Each year I begin the season staring at Fangraphs (other baseball reference sites are available), wondering where all my favourite baseballists have moved to.
I wonder which team will be winning 100-games and which team will be floundering at the bottom of their division struggling to rustle up 63 wins and not have triple digits in the loss column.
With 30 teams split over six divisions, and a 162-game season ahead of each of them, this can be a daunting task. So here are five things you can do to get ahead of the game and feel prepared for the year ahead.
- Watch MLB.tv
Now this may seem like an obvious one, but tuning into Spring Training now as it’s drawing to a close will give you a better idea of potential Opening Day line-ups and also cement the major transactions. Hitters will be seeing more plate appearances, pitchers will be going longer in games, pinch hitters and runners will be utilised less and less. Also, the announcers will be bringing you up to date with everything that has changed in terms of the ruleset and collective bargaining agreement. Win-win!
- Read the MLB.com homepage
This can be done at MLB.com or via the MLB app on phones and tablets. The page is a great way to catch up with the news in a clear and concise fashion, while also making sure you cover all 30-teams quickly. If heavy analytics aren’t your thing, then this is a place to come while avoiding the more stats driven pages like Fangraphs or Baseball Prospectus. This isn’t to say the stats pages are bad, but in my opinion, they can be quite daunting if you haven’t been part of the game for a while. I would mention this site too, but if you’re reading this, then you’re already here, so I won’t.
- Play MLB The Show or Out Of The Park Baseball
This is a perfect way to not only have fun, but to learn who has moved where and which teams are likely to perform in the upcoming season. MLB The Show is available on PlayStation and has been running for many years now, with previous versions also having roster updates. So you may not have to buy the most recent edition to get the moves you’re after. Out Of The Park Baseball (OOTP) is available on PC and Mac and is very much the “Football Manager” of baseball simulation gaming. The title is incredibly in-depth, however, many of the elements can be managed by the AI if it all becomes too daunting. The game receives regular updates thanks to the tireless community and developers involved.
- Take part in a Fantasy Baseball draft
Having done this very recently, it was a fantastic way to have a blast of baseball in a relatively short period of time. Having to read into player bios, stats, positional changes prior to hitting that “Draft” button meant lots of baseball information all at once being forced into my brain. Perfect for those short on time, but eager to get up to speed quickly. Multiple attempts at these drafts will sharpen your knowledge, when it comes to the moves of the 2022 season.
- Listen to preview podcasts
In my opinion, this is the absolute best way to get fully up to speed with everything that has changed. In the past, Effectively Wild would produce an episode every day with two teams per episode, lasting approximately one hour. However, due to the CBA delays and lack of time prior to the season starting, they have switched to a single guest talking about each division. On this very website, we offer our own divisional previews; however, each team has its own guest on to chat with the gang, not just one person per division. The podcasts stretch to just under 90-minutes, but we offer the voice of beat writers and reporters from the very teams they are talking about. Not bad, eh?
This concludes my list of ways to try and get ready for the 2022 season. There are many other options out there, and this isn’t the only way to get up to speed; feel free to drop in the comments below some of the things you like to do.
Featured image photo courtesy of mlb.com
Tom Pringle is one of the founders of Bat Flips & Nerds. You can follow him on Twitter @PedroiasFace