The MLB season start date is almost here. Baseball fans are buried under season preview upon season preview. Position rankings are everywhere. Perhaps newcomers are asking when the MLB season starts, while long-time baseball obsessives are tuning into Spring Training searching for signs of hope that this could be the year.
Having ended their drought, the Los Angeles Dodgers begin as favorites to defend their World Series crown. Their rival Padres enjoyed an active offseason. The Mets and Blue Jays were busy, too.
MLB season start 2021: What to expect
This was an offseason like no other. Stars aplenty switched teams, but it was a winter of cost-cutting for many. Marquee franchises including the Chicago Cubs opted to shed salary, and could yet make further rebuilding moves. Fans are set to return in 2021 after a 2020 season with empty parks galore.
The 60-game shortened schedule is no longer. MLB decided against an expanded postseason, too, and the universal DH proved to be a one-season wonder. It’s 162 games, it’s five teams in the playoffs, and it’s pitchers swinging the timber in National League parks.
Where the 2020 MLB season was like no other, many are hoping 2021 is a return to the status quo.
When does the 2021 MLB season start?
The 2021 MLB season gets underway on April 1st. Gerrit Cole and the Yankees start the season off against the Blue Jays at 1:05pm ET.
For British MLB fans, the Yankees and Blue Jays game will be shown on BT Sport. The Dodgers beginning their title defense against the Colorado Rockies follows. A National League East showdown wraps up opening night with the Washington Nationals hosting the Mets.
Changes to baseball for 2021
Alterations have been made to the baseball for 2021. Following a home run boom, there’s a suspicion this ball will result in slightly fewer home runs. That’s one of the most notable changes to MLB for 2021. There has been much talk about the baseball over the last few seasons, and this is a controversial tweak. It’s going to be worth keeping an eye out for home run trends.
The MLB schedule is going back to full length. The universal DH is gone and the postseason has shrunk, though some changes from 2020 are sticking.
Double-headers will be two seven-inning games again, and teams will have a runner on second for every extra inning.
Will the NL have a DH in 2021?
No. Negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA did not result in the DH being introduced in the National League.
This was a late offseason decision, and clearly had a massive impact on how teams built their rosters. Players like Nelson Cruz and Marcell Ozuna were facing much smaller markets with only half of MLB using a DH.
There’s an inevitability about the universal DH, but it won’t be in use in 2021.
MLB players to watch in 2021
The big markets dominate the favorites for the 2021 MLB season. New York’s Yankees and Mets are among the best teams along with the Chicago White Sox, the Dodgers and San Diego Padres.
Away from the big names, there’s a raft of breakout candidates to keep an eye on. Vlad Guerrero Jr is one such player, and the young, talented Blue Jays will attract attention from baseball fans across the planet.
Beyond the usual stars, it’s well worth keeping an eye out for what could be an exciting year for rookies. Ian Anderson and Sixto Sanchez have already proven their box office ability in the NL East. Adley Rutschman could debut this year to give the Orioles some hope. The highly gifted Michael Kopech is back after Tommy John surgery.
This MLB season start might not be quite like normal, but it’s closer to what baseball fans are used to than the 2020 iteration.
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