Jeff Passan’s 2022 MLB season preview: Predictions from every possible perspective

We’re exactly one week away from the start of the 2022 MLB season. With Opening Day (finally) in sight, it’s time to predict what we’ll see this year.

In this space last year, gamblers who paid attention made a bunch of money, fantasy players hit on a couple of sleepers and prospect hunters learned a few names. Of course, I also said Codi Heuer would have a better year than Liam Hendriks. Can’t win ’em all.

Predictions are indeed a fickle game, though with the help of dozens of evaluators, coaches and players, I’m far more confident in helping better forecast the year in baseball. So come along as I don a variety of hats to preview 2022, from the players who will help you win your league and fatten your bank account to the vital transactions and must-see stars of the season ahead.

Fantasy hat

Here are 10 players — a couple high picks and eight others worth sniping at the end of a draft or auction — that will help earn bragging rights.

  • Austin Riley, 3B, Atlanta: Aside from catcher, third base is the shallowest position in fantasy, and Riley couldn’t be in a better spot. He’s 24, hits for average and power, bats behind Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson, hits line drives at an elite rate and was one of the 10 best hitters in the second half last season.

  • Logan Gilbert, RHP, Seattle: As if his nifty fastball that sits at 96 mph weren’t enough, Gilbert spent the winter adding 6 mph to his slider that now resides in the vicinity of 89 mph. Gilbert’s soft slider was his worst pitch last season and with a potentially elite secondary pitch to complement his already-elite heater, he’s primed to take the leap.

  • Jo Adell, RF, Los Angeles Angels: Post-hype prospects of Adell’s caliber are always good fantasy bets and after halving his strikeout rate last year compared to his rookie season, he’s ready to tap into his raw power. If Adell is what he can be and Anthony Rendon stays healthy, the Angels’ playoff aspirations aren’t folly. Note: If you’re in an OBP league, beware. Adell isn’t exactly the walking type.

  • Joe Ryan, RHP, Minnesota: Speaking of guys who throw a lot of fastballs, Ryan throws his invisiball two-thirds of the time — and to great effect. As flyball-prone as he is, Ryan needs Byron Buxton to stay healthy. If he does, Ryan’s high-strikeout, low-walk combination is the sort of thing that could vault him to the front of the Twins’ rotation.

  • Byron Buxton, CF, Minnesota: Ahem. Fresh off signing a $100 million extension, Buxton is finally ready to be the guy he was supposed to be seven years ago when he debuted. When he played last year, he was magnificent, barreling the ball every eight swings and posting an average exit velocity of 92.5 mph, same as NL MVP Bryce Harper. Please, injury gods, just let him play one full season to see the magic Buxton can conjure.

  • Mitch Keller, RHP, Pittsburgh: The hardest pitch Keller threw last season was 97.8 mph. His average this spring: 97.3 mph, topping out at 99.8 mph. Now, fastball velocity isn’t everything. But it does an awfully good job of illustrating a pitcher’s ceiling, and Keller, once upon a time considered among the game’s best prospects, has one still tantalizingly high.

  • Patrick Sandoval, LHP, Los Angeles Angels: It’s all there. The high strikeout numbers. The big groundball rate. The four-pitch mix, with a devastating changeup best of all. As much shine goes to Reid Detmers, the Angels’ pedigreed lefty, Sandoval may be the one on whom the Angels’ rotation fortunes turn.

  • Keston Hiura, UT, Milwaukee: Hiura went from can’t-miss rookie in 2019 to sophomore slump in 2020 to complete disaster last season. With a shortened swing and a new mandate — he’s playing corner-outfield spots this spring. Hiura has impressed scouts. Milwaukee needs impact bats, and Hiura, still just 25, is the perfect sort: one who doesn’t cost the Brewers anything.

  • Brooks Raley, LHP, Tampa Bay: Nobody in the major leagues induced softer contact than Raley last season, and while the Rays’ bullpen always seems to overflow with options, Tampa Bay guaranteeing him $10 million over two seasons says the Rays see far more potential in the 33-year-old than his 4.78 ERA with Houston showed.

  • Luke Voit, DH, San Diego: The 2020 leader in home runs should find himself in the cleanup spot for the Padres, and while San Diego is missing Fernando Tatis Jr. until at least June, plenty of opportunities will present themselves for Voit to prove the COVID season was more reality than anomaly.

Gambling hat

Here are 10 ways to (hopefully) get paid*, with odds from Caesars Sportsbook.

* No promises that we’ll hit on two 50-1 shots like Shohei Ohtani for American League MVP and Corbin Burnes for National League Cy Young like last year

  • Oakland A’s, under 70.5 wins, -800 not to make the playoffs: There is no surer bet than one banking on Oakland’s futility. The A’s lineup is a mess, their bullpen a potential gas can and their rotation primed to worsen after another team steps up pursuit of Frankie Montas or Sean Manaea. Oakland’s front office does phenomenal work sustaining a winning atmosphere, but this is going to be a bad, bad year. Go straight up with the win total or get a 12.5% return on the non-playoff bet.

  • Rafael Devers and Luis Robert, 25-1 for AL MVP: As long as Ohtani remains healthy, he’s the clear MVP favorite. But Devers (25 years old) and Robert (24) are in their primes, surrounded by great players and present excellent value. The long shot with the best value: Toronto third baseman Matt Chapman at 150-1. His glove juices his WAR, and in that Blue Jays lineup, he could put up silly offensive numbers, too.

  • Dylan Cease, 20-1 to lead the AL in strikeouts and 30-1 to win the AL Cy Young: Swings and misses on pitches in the strike zone provide one of the best indicators of just how nasty a pitcher’s stuff is, so a specific number provided by ESPN stat guru Mike Bonzagni speaks to why it’s easy to be bullish on Cease. In 2021, the top three pitchers in K-zone whiffs were: Max Scherzer, Dylan Cease, Gerrit Cole. Some pretty heady company for the 26-year-old right-hander.

  • MacKenzie Gore, 40-1 to win NL Rookie of the Year: Before the COVID-19 shutdown, Gore was considered the best pitching prospect in baseball. He carved through the Cal League and was so advanced he looked like a shoo-in to debut in 2020 for San Diego. Then the left-hander lost the strike zone, his stuff and his shine. This spring, it’s all back, and the Padres are thrilled they held onto him when he easily could’ve been shipped out in a trade.

  • Tommy Edman, 30-1 to finish with the most hits in MLB: He’s got the perfect profile to lead the league in hits. Edman plays every day (sixth most plate appearances in 2021), rarely strikes out (his 13.7% rate was 13th among 132 qualified players), walks sparingly (5.5%, 14th) and really can run (20 infield hits, 12th). He isn’t the player Trea Turner or Bo Bichette is, but he’s also got three times better odds. If you want to go chalkier, two-time hit king Whit Merrifield is at 15-1.

  • Toronto Blue Jays, +185 to win the AL East: Yes, the East is perilous territory for any team. But the Blue Jays are eminently talented (Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, Chapman and a loaded rotation) — and unless border-crossing rules change, all season long they’ll be facing teams missing unvaccinated players. Considering the COVID challenges they’ve faced the last two seasons, it’s a sweet comeuppance that puts their first division title since 2015 well within reach. Two others worth considering: Boston at +500 (with the fourth-longest odds in the AL East) and Seattle in the AL West at +460.

  • Ketel Marte, 100-1 to win NL MVP: If you’re in the market for a guy who’s most likely to walk away with some hardware, skip ahead. If you’re more interested in value, the idea that a player of Marte’s talent is at 100-1 is silly. Francisco Lindor at 30-1 isn’t bad, either. Just know this: In a year when Acuna is set to miss at least a month and Tatis at least two, the NL MVP race is Soto and everyone else, and with Soto on a rebuilding Nationals team, now is the year to bet it.

  • Yordan Alvarez, 25-1 to lead MLB in home runs: There is no shortage of good choices in this category. Eloy Jimenez at 35-1. Bonzagni likes Tyler O’Neill at 45-1. I’m on Kyle Schwarber at 50-1. And the ageless Nelson Cruz at 100-1 is a bargain. But Alvarez, still just 24, can get locked in like few others, and he’s primed to join the elite echelon of power hitters in the game.

  • Milwaukee Brewers, over 89.5: Someone has to win games in the NL Central, right? That’s no slight against the Brewers, who are good enough to compete in any division. But in one with a Cardinals team whose only consequential move this winter was adding Steven Matz, a Cubs team that is better but still full of holes, and Reds and Pirates teams that seemingly have no desire to compete this year, the idea that the Brewers, even with questions on offense, won’t win 90 feels far-fetched.

  • Jordan Romano, 20-1 to lead MLB in saves: The Blue Jays are going to win a lot of games this season. Romano is their closer. Easy as that, right? While closers for good teams do tend to find themselves with bushels of saves, the Blue Jays’ offense is so dynamic that opportunities might actually be fewer and farther between for Romano. Corey Knebel at 40-1 pays twice as much as Romano, and the Phillies’ games are likely to be closer, too.

Baseball insider hat

Here are 10 names that could pop up on the transaction wire.

  • Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees: Judge’s April 6 deadline is fast approaching, and the Yankees know that without a deal in place, they run the risk of losing arguably their best homegrown player since Derek Jeter. Already New York has two $30 million-plus-a-year players signed through 2027 in Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton. The $30 million threshold is almost a given for a player of Judge’s caliber, and considering he turns 30 in April, he’ll also want to max out any extension on the years as well. It’s a big ask, and it should be. Because Judge knows the Yankees want him and need him, and the onus is on them to meet it.

  • Jose Ramirez, 3B, Cleveland: The other obvious nine-figure extension candidate is Ramirez, the all-world third baseman entering his 10th season with Cleveland. For half a decade, he has been one of the game’s best players — and has done so on a well-under-market deal that runs through 2023. It’s understandable that Ramirez wants to get paid-paid. Because if he can’t come to an agreement with the Guardians, plenty of teams will give up prospect capital to acquire Ramirez and lavish him with the money he deserves. Either way, some clarity on Ramirez’s future is coming.

  • Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea, SP, Oakland: Teams continue to call on the A’s two best remaining players, and they continue to be rebuffed. Oakland is right to drive a hard bargain. Good starting pitching is scarce. Montas has two full seasons before free agency, and it will take plenty to pry him from the A’s. Manaea is due to reach free agency this winter, and as long as he’s healthy and effective, he’s a shoo-in to be moved by July.

  • Bobby Witt Jr., IF, Kansas City: San Diego signed Fernando Tatis Jr. to a $340 million deal after 143 games. Tampa Bay guaranteed $185 million to Wander Franco following a 70-game rookie season. Witt, 21, is that caliber of player. Whether he stays at third base, as he’s expected to on Opening Day this season, or moves to his natural position at shortstop doesn’t really matter. He’s the future of this franchise, and teams in smaller markets must be hyper-aggressive in locking up superstars early.

  • Luis Castillo, RHP, Cincinnati: Castillo was a disaster over the first two months last season, posting a 7.22 ERA and allowing hitters to slash .321/.392/.505. (Essentially, for one-third of the season, every single hitter was Freddie Freeman vs. Castillo.) Over the next 135.1 innings, Castillo slashed his ERA by more than two-thirds, to 2.73. That’s the guy who elicits love letters from other executives. Any movement of Castillo today is hindered by the sore shoulder that will prevent him from pitching Opening Day. Once Castillo heals, the trade talks will resume as well, and with two years until free agency, the opportunity for Cincinnati to maximize its return is dwindling.

  • Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Tampa Bay: Glasnow is a fascinating case. The earliest he’ll pitch is in August, when he could return from Tommy John surgery, and the idea of bringing a 6-foot-8, 100-plus-mph-throwing monster out of the bullpen during a postseason series is very appealing. So, yeah, Glasnow has plenty of value on the trade market, especially with another year of club control before free agency. Of course, the Rays also could lock up Glasnow long-term. Small markets that want to win keep stars. And while Glasnow’s injury history would prevent him from seeking the $30 million-plus a year pitchers of his ceiling are getting, it also could put him right in the Rays’ price point.

  • Willy Adames, SS, Milwaukee: The Brewers knew they were getting a good player in Willy Adames last year when they acquired him from Tampa Bay for Drew Rasmussen and J.P. Feyereisen. They didn’t realize that in less than a year he’d be a clear leader inside the clubhouse, too. Adames is the sort of player Milwaukee surely would love to lock up long-term. With Lorenzo Cain‘s deal expiring after the season, the only money the Brewers have committed is Christian Yelich at $26 million a year through 2028 and Freddy Peralta on a dirt-cheap extension. Adames is on pace to hit free agency after 2024, when he’ll be 29 years old, so the urgency to keep him in Milwaukee is only increasing.

  • Jacob deGrom, RHP, New York Mets: DeGrom has already said he plans to opt out of his contract with the Mets. That tack speaks to his belief that he will remain healthy this season. If he manages to and performs as he always does when healthy, he will have ample reason to seek an average salary well above the $43.3 million-a-year figure the Mets gave Max Scherzer. As interesting as an extensionless Judge would be this year, no player stands to gain or lose more than deGrom, who turns 34 in June.

  • Mitch Haniger, RF, Seattle: The Mariners have a real first-world problem. With Kyle Lewis expected out for the first few weeks of the season, there’s a reasonable chance they could break camp with star prospect Julio Rodriguez, going with an outfield of him, Jarred Kelenic and Haniger and sending Jesse Winker to DH. But let’s say Rodriguez mashes, something of which he’s eminently capable. And Kelenic is the September version of himself that looked like a star. Winker isn’t moving. When Lewis returns, is he the odd man out? Or could it be Haniger, who’s the soul of the clubhouse and deliveryman of hit after big hit. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto loves to trade. Would he love dealing enough to move Haniger?

  • Carlos Correa, SS, Minnesota: Correa’s three-year, $105.3 million deal includes an opt-out after the first season, and if Correa exercises that, he’ll still be the single youngest free agent on the market in the class of 2022-23. Because teams such as Atlanta and the Chicago Cubs are expected to need shortstops following this season, it’s not unreasonable to think Correa will automatically re-enter the market — particularly if he excels in Minnesota. But don’t discount entirely the possibility that the Twins still wind up his long-term destination. Rocco Baldelli is a players’ manager. Minnesota stepped up in free agency to get Correa. And their long-term commitments amount to Byron Buxton.

Scouting hat

Here are 10 prospects making buzz, because it’s always good to know who’s coming next.

  • Daniel Espino, RHP, Cleveland: Scouts who witnessed a recent Espino start on the Guardians’ backfields came away talking about it like it was a religious experience. Fastball 99-101, slider 92-94, filthy 12-to-6 curveball, the makings of a changeup, excellent control, flexibility — the whole kit and caboodle. It is certainly ungodly stuff, and one source familiar with Espino said it tracked with what he’s done all spring. If it’s not anomalous, it’s the sort of thing you see from the best pitching prospect in baseball. Espino struck out 152 in 91.2 innings between both Class A levels last year, and at 21 this season, he could find himself knocking on Cleveland’s doorstep less than three years after he went with the 24th overall pick.

  • Jose Miranda, IF, Minnesota: One evaluator thinks Miranda is the best pure hitter in the minor leagues. The follow-up question to that was: OK, what position is he gonna play? The answer: “Hitter.” After six years of relatively middling performance in the minor leagues, Miranda’s seventh was a revelation: .345/.408/.588 at AA and .343/.397/.563 at AAA. The Twins have Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez and Gio Urshela to play second and third, plus some guy named Correa at shortstop. So Miranda, 23, will likely need injury or ineffectiveness to force his way into the lineup. Or maybe he’s just so good the Twins can’t deny him.

  • Andy Pages and Miguel Vargas, Los Angeles Dodgers: There’s a debate among rival evaluators over which Dodgers hitting prospect is better. Pages (pronounced PA-hace) is 21, Vargas 22. Pages is a right fielder with enough range to patrol center, Vargas a third baseman who has played around the infield. Pages has more power, Vargas better bat control. Pages finished the year at High-A, Vargas AA. Brass tacks: Both are very good, and the Dodgers’ player-development monster doesn’t ever seem to stop

  • Bobby Miller, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers: Speaking of Miller, one scout said that he “is sitting 101 these days,” as if that’s just some kind of normal thing. There are goofy velocities all over minor league camps, and a number of the players producing them will blow out or not throw enough strikes. But Miller, taken with the 29th pick in 2020, is seen as pretty close to a sure thing and could find himself at Dodger Stadium this summer.

  • Seth Johnson, RHP, Tampa Bay: A shortstop for two juco seasons, Johnson pitched a year at Campbell, zoomed up draft boards, was plucked by the Rays with the 40th pick in 2019 and has wowed evaluators this spring with a high-90s fastball and a hard slider. As many top prospects as the Rays graduate, they’re always seemingly reseeding their farm system with new ones. They’re the Dodgers minus the money.

  • Corbin Carroll, CF, Arizona: Carroll dropped to the 16th pick in the 2019 draft because he stands only 5-foot-10 and weighs 165 pounds. A shoulder injury cut short his season last year, but he’s back, and one AL scout who saw him thinks he’d be a good big league player today, even though he has only played 18 games above rookie ball. The Diamondbacks will take their time with Carroll, but when they locked up Marte to an extremely team-friendly extension, it was with a future featuring Carroll, Alek Thomas, Brandon Pfaadt and others in mind.

  • Aeverson Arteaga, SS, San Francisco: Signed for $1.2 million out of Venezuela three years ago, Arteaga handled rookie ball well and will ship out to full-season for the first time looking to follow the path of Marco Luciano, a bat-first shortstop who may move off the position. Arteaga will stick there, and the left side of the Giants’ future infield could come from within — and relatively soon.

  • Matt Brash, RHP, Seattle: Maybe this should be in the fantasy section, because Brash is doing everything he can to win the Mariners’ fifth-starter role, and if he does, he is going to strike a lot of guys out. His fastball has been 97-99 this spring, and his slider — well, I hope Brash does break camp with the Mariners so you can bear witness to this piece of art that moves about as much as any breaking ball you’re ever going to see. The only question about Brash is if he’s a starter or reliever. That will work itself out. For now, enjoy the show.

  • Jackson Merrill, SS, San Diego: Now, it’s way too early to definitively call the 2021 draft an all-timer, but the reports on a player like Merrill indicate it has a chance to be very, very special. Taken 27th out of suburban Baltimore, Merrill looks every bit a shortstop despite a 6-foot-3 and 200-pound frame. It’s not just him, either. The next pick, Rays shortstop Carson Williams, has a lot of fans. And the one after that, Dodgers left-hander Maddux Bruns, has phenomenal stuff he’s learning to harness. One evaluator recently said he thinks Gavin Williams, Cleveland’s pick at No. 23, could be better than Espino. There are plenty more. Full-season ball will give a better idea, but early returns on the 2021 class — particularly some later picks — are excellent.

Party hat

Here are 10 things I can’t wait to see.

  • Shohei Ohtani Shohei Ohtani-ing: It finally happened. For all of the hyperbole that accompanied his arrival in Major League Baseball, when Ohtani’s skills finally revealed themselves en masse, words were not enough to properly describe the splendor. It is extraordinarily difficult to be a major league hitter. It is extraordinarily difficult to be a major league pitcher. To be both, and one of the best at both, is otherworldly. So, please, appreciate Ohtani. Watch him. Enjoy him. Hope that his body can withstand what he asks of it. And know that every time he plays and your eyes take it in, you’re witnessing history in real time.

  • Mike Trout healthy: All it took for the world to seemingly forget Trout is the best baseball player alive was a stupid nagging calf injury and an extraterrestrial turn from his teammate. Trout is 30 now, theoretically on the back end of his career, but it would be foolish to believe age will make him any less a ballplayer yet. There has been zero sign of regression, no erosion of skill, nothing other than absence from the mind’s eye.

  • Julio Rodriguez’s star turn: He is big and fast and powerful and charismatic, and at 21 years old, Rodriguez is the latest beyond-his-years Dominican player to be on the cusp of the big leagues. It was Wander Franco before him and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. before him and Fernando Tatis Jr. before him and Juan Soto before him. He’s got a little bit of all of them, with thunder and speed and swag, and whether he’s with the Seattle Mariners at the beginning of the season is immaterial. He’ll be there at the end — and with them in the postseason for years to come.

  • Hunter Greene‘s fastball: Nothing struck me more this spring than hearing the number of pitchers scouts had hitting triple digits with their fastballs. The 100-mph barrier has always been sacred ground, and for a long time, it was the domain of an occasional unicorn who could control it and everyone else, who had no idea where it was going. Greene, who has thrown as hard as 104 mph, will break camp with Cincinnati, and he stands a good chance of beating the record for average fastball velocity by a starter, held by the 2016 version of Noah Syndergaard, at 98.0 mph.

  • Oneil Cruz doing his best Giannis impersonation: What? Pittsburgh optioned the 6-foot-7 shortstop to Triple-A? Never mind.

  • Trea Turner sliding: Admittedly, baseball these days does not exactly exude cool. But there are cool things about baseball. Tatis’ bat flips? Cool. The Soto Shuffle? Cool. Trea Turner’s slides? Wait. A slide? Cool? Yes. Yes, yes, yes, a million times yes, because when Turner is running faster than anyone in baseball, tearing around third base like he’s being chased by The Beast, and a throw is coming home, and Turner glides into home plate, so casual, so smooth, so unbothered — yeah. Cool is the perfect word.

  • 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 jumps: Hernandez spent the entirety of his career with the Dodgers as a super-utility player, and Boston could well move him around if need be. But he has settled in center field, where his elite instincts are on display every day. No center fielder gets a better jump on balls than Hernandez. His first step is so fast that sometimes it puts him on routes a tad too circuitous. As Hernandez plays more in center, though, those paths to fly balls will improve, and the already-excellent defense he’s displaying will get even better.

  • Ronald Acuna Jr. on the field: Sometime in May, Acuna will return from the brutal ACL tear he suffered on the eve of the All-Star break last season. Acuna was starting to realize the best version of himself: so calm, composed and quick at the plate, with punishing power, elite speed and incredible ability in right field. The hope is that his reconstructed knee doesn’t rob him of the latter two, but even if it does, the bat will only get better, and the world champions will get much, much better, which is scary for the NL East, the entire NL, all of baseball — and positively beautiful for an Atlanta organization with dynastic aspirations.

  • Alex Cobb throwing 97: Full disclosure: I haven’t seen this yet. But multiple scouts have heard that Cobb, whose fastball averaged 93 mph last season, is hitting 97 these days. If that’s the case — or if he’s anywhere close to that — the San Francisco Giants are going to have one whale of a rotation, and the predictions of severe regression might be a tad premature. Cobb, Logan Webb, a healthy Carlos Rodon, Alex Wood, Anthony DeSclafani? That will play against anyone.

  • Kris Bryant in Colorado: Fine. The baseballs at Coors Field live in a humidor. They don’t fly like they used to. Accept that. But also acknowledge that Coors finished 2021 with the fifth-highest home run park factor in baseball, and that Kris Bryant’s arrival seemingly offers an opportunity for some titanic home runs. But here’s the reality: In the last five years, Bryant hasn’t hit many monster home runs. Only one of his 25 last year went more than 420 feet. Where Bryant will thrive is in the gaps. Colorado’s outfield is enormous, and while a batting title may not be in the offing, here’s a thought: Bryant will be among the league leaders in doubles this year — and hit a lot more than 25 home runs.

Sorting hat

Here are 10 predictions that are bound to be exactly correct without fail.

  • Shohei Ohtani’s lines: Batting: .274/.382/.566, 39 home runs, 114 RBIs, 22/25 stolen bases. Pitching: 25 games started, 145 IP, 102 H, 38 BB, 18 HR, 185 K, 3.06 ERA, 11-6 record.

  • Wander Franco will finish the year with a strikeout rate less than 10% and an OPS better than .900. In the last 10 years, only DJ LeMahieu in 2020, Jose Altuve in 2016, Daniel Murphy in 2016 and Victor Martinez in 2014 have done so.

  • Juan Soto will post the first non-Barry Bonds season with a .500+ OBP since Ted Williams in 1957.

  • Pete Alonso will lead the National League in home runs with 47. Only Jose Ramirez, Matt Olson and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. joined Alonso last year in hitting at least 35 home runs with a strikeout rate under 20%.

  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will win two of the Triple Crown categories: batting average at .322 and RBIs with 133.

  • Andres Muñoz will finish the season with the most saves for Seattle with 23.

  • Walker Buehler will lead NL with a 2.22 ERA

  • Dinelson Lamet will wind up closing games for the San Diego Padres and be near the top of the NL with 31 saves.

  • An unprecedented group of rookies in the era of service-time manipulation will break camp with their major league teams. Among them: Bobby Witt Jr., Spencer Torkelson, Julio Rodriguez, Riley Greene and Hunter Greene (who the Reds announced will be in Cincinnati’s season-opening rotation). The crystal ball also thinks C.J. Abrams will have a chance, with Alek Thomas not far behind.

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

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