Despite a player lockout earlier in the year, Major League Baseball (MLB) is set to kick off its full 162-game schedule on April 7th and run all the way to October 5th. The postseason will then follow and come to a thrilling end with the annual best-of-seven game World Series.

All 30 teams are hoping to be crowned champions later in the year but they’ll have to prove they’re better than last year’s World Series winners, the Atlanta Braves to do so. 

The Players’ Association and League inked a brand new five-year collective bargaining agreement to end the recent lockout and some rule changes have been put into place for 2022. Also, fans should be aware that the Cleveland Indians franchise has been re-branded as the Cleveland Guardians and this summer’s annual MLB All-Star Game will be take place at Dodger Stadium out in in Los Angeles.

As far as the rule changes go; all doubleheaders will feature two full nine-inning games from now on. The last two seasons saw the league play just seven-inning contests in doubleheaders. 

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The National League will also use a full-time designated hitter starting this season just like the American League. However, a team can voluntarily gives up its designated hitter spot in the batting order to allow its pitcher to bat. The pitcher will then be allowed to stay in the game as the team’s designated hitter once he has finished his pitching duties in the game. 

Twelve teams will now make the playoffs up from 10 last season. This includes the three divisional winners in each of the American and National Leagues as well as three wild-card teams in each league. If two or more teams are level in the final regular-season standings and tied for a postseason position, the tie will be broken statistically instead of the teams having to play a tie-breaker to get into the playoffs. 

And perhaps, the most debatable rule change this year is the banning of the infield shift by the defensive team. 

Like all other MLB offseason, the most recent one saw a few teams change field managers over the break. The New York Mets declined to pick up Luis Rojas’s contract option and replaced him with veteran Buck Showalter. Rojas was with the Mets for two years and left with a won-lost record of 103-119. Showalter joins the club with a regular-season mark of 1551-1517 with several former clubs.

The Oakland Athletics let former manager Bob Melvin leave the team and he was replaced by the club’s third-base coach Mark Kotsay. Melvin was with the team for 11 seasons and had an 853-764 regular-season mark. He reached the playoffs six times and captured a trio of AL West Titles. Melvin then joined the San Diego Padres as manager to take over from Jayce Tingler, who was let go. Tingler spent two years with the club and went 116-106.

The St. Louis Cardinals hired Oliver Marmol as manager after letting Mike Shildt go. Shildt had a 252-199 mark in just over three years and made the playoffs all three seasons. Shildt was named the 2019 National League Manager of the Year but was just 4-9 in the postseason.

The National League was formed back in 1876 with the American League following suit in 1901. The leagues then joined forces in 1903 by signing the National Agreement and the World Series was first played. It wasn’t until the year 2000 that the league ceased being separate legal entities however when they officially merged into one organization. 

MLB remains one of the most popular sports in the world with bettors as they can make wagers on individual games as well as future predictions. 

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Some of the most popular baseball wagers include the World Series winner, AL and NL Champion, divisional winners, MVP winner, Cy Young award winner, the batting champion, who will hit the most home runs, number of regular-season wins for a team, rookie of the year, the player with the most hits, RBI’s and/or runs scored etc, the player with the most stolen bases and the pitcher to record the most strikeouts.   

Heading into the 2022 MLB campaign, the oddsmakers at bet365 have the Los Angeles Dodgers as favorites to win the World Series in the fall at +450. They’re followed by the Toronto Blue Jays at +800, the Houston Astros at +900, the New York Yankees, New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers all at +1100 with the Chicago White Sox at +1200. 

The longshots are the Arizona Diamondbacks at +25000 with the Pittsburgh Pirates at +30000 and the Baltimore Orioles at +40000. 

Teams in the middle of the pack include the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins at +4000 with the Cleveland Guardians +6000, the Cincinnati Reds at +6600 with the Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals all at +7500.

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