Here’s an interesting wrinkle to the 2022 season: Every Major League ballpark will store their baseballs in a humidor this season, The Athletic’s Eno Sarris hears from Cubs’ announcer Jon Sciambi. Sarris adds thoughtful context to the news in a series of follow-up tweets, including the list of teams whose ballparks had already featured humidors (Rockies, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Mariners, Mets, Astros, Marlins, Cardinals, Rangers, and Blue Jays). Colorado and Arizona were the first to explore using humidors to keep baseballs from dying out in their low humidity environments. While you might associate humidors with lessening the buoyancy of the baseball because of these examples, in high humidity environments, the humidors will dry out baseballs, thereby, theoretically, adding distance to their relative trajectories.
Sarris notes that San Francisco, San Diego, Tampa Bay, and Miami are some of the parks that might see a small jolt to the baseball because of the humidors. It’s hard to know the full effect at this time, but it will be one of many factors worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses. Here are a couple of other things to keep an eye on as the season nears…
- The Dodgers don’t have a dedicated closer right now, though Blake Treinen’s name would be at the top of the list for manager Dave Roberts if the season began today, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register (via Twitter). Treinen would certainly be capable, but the Dodgers may want to explore the benefits of not having a single, dedicated player locked into the ninth inning. Daniel Hudson can certainly manage the mental weight of closing games – he did lock down the final moments of a World Series win, after all. Brusdar Graterol might be another interesting arm to give some of those opportunities to, if he can get himself on track. On the whole, however, the Dodgers look to enter the season with a less experienced pen than in years past. Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, and Corey Knebel departed for the Braves, White Sox, and Phillies, respectively, leaving Treinen as the natural choice to close games.
- The Nationals won’t have quite the same spotlight as the Dodgers, but they, too, need to figure out who will be collecting saves. If manager Dave Martinez has his way, it will be Tanner Rainey, but the 29-year-old is going to have to earn it, per Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com. If Rainey can prove the consistency issues that have plagued him in the past are behind him, he should get his opportunity to close games. If he struggles, however, there’s suddenly a handful of distinguished vets to whom Martinez can turn, including his former closer, Sean Doolittle. Even beyond Doolittle, however, Steve Cishek, Tyler Clippard, Will Harris, and last year’s closer, Kyle Finnegan, would not be fazed by high-leverage opportunities.