Every team in Major League Baseball has some element of excitement entering 2022. However, five American League teams transcend excitement into borderline unmissable games. These clubs will contribute to plenty of fun baseball from April to October, so set your phone alarms and make appointments to watch these teams.
Toronto Blue Jays
This is fairly low-hanging fruit, but the AL favorites should be a television darling in 2022. They check off all of the boxes for exciting players. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is one of the premier players in the sport, and he hits the ball with electricity and power. However, the critical difference between Guerrero and other hitters around baseball is his aggressiveness. Guerrero led MLB in first-pitch hits in 2021, finishing one hit ahead of Bo Bichette, his teammate. With the Blue Jays, action happens quickly and consistently.
On the other side of the ball, the Blue Jays have a stellar rotation with the likes of Jose Berrios and Kevin Gausman. Gausman has a ridiculous splitter that will elicit some horrendous swings from the opposition. However, the real appointment television is the combination of Alek Manoah and Nate Pearson. Manoah is a strikeout machine, and Pearson is one of the hardest throwers in baseball. If a batter makes contact, they might hit it to Matt Chapman, one of MLB’s web-gem artists.
While the Blue Jays have established stars, the Tigers swing in the opposite direction. Spencer Torkelson is one of the top prospects in baseball, and he wallops the baseball. Riley Greene is not up yet, but he will be intriguing to follow soon. Beyond the young guns, the Tigers have the likes of Akil Baddoo and Javier Baez that play a visually-appealing brand of baseball. If MLB history is your thing, Miguel Cabrera is a future Hall of Famer in one of his last hurrahs.
The pitching staff is also full of excitement. Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal are heralded young arms. Eduardo Rodriguez is a massive breakout candidate as he moves from Boston to Detroit. Matt Manning is a solid fourth option who brings some excitement, but Detroit’s bullpen is an extra punch. Andrew Chafin had a great season last year, and he should be a lock-down eighth-inning guy. Gregory Soto converted 18-of-19 save attempts last year as well.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals are a bit different from the Blue Jays and Tigers. The Royals are supposed to be bad. This decreases their watchability, but they bring different values. While they have a young stud in Bobby Witt Jr. and a legend of the game in Zack Greinke, the Royals answer by playing visually compelling baseball. They put the ball in play. They steal bases. They play defense. If you like old-school baseball, the Royals should be an MLB.TV mainstay for you.
Whit Merrifield is commonly cited as one of the most overrated players in baseball by the advanced stat community, but he is a small-ball specialist. In 2021, he led the AL in steals and led MLB with 42 doubles. He plays a slick brand of defense, and he will be one of many Royals in serious Gold Glove contention. Salvador Perez also falls into this overrated category, but his power is worth watching. He launched 72 extra-base hits in 2021 including an MLB-high 48 home runs.
It’s Julio Rodriguez’s world, and we are just living in it. Beyond the toolsy prospect, the Mariners have brought in two sluggers from the Cincinnati Reds in the form of Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez. Winker averaged more than one extra-base hit for every two games. Suarez has three seasons with 30-plus home runs including 49 in 2019. Jarred Kelenic is another young piece who is looking to have a bounce-back campaign. The infield also plays exceptional defense with Ty France and J.P. Crawford.
The rotation boasts 2021 AL Cy Young Robbie Ray. Ray is the ultimate pitcher to watch. When he is on, he is entertaining because he strikes out 11.2 batters per nine, the highest rate in MLB history. However, when Ray is off, he concedes an absurd number of home runs. This boom-or-bust potential on every at-bat is intriguing and will keep you on the edge of your seat when you watch him pitch.
Just to add on, the Mariners are the inventors of the "fun differential." Take that, stats people.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels have the trump card over the other 29 teams. His name is Shohei Ohtani. The 2021 AL MVP can pitch and hit at an elite level. He also steals bases and flies around the basepaths for doubles and triples. From the other side, Ohtani is a flamethrower with one of the league’s most devastating pitches. No matter what Ohtani does on the field, he makes other people look much worse at their job than they are. He is a man amongst boys.
Beyond Ohtani, the Angels have Mike Trout. Trout would be the headline star for the other 29 teams, but for the Angels, he’s second to Ohtani. The Angels have an incredibly watchable outfield with Trout, Jo Adell, and Brandon Marsh. The corner infielders can mash, and the pitching staff is the perfect blend of good stuff and heart attack potential. It may be stressful for Angels fans, but the first eight innings will be a joy to watch more times than not. If heart attacks are not your favorite, Raisel Iglesias is a superstar closer.
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