Pitchers and catchers reported to Major League camps across Arizona and Florida this week, signaling the start of baseball season. For the first time since 2019, a full spring training will take place, meaning the sport is back in full swing.
The 2023 rule changes will be in effect during the Cactus League and Grapefruit League games, making it the first chance for fans to see them in action. Many are looking forward to the potential impact of the rule changes and the faster speed of the game, especially a new pitch clock. Also this year is the The World Baseball Classic, which will feature many MLB stars representing their home country.
This winter saw a lot of free agency moves, and fans are interested in seeing players who have moved to new teams in action. San Diego is looking forward to seeing Xander Bogaerts in aPadres uniform. New York is excited about Carlos Rodon, who has just signed for six years and $162 million with the Yankees. Philadelphia is excited to see Trea Turner with the Philadelphia Phillies, especially under baseball’s new rules, which should help the speedster.
Another New York team has also made news over recent years. When Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer were first on a Major League roster together, Verlander was 27 and Scherzer was 24. Since then, Scherzer and his wife have welcomed four children, including their most recent addition, a daughter named Nikki, who was born last month. Meanwhile, Verlander got married to supermodel Kate Upton and they have a daughter of their own. Scherzer has achieved three Cy Young Awards and a World Series championship, while Verlander’s accomplishments include three Cy Young Awards, an MVP award, and two titles.
The Rays are optimistic about their pitching staff’s potential for improvement this season, after finishing with the fourth-best ERA in MLB and third-best rotation ERA in the previous season. They envision a dominant rotation led by Shane McClanahan, a left-handed ace who had a breakout year, right-hander Tyler Glasnow, newly acquired free agent Zach Eflin, recently extended Jeffrey Springs, and the Drew Rasmussen. The team is also supported by Yonny Chirinos, prospect Taj Bradley, and pitchers Luis Patiño and Josh Fleming who have shown flashes. Although there are concerns around the workload and health of all five starters, the depth of the pitching staff is reassuring.
Is this the year for the Angels? Mike Trout, considered one of the best in the game, acknowledged on Wednesday the challenges he has faced dealing with injuries and missing the postseason in recent years. Despite this, he expressed optimism that the team’s fortunes will improve in 2023.
“I’m going to do whatever I can to keep Shohei here, for sure. We’re going to go out there and try to win. I haven’t really talked to Shohei about his future, but it seems like he’s having a good time here,” Trout said. “But it’s been six years together and we haven’t been in the playoffs, so if there’s any year we need to get the playoffs, it’s this year.”