Every team in Major League Baseball has some element of excitement entering 2022. However, five National League teams transcend excitement into borderline unmissable games. These five teams will contribute to plenty of fun baseball from April to October, so set your phone alarms and make appointments to watch these teams.
Do you like runs? The Phillies will both score a comically large number of runs and (likely) concede a large number of runs. They have three of the best hitters in baseball with two-time NL MVP Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, and Nick Castellanos, and they match it with one of the worst defenses in MLB history. J.T. Realmuto is a unique brand of catcher with his speed, and the Phillies have Bryson Stott to check off the young player box.
The Phillies have exciting pieces in the rotation including Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suarez, and Aaron Nola, but the bullpen will be consistently unhinged. The Phillies played several games in 2021 that involved more than 25 total runs, and that notion should continue in 2022. The average Phillies game in 2021 included 9.13 runs per game, a mark only eclipsed by teams with only the most horrendous pitching staffs in the NL.
Not only do the Marlins have fun players, but they also have fun uniform combinations including their City Connect jerseys. The old mantra is “look good, play good,” and the Marlins check this box off. Jazz Chisholm is one of the most exciting players in baseball. He has 20/20 potential (if not 30/30), and his brand is intoxicating to watch. Beyond Chisholm, the Marlins have a bevy of solid players around the diamond. Jorge Soler once hit 48 home runs in a season. Jesus Sanchez and Avisail Garcia are also exciting outfield options.
However, the pitching staff expands upon the excitement. The Marlins have approximately 50 pitchers who are between 22 and 27 years old and have lively fastballs. Sandy Alcantara is the ace of the staff, but the likes of Trevor Rogers and Pablo Lopez are 10 strikeouts per nine pitchers. Even Jesus Luzardo, Elieser Hernandez, and Edward Cabrera have filthy stuff and could break out in 2022. The bullpen is full of unique options including 2021 breakout Anthony Bender. Bender struck out 28.7% of batters in 2021.
Seiya Suzuki is an enigma, but even if he does not pan out, the Cubs have massive potential to be a run-scoring dream. Frank Schwindel and Patrick Wisdom will be one of the best power duos in baseball. Andrelton Simmons will bring some slick fielding to the shortstop position as well (when he is healthy). Suzuki has five-tool potential in the outfield, so he will be a must-watch no matter if any of the tools lag. The potential double-play duo of Nick Madrigal and Nico Hoerner could also be enticing as a small-ball option if Simmons misses time.
Marcus Stroman pitches with ridiculous swagger, and Kyle Hendricks brings a Greg Maddux quality to the mound. Beyond the top two, the rotation will have plenty of issues, but there is no more exciting backdrop to a crazy baseball game than Wrigley Field. The rag-tag group of relievers will help the lunacy levels in the later innings, making for plenty of exciting games – both wins and losses for the Cubs.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers could have an Opening Day roster with eight All-Stars. Freddie Freeman’s left-handed swing is more than enough to be watchable, but the Dodgers have so many narratives. Cody Bellinger will be on a redemption tour after a disastrous 2021 season. Mookie Betts will also look to have a bounce-back season. Chris Taylor has a knack for the big-time hit, and the infield around Freeman is oozing with excitement. Max Muncy and Trea Turner will be MVP-level players, and Will Smith could be the best catcher in baseball. Despite playing in a deflated run environment at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers will once again be among the league’s premier offenses.
The pitching staff similarly has ridiculous depth. Walker Buehler could be the preeminent ace in baseball by the end of the season. Clayton Kershaw is a baseball legend throwing some of his final innings. Trevor Bauer is a wild card, but he won the Cy Young the last time he pitched a full season. Julio Urias is terrific as well. The pieces beyond have filthy stuff and could be the third starter on most teams around the league. The bullpen has electric arms like Blake Treinen and Craig Kimbrel slamming doors.
The Rockies have some exciting players, and Zac Veen could make his MLB debut in 2022, but the overall excitement here is Coors Field. When the Rockies play at home, they play at a staggered time from the rest of baseball, and they play in the best run environment. The ball flies, and the outfield is massive leading to many extra-base hits. The Rockies match this with a powerful offense and less-than-stellar defense. Kris Bryant will have an electric season wherever he lines up, and the likes of Connor Joe and Randall Grichuk should provide some pop in the lineup.
The pitching is where the Rockies make yet another ascension. Even the thought of a Rockie being successful at home is a call for excitement, but the range of outcomes when watching a Rockie pitch is mouthwatering. If they pitch well, it’s one of the bigger single-game accomplishments in the sport. If they struggle, crooked numbers will flock to the scoreboard, and there could be a double-digit frenzy. The Rockies might not have the name value to be included in this list, but the ballpark and total chaos are more than enough.
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