April 8, 2022| SPORTS | By Max Giles | Illustration by Iris Guo

For the first time since 1994, Major League Baseball experienced a near four month lockout that delayed the start of spring training and opening day. Because of some clauses in the newly agreed-upon Collective Bargaining Agreement, this MLB season will be unique and exciting with plenty of rule changes to keep an eye on. This is a 2022 MLB season preview that lays out some of the most important storylines.

Firstly, let’s take a look at the rule changes that were established in light of the new CBA. Growing up as a baseball fan, I never understood why the American League was allowed to have Designated Hitters, whereas in the National League the current pitcher had to hit instead.

This year, young baseball fans will no longer be confused by the odd rule discrepancy between the two leagues. This season will be the first to use the universal designated hitter, meaning that both leagues will adopt a DH in their lineups. As the new rule comes into play, look for a shift in the way NL rosters are built as they search for offensive specialists.

Secondly, we will see an expanded postseason this year with one extra team having the opportunity to make the playoffs from each league. Previously, five teams from both leagues had the chance to claim a coveted playoff spot. Now, that number will be upped to six. The change will hopefully make the MLB season more competitive and more entertaining down the stretch as a greater number of teams will be in contention for a World Series title.

This MLB offseason has been particularly eventful. This can be attributed not only to the lockout, but also to a notably unpredictable free agency period that has shaken up many teams. Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, and Freddie Freeman are among some of the stars which free agency centered around.

It’s fair to say that Correa claimed the title for superstar gone rogue. The infamous Houston Astros’ star was probably the most sought-after free agent this off-season and his decision summarizes the chaos of the past few months in the MLB.  Correa ended up signing a contract with the Minnesota Twins, a team which has not performed well in recent years.

The shortstop was looking for a similar breakout deal to fellow free agent Corey Seager, who received a 10-year, $325 million contract with the Texas Rangers. However, Correa couldn’t find a megadeal that suited him and he instead opted for a shorter, three-year contract to hopefully boost his value.

Many have started to predict the World Series matchup for this season. The teams you need to look out for are the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals, and the New York Mets. These teams are looking to stack up the best against the rest of the league and I would definitely bet on seeing at least one of them in the World Series.

An unprecedented MLB season will take off on April 7. Don’t miss it.

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