The beginning of the 2022 MLB season has lastly arrived!
Starting with seven Opening Day video games on Thursday and persevering with with the remainder of MLB in motion Friday, it’s time to welcome in a brand new 12 months on the diamond. To have fun baseball’s return, we’ve requested our specialists to weigh in on what they’re most excited to look at — and make a fearless Opening Day prediction.
As soon as the video games start, you’ll want to refresh this web page early and infrequently for our reside updates and takeaways from each Opening Day sport on each Thursday and Friday.
Season preview: Energy ranks | Predictions | Strikes that rocked the offseason
ESPN+: Passan’s predictions | How Opening Day was saved | 2022 adjustments
Play: ESPN Opening Day traditional | ESPN fantasy baseball: Join free!
Thursday’s Opening Day schedule
All occasions Jap
2:20 p.m.: Brewers (Burnes) at Cubs (Hendricks)
4:10 p.m.: Guardians (Bieber) at Royals (Greinke)
4:15 p.m.: Pirates (Brubaker) at Cardinals (Wainwright)
7:05 p.m. on ESPN+: Mets (TBD) at Nationals (Corbin)
8:00 p.m. on ESPN2: Reds (Mahle) at Braves (Fried)
9:38 p.m.: Astros (Valdez) at Angels (Ohtani)
9:40 p.m.: Padres (Darvish) at Diamondbacks (Bumgarner)
Friday openers: Pink Sox-Yankees, White Sox-Tigers, A’s-Phillies, Orioles-Rays, Dodgers-Rockies, Mariners-Twins, Marlins-Giants and Rangers-Blue Jays
Opening Day predictions and what we will’t wait to see
What’s the one factor you might be most excited to look at on Opening Day?
Bradford Doolittle: I’m in Minneapolis for a Twins-Mariners collection that was pushed again a day due to some inhospitable early spring climate. The upside is that I get two Opening Days and may watch the debut of Bobby Witt Jr. in Kansas Metropolis on a display of some type Thursday earlier than attending to see Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez firsthand on Friday. We haven’t at all times seen probably the most thrilling prospects on Opening Day (Witt is No. 2 and Rodriguez is No. 3 on Kiley McDaniel’s high 100 prospect record), so it is a fantastic factor. An excellent American League Rookie of the 12 months race is on.
Jesse Rogers: The debut of Cubs rookie Seiya Suzuki. He’s a multiple-tools participant with energy to all fields and a rocket of an arm. As famous within the current collective bargaining settlement battle, most rookies don’t make some huge cash — however Suzuki signed a five-year, $85 million contract this offseason, so eyes might be on him all through the baseball world. He has an opportunity to be the following huge star on a group instantly void of them. Thursday is his first probability to point out followers throughout town of Chicago what they’re getting.
David Schoenfield: Probably the most fascinating group to look at in April is perhaps the Padres. There may be numerous stress on a group that now runs one of many highest payrolls in baseball and is coming off a dropping season. They collapsed down the stretch, and whereas the rotation is wholesome once more, the Padres must play a few months with out Fernando Tatis Jr. So on Opening Day, I need to see how Yu Darvish takes care of going 1-8 (6.16 ERA) within the second half. I need to see how new supervisor Bob Melvin units up his late-game bullpen. I need to see if Ha-Seong Kim cannot solely fill in for Tatis however hit like he did in Korea after struggling in his debut season. I need to see which Manny Machado reveals up. The Padres start with 14 video games in opposition to the Diamondbacks, Giants, Rangers and Pirates — a golden alternative to get off to a scorching begin and put 2021’s disappointment behind them.
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Joon Lee: I’m with David on this one. The Padres are at a captivating inflection level within the tenure of AJ Preller with the damage of Tatis Jr. and the extent of economic funding for this group’s core. In accordance with a number of sources, the Padres membership chemistry suffered underneath Jayce Tingler, so the addition of Melvin will utterly shake up the group’s locker room dynamics. I’m to see which Darvish reveals up on Opening Day and the way former Cy Younger winner Blake Snell fares in his second season in San Diego after struggling to place up numbers akin to his tenure in Tampa Bay. Particularly after the commerce for Eric Hosmer fell by and Tatis’s damage, the group will want its excessive priced gamers to play higher in 2022.
Buster Olney: I’m in Atlanta, and I’ll be fascinated to see the reception for brand new first baseman Matt Olson — and I’d count on that it is going to be loud and lasting. If anyone goes to interchange Freddie Freeman at first, Olson is the proper candidate given his native roots, his age, his energy. If the Braves’ magic script from final 12 months’s World Sequence continues to be in play, then Olson will get a pivotal hit — and the Atlanta followers will go wild. What a narrative that will be.
Coley Harvey: I’m past excited to be becoming a member of Buster in my hometown of Atlanta, the place I’ll have a front-row seat for a coronation that’s been a technology within the making. And as a lifelong supporter of all issues ATL, 404, Chick-fil-A and Waffle Home, the 10-year-old inside nonetheless can’t consider one of many professional groups from his metropolis is lastly about to have one other banner-raising night time. The Braves’ 1995 and 2021 championships and Atlanta United’s MLS title in 2018 are all we’ve received! After the 28-3 memes and jokes, the Metropolis Too Busy To Hate greater than deserves to have fun final October’s World Sequence win yet one more time. Atlantans have earned it.
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Alden Gonzalez: I’ll be at Angel Stadium on Thursday, and due to that I’ll be the luckiest of us all. Shohei Ohtani might be on the mound and he might be within the lineup, starting what guarantees to be one other enthralling season as a two-way participant. The speak round Angels camp this spring centered on whether or not Ohtani can really be higher this 12 months, given how he improved as a pitcher and the way he grew comfy with the two-way function because the season progressed. It sounds inconceivable — till you notice how particular this man is.
Tim Keown: The Mets received Max Scherzer to group with Jacob deGrom, and so they’re Opening Day starter is … Tylor Megill. Subsequent to the Pirates’ JT Brubaker, Megill is probably the most non-Opening Day starter on Opening Day. Even Oakland has Frankie Montas, although there’s an opportunity he may very well be traded earlier than Friday’s first pitch in Philadelphia. This won’t imply an entire lot — Scherzer is meant to be again quickly, perhaps even for the second sport — however is certain seems like an omen.
It’s time to name your shot: What’s your one Opening Day prediction that may positively come true?
Doolittle: Albert Pujols goes to homer in St. Louis. Even when it seems to be the one homer he hits all season, there is no such thing as a method this doesn’t occur. There are numerous younger Cardinals followers in St. Louis who’ve solely heard about Pujols from their mother and father. It’s super that they get to expertise him this 12 months as he strikes on from a Corridor of Fame profession.
Rogers: Corbin Burnes will one-hit the Cubs — and Suzuki would be the solely hitter to get to him. Chicago has little left-handed pop, whereas right-handed opponents compiled a miniscule .179 batting common in opposition to him in 2021. With a right-handed-hitting participant at first base and proper discipline — two positions typically reserved for lefty energy hitters — the Cubs might be at an obstacle in opposition to high righties all season. Attempting to hit in opposition to Burnes on Thursday, in 40 diploma climate, will make issues that rather more troublesome.
Schoenfield: Machado received off to a gradual begin in 2021, however with Tatis out, the Padres want him to hit from the get-go. He hasn’t hit Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner that properly throughout his profession (.212/.257/.515), though three of his seven hits off him are dwelling runs. I say he goes yard twice off MadBum because the Padres win their opener.
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Opening Week is right here! You possibly can watch the 2022 season start with a schedule that includes a few of baseball’s largest names.
8 ET Thurs. on ESPN2: Reds-Braves
7 ET Solar. on ESPN: Pink Sox-Yankees
KayRod Solid debuts on ESPN2
Olney: He’s not pitching on Opening Day, however I’ll name that this would be the final 12 months that future Corridor of Famer Jacob deGrom is with the Mets. Steve Cohen has demonstrated he’s prepared and prepared to put money into any method he feels may help the Mets, however there are simply too many variables concerned for deGrom to return — the questions on his well being now, his well being shifting ahead, and most significantly, what he needs. We’ll look again at his assertion that he’s opting out of his contract regardless of his current damage as the primary true sign that he’s headed elsewhere.
Gonzalez: Rodriguez and Witt Jr. will every hit dwelling runs of their main league debuts. The 2 spotlight what seems to be like an extremely deep AL Rookie of the 12 months discipline, together with Spencer Torkelson. Finally Adley Rutschman and Riley Greene will be a part of them. Not included on this record: Wander Franco, who exceeded his rookie eligibility final 12 months however will play in his first full season in 2022. He is perhaps the most important star of all of them. The younger expertise within the sport is wonderful proper now — and I solely accounted for one league.
Keown: We’ll all be reminded that Mike Trout not solely exists however stays the very best participant within the sport. The eyes of the sport might be on Shohei Ohtani to start out the Angels’ opener in opposition to the Astros, however by the top of the fourth or fifth inning, it’ll be Trout’s night time.
Lee: Shohei Ohtani will come out of the gates sturdy on Opening Day, displaying that final 12 months wasn’t a mirage and that it’s attainable to pitch and hit at a excessive stage throughout a number of seasons — and opening up the concept groups might probably develop extra two-way gamers, not essentially on the stage of Ohtani, however to maximise the worth of each roster spot.
Harvey: OK, so Austin Riley‘s Grapefruit League displaying wasn’t the strongest (.214, 6-for-28), however I’m banking arduous on him having a giant opening night time. This can occur in what might be his first sport at Truist Park for the reason that World Sequence. At dwelling final postseason, he hit .419 (13-for-31) with 5 extra-base hits. He’ll faucet into that hitting success once more in entrance of one other raucous and frenzied Atlanta crowd, giving followers some early-season late-inning magic.