MLB Season Preview: Best Teams, Award Predictions, and more

Since last year’s shortened season, baseball fans have been eager for a full Major League Baseball season to return. Last year was very different from usual; the season was only 60 games compared to the usual 162 and 16 total teams made the playoffs instead 10. After the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series, ending a crazy year, the offseason was possibly even crazier. Many stars moved teams, including Trevor Bauer, Francisco Lindor, Blake Snell, and George Springer. This has all set up for this season to be a very exciting one.

Coming into the season, the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers are the favorite to win the World Series once again. During the offseason, they only strengthened their roster with the signing of star pitcher Trevor Bauer, who adds to an already superb starting rotation. Another National League West team, the San Diego Padres, are also on track to be one of

the best teams in the league. After adding Blake Snell from the Rays and Yu Darvish from the Cubs, and resigning one of the most exciting young players in the league in Fernando Tatis Jr., the Padres are also looking to be a dangerous team to the rest of the league. In the American League, the New York Yankees are looking to return to dominance. Over the past few years, many have predicted for them to be one of the best teams in the league. But, every year has ended in disappointment, with not even a trip to the World Series. They still have a very solid roster, with multiple stars including Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gerrit Cole, and are looking to live up to their expectations this year.

As always, the Most Valuable Player award will likely be highly contested. In the American League, Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels’ center fielder, has consistently been one of the best, if not the best player in the league. He has been top five in the MVP race every year of his nine year career, and has won the award three times. A few other players to watch in the American League are DJ Lemahieu of the New York Yankees and Jose Abreu of the Chicago

White Sox, who won the MVP award in 2020. In the National League, the race is a bit more contested. There are many players who have a good chance of coming away with the award. Christian Yelich, an outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers, won the award in 2018 and was the runner-up in 2019, when he had an arguably better year. Mookie Betts of the LA Dodgers came in second for the National League MVP in 2020, and is looking to build on that season. The young star Fernando Tatis Jr, is also a frontrunner for many people to win the MVP this year. That award race will likely heat up towards the end of the season.

The Cy Young award is given every year to the best pitcher in each league. As always, there will most likely be many pitchers deserving of the award, but only two will come away with it. Going into the season, the frontrunner to win the award in the National League is undeniably Jacob DeGrom. He has consistently been a top pitcher in the MLB the past few years, and in 2018 and 2019 he won the Cy Young award twice in a row. Other National League pitchers to look out for are Trevor Bauer, who won the award in 2020, and four time All-Star Yu Darvish. In the American League, the frontrunners are Shane Bieber, who won the award in 2020, Gerrit Cole, and Tyler Glasnow. There are many great players, coaches, and teams looking to have amazing years, Overall, this season is set to be very fun and interesting to watch.

- Ryan Loomer, 2022