was 97.8 mph. This spring, he averaged 97.3 mph, with a maximum speed of 99.8 mph. Fastball velocity isn’t everything, however. But it’s a great way to show a pitcher’s ceiling, and Keller, who was once regarded one of the game’s greatest prospects, has one that’s still tantalizingly high.

  • LHP Patrick Sandoval of the Angels of Anaheim: It’s everything in one place. The high quantity of strikeouts. The high rate of groundballs. The four-pitch combination is the greatest of them, including a devastating changeup. As much as the Angels’ pedigreed lefty, Reid Detmers, gets all the attention, Sandoval might be the key to the rotation’s success.

  • Milwaukee’s Keston Hiura, UT: Hiura went from being a must-see rookie in 2019 to a sophomore slump in 2020 to a catastrophic meltdown last season. With a new mission and a shorter swing, he’ll be playing corner outfield in spring. Scouts have taken notice of Hiura. Milwaukee is in desperate need of impact hitters, and Hiura, still just 25, is the ideal candidate: he won’t cost the Brewers anything.

  • Tampa Bay’s Brooks Raley (LHP): Raley induced softer contact than anyone in the major leagues last season, and while the Rays’ bullpen always seems to be overflowing with options, the Rays’ guaranteeing him $10 million over two seasons indicates that they see far more potential in the 33-year-old than his 4.78 ERA with Houston indicated.

  • Luke Voit, DH, San Diego: The 2020 home run leader should find himself in the cleanup slot for the Padres, and with Fernando Tatis Jr. out until at least June, Voit will have plenty of opportunity to show that the COVID season was more than a fluke.

a hat for gambling

With odds from Caesars Sportsbook, here are 10 ways to (hopefully) be paid*.

* There are no guarantees that we’ll hit on two 50-1 chances this year, like Shohei Ohtani for American League MVP and Corbin Burnes for National League Cy Young, as we did last year.

  • The Oakland Athletics are -800 to miss the playoffs if they win less than 70.5 games. There is no safer gamble than putting money on Oakland’s failure. The Athletics’ lineup is a shambles, their bullpen is a potential gas can, and their rotation is poised to deteriorate if another club pursues Frankie Montas or Sean Manaea. Oakland’s front staff does an incredible job of maintaining a winning culture, but this year is likely to be a disaster. Take the victory total straight up or take the non-playoff bet for a 12.5 percent profit.

  • Rafael Devers and Luis Robert are 25-1 favorites to win the American League MVP award. Ohtani is the obvious MVP frontrunner as long as he stays healthy. However, Devers (25 years old) and Robert (24 years old) are in their primes, surrounded by outstanding players, and provide exceptional value. At 150-1, Toronto third baseman Matt Chapman is the long shot with the highest value. His glove boosts his WAR, and he could put up tremendous offensive numbers in that Blue Jays lineup.

  • Dylan Cease is 20-1 to lead the American League in strikeouts and 30-1 to win the American League. Young, Cy: Swings and misses on strike zone pitches are one of the strongest indications of a pitcher’s effectiveness, so a particular metric supplied by ESPN stat expert Mike Bonzagni explains why it’s simple to be positive about Cease. Max Scherzer, Dylan Cease, and Gerrit Cole were the top three pitchers in K-zone whiffs in 2021. The 26-year-old right-hander is in some interesting company.

  • MacKenzie Gore is a 40-1 favorite to win. Rookie of the Year in the National League: Gore was regarded as baseball’s top pitching prospect prior to the COVID-19 shutdown. He made his way through the California League and seemed to be a shoe-in to make his San Diego debut in 2020. The left-hander then lost his strike zone, stuff, and shine. It’s all back this spring, and the Padres are glad they hung on to him when he might have easily been dealt.

  • Tommy Edman is 30-1 to end the season with the most hits in Major League Baseball: He has the proper profile to be the league’s hit leader. Edman is a regular at the bat (sixth most in 2021), seldom strikes out (13.7 percent, 13th among 132 qualifying players), walks infrequently (5.5 percent, 14th), and can run (20 infield hits, 12th). He may not be as good as Trea Turner or Bo Bichette, but he has three times the odds. Whit Merrifield, the two-time hit king, is 15-1 if you want to bet more aggressively.

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  • The Toronto Blue Jays are a +185 favorite to win the American League East. The East is, without a doubt, dangerous terrain for any squad. The Blue Jays, on the other hand, are stacked with talent (Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, Chapman, and a strong rotation), and they’ll be playing clubs without infected players all season until border-crossing regulations change. Given the COVID obstacles they’ve encountered over the previous two seasons, it’s a delicious revenge that brings their first division victory since 2015 within striking distance. Boston (+500, fourth-longest odds in the AL East) and Seattle (+460, fourth-longest odds in the AL West) are two additional teams worth considering.

  • Ketel Marte is a 100-1 shot to win the National League MVP award: Skip ahead if you’re looking for a man who’ll most likely leave with some hardware. If you’re looking for value, a player with Marte’s skill set at 100-1 is ridiculous. Francisco Lindor, at 30-1, is also a good bet. Just remember this: In a year in which Acuna is expected to miss at least a month and Tatis at least two, the NL MVP race comes down to Soto and the rest of the pack, and with Soto on a rebuilding Nationals club, now is the time to gamble.

  • Yordan Alvarez, who is 25-1 to lead MLB in home runs, is one of several solid options in this area. Eloy Jimenez is a 35-1 underdog. Tyler O’Neill is a 45-1 favorite of Bonzagni. At 50-1, I’m betting on Kyle Schwarber. At 100-1, the ageless Nelson Cruz is a steal. But Alvarez, who is still just 24, has the ability to lock in like few others and is poised to reach the game’s upper tier of power hitters.

  • Over 89.5 for the Milwaukee Brewers: In the NL Central, someone has to win games, right? That isn’t meant as a slur on the Brewers, who are capable of competing in any division. However, in a division with a Cardinals club whose only significant move this offseason was to acquire Steven Matz, a Cubs team that is improved but still has problems, and Reds and Pirates teams that seem to have little desire to contend coming year, the thought that the Brewers won’t win 90 games seems improbable.

  • Jordan Romano will lead MLB in saves with a 20-1 record: This season, the Blue Jays will win a lot of games. Romano is the one who is closest to them. Isn’t it as simple as that? While excellent teams’ closers sometimes find themselves with a plethora of save chances, the Blue Jays’ offense is so dynamic that opportunities for Romano may be few and far between. At 40-1, Corey Knebel is worth twice as much as Romano, and the Phillies’ games are expected to be more competitive as well.

Hat for baseball insiders

Here are some names that may appear on the deal wire.

  • New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge, OF: Judge’s deadline is quickly approaching on April 6, and the Yankees are aware that if they do not reach an agreement, they risk losing probably their finest homegrown player since Derek Jeter. In Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton, New York has already signed two players worth $30 million or more per year until 2027. For a player of Judge’s talent, the $30 million mark is nearly a guarantee, and given that he turns 30 in April, he’ll want to maximize any extension on the years as well. It’s a hefty request, and rightfully so. Because Judge is well aware that the Yankees want and need him, and it is up to them to deliver.

  • Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez, 3B: Ramirez, the all-star third baseman in his tenth season with Cleveland, is the other clear nine-figure deal possibility. He’s been one of the finest players in the world for half a decade, and he’s done it on a contract that pays him substantially below market value and lasts until 2023. Ramirez’s desire to be compensated is reasonable. Because if he can’t reach a deal with the Guardians, a number of clubs will forego prospect resources in order to sign Ramirez and pay him the money he deserves. In any case, some clarification regarding Ramirez’s future is on the way.

  • Oakland’s Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea, SP: Teams continue to approach the A’s two best remaining players, only to be turned down. Oakland is correct to press for a better deal. Good beginning pitchers are hard to come by. Montas has two more seasons left on his contract before becoming a free agent, and it will take a lot to tear him away from the Athletics. Manaea is set to become a free agent this winter, and if he stays healthy and productive, he’ll be transferred before July.

  • Bobby Witt Jr., IF, Kansas City: After 143 games, San Diego signed Fernando Tatis Jr. to a $340 million contract. Wander Franco signed a $185 million contract with Tampa Bay after a 70-game rookie season. Witt, 21, is a player of such quality. It makes little difference whether he continues at third base, as he is anticipated to do on Opening Day this season, or switches to shortstop, which is his natural position. He’s the franchise’s future, and clubs in smaller areas must be hyper-aggressive in securing superstars as soon as possible.

  • Luis Castillo, RHP, Cincinnati: During the first two months of last season, Castillo was a catastrophe, compiling a 7.22 ERA and allowing batters to slash.321/.392/.505. (For the first portion of the season, it was basically Freddie Freeman versus. Castillo.) Castillo’s ERA dropped by more than two-thirds during the following 135.1 innings, to 2.73. That’s the person that gets other CEOs to write love notes to him. Castillo’s mobility today is limited by an injured shoulder that will keep him from throwing on Opening Day. Castillo’s recovery will prompt a resumption of trade negotiations, and with just two years till free agency, Cincinnati’s chances of getting the best deal are fading.


We rate every franchise’s hot stove haul, from the front offices that scored big with huge deals to the franchises who absolutely failed.

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  • Tampa Bay’s Tyler Glasnow, RHP: Glasnow’s case is intriguing. He won’t pitch until August, when he may return from Tommy John surgery, and the prospect of bringing a 6-foot-8, 100-mph-throwing monster out of the bullpen during a playoff series is tantalizing. So, yes, Glasnow has a lot of trade potential, particularly now that he has another year of club control before becoming a free agent. Of course, the Rays have the option of signing Glasnow to a long-term contract. Stars are kept in small markets that desire to win. While Glasnow’s injury history would preclude him from pursuing the $30 million-plus per year salaries that pitchers of his potential command, it may also place him exactly in line with the Rays’ budget.

  • SS Willy Adames (Milwaukee): Willy Adames was acquired from Tampa Bay for Drew Rasmussen and J.P. Feyereisen last year, and the Brewers knew they were getting a talented player. They didn’t expect he’d be a clear leader within the clubhouse in less than a year. Milwaukee would undoubtedly want to sign Adames to a long-term contract. With Lorenzo Cain’s contract set to expire at the end of the season, the Brewers’ only long-term commitments are Christian Yelich’s $26 million a year through 2028 and Freddy Peralta’s dirt-cheap extension. Adames is set to become a free agent after 2024, when he will be 29 years old, thus keeping him in Milwaukee is becoming more important.

  • RHP Jacob deGrom (New York Mets): DeGrom has previously said that he intends to opt out of his Mets deal. That stance reflects his confidence in his ability to stay healthy this season. If he manages to stay healthy and performs as well as he has in the past, he will have good cause to demand a contract substantially over the $43.3 million per year that the Mets paid Max Scherzer. As intriguing as an extension-free Judge would be this season, deGrom, who turns 34 in June, has the most to gain or lose.

  • Seattle’s Mitch Haniger, RF: The Mariners are dealing with a genuine first-world issue. With Kyle Lewis anticipated to miss the first few weeks of the season, there’s a potential they’ll start the season alongside top prospect Julio Rodriguez in the outfield, with Jarenic, Kelenic, and Haniger, and Jesse Winker at first base. But let’s suppose Rodriguez mashes, which he is more than capable of. And Kelenic is the star-like version of himself from September. Winker hasn’t moved in a long time. Is Lewis the odd man out when he returns? Could it be Haniger, the clubhouse’s heart and soul and a savior of huge hits after great hits? Jerry Dipoto, the general manager of the Seattle Mariners, enjoys making deals. Would he like trading enough to persuade Haniger to change his mind?

  • Carlos Correa, SS, Minnesota: Correa’s three-year, $105.3 million contract contains an opt-out after the first season, and if he uses it, he’ll still be the class of 2022-23’s only free agent. Because clubs like Atlanta and the Chicago Cubs are projected to require shortstops after this season, it’s logical to expect Correa to re-enter the market — especially if he performs well in Minnesota. However, don’t rule out the chance that the Twins are still his long-term destiny. Rocco Baldelli works as a player’s agent. Minnesota took advantage of free agency to sign Correa. And Byron Buxton is the sum of their long-term dedication.

Hat for scouting

Because it’s always helpful to know who’s coming next, here are some possibilities causing a stir.

  • Daniel Espino, RHP, Cleveland: Scouts who saw Espino pitch in the backfields for the Guardians recently described it as a holy experience. Fastballs of 99-101 mph, sliders of 92-94 mph, a nasty 12-to-6 curveball, the makings of a changeup, terrific control, flexibility — the works. It’s definitely heinous, and one individual acquainted with Espino claimed it corresponded to what he’d been up to all spring. If it’s not unusual, it’s the kind of thing you’d expect from baseball’s finest pitching prospect. Last season, Espino struck out 152 batters in 91.2 innings across both Class A levels, and at 21, he might find himself on the doorway of Cleveland fewer than three years after being selected with the 24th overall choice.

  • IF Jose Miranda (Minnesota): Miranda, according to one observer, is the finest pure hitter in the minor leagues. The next question was, “OK, what position is he going to play?” “Hitter,” was the response. Miranda’s seventh season was a breakthrough after six years of mediocre performance in the minors:.345/.408/.588 at AA and.343/.397/.563 at AAA. Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, and Gio Urshela are the Twins’ second and third basemen, respectively, with some guy called Correa at shortstop. Miranda, 23, will have to rely on injury or inefficiency to push his way into the starting lineup. Or maybe he’s just so talented that the Twins can’t ignore him.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andy Pages and Miguel Vargas: Rival evaluators are arguing over who is the superior Dodgers hitting prospect. Vargas is 22 and Pages (pronounced PA-hace) is 21. Pages is a right fielder with adequate range to patrol center field, while Vargas is a third baseman with infield experience. Vargas has greater bat discipline than Pages, who possesses more power. Vargas AA, and Pages concluded the year at High-A. To get down to brass tacks, both are excellent, and the Dodgers’ player-development monster never seems to end.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Bobby Miller, RHP: One scout mentioned Miller, saying that he “is sitting 101 these days,” as if it were a common occurrence. There are a lot of weird velocities at minor league camps, and a lot of the guys who throw them will blow out or throw too few strikes. However, Miller, who was selected with the 29th overall choice in 2020, is considered a near-certainty and might play at Dodger Stadium this summer.


On Kiley McDaniel’s 2022 list, where did your team’s brightest young talents land?

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  • Tampa Bay’s Seth Johnson, RHP: Johnson threw a year at Campbell, rocketed up draft boards, and was selected by the Rays with the 40th selection in 2019. He has dazzled scouts this spring with a high-90s fastball and a powerful slider. Despite graduating a slew of great prospects, the Rays seem to be constantly reseeding their farm system with fresh ones. They’re the Dodgers, but without the cash.

  • Corbin Carroll, CF, Arizona: Carroll, who measures at 5-foot-10 and weighs 165 pounds, was selected 16th overall in the 2019 draft. His season was cut short last year due to a shoulder injury, but he’s back, and one AL scout who saw him believes he’d be a fine major league player today, despite only having played 18 games above rookie level. The Diamondbacks will take their time with Carroll, but Marte was signed to an incredibly team-friendly agreement with Carroll, Alek Thomas, Brandon Pfaadt, and others in mind when he was signed.

  • San Francisco: Aeverson Arteaga, SS Arteaga, who was signed for $1.2 million three years ago out of Venezuela, performed well in rookie level and will be sent out to full-season for the first time, hoping to follow in the footsteps of Marco Luciano, a bat-first shortstop who may move off the position. Arteaga will remain in that position, and the left side of the Giants’ future infield might emerge from inside the organization — and pretty soon.

  • Seattle’s Matt Brash, RHP: Perhaps this belongs in the fantasy area, since Brash is trying all he can to earn the Mariners’ fifth-starter job, and if he succeeds, he’ll strike out a lot of batters. This spring, his fastball has been 97-99 mph, and his slider — well, I’m hoping Brash breaks camp with the Mariners so you can see this work of art that moves as much as any breaking ball you’ll ever see. Brash’s main uncertainty is whether he’ll be a starter or a reliever. That will take care of itself. Enjoy the performance for the time being.

  • San Diego’s Jackson Merrill, SS: It’s much too early to declare the 2021 draft an all-timer, but reports on players like Merrill suggest it has a potential to be something extraordinary. Despite his 6-foot-3, 200-pound bulk, Merrill, who was drafted 27th out of suburban Baltimore, looks every bit the shortstop. It’s also not just him. The Rays’ next choice, shortstop Carson Williams, has a sizable following. The next pitcher, Dodgers left-hander Maddux Bruns, has incredible stuff that he’s still learning to control. One evaluator recently said that Cleveland’s No. 23 selection, Gavin Williams, may be a better option than Espino. There are plenty others. Full-season football will provide a more accurate picture, but early results on the 2021 class — especially some of the later choices — are promising.

Party hat

Here are some things I’m looking forward to seeing.

  • Shohei Ohtani is a Japanese actor. Shohei Ohtani, Shohei Ohtani, Shohei Ohtani, Shohei Oh It ultimately came to pass. Despite all of the excitement surrounding Ohtani’s entry in Major League Baseball, words were unable to adequately depict the grandeur when his abilities eventually manifested themselves en masse. Being a big league batter is quite tough. Being a big league pitcher is really tough. It’s surreal to be both, and one of the greatest at both. So, please show your appreciation for Ohtani. Keep an eye on him. Take pleasure in him. I’m hoping that his body will be able to handle everything he throws at it. And know that every time he plays and your eyes take it all in, you’re watching history unfold in front of your eyes.

  • Mike Trout is healthy: All it took was a silly persistent calf ailment and an otherworldly turn from his teammate for the world to forget Trout is the finest baseball player alive. Trout is 30, and although he is technically nearing the conclusion of his career, it would be naive to suppose that his age would make him any less of a player. There has been no trace of retreat, no deterioration of talent, nothing but a void in my mind’s eye.

  • Julio Rodriguez is a rising star in the Dominican Republic. He’s large, quick, strong, and charming, and at 21 years old, he’s the latest beyond-his-years Dominican to be on the verge of breaking into the major leagues. Before him, there was Wander Franco, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., and Juan Soto. He’s got a little bit of everything, including thunder, speed, and swagger, and it doesn’t matter whether he’s with the Seattle Mariners at the start of the season. He’ll be there in the end — and for years to come in the playoffs with them.

  • Hunter Greene’s fastball: Hearing the amount of pitchers scouts had reaching triple digits with their fastballs struck me the most during spring. The 100-mph threshold has always been hallowed land, and it was formerly the realm of a rare unicorn who could control it and everyone else who had no clue where it was headed. Greene, who has thrown as hard as 104 mph, will begin camp with the Reds, and he has a solid chance of breaking Noah Syndergaard’s record for average fastball velocity by a starter, which sits at 98.0 mph.

  • Oneil Cruz impersonating Giannis Antetokounmpo: What? Is it true that the 6-foot-7 shortstop has been optioned to Triple-A? It’s all right.

  • Trea Turner sliding: Baseball does not exactly exude cool these days. Baseball, on the other hand, has its charms. Tatis’ bat flips, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa Cool. What is the Soto Shuffle? Cool. What about Trea Turner’s slides? Wait. Is that a slide? Cool? Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes Yes, because when Turner is speeding around third base like he’s being followed by The Beast, and a throw is going home, and Turner glides into home plate, so nonchalant, so smooth, so unfazed — yep. The word “cool” comes to mind.

  • Camilo Doval’s cutter: Just for the pedants here, yes, Statcast registers it as a four-seam fastball. But Doval, the Giants’ 24-year-old should-be closer, throws almost an identical version of Emmanuel Clase’s cutter, which is a top-five filthy pitch in the game. From ESPN Stats & Information: Clase’s spins 2,579 rpm, Doval’s 2,574. Clase’s extension is 6.45 feet, Doval’s 6.5. Their vertical and horizontal movement are practically identical. Clase averaged 100.2 mph to Doval’s 98.6. Sure, then, Clase’s may be a touch better. But it’s not unique anymore. They’re just 2 of 2.

  • Enrique Hernandez’s outfield leaps: Hernandez has spent his whole career with the Dodgers as a superutility player, and the Red Sox could easily shift him around if necessary. But he’s found a home in center field, where his superior instincts can be seen every day. Hernandez has a greater jump on balls than any other center fielder. His initial step is so quick that it occasionally leads him down paths that are a little too tortuous. Those pathways to fly balls will improve as Hernandez plays more in center, and the already-excellent defense he’s demonstrating will become much better.


$3.265 billion?! Teams have never spent this much in an offseason before. Here’s why — and what it means. The-five-players-who-could-pass-Mike-Trout-as-MLBs Jeff Passan

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  • On the field, Ronald Acuna Jr.: Acuna is expected to return in May after suffering a devastating ACL rupture on the eve of the All-Star break last season. Acuna was beginning to achieve his full potential: he was calm, poised, and fast at the bat, with crushing power, outstanding speed, and great right-field ability. The hope is that his reconstructed knee doesn’t take away the latter two, but even if it does, the bat will only get better, and the world champions will only get better, which is terrifying for the NL East, the entire NL, and all of baseball — and positively beautiful for an Atlanta team with dynastic aspirations.

  • Alex Cobb has a 97 percent completion rate. Complete disclosure: This is something I haven’t seen yet. Cobb’s fastball, which averaged 93 mph last season, is now touching 97 mph, according to various scouts. If that’s the case — or even close to it — the San Francisco Giants will have a monster rotation on their hands, and forecasts of dramatic regression may be premature. Cobb, Logan Webb, Carlos Rodon when he’s healthy, Alex Wood, Anthony DeSclafani? This will work against you.

  • In Colorado, Kris Bryant says: Fine. At Coors Field, the baseballs are kept in a humidor. They don’t fly as well as they formerly did. That must be accepted. However, keep in mind that Coors had the fifth-highest home run park factor in MLB in 2021, and that Kris Bryant’s arrival seems to open the door for some monster home runs. However, here’s the truth: Bryant hasn’t hit many monster home homers in the previous five years. Last year, just one of his 25 throws over 420 feet. Bryant will flourish in the spaces between the lines. Colorado’s outfield is massive, and although a batting championship is unlikely, here’s a prediction: Bryant will lead the league in doubles and hit much more than 25 home runs this season.

Hat for sorting

Here are some forecasts that are almost certain to be accurate.

  • Lines by Shohei Ohtani: Batting averages of.274/.382/.566, with 39 home runs, 114 RBIs, and 22/25 stolen bases. Pitching: 25 games started, 145 innings pitched, 102 hits, 38 walks, 18 home runs, 185 strikeouts, 3.06 ERA, 11-6 record.

  • Wander Franco will end the season with a strikeout rate of fewer than 10% and an OPS of more than.900. Only DJ LeMahieu in 2020, Jose Altuve in 2016, Daniel Murphy in 2016, and Victor Martinez in 2014 have done so in the recent ten years.

  • Since Ted Williams in 1957, Juan Soto will be the first non-Barry Bonds player to have a season with an OBP of.500 or higher.

  • With 47 home runs, Pete Alonso will lead the National League. Last year, only Jose Ramirez, Matt Olson, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. joined Alonso in hitting at least 35 home runs while striking out less than 20% of the time.

  • Two of the Triple Crown categories will be won by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: batting average (.322) and RBIs (133).

  • With 23 saves, Andres Muoz will end the season with the most for Seattle.

  • With a 2.22 ERA, Walker Buehler will lead the National League.

  • Dinelson Lamet will close games for the San Diego Padres and will be at the top of the National League in saves with 31.

  • In the age of service-time manipulation, an unprecedented number of rookies will report to their big league clubs for training camp. Bobby Witt Jr., Spencer Torkelson, Julio Rodriguez, Riley Greene, and Hunter Greene (who the Reds stated would start the season with Cincinnati) are among them. C.J. Abrams has a shot, according to the crystal ball, and Alek Thomas isn’t far behind.

  • The Chicago White Sox will win their first World Series since 2005, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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