The start of the MLB season 2022 has finally arrived!
Starting with seven opening day games on Thursday and continuing with the rest of MLB in action on Friday, it’s time to welcome the new year on the diamond. To celebrate the return of baseball, we have asked our experts to weigh and evaluate what they are most excited about watching – and make a fearless Opening Day forecast.
When the games start, be sure to update this page early and often to get our live updates and side dishes from all Opening Day games on both Thursday and Friday.
Preview of the season: Power parties | Forecast | Movements that broke through during the offseason
ESPN +: Forecast Passans | How the opening day was saved | 2022 changes
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The program for the opening day is Thursday
All times east
14:20: Brewers (Burnes) on Cubs (Hendricks)
16:10: Guardians (Bieber) at Royals (Greinke)
16:15: Pirates (Brubaker) at Cardinals (Wainwright)
19:05 on ESPN +: Mets (TBD) on Nationals (Corbin)
20:00 on ESPN2: Reds (Mahle) on Braves (Fried)
21:38: Astros (Valdez) on Angels (Ohtani)
21:40: Padres (Darvish) on Diamondbacks (Bumgarner)
Friday Openers: Red Sox-Yankees, White Sox-Tigers, A’s-Phillies, Orioles-Rays, Dodgers-Rockies, Mariners-Twins, Marlins-Giants and Rangers-Blue Jays
Forecasts for the opening day and what we can not wait to see
What is the only thing you are most excited to watch on Opening Day?
Bradford Doolittle: I’m in Minneapolis because of the Twins-Mariners series that was pushed back one day due to disgusting weather in early spring. The benefit is that I get two Opening Days and can watch Bobby Witt Jr.’s debut. in Kansas City on some sort of screen on Thursday before I get to see Julio Rodriguez from Seattle first hand on Friday. We have not always seen the most exciting possibilities on the opening day (Witt is No. 2 and Rodriguez is No. 3 on Kiley McDaniel’s top 100 list), so this is a wonderful thing. A magnificent rookie of the year in the American league is underway.
Jesse Rogers: Cubs rookie Seiya Suzuki’s debut. He is a versatile player with power in all areas and missiles. As stated in the recent bargaining agreement, most newcomers do not make much money – but Suzuki signed a five-year, $ 85 million contract this season, so his eyes will be on him all over the baseball world. He has the potential to become the next big star in a team that is suddenly free of them. Thursday is his first chance to show fans all over Chicago what they’re getting.
David Schoenfield: The most fascinating team to watch in April could be the Padres. There is a lot of pressure on a team that now has one of the highest payrolls in baseball and is coming after a loss year. They collapsed and while the spin is healthy again, the Padres will have to play for several months without Fernando Tatis Jr. So on the opening day I want to see what Yu Darvish looks like after going 1-8 (6.16 ERA)) in the second half. I want to see how the new manager Bob Melvin sets up his afternoon. I want to see if Ha-Seong Kim can not only fill Tatis’ gap but hit like he did in Korea after having a difficult draw on his debut. I want to see what Manny Machado says. The Padres start with 14 games against the Diamondbacks, Giants, Rangers and Pirates – a golden opportunity to start well and put the disappointment of the year 2021 behind them.
Joon Lee: I have David in this. The Padres are on a fascinating turning point in AJ Preller’s job with the injury of Tatis Jr. and how much financial investment is at the core of this team. According to many sources, the chemistry of the Padres club suffered under Jayce Tingler, so Melvin’s addition will completely shake up the team’s locker room. I’m interested to see what Darvish says on the opening day and how former Cy Young winner Blake Snell succeeds in his second season in San Diego after struggling to put up numbers similar to his job in Tampa Bay. Especially after the deal with Eric Hosmer fell and Tatis got injured, the team will need its expensive players to play better in 2022.
Buster Olney: I’m in Atlanta and I’ll be thrilled to see the reception for new first baseman Matt Olson – and I expect it to be loud and lasting. If anyone is going to replace Freddie Freeman in the first place, then Olson is the perfect candidate considering his local roots, his age, his power. If Braves’ magic script from last year’s World Cup series is still in play, Olson will receive a significant blow – and Atlanta fans will be wild. What a story it would be.
Coley Harvey: I’m really excited to join Buster in my hometown, Atlanta, where I’ll get a front row seat for a coronation that has been a generation in the making. And as a lifelong supporter of the entire ATL, 404, Chick-fil-A and Waffle House, the 10-year-old still does not believe that one of the professional teams in his city is finally going to have another dinner night. The 1995 and 2021 Braves Championship and Atlanta United’s MLS title in 2018 are all we have! After 28-3 memes and jokes, City Too Busy To Hate deserves to celebrate victory at the World Cup last October once again. The Atlantic has won it.
Alden Gonzalez: I’ll be at Angel Stadium on Thursday and that’s why I’ll be the luckiest of us all. Shohei Ohtani will be on the mound and he will be in the squad and start what promises to be another exciting season as a two-way player. The discussion about the Angels’ camp this spring was about whether Ohtani can really be that better this year, given how he improved as a pitcher and how he became content with the two-way role as the season progressed. It sounds impossible – until you realize how special this person is.
Tim Keown: The Mets got Max Scherzer to join Jacob deGrom, and they’re starting the opening day is … Tylor Megill. Next to JT Brubaker Pírata is Megill the starter who is not opening day on Opening Day. Even Oakland has Frankie Montas, even though there is a possibility that he could be replaced by the first stadium on Friday in Philadelphia. This might not mean much – Scherzer should be back soon, maybe even in the second game – but he’s sure it’s a harbinger.
It’s time to dump her and move on indeed come true?
Doolittle: Albert Pujols is going to Homer in St. Louis. Even if it turns out to be the only homer he hits all season, there’s no way this will not happen. There are many young Cardinals fans in St. Louis. Louis who have only heard of Pujols from their parents. It’s great to see him experience this year as he continues his Hall of Fame career.
Rogers: Corbin Burnes will hit the Cubs once – and Suzuki will be the only one to hit him. Chicago has little left-handed pop, while right-handed opponents put up an average of 179 strokes against him in 2021. With a right-handed player at first base and on the right field – two positions often reserved for left-handers – – Cubs will be at a disadvantage against top right-handers the whole season. Trying to beat Burnes on Thursday, in 40 degree weather, will make things much harder.
Schoenfield: Machado started slowly in 2021, but with Tatis on, the Padres need him to strike from the start. He has not beaten as well as Madison Bumgarner, Diamondbacks’ starting lineup in his career (.212 / .257 / .515), although three of his seven shots from him are home runs. I say he leaves MadBum twice when the Padres win their opening game.
Olney: He is not presenting on the opening day, but I will call this the last year that the future Hall of Fame Jacob deGrom has the Mets. Steve Cohen has shown that he is ready and willing to invest in any way he believes can help the Mets, but there are just too many variables involved for deGrom to pay off – the questions about his health now, his health going forward, and last but not least, what he wants. We will look again at his assertion that he is canceling his contract despite a recent injury as the first true sign that he is on his way to another.
Gonzalez: Rodriguez and Witt Jr. will each break through in their debut in the Premier League. The two underline what looks like the incredibly deep AL rookie of the year along with Spencer Torkelson. Eventually, Adley Rutschman and Riley Greene will join them. Not on this list: Wander Franco, who exceeded his rookie qualifications last year but will play his first full season in 2022. He could be the biggest star of them all. The young talent in the sport is incredible now – and I only had one division.
Keown: We will all be reminded that Mike Trout not only exists but he remains the best player in the sport. The eyes of the game will be on Shohei Ohtani to start the English opening game against the Astros, but at the end of the fourth or fifth period, Trout will be the night.
Lee: Shohei Ohtani will come out strong on the opening day and show that last year was not a rocket and that it is possible to lay and beat at a high level over many seasons – and open up the idea that teams could possibly develop more two-sided players, not necessarily on level Ohtani, but to maximize the value of each group seat.
Harvey: Okay, so Austin Riley’s Grapefruit League show was not the strongest (.214, 6-for-28), but I’m wondering if he’s having a big opening night. This will happen in what will be his first game at Truist Park since the World Cup. At home last season, he hit .419 (13 for 31) with five free throws. He will take part in this smash hit again in front of another crazy and insane crowd in Atlanta, which gives fans magic early in the season.