10. Mookie Betts is entering his Age 27 season. As of this writing, we don’t know where Mookie Betts will play his home contests in 2020, but we do know that he’ll make a big impact on his division’s playoff race (well, as long as he’s not in Boston). All signs seem to point to Betts patrolling the outfield for the Dodgers or the Padres, and that destination will go a long way in determining the NL West race, or at least the NL wild-card competition. In his past four years, Betts has finished second, sixth, first and eighth in the AL MVP voting. 11. Watching this year’s Max Muncy emerge. One of my absolute favorite things about this sport is watching unexpected heroes emerge, the guys who have been written off at some point in their careers, or just never got the chance to shine. You know Muncy’s story; he wasn’t great in his Oakland opportunities (being nice) and hitched on with the Dodgers without any promises at all. Then, he hit 35 home runs in 2018 for L.A. and popped 35 more in 2019. The best thing about the Muncys? You cannot even start to predict who might make that jump. Zero people would have expected a guy who batted .195 in 96 games over two seasons in the majors, then spent all of the next year in the minors to become a slugging All-Star, and that’s what makes it so very compelling. 12. The arrival of yet another impact L.A. youngster. Cory Seager won the 2016 NL Rookie of the Year award and finished third in the MVP voting that year. Cody Bellinger won the 2017 NL ROY award and then claimed the 2019 NL MVP. Walker Buehler finished third in the 2018 NL ROY voting despite making only 23 starts. And now, the stage is set for Gavin Lux. He’s fourth on Baseball America’s list of Top 100 prospects, behind three AL prospects. He’s ripped through minor league pitching the past two seasons, made his big league debut in September and impressed L.A. enough that he was given three starts in the NLDS against the Nationals, after popping a pinch-hit home run in Game 1 of that series. He’s 22 and the odds-on favorite to win the NL ROY award. 13. More games in Puerto Rico, England and Mexico! The Padres and Diamondbacks play a couple of games in Mexico City (April 18-19), the Mets and Marlins play three in Puerto Rico (April 28-30) and the Cubs and Cardinals square off for this year’s London series (June 13-14). Sure, it’s a bit more complicated for the teams and players to hit up these venues during the regular season, but baseball’s feeding its rabid fan base in Puerto Rico and Mexico, and helping to expand its footprint in London. These are good things. 14. The potential for even-year goodness. Will the World Series winner celebrate a title on the anniversary year easily divided by 10? The Giants won in 2010, the Yankees in 2000 (and 1950!), the Reds in 1990 (and 1940!), the Phillies in 1980 (and the Philly A’s in 1930 and 1910!), the Orioles in 1970 (well, that ain’t happening), the Pirates in 1960 (ditto) and the Indians in 1920 (that would be one heck of a 100-year anniversary). 15. Which Year 2 youngsters become legit superstars? Remember Ronald Acuña Jr., and Juan Soto finishing 1-2 in the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year voting? In 2019, both youngsters built on that success; Acuña had 41 homers and 37 stolen bases, while Soto had a 4.7 bWAR season and was a huge postseason bat for the Nationals — five homers, 14 RBIs, .927 OPS in 17 games — as the franchise won its first World Series title. So who’s on tap this year? We can only hope for a full season of health from Fernando Tatis Jr., a full season on the MLB roster for Vlad Guerrero Jr., and more of the same from Pete Alonso. Oh, and would it surprise anyone if Eloy Jimenez, Yordan Alvarez or Brandon Lowe figured into the AL MVP voting? Nah. 16. Learning the future from Aaron “Nostradamus” Boone. You saw this tweet, right? FWIW- I’m goin w the Chiefs. 31-20. #SuperBowlLIV— Aaron Boone (@AaronBoone) February 2, 2020The Yankees manager nailed the score of the Super Bowl. He’s a savage on Twitter. Can’t wait to see what he predicts for 2020. MORE: 20 things wrong with baseball in 202017. Seeing this year’s Cooperstown celebration. The annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony is always a wonderful event, but this year feels special. And it’s not just about Derek Jeter, who was always going to be part of the 2020 ceremony — apt for a guy who wore No. 2 — but this year’s celebration will be incredibly cathartic. Marvin Miller, the MLBPA guru who did more to shape baseball’s current financial structure than anyone, should have been in long ago. Larry Walker had to wait 10 years on the BBWAA ballot to be elected. Ted Simmons was unfairly dropped off that ballot after just one year, and his election by the veterans committee righted a wrong. The Hall will welcome four very deserving people July 26. (Ryan Fagan/SN) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/d3/6b/shoeless-joe-grave-102219-ftr-snjpg_yb8jjzyz8gdz1uxuebzbu2i4d.jpg?t=-182816547&w=500&quality=80 Pitchers and catchers officially report in a matter of days (though tons of players are already in camp, working out), and spring training games start in a matter weeks.It’s enough to get any baseball fan’s heart beating faster. The season can’t arrive soon enough, so we’ll whet your appetite just a bit, with 20 reasons baseball will be awesome in 2020. That’s enough of an intro, isn’t it? Let’s jump in. MORE: 20 things to watch for during the 2020 MLB season 1. This year, it’s Opening Day, not opening day. That’s right, people. Capital letters. All 30 teams kick off the 2020 season on the same day, not the staggered starts of years past — what a misguided idea — and no overseas start to the seasons where two teams play “real” games while the spring training schedule still has a week’s worth of contests. It’s a holiday, and we should absolutely treat it as such. Games on March 26 start at 1:10 pm ET — the World Series champion Nationals play on the road against the Mets — and the final one of the day starts at 10:10 pm ET, with the Diamondbacks hosting the Braves. This is the first time since 1968 that every MLB team has started on the same day. Take the damn day off and enjoy. 2. Mike Trout is entering his Age 28 season. A day will come when the skills of Mike Trout fail, when his health forsakes him and his fellowship with the MVP trophy ends, but today is not that day. His prime will not last forever (sigh). But today, Mike Trout is 28 years old, and he’s very much in his prime. Every day we get with Trout on the baseball field is a gift. I know I’ve pointed this out often, but his improved strikeout-to-walk ratio of recent years is just incredibly impressive. When he won the 2014 AL MVP, Trout had 101 more strikeouts than walks (184 to 83). Over the past three years? He has eight more strikeouts than walks (334 to 326). His on-base percentage in those years is .447, and his OPS is 1.081. His on-base/OPS in the five years before that (remember, two MVPs, three second-place finishes): .410 and .975. Somehow, baseball’s best player got significantly better for his Age 25-27 seasons, so, yeah, can’t wait to see what his Age 28 season will produce in 2020. 3. Oh, and Christian Yelich is entering his Age 28 season, too. Speaking of a star who hit superstar status and then took it up a notch, Yelich was potentially closing in on his second consecutive NL MVP award when an injury ended his campaign 10 days into September. He still led the NL in average, slugging and OPS+ for the second consecutive year, while improving on his home run and stolen base numbers despite playing 17 fewer games. He says he’s 100 percent recovered from the broken kneecap and ready for the 2020 season, and we’re 100 percent ready to see what he has in store. 4. Milestones aplenty. Baseball loves its round numbers, and there are lots to watch for in 2020, the roundest-number year since 2000. With that in mind: Yadier Molina is 57 hits away from 2,020 in his career, Melky Cabrera is 58 short and Ryan Braun is 87 shy. Joey Votto could get to 2,020 with 154 hits this year; he’s topped that number seven times in his career, but hasn’t gotten there either of the past two seasons despite 600+ PAs. With a spot of health, Molina and Edwin Encarnacion will play their 2,020th MLB game this year (they’re at 1,983 and 1,916, respectively). Chris Davis is 185 strikeouts short of 2,020 in his career, so he could get there if he plays 50 games or so (I kid, I kid …).5. More potential 2020 milestones! On the mound, David Price is 39 strikeouts short of 2,020 and Ervin Santana needs to find a job if he’s going to get the 94 he needs to reach that number. If the Diamondbacks get a full, productive season from Madison Bumgarner, he’ll pitch the 174 innings he needs to reach 2,020. Same thing with the Giants and the 143 2/3 Johnny Cueto needs. And Mike Leake, Anibal Sanchez, Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson are all within 191 of 2,020 career frames. In the field, Kolton Wong (44 away), Mike Moustakas (64 away) and Jose Iglesias (30 away) should all reach 2,020 career assists in 2020. 6. The Cincinnati revival tent is open. Baseball is a better sport when the Reds are relevant. The baseball tradition in that city is unparalleled. Opening Day should always, always, always include baseball in Cincinnati; the Reds host the Cardinals to start 2020, so all is right in that aspect. And, after a couple of long years on the struggle bus, the Reds will be better in 2020 than they have been in years . Yeah, that’s right. They WILL be better, not just SHOULD be better. This is a rotation that’s playoff-worthy, and with a couple of nice offseason additions to the lineup (Mike Moustakas and Nicholas Castellanos) and, hopefully, a Joey Votto rebound, this is the year Cincinnati gets back to contention, not just participation. 7. Dusty Baker gets one more shot. Pretty much everything about the Astros is distasteful right about now, what with the sign-stealing scandal, the Brandon Taubman mess and the fact that Roberto Osuna is still on the roster. But bringing in Dusty Baker, the veteran manager who has been dealt very painful postseason blows on the regular, to try to right the ship was the right move. He’s good people. MORE: Spring training reporting dates for all 30 MLB teams8. Dyersville, Iowa, will host a Major League Baseball game! I mean, it’s about time, right? You might not think “Field of Dreams” is the perfect baseball movie, but if there’s even a bit of baseball in your soul, that soul has been stirred watching the classic Kevin Costner flick. The Yankees and White Sox will play their unforgettable contest on Aug. 13, though they’ll play on a field adjacent to the movie site, not on the actual field from the movie. And I guess that’s OK, because logistically it would be really difficult and you don’t want to ruin the field. For those of us lucky enough to have taken a few swings and shagged a few fly balls on that field, the game will be particularly special. Let’s have a catch, folks. 9. The spotlight will shine, again, on Shoeless Joe. He might still be on baseball’s ineligible list, but you can’t have a baseball game at the “Field of Dreams” site and ignore Shoeless Joe Jackson. He was, you’ll recall, the motivation for building the field in that movie (well, Joe and Ray Kinsella’s dad). And all these years after Joe was banned from baseball after the 1919 Black Sox scandal — he allegedly knew about the plot to throw the series, though he batted .375 and set a World Series record for most hits (12) that stood until 1964 — maybe it’s time to reinstate the legend. Oh, and at some point in 2020, the outstanding Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum in Greenville, S.C. — Joe’s hometown — will reopen in its new location. Trust me, that should be on your baseball bucket list. 18. Big names could be traded, and that’s always exciting. Well, it’s exciting for fans of the teams who aren’t shipping away their big names (more on that later this week). But rumors and deals generate excitement for a league, and baseball can use the publicity. If this year produces the possible/expected trades, we could see Mookie Betts, Nolan Arenado, Francisco Lindor and Kris Bryant all dealt, which means there’s a good chance we could see those four stars on the big stage in October (because no non-contender is going to deal for them), and that’s always a good thing. 19. Speaking of player movement … there’s been plenty of news on that front this offseason, which has been a welcome change after the drawn-out free-agent process of the past few years. It’s going to be fun to see Gerrit Cole in Yankees pinstripes, to watch Anthony Rendon suit up for the Angels, to see Josh Donaldson bring his brand of ball to Minnesota. It’s going to be strange to see Madison Bumgarner wearing something other than a Giants uniform (he’s a Diamondback now) and same thing with Hyun-Jin Ryu, who traded his Dodgers uniform for a Blue Jays getup. Mets fans aren’t looking forward to seeing Zack Wheeler return often with his new Phillies threads, but Nationals fans are very excited to welcome Stephen Strasburg back into the fold in D.C. 20. Because life just isn’t the same without the crack of the bat or the pop of the catcher’s mitt, is it?