Baseball is kind of my thing. In the past, this week would have meant the start of Spring Training and I’d have been working on the final write-ups and edits of my annual MLB Betting Guide, which was over 100,000 words long to analyze all 30 teams, all the props and futures markets and share some of the stats I use for handicapping. (Don’t worry, if I’m asked to do a VSiN guide, it won’t be that long.)
Instead, I haven’t even really looked at Major League Baseball. There are still almost 200 unsigned free agents, including some big names like Carlos Correa, Freddie Freeman, Nick Castellanos, Trevor Story, Clayton Kershaw, Anthony Rizzo and Carlos Rodon that will have big impacts on teams, futures odds and win totals. There are also a ton of valuable depth pieces across all positions and depth is a huge part of my season-long handicapping.
A condensed Spring Training is going to be a challenge to handicap. The players obviously had a very condensed “Spring Training” in 2020 and things were still pretty abnormal to start 2021. Going back to the grind of 162 games was a difficult thing for some players last season and teams paid close attention to pitcher workloads as the year dragged on. Less time to get ready is a big deal.
Neither side seems to be all that close in the negotiations, so who knows if Opening Day even happens on time, but the players can’t even communicate with coaches and trainers, so they’re left to their own devices with preseason workouts and preparation. It means we could certainly see a rash of injuries early, late and often.
I’ll probably start to dig in more in the next couple of weeks, just because I miss baseball a lot, but it has been discouraging to even open up FanGraphs or Baseball Savant with what is going on.
Teams with pitching depth are going to get a larger bump than usual in my mind if the timeline continues to look the way that it does. We’ll see which teams are willing to spend money in free agency to enhance that depth and which teams will just hope to go with what they have in-house.
I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to have more to say about baseball soon, but for now, we’re all playing the waiting game.