Pitchers and catchers for all 30 teams have reported and spring training is officially underway around baseball.
The 2020 season will have many storylines around baseball. It is the first year with quite a few new rules in place.
The three batter minimum rule for pitchers will be in place on opening day, as well as the new roster requirements. Teams are now able to carry 13 pitchers, and 13 position players, meaning that each bullpen will have eight pitchers, and each bench will have five position players. This leads into the new September roster expansion rule, as teams will no longer be able to have 40 players in the majors during that month. Only 28 players will be allowed on the roster at once, but 12 can be listed as travel squad, and can be added and removed on a day to day basis prior to games.
Another storyline to watch in 2020 will be the amount of star players in new places. Many superstar players changed uniforms this offseason, some by trade, and many by the free agent market. Gerrit Cole, arguably the biggest free agent signing of the winter, will be suiting up for his first of nine seasons as a New York Yankee come Opening Day. Third basemen Anthony Rendon and outfielder Mookie Betts each find themselves moving into Los Angeles for the first time this season, but with different organizations. Rendon will be suiting up as the Angels third baseman for the next seven years, pairing as a big bat in the same lineup that features Mike Trout. As for Betts, a blockbuster trade will put him with the Dodgers for one year until he tests free agency. He’ll pair up in the same outfield as 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger.
“I am excited for Betts and Price. Losing to the Astros by cheating in 2017 and again in 2018 stings as a Dodgers fan. I think they are gonna win it all this year,” senior Tommy Flores said.
The Astros could make this season a bit of a toss up as well, but not necessarily with the team they constructed this winter. With their infamous cheating scandal being released this offseason, teams, players and fan bases alike have not been shy about wishing retaliation upon the Astros for their actions the last three seasons. While commissioner Rob Manfred has said punishment will be handed down to pitchers who retaliate, it does not necessarily mean the Astros will not receive some backlash from other teams.
“The Astros played dirty, and they should expect to be treated the exact same way this season,” senior Peyton Mecker said.
Finally, one notable thing to watch for in 2020 are the paths of multiple players who signed on from Japanese and Korean league teams this offseason. New comers Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, Kwang-Hyun Kim, Shun Yamaguchi and Shogo Akiyama all will make their MLB debuts on Opening Day. Many former big leaguers who went overseas to help boost their careers are returning as well. Names like Josh Lindblom, Joely Rodriguez, Seth Frankoff, Pierce Johnson and Christian Bethancourt might not be household names, but after stints in Asia have direct routes to Opening Day rosters as well.
Opening Day for the 2020 MLB season is March 26th, and there will be a full slate of games that day, as all 30 teams start their quest for a World Series title.