With Spring Training just a week away and the 2022 regular season a little less than a month away, it won’t be long until we see the best MLB players take the field. A long, 162-game season awaits, and it’s bound to be an exciting one as 30 teams compete for the league’s ultimate prize.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Thursday that the regular season will begin on April 7th, which sent a wave of relief throughout the baseball community. For those that have been living under a rock, the MLB was in a work stoppage since the beginning of December.
The MLBPA and MLB owners were tasked with negotiating a new CBA deal after the previous one expired. Negotiations took longer than expected, but the two sides eventually reached a deal and the season was saved. Now teams must scramble to finalize their opening day roster.
Who Are the Best MLB Players Ahead of the 2022 Season?
Now that the MLB lockout is over and all the best MLB players can start reporting to Spring Training and preparing for the season ahead. And while there are plenty of players we’re excited to see take the field this season, there are certainly several that stand out above the rest.
With the entire baseball community eager for the season to start, let’s not forget that a lot of the best MLB players aren’t just tasked with performing on the field, but they’re also relied on at home with their families. It’s easy to forget that even the best MLB players are human too.
As we look forward to yet another exciting and unpredictable season, let’s take a look at some of the best MLB players that are sure to perform well this season. We’ll also take a look at their families – if they don’t have children, we’ll highlight some of their immediate family members.
20. Walker Buehler
Walker Buehler is a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was drafted by the team in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft and made his debut in September 2017. He is engaged to McKenzie Marcinek and while they don’t have any kids, they do have a French bulldog Nala.
Buehler has been lights out for the past three seasons, compiling a 31-8 record in 71 starts during that span. He finished last season with a 16-4 record in 33 starts in what was his best season yet. He struck out 212 batters, which fell three strikeouts short of his career high of 215.
19. Tyler O’Neill
Tyler O’Neill is a left fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the third round of the 2013 MLB Draft and made his debut on April 19, 2018 with the Cardinals. He has been married to Stephanie O’Neill since December 2021, though they don’t have kids.
Another fun fact about Tyler O’Neill, his father (Terry O’Neill) was named Mr. Canada in 1975, which is given to Canada’s top bodybuilder. Tyler, an avid weightlifter himself, hit 34 home runs last season after hitting just 21 home runs in the three seasons prior. It was a breakout year.
18. Bryan Reynolds
Bryan Reynolds is an outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft and made his debut on April 20, 2019. He married his wife, Blair, in December 2018 and the two welcomed their first son in August 2020.
Even more exciting is that the two are expecting their second child in August 2022. By then, the MLB season will be nearing an end. Reynolds is hoping for another successful season after setting career-highs in most major statistical categories last season, including 24 home runs.
17. Cedric Mullins
Cedric Mullins is a center fielder for the Baltimore Orioles. He was drafted by the team in the 13th round of the 2015 MLB Draft and went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs in his debut on August 10, 2018. He and his girlfriend, Erika Hardy, announced their engagement on October 11, 2021.
Mullins just had a breakout season in 2021 with a career-high 30 home runs – for reference, he hit just seven home runs in the previous three seasons. He finished the season with a .291 batting average, 59 RBIs, 91 runs scored, 30 stolen bases, and an All-Star appearance.
16. Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge is a right fielder for the New York Yankees. He was drafted by the team in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft and hit a home run in his major league debut on August 13, 2016. He married his girlfriend Samantha Bracksieck in December 2021, but they don’t have kids yet.
Judge had a bit of a comeback season in 2021, hitting 39 home runs, 24 doubles, 98 RBIs, and 89 runs scored – all of which were the most since his 2017 Rookie of the Year campaign. He’s a two-time Silver Slugger winner, three-time All-Star, and one-time Home Run Derby champ.
15. Max Scherzer
Max Scherzer is a starting pitcher for the New York Mets. He was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 11th overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft and made his debut in 2008. He’s married to former softball player Erica May and they have two daughters and a son.
Scherzer is entering his first season with the New York Mets after spending last season with the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers. He finished with 15 wins, marking the eighth time in his career he won at least 15 games in a season. He’s primed to do it again this year.
14. Kyle Tucker
Kyle Tucker is an outfielder for the Houston Astros. He was drafted by the team with the fifth overall draft pick in 2015 and had an RBI in his major league debut on July 7, 2018. While he isn’t married and doesn’t have any kids, he has been with Samantha Scott for five years.
Tucker hit 30 home runs last season after hitting just 13 in his first three seasons in the league. He finished the year with a .294 batting average, 92 RBIs, 83 runs scored, 14 stolen bases, and 37 doubles. He will be a big part of the Astros’ future, especially if Carlos Correa leaves.
13. Robbie Ray
Robbie Ray is a starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 12th round of the 2010 MLB Draft and earned a win in his debut on May 6, 2014. He has been married to Taylor Pasma since 2014 and the two have three children together.
Ray finished the 2021 season with 193.1 innings pitched, 32 games started, a 2.84 ERA, and 248 strikeouts – all of which led the AL. Despite just a 13-7 record on the year, he won the AL Cy Young award in his first full season with the Blue Jays and could do it again in 2022.
12. Brandon Crawford
Brandon Crawford is a shortstop for the San Francisco Giants. He was drafted by the team in the fourth round of the 2008 MLB Draft and hit a home run in his debut on May 27, 2011. He married former gymnast Jalynne Dantzscher in 2011 and they have four children together.
Another fun fact about Crawford is that his sister, Amy, is married to Gerrit Cole – a pitcher for the New York Yankees. His sister-in-law, Jalynne’s sister Jamie Dantzscher, is a former Olympic gymnast. Crawford hit a career-high 24 home runs, 90 RBIs, and 79 runs in 2021.
11. Trea Turner
Trea Turner is a shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was drafted by the San Diego Padres with the 13th overall pick in 2014 and made his debut on August 21, 2015. He married Kristen Harabedian in 2018 and the two welcomed their first and only son in February 2021.
Turner is coming off a career year, despite spending two-thirds of the season with the Nationals and the other third with the Dodgers. All in all, he finished the year with 195 hits and a .328 batting average, both of which led all major leagues. He also led the NL with 32 stolen bases.
10. Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper is a right fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies. He was drafted by the Washington Nationals with the first overall pick in 2010 and had an RBI in his debut on April 28, 2012. He married Kayla Varna in 2016 and they have a son (2019) and daughter (2020) together.
Harper is a former Rookie of the Year, two-time MVP, Home Run Derby champion, six-time All-Star, and two-time Silver Slugger winner. He led the major leagues in doubles (42), slugging percentage (.615), and on-base plus slugging percentage (1.044) during the 2021 season.
9. Carlos Correa
Carlos Correa is a shortstop that’s currently a free agent. He was drafted by the Houston Astros with the first overall draft pick in 2012 and had an RBI in his MLB debut on June 8, 2015. He proposed to Daniella Rodriguez, on national television after winning the 2017 World Series.
The two later got married in 2019 and welcomed their first child, a son, into the world in 2021. There’s a lot of speculation as to where Carlos Correa will play this season. He’s one of the most sought-after free agents this offseason and will likely be moving away from Houston.
8. Fernando Tatis Jr.
Fernando Tatis Jr. is a shortstop for the San Diego Padres. He was signed as an international free agent in 2015, coming from the Dominican Republic, and made his MLB debut in 2019. He isn’t seeing anyone at the moment, doesn’t have kids, and is focused on his baseball career.
After hitting 39 home runs in 143 games during his first two seasons, Tatis Jr. finished the 2021 season with 42 home runs in 130 games, which led the NL. He had a .282 batting average, 97 runs batted in, 99 runs scored, and 25 stolen bases. Expect more of that success this season.
7. Jose Ramirez
Jose Ramirez is a third baseman for the Cleveland Guardians. He was signed by the team out of the Dominican Prospect League in 2009 and made his debut on September 1, 2013. He currently isn’t seeing anyone, isn’t married, and doesn’t have any children at 29 years old.
Ramirez is coming off a season that saw him bat .266 with 36 home runs, 103 RBIs, 111 runs scored, 32 doubles, and 27 stolen bases. It’s the second time in his career with at least 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, and 100 runs scored. He hit 39 home runs, 105 RBIs, and 110 runs in 2018.
6. Zack Wheeler
Zack Wheeler is a starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. He was drafted by the San Francisco Giants with the sixth overall draft pick in 2009 and earned a win in his debut in 2013. He is married to Dominique Wheeler and the two welcomed their first child, a son, in July 2020.
Wheeler finished the 2021 season with a 14-10 record in 32 starts. He had a 2.78 ERA and led the NL with 247 strikeouts. He also led the major leagues with three complete games, two shutouts, and 213.1 innings pitched. He’s primed for yet another busy season in 2022.
5. Marcus Semien
Marcus Semien is an infielder for the Texas Rangers. He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the sixth round of the 2011 MLB Draft and had an RBI in his MLB debut on September 4, 2013. He is married to former volleyball player Tarah Murrey and they have two sons together.
Semien is coming off his best season in the major leagues. He batted .265 with 45 home runs, 39 doubles, 102 RBIs, 115 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases. He led the league with 724 plate appearances – he also led the league in that same category in 2019 with 747 plate appearances.
4. Corbin Burnes
Corbin Burnes is a starting pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. He was drafted by the team in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft and earned a save in his debut on July 10, 2018. He is married to Brook Burnes, a former personal trainer who now works as an Assurance Associate.
Burnes finished the 2021 season as the NL Cy Young Award winner, the first time he has won the award in his career. He went 11-5 in 28 starts with a 2.43 ERA and 234 strikeouts. It’s the first time he won double-digit games in one season and finished in 15th place in MVP voting.
3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is an infielder for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was signed by the team as an international free agent in 2015 and had one hit in his major league debut on April 26, 2019. Not much is known about his love life, but we know he’s not married and has two daughters.
Guerrero Jr. is the son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and the two play a similar style of baseball. Guerrero Jr. led the major leagues with 48 home runs and 123 runs scored in 2021, and also led the American League in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS.
2. Juan Soto
Juan Soto is an outfielder for the Washington Nationals. He was signed by the team as an international free agent in 2015 and made his major league debut against the Dodgers on May 20, 2018. Records indicate that Juan isn’t dating anyone and doesn’t have any children.
Soto is just four years into his career, but is already a one-time All-Star, one-time World Series champion, two-time Silver Slugger, and even won a batting title in 2020. He finished 2021 with a .313 batting average, 29 home runs, 95 RBIs, 111 runs, and led the league with 145 walks.
1. Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani is a designated hitter and starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels. He was signed as an international free agent in 2017 and made his major league debut on March 29, 2018. Not much is known about his love life, but he’s not married and doesn’t have children.
Ohtani won Rookie of the Year in 2018 and is coming off a season where he won AL MVP, Major League Player of the Year, and was named an All-Star for the first time. He had 46 home runs, 100 RBIs, 103 runs, and led the league with eight triples. On the mound, he went 9-2.
Will the Best MLB Players Live Up to the Hype?
The players listed above were some of the best MLB players to perform last season, but the question now is whether or not they’ll duplicate that performance in 2022. Of course, that also means avoiding injuries, staying healthy, and overcoming the mental strain of the long season.
Some of the other players we’re looking forward to watching this year include Matt Olson, Paul Goldschmidt, Brandon Woodruff, Gerritt Cole, Nathan Eovaldi, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Rodon, Lance Lynn, Bo Bichette, Max Muncy, and Austin Riley.
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While there’s still a month until regular season games start, there’s a lot to look forward to and follow in the coming weeks. Spring Training games are set to begin on March 17th and there are still a wide range of high-quality, valuable free agents that have yet to sign with an MLB team.
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