MLB Wide What are you Looking Forward to in 2023?

LogansDad

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I am on record as being really excited for the Red Sox this year, but I am also very excited for the state of the league as well, so figured I'd start a thread with some things I am looking forward to following this season and others can tack on if they want.

1) Vinnie Pasquantino. Yes, an individual player is my #1. He's just as good a Twitter follow as Triston Casas (though he is a NYJ fan, sad), and he just mashes. I got to meet him in 2021 when he was coming through AA and just absolutely destroying AA Central after his callup from A+, and he did not disappoint last year. I expect his K rate to get down somewhere close to 1)% or under this year, and while Kauffman will definitely suppress his home run totals, he should be in the mid to upper 30's. He is an absolute pleasure to watch play baseball, and anyone who hasn't seen him yet is in for a treat.

2) All of the rules changes, but especially the pitch clock. I think enough has been said about these that I won't go into detail.

3) Can the Mariners take the next step? They are my current adopted 2nd team, and after making the playoffs and putting the Astros in a decent hole in the playoffs, things kind of fell apart for them. I am so very excited for the 2nd season of Julio, George Kirby and Matt Brash. Keep an eye on for Emerson Hancock and Cade Marlowe coming up from AA as well, both really talented players.

4) The NL West. This is a weird one, but I always have a team that I am looking forward to making an unexpected leap each season. I won't be picking the Royals again, like I did last year, so this year it is Arizona. I think the Dodgers are vulnerable, and a full season of Corbin Carroll, along with the shift changes that should help him get on base more often, is going to be a huge boon for the Diamondbacks. I think they will be a terribly fun team to watch this season.

5) It's an actual, full, uninterrupted season of baseball. The players should finally back to their "best", after a season of COVID, the weird post-COVID 2021 season and a shortened spring due to the lockout, we finally have a normal damn season, with no question marks about whether or not teams will play a full 162 games.

Finally, I am not working nights anymore, and am taking the summer off, so I will be able to indulge in MLB and minor league baseball to my heart's content, and I can't remember a baseball season I have been more excited for in my lifetime.

So, SoSH, what are the league wide storylines you are excited for this year?
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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Oct 1, 2015
24,908
I am excited for more stolen bases.

I want teams to be running wild. It's exciting.
I agree. I want more balls put in play, a lot more exciting base running. This station to station, three true outcome baseball is pretty boring, IMO. I want to see STUFF happen out there.
 

Kliq

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Mar 31, 2013
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Count me in for the stolen base revival. Games played on the base paths were a crucial element to baseball for generations and emphasized speed, athleticism and just good old-fashioned daring, and the fact that it has been missing for so long has been terrible.

As far as guys I'm interested in, Julio Rodriguez is obviously one to watch, as is Michael Harris. I'm really interested in watching Hunter Greene, in a league full of guys with electric stuff, his velocity and power still stands out. He got off to a rough start last year due to having some real bad innings, but he finished the season very strong and set records for the most 100 mph pitches in one appearance multiple times last season.

Adley Rutschman arrived last year as advertised. After years of hype, he played 113 games for the Orioles and put up a 5.2 WAR and was the best player on the team down the stretch as they inexplicably rallied into a playoff contender. A full year behind the plate and I'd be surprised if he didn't solidify his status as the best catcher in baseball, or least 1A with Realmuto. You can get him at +2500 for MVP this year, and he finished 12th last year despite only playing a little more than half the season and being a rookie.
 

simplicio

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Apr 11, 2012
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I'm deeply curious to see what Ohtani fetches in a deadline trade and who is willing to pay the price.
 

jon abbey

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This is it for me. I want to watch and root for him, knowing that for the next 10 years (or more) That is off the table after he sings with the Yankees.
There is IMO zero chance he sings or signs with the Yankees, their DH spot is full and the Dodgers basically sat out this winter waiting and planning to go after Ohtani hard next winter. I also will believe LAA has the balls to actually trade him when they actually do and not before.
 

DontTauntOrtizMe

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Jul 18, 2005
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Living in Southern California, I am excited to see if the Padres can finally become kings this year. They've made a ton of moves and spent a ton of money. It could be their last year with all this talent (Machado said he's going to opt out). It's really now or never for them. Also, I am looking forward to see them at full strength when Tatis' suspension ends.

Edit: Removed comment that Soto is a free agent after this year.
 
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jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
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Jul 15, 2005
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Living in Southern California, I am excited to see if the Padres can finally become kings this year. They've made a ton of moves and spent a ton of money. It could be their last year with all this talent (Machado said he's going to opt out and Soto will be a free agent). It's really now or never for them. Also, I am looking forward to see them at full strength when Tatis' suspension ends.
Soto isn't a FA until after 2024.
 

cornwalls@6

Less observant than others
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Apr 23, 2010
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I agree. I want more balls put in play, a lot more exciting base running. This station to station, three true outcome baseball is pretty boring, IMO. I want to see STUFF happen out there.
Same for me. While I definitely think the games need to be a bit shorter, the length itself is less an issue for me than what has, or more to the point, hasn't, been happening during those 3 hours in recent years. I'm hopeful the shift restrictions and larger bases nudge the game back to something more akin to the 80's and 90's style of play(or at least my memory of that style).
 

canderson

Mr. Brightside
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Jul 16, 2005
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Why do people think there will be more stolen bases? The larger bases cut all of 3” off the path but the defender is also 3” closer to the field.
 

LogansDad

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Why do people think there will be more stolen bases? The larger bases cut all of 3” off the path but the defender is also 3” closer to the field.
There's more to it than just base sizes, though. But, in relation to base sizes, the catcher is still the same distance away, so that is a big piece of it. They have also added a limit to the amount of pickoff attempts, and, with the pitch clock, I think you will see runners being a lot more aggressive as it ticks down to 1 or so (so much so, that I think the clock will encourage pitchers to work even quicker because of that, to keep the runners off balance).

Additionally, with the shift restrictions, I expect a lot more runners on base than we have in the last few years.
 

canderson

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There's more to it than just base sizes, though. But, in relation to base sizes, the catcher is still the same distance away, so that is a big piece of it. They have also added a limit to the amount of pickoff attempts, and, with the pitch clock, I think you will see runners being a lot more aggressive as it ticks down to 1 or so (so much so, that I think the clock will encourage pitchers to work even quicker because of that, to keep the runners off balance).

Additionally, with the shift restrictions, I expect a lot more runners on base than we have in the last few years.
True about the shift putting more runners on base. The larger bases to me are meaningless and won’t be noticed by may - should do the double first like softball if they want to really avoid first base issues.
 

SJMDownunder

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Feb 13, 2014
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My second post ever — have Mercy…. I’m all in on the stolen base idea, as set out above. Remember when Rickey Henderson was about the best, and certainly the most threatening, player in baseball? It was mesmerizing.
 

JM3

often quoted
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Dec 14, 2019
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My second post ever — have Mercy…. I’m all in on the stolen base idea, as set out above. Remember when Rickey Henderson was about the best, and certainly the most threatening, player in baseball? It was mesmerizing.
Last year, Jon Berti led Major League Baseball in steals with 41. In 1982, Rickey Henderson was caught stealing 42 times.

In '21 Whit Merrifield led MLB with 40 steals - that was the lowest league leading total in a full season since 1963 when Luis Aparicio & Maury Wills each had 40. The last time the league leader had less was 1958 when Willie Mays led MLB with 31.

More on Jon Berti:

Berti led the league in steals last year with 41...beating his previous career high of 17, and outpacing his previous career total of 35. Berti is a 33 y/o utility player for the Marlins who started games at 2B, 3B, SS, LF and CF last season. Berti led the league despite only 404 PAs. In August 2020, against the Mets, he set a Marlins record by getting 3 steals in one inning - walking & then stealing for the cycle in the 6th inning against Jeurys Familia.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkxMdM6Fpv8
 

OfTheCarmen

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Jul 18, 2007
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I am interested, but not actually looking forward to seeing how the limited pick-off thing goes. I think it's going to be a shit show.
 

opes

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-If Ohtani and Trout can hold it together for a full season for the Angel to make the playoffs. I agree, the Dodgers will likely sign him to the biggest contract in history, but god I wish there is some miracle he becomes a Red Sox.
- Which leg will Buxton break? Will Correa's foot fall off?
-Will Mayer get called up?(i doubt it)
-Will Duran finally be traded?
 

The Gray Eagle

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Aug 1, 2001
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Last year, Jon Berti led Major League Baseball in steals with 41. In 1982, Rickey Henderson was caught stealing 42 times.

In '21 Whit Merrifield led MLB with 40 steals - that was the lowest league leading total in a full season since 1963 when Luis Aparicio & Maury Wills each had 40. The last time the league leader had less was 1958 when Willie Mays led MLB with 31.

More on Jon Berti:

Berti led the league in steals last year with 41...beating his previous career high of 17, and outpacing his previous career total of 35. Berti is a 33 y/o utility player for the Marlins who started games at 2B, 3B, SS, LF and CF last season. Berti led the league despite only 404 PAs. In August 2020, against the Mets, he set a Marlins record by getting 3 steals in one inning - walking & then stealing for the cycle in the 6th inning against Jeurys Familia.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkxMdM6Fpv8
That Berti can fly!
I understand that people are concerned about the new rules because they haven't been tried at the big league level yet, but they have been tried in the minors and they went well. Once the players adjust to them, which hopefully should happen in spring training, the rule changes aren't going to be that noticeable, other than the game moving faster and having more action.
If you went to a minor league game last year that used the new rules, you would have seen that it was just a quicker, more enjoyable ballgame, not some kind of weird new version of the game with strange new rules.
For example, no one paid attention to the pitch clock. The bigger bases were completely unnoticeable.

Likely the only potential issues with the new rules will be big league egos dealing with adjustments and whining about that, and dumb announcers making dumb comments about the rules they don't understand.
 

simplicio

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I am interested, but not actually looking forward to seeing how the limited pick-off thing goes. I think it's going to be a shit show.
One thing it means is likely more back picks, which aren't limited, and are innately more fun than regular pick offs.
 

KiltedFool

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Dec 22, 2005
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I'm a Guardians fan, and with their limited power output last year, their offensive style seems to be particularly suited to the new rules, they may really run wild in the new environment.

And I'll love seeing catchers back pick baserunners, it's been decades since I've thrown a baseball with force and I still remember how satisfying it was on my rare successes as a youth. With potential robot balls and strikes coming eventually reducing framing, pitch signaling tech coming online, control of the running game will likely become more of a focus.
 

8slim

has trust issues
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Nov 6, 2001
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That Berti can fly!
I understand that people are concerned about the new rules because they haven't been tried at the big league level yet, but they have been tried in the minors and they went well. Once the players adjust to them, which hopefully should happen in spring training, the rule changes aren't going to be that noticeable, other than the game moving faster and having more action.
If you went to a minor league game last year that used the new rules, you would have seen that it was just a quicker, more enjoyable ballgame, not some kind of weird new version of the game with strange new rules.
For example, no one paid attention to the pitch clock. The bigger bases were completely unnoticeable.

Likely the only potential issues with the new rules will be big league egos dealing with adjustments and whining about that, and dumb announcers making dumb comments about the rules they don't understand.
Precisely. These rules have been exhaustively tested in the minors, and the positive results from them are exactly why they're now being implemented at the MLB level.

I, for one, can't wait. Three true outcome baseball is a total bore. More hits, more running, faster pace... let's go.
 

Max Power

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I wonder if this means pitchouts might make a comeback. They had almost completely disappeared in the current game. Announcers will have to dust off their "Pitchout... nothing doing" calls for the ones with no baserunners moving.
 

CoolPapaBellhorn

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1. Pitch clock
2. Development of fun young teams like Arizona and Baltimore
3. The inevitable Blue Jays underachievement
4. The NL East race
5. Ohtani. Always.
 

Mooch

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Jul 15, 2005
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Watching the emergence of baseball’s next young star: Jordan Walker made the Cardinals opening day roster. He played his high school ball a block from my house. 5 tool kid with enormous pop.
 

edoug

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Jul 15, 2005
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The number of Sox World Championships hitting double digits. Offenses should be better.
One thing odd about the new rules. They were made, by and large, to make the game to be played like it was decades ago.
 

Catcher Block

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Watching the emergence of baseball’s next young star: Jordan Walker made the Cardinals opening day roster. He played his high school ball a block from my house. 5 tool kid with enormous pop.
I'm currently on my way home from a week at the Cardinals' Spring Training complex. The only thing more impressive than his physical tools is how genuinely kind he is and how well he treated everyone (fans, staff, etc). I've never rooted for someone more than this kid.
 

Mooch

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I'm currently on my way home from a week at the Cardinals' Spring Training complex. The only thing more impressive than his physical tools is how genuinely kind he is and how well he treated everyone (fans, staff, etc). I've never rooted for someone more than this kid.
Yeah, he was a terrific kid in high school too.
 

Sin Duda

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I agree with many, many of what you all have said, but I'm also looking forward to hard hit ground balls up the middle and line drives to shallow RF becoming base hits again (I know, not every one).
 

NorthwestSoxGuy

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Oct 15, 2022
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Definitely the pitch clock! And I know I'm saying this after Opening Day, but the pitch clock is a great idea. Look at the times each Opening Day game lasted: most of them took less than 3 hours to complete!

I'll admit, it's hard to choose what else I'm looking forward to, but I'm definitely excited about the pitch clock.
 

LogansDad

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I am on record as being really excited for the Red Sox this year, but I am also very excited for the state of the league as well, so figured I'd start a thread with some things I am looking forward to following this season and others can tack on if they want.

1) Vinnie Pasquantino. Yes, an individual player is my #1. He's just as good a Twitter follow as Triston Casas (though he is a NYJ fan, sad), and he just mashes. I got to meet him in 2021 when he was coming through AA and just absolutely destroying AA Central after his callup from A+, and he did not disappoint last year. I expect his K rate to get down somewhere close to 1)% or under this year, and while Kauffman will definitely suppress his home run totals, he should be in the mid to upper 30's. He is an absolute pleasure to watch play baseball, and anyone who hasn't seen him yet is in for a treat.

2) All of the rules changes, but especially the pitch clock. I think enough has been said about these that I won't go into detail.

3) Can the Mariners take the next step? They are my current adopted 2nd team, and after making the playoffs and putting the Astros in a decent hole in the playoffs, things kind of fell apart for them. I am so very excited for the 2nd season of Julio, George Kirby and Matt Brash. Keep an eye on for Emerson Hancock and Cade Marlowe coming up from AA as well, both really talented players.

4) The NL West. This is a weird one, but I always have a team that I am looking forward to making an unexpected leap each season. I won't be picking the Royals again, like I did last year, so this year it is Arizona. I think the Dodgers are vulnerable, and a full season of Corbin Carroll, along with the shift changes that should help him get on base more often, is going to be a huge boon for the Diamondbacks. I think they will be a terribly fun team to watch this season.

5) It's an actual, full, uninterrupted season of baseball. The players should finally back to their "best", after a season of COVID, the weird post-COVID 2021 season and a shortened spring due to the lockout, we finally have a normal damn season, with no question marks about whether or not teams will play a full 162 games.

Finally, I am not working nights anymore, and am taking the summer off, so I will be able to indulge in MLB and minor league baseball to my heart's content, and I can't remember a baseball season I have been more excited for in my lifetime.

So, SoSH, what are the league wide storylines you are excited for this year?
A little over quarter of the way through:

1) Vinnie is at 13 doubles, 8 home runs, basically a 1:1 K:BB, and a 126 OPS+. He's the real deal. I hope KC has the sense to trade him to a Major League Baseball team (kidding, sort of).

2) The clock has had more weird stuff happen with it than I expected, but otherwise I love all the changes as expected. I think my favorite change is that LHB BABIP on line drives up the middle (per the Athletic) is up by 51 points.

3) Similar start to last season, and they will have to play hard to the end to get back in it. Definitely doesn't look like a "next step" from here, but really October is all that matters. Bryce Miller looks awesome.

4) Arizona is in 2nd place, but it is a little smoke and mirrors as they have only a +6 run differential. I think they will get better as the season goes along, though. Alek Thomas has been disappointing, but Corbin Carroll is quietly an absolute superstar. Zac Gallen is one of the best pitchers in the league, in case you didn't know, and Merrill Kelly has been very good for them as well. Told you they would be fun.

5) Yup. Baseball.