One factor for each MLB fan base to be glad about in 2021: Championships, star gamers, prospects and extra

Ketel Marte. The Diamondbacks and their followers haven’t got a ton to be grateful about lately, because the previous two seasons have served as a comfortable apocalypse of types. However Marte has turned himself right into a high-quality ballplayer over the previous few years. His manufacturing, plus his team-friendly contract, might make him an immensely worthwhile commerce chip sooner or later within the close to future. Till then, he’ll be a pleasure to observe.   Profitable the World Sequence. What extra must be written? In case your workforce wins its first championship in additional than twenty years the way in which the Braves did — with position gamers stepping up left and proper instead of injured stars —  then you ought to be grateful for it for not less than a few years.   Cedric Mullins. A yr in the past this time Mullins seemed like a misplaced trigger. Now he’s the one 30/30 participant in Orioles historical past, and a possible constructing block for a workforce nonetheless not but able to make the leap from rebuilder to contender. Quickly prime prospect and catcher Adley Rutschman will arrive, giving the O’s two All-Star caliber up-the-middle gamers to construct round. A fast turnaround. In 2020, the Purple Sox have been so dangerous they secured the No. 4 choose within the draft. This yr the Purple Sox returned to the postseason and superior to the ALCS. Typically you need to take a step again earlier than you may take a step ahead, and so far as steps again go, a foul 60-game season is about as painless because it will get. Sudden contributors. Cubs followers had to say goodbye and farewell to nearly each piece of their championship core oveer the summer season. It turned out to be a blessing, then, that that they had a variety of sudden contributors step up and supply some pleasure and leisure down the stretch. It is to be seen whether or not or not Patrick Knowledge, Frank Schwindel, and Rafael Ortega can maintain their manufacturing heading ahead, however with out them Chicago’s second half would’ve been a lot harder to expertise.    Luis Robert. A hip harm took a chunk out of Robert’s season, however after he returned in August, the 24-year-old authored a .350/.389/.622 batting line with 12 homers in solely 43 video games. Robert has the expertise to be a top-25 participant in baseball and all indicators level to a monster breakout season in 2022. Jonathan India. This offseason might be a tough one for Reds followers. At the least they’ll take solace in understanding they’re going to have the reigning Nationwide League Rookie of the Yr Award winner hitting balls into the gaps for them once more come 2022.   A brand new starting. Issues didn’t go properly on the sphere this previous season, however 2022 will mark the start of a brand new period of Cleveland baseball. Gone is the offensive imagery of Chief Wahoo and the insensitive workforce title. The Guardians are the brand new workforce on the town and it is a title and a glance the franchise can put on proudly.  Coors Subject. For one, there is no such factor as a protected or boring contest if it is performed at Coors Subject. For one other, Colorado’s success at dwelling (48-33 document) prevented them from posting one other depressing season in 2021. After all, you may argue the Rockies would’ve been higher off touchdown a better draft choose, however we digress.    Progress. A 77-win season usually is not one thing to brag about, however it represents progress for a Tigers workforce that had gained that many video games as soon as within the earlier six season. Eduardo Rodriguez has joined Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal within the rotation, prime prospects Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene ought to arrive subsequent yr, and Detroit appears poised so as to add one of many prime free agent shortstops this winter. The rebuilder is transitioning right into a contender. Justin Verlander. The Astros have been with out their ace in 2021 and it may need price them a World Sequence title. Verlander shortly re-signed this offseason, nonetheless, that means Houston can have the long run Corridor of Famer again within the rotation in 2022. Bobby Witt Jr. The Royals are blessed with enviable center infield expertise. Nicky Lopez practically gained the Gold Glove at shortstop this yr and Whit Merrifield is a pillar of stability at second. In addition they have Adalberto Mondesi. Quickly Witt Jr., one of many prime prospects within the minors, will arrive to provide the workforce much more infield expertise, and a authentic middle-of-the-order bat.  The best two-man present on Earth. A calf harm took the starch out of Mike Trout’s season, however he’s anticipated to be wholesome to start spring coaching, and he’ll workforce up with AL MVP Shohei Ohtani to provide the Angels essentially the most entertaining 1-2 punch within the sport. The pitching wants work (Noah Syndergaard will assist, although they want extra than simply him), however Trout and Ohtani are very enjoyable, and I am pro-fun. Getting over the hump. Maybe that is dishonest as a result of it is the identical reply we gave final yr, however are you able to even think about the discourse this winter if the Dodgers had fallen brief after which risked dropping Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Corey Seager, Kenley Jansen, and others to free company with out a current World Sequence ring? Yeesh.   Trevor Rogers’ fastball. Rogers did not win the Nationwide League Rookie of the Yr Award, however he has a nasty fastball that allowed him to dominate his freshman season. Rogers posted a 2.64 ERA (158 ERA+) and a 3.41 strikeout-to-walk ratio whereas holding opponents to a .222 common in opposition to his heater regardless of a 58 % utilization charge.   The large three. It wasn’t way back the Brewers have been relying upon Wade Miley and Jhoulys Chacin to start out their massive video games. Now they’ve Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta to deal with these duties. That is an enormous step up, and one purpose why Milwaukee is a risk within the NL Central if they’ll improve their offense.   Jorge Polanco. Quite a bit — a LOT — went incorrect for the Twins in 2021. Polanco was not amongst them. He quietly had a breakout yr, hitting .287/.329/.585 with 21 dwelling runs in 70 second-half video games. A switch-hitting second baseman who can hit like that and is signed affordably although 2025 is a really good constructing block for a workforce trying to rebound from an unsightly season. The looming lockout. The Mets might use a piece stoppage to get individuals to cease speaking about how poorly the first yr below Steve Cohen’s possession went.    Aaron Decide. Is it attainable for a Yankee to be underrated? As a result of it looks like Decide is form of underrated. He’s a lot greater than an influence hitter. He hits for common, he at all times ranks among the many league leaders in stroll charge, he is an elite defender in proper discipline, and he is an above-average baserunner. It is a talent set you do not usually see in a 6-foot-7 body. Decide is a unicorn.   Matt Olson. Look, issues aren’t going nice for the Athletics proper now. They missed the postseason this yr, they’re more likely to start a rebuild and commerce away core gamers this winter, and rumblings about relocation are rising louder. That mentioned, A’s followers did get to get pleasure from Olson turning into a top-tier hitter this season, and that is not nothing. Higher to observe a homegrown participant have that massive season in your uniform earlier than buying and selling him for a Godfather bundle than giving up on him too early and seeing him get away with one other workforce, proper? Bryce Harper. We get it; it is easy to take Harper with no consideration given his omnipresence over the previous decade. However jeez, did he have an enormous season. He hit .309/.429/.615 (179 OPS+) with 35 dwelling runs and 100 walks. That is MVP-caliber stuff, and the precise form of season the Phillies have been hoping to get from Harper once they signed him in 2019.   PNC Park. Possibly it is a copout, however the Pirates proceed to play in some of the lovely and well-regarded ballparks within the league. It is only a disgrace the on-the-field product would not usually match the standard of its environment.    The outfield. We nearly went with Nolan Arenado or the veteran battery of Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina right here. As a substitute, we wished to indicate some like to the outfield of Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader, and Dylan Carlson. Every of the three is younger and every of the three had a high quality season in 2021. We’ll see if they’ll construct on it.   Mulligans. The Padres did not capitalize on their offseason hype, due largely to myriad accidents to their pitching workers. We predict San Diego will ship subsequent yr, no matter what the workforce does over the winter. And when the Padres do, anticipate new skipper Bob Melvin to get plenty of credit score for it, even when it isn’t essentially his doing.   Buster Posey’s profession. Giants video games aren’t going to be the identical with out Posey behind the dish. However San Francisco’s group and its followers ought to take solace within the reminiscences they’ve from the profession of among the finest backstops in current reminiscence. It isn’t widespread lately for a participant nearly as good as Posey to spend his whole skilled profession with a single workforce — not to mention to achieve this with out there being a lot in the way in which of drama or negatives. That is one thing to be glad about in our e-book.   Seeing the sunshine on the finish of the tunnel. The Mariners completed two video games out of a postseason spot this previous season they usually gained 90 video games for the primary time since 2003. 2003! Seattle has extra younger expertise coming (Julio Rodríguez, most notably) and all indications are they may spend this winter. The postseason drought reached 20 years this season. In the end, Mariners followers can see the trail again to October, they usually might get there as quickly as 2022. Wander Franco. This was the choose even earlier than Franco agreed to a long-term contract extension that might hold him with the franchise for greater than a decade. I am fairly positive Franco is already a top-25 participant in baseball. He might be within the prime 10 earlier than the top of 2022. Wander’s plate self-discipline is precocious — he struck out 5 instances in his last 31 video games of the season! — and he has each instrument within the shed. A franchise participant in each means. The promise to spend. It is only a promise proper now, although all indicators level to the Rangers being a big participant in free company this offseason. A prime shortstop feels inevitable, they usually want pitching too. Lots of it. Possession is able to open the pockets and permit the workforce to be not less than respectable in 2022. An rising powerhouse. Should you might purchase inventory in a baseball workforce, I’d be all-in on the Blue Jays. They’ve a powerhouse offense led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, a three-deep rotation with Hyun-Jin Ryu, José Berríos, and Alek Manoah, and the monetary would possibly so as to add vital items. Toronto was one of many prime three groups within the American League the ultimate two months of 2021. In 2022, they’re poised to make the leap into the game’s higher echelon. October 2019. The Nationals have suffered via two dropping seasons since profitable the World Sequence. They’re going to in all probability need to endure just a few extra earlier than their outlook begins to brighten. None of it will probably take away the truth that Nationals followers can relive that magical October every time they need due to the miracles of trendy know-how.  

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