After what seemed like an eternity between the offseason and the lockout, MLB spring training is finally underway. After a week of preparation, teams are now playing ball as they prepare for the upcoming season.
With an abbreviated spring training on our hands, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the 2022 MLB spring training.
What Are The Two Spring Training Sites?
As always, MLB spring training is split into two different locations. For the Grapefruit League, games are played in Florida. Some of the teams that are part of this league include the Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, Washington Nationals, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets, and others.
The Cactus League takes place in Arizona with teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago White Sox, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, and others playing there.
What Does The Schedule Look Like?
The spring training 2022 schedule features teams in both leagues playing games between March 17th and April 6th.
For the Cactus League, they will play at least 17 games over the three-week period. The exact number varies by the club, but each team will get at least 17 games in.
The Grapefruit League is a little more specialized. Unlike the Cactus League, they will play games just within their region. Basically, the West Coast teams will only play each other while the same holds true for the East Coast teams.
The hope is that this schedule will allow teams to get ready for Opening Day, which officially is slated for April 7. The first day that all teams will be playing is April 9.
What Is A Split Squad Game?
It is not uncommon during spring training for teams to play split-squad games. When this happens, the manager essentially splits the spring training roster into two different teams.
One of the split-squad teams will generally play a game at home while the other team will play a game on the road. Oftentimes, many of the stars from teams get split up in order to bolster each team’s chance of winning.
Is COVID-19 Affecting Spring Training?
Simply put…not really. MLB has dropped the regular COVID-19 testing except for symptomatic individuals. During the season, there are some concerns to work through (especially for games in Canada and New York). For spring training, though, there is seemingly some normalcy to both the schedules and the play.
What Can We Take Away From Spring Training?
It is always tough to make MLB predictions based on spring training. For instance, in 2021, the Miami Marlins finished with the best winning percentage at .583 (14-5) and “won” the Grapefruit League”. Despite their strong spring, they finished 67-95 in the NL East, 21.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves.
Conversely, the Houston Astros (6-14) had the worst record in the Grapefruit League in 2021 and made it to the World Series.
In the Cactus League, the Kansas City Royals had the best record in 2021 at 16-8, but they finished 74-88 during the regular season.
MLB spring training is mostly about getting work in for the players. While hitters work on their timing in game situations, the biggest benefactor of spring training are the pitchers. Each start is imperative as they have to build up their pitch counts to allow themselves to be able to go deep in games during the regular season.
Still, for those that want to whet their appetite, MLB spring training games can be bet utilizing both moneylines or point spreads (runs). While it is trickier because starters generally won’t play the majority of the game until later in spring, you can still usually get an idea of both starters and potential replacements prior to the game.