Hey remember that startup sports league called “Major League Baseball”? It’s back after a near 100-day long lockout.
The 2022 MLB season begins at 1:20 with the Milwaukee Brewers taking on the Chicago Cubs. Later that night, the defending World Series champion checks notes Atlanta Braves?! That can’t be right. They’ll raise their banner against the Cincinnati Reds (who now employ Jake Fraley).
A total of six former Tigers are on Opening Day rosters. They are:
- Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
- Jake Fraley, Cincinnati Reds
- Kevin Gausman, Toronto Blue Jays
- Will Harris, Washington Nationals
- Alex Lange, Detroit Tigers
- DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees
- Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies
- Austin Nola, San Diego Padres
Bregman and the defending AL Champion Astros. are trying to finish the job they started last season. Bregman was limited to just 91 games last season which is the fewest games he’s played in a non-rookie or COVID-shortened season. Still, when on the field Bregman’s one of the best infielders in the game and hit .270 with a dozen home runs and 55 RBIs.
Speaking of shortened seasons, Will Harris only appeared in eight games and threw six innings last season for Washington due to neck surgery in June. Harris came in to spring ball with a clean bill of health but he’s experiencing some lingering issues and will unfortunately open the season on Washington’s IL.
Fraley was dealt a few weeks ago from Seattle to Cincinnati after playing in a career-best 78 games last season for the Mariners. Here’s hoping Fraley gets to stick around with the Reds and have the best season of his career to date.
Gausman, fresh off his first ever All-Star selection, got paid this offseason by Toronto, signing a five-year deal worth $110 million.
While Alex Lange got the call up last season and appeared in 36 games for the other Tigers, he’s earned a spot in Detroit’s opening day roster and will work out of the bullpen.
LeMahieu’s the most decorated former Tiger now in the bigs but he had a rough 2021 season. After winning the batting title in 2020, his batting average fell nearly 100 points (though in fairness the 2020 season was shortened, he took more than 400 more at bats in 2021) and the Yankees were bounced out of the playoffs by the Red Sox, whom I’m told are their rivals?
The Nola brothers met last season in San Diego and Aaron got the better of Austin, striking him out in three pitches.
Austin seems to finally be sticking around in the big leagues, while Aaron continues to be a mainstay in the Phillies lineup.