Ranger Suarez could be a star for the Phillies
Ranger Suarez received Cy Young votes last season. | Photo: John Yueling
It's shaping up as a strange start to the baseball season across the Philadelphia region. The Major League Baseball lockout has no end in sight, and the Phillies have multiple needs that remain unfulfilled. At the college level, the city is minus another D-I program with La Salle's elimination of baseball, while the D-II program at USciences will fold at the end of the season as the school will merge with Saint Joseph's later this year. 

Despite the negatives, there are many interesting storylines to watch as the Philadelphia baseball season draws near. Here are four things to consider as we soon embark on the 2022 season: 

The story of Ranger Suarez 
Suarez was a stud in 2021, surprising everyone en route to a 1.36 ERA over 39 games, including 12 starts. His secondary figures indicate his breakout isn't a fluke, but that isn't to say he's a known commodity entering 2022. It appears Suarez will enter the spring with a spot in the rotation, but that could change if the organization adds additional pitching depth when the lockout ends. He'll inherit a late-inning role if he's moved to the bullpen. 

Baseball comes to Rosemont 
Head coach Ross Trachtenberg made history in September when he held the first baseball practice in Rosemont history. The club will begin play this season as a member of the CSAC, joining local programs Cairn and Valley Forge. The Ravens open the 2022 season with a doubleheader on Feb. 19 at Penn State Brandywine. 

Retooling at Penn 
The Quakers had some significant talent on their roster before the COVID shutdown, but transfers and lost eligibility have significantly altered Penn's roster entering the 2022 season. Head coach John Yurkow has Penn opening the season with a trip to College Station to face Texas A&M before coming back east for a nine-game swing through South Carolina to face Wofford, College of Charleston, and Winthrop. 

Joe Girardi on the hot seat 
As it stands now, Girardi is under contract through the 2022 season though the club holds an option for 2023. He came to Philadelphia with a winning pedigree, but it hasn't translated into success with the Phillies. That isn't necessarily on Girardi though as the franchise attempts to thread the needle by building to contend without any valuable contributions from the farm system. Rightly or wrongly, extra pressure will be on Girardi this year for the Phillies to perform.

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