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12 team debuts we're stoked to see this season

@_dadler
June 24, 2020

The 2020 MLB season is coming -- and that means fans of teams that made blockbuster trades or big-splash free-agent signings during the offseason will finally get to see their new superstars play ball. You'll definitely want to tune in when these players take the field in a new uniform

The 2020 MLB season is coming -- and that means fans of teams that made blockbuster trades or big-splash free-agent signings during the offseason will finally get to see their new superstars play ball.

You'll definitely want to tune in when these players take the field in a new uniform for the first time. Here are 12 team debuts that will be worth watching.

1. Mookie Betts, Dodgers
How he got there: Trade with Red Sox

After the Betts trade dominated headlines last winter, we'll soon get to see him in Dodger blue in a regular-season game. Betts is a true game-changer, with 30-30 ability at the plate and Gold Glove play in the outfield. The 2018 AL MVP could be the missing piece of the puzzle on a loaded Los Angeles squad, especially once he teams up with reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger. Betts beat the Dodgers in the 2018 World Series; now he's on their side.

2. Gerrit Cole, Yankees
How he got there: Signed as free agent from Astros

The Yankees' new ace is a $300 million man for a reason. Cole might be the most overpowering pitcher in the game today. The 326 strikeouts he racked up last season were the most by any pitcher since Randy Johnson in 2002, and Cole won the AL ERA title, too, at 2.50. His stuff is electric, from his 100-mph fastball to his wipeout slider. Yankees fans should be in for a treat.

3. Anthony Rendon, Angels
How he got there: Signed as free agent from Nationals

Mike Trout and Rendon together in the same lineup might be the best 1-2 punch in baseball … with close competition from Betts and Bellinger just up the freeway. Rendon was MLB's most underrated superstar for a while, but thanks to a monster 2019 season and postseason -- he hit .319 with 34 homers and an NL-best 126 RBIs, then led the Nationals on their epic World Series run -- fans everywhere got to see just how good he is. So take your pick between the duo in Anaheim and the one in Chavez Ravine. Either way, baseball's going to be fun in Southern California.

4. Josh Donaldson, Twins
How he got there: Signed as free agent from Braves

The Bomba Squad is getting even more bombas. Donaldson's comeback season in 2019 proved he's still one of the top slugging third basemen in the game. He crushed 37 home runs for the Braves, his fourth 30-homer season in the last five years. Now you add Donaldson to a Twins lineup that just set the MLB single-season home run record? The slugging's not about to stop for the AL Central champs. Fans dig the long ball. They're going to get it in Minnesota.

5. Madison Bumgarner, D-backs
How he got there: Signed as free agent from Giants

MadBum was a Giant for so long, it was hard to picture him in a D-backs uniform when he signed with them in December. We still haven't seen him throw a regular-season pitch in that new uniform yet, but we're about to. It'll still be weird when Bumgarner takes the mound for the first time in Arizona after 11 years, four All-Star teams and three World Series titles in San Francisco, but it's a sight you won't want to miss.

6. Zack Wheeler, Phillies
How he got there: Signed as free agent from Mets

Wheeler's top-of-the-line stuff and 2018-19 breakout -- he posted a 3.65 ERA and 374 strikeouts for the Mets -- earned him a $118 million contract from the rivals down the New Jersey Turnpike. Philadelphia had lots of star power before Wheeler arrived, with Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and more. But the Phils also missed the playoffs the past two seasons despite high expectations, and their rotation needed a frontline starter to pair with Aaron Nola. Wheeler's flamethrowing right arm will be a welcome sight in Philadelphia.

7. Corey Kluber, Rangers
How he got there: Trade with Indians

The Indians dealt their longtime ace to the Rangers in December, and the big question remains: Can he return to his Cy Young form in Texas? Kluber didn't look like himself in an injury-plagued 2019, but the stoic right-hander was one of the elite pitchers in the game just a couple of years ago -- an AL Cy Young Award finalist in 2018 and the award's winner in '17. As Kluber joins Mike Minor and Lance Lynn in what could be a daunting rotation, Rangers fans -- and any fans of nasty pitching -- will want to see what he's got.

8. Dallas Keuchel and Yasmani Grandal, White Sox
How they got there: Signed as free agents from Braves, Brewers

This is a battery worth watching. The crafty lefty Keuchel is one of the game's best painters, and Grandal is one of the game's best pitch-framers. It's a match made in heaven. Both players are part of a big-splash White Sox offseason that supplemented the team's core of rising stars with the established veterans they might need to throw open their window of contention earlier than anyone expected. Just wait for Keuchel to start putting pitches on the black and Grandal to start stealing strikes. You know it's coming.

9. Marcell Ozuna, Braves
How he got there: Signed as free agent from Cardinals

Ozuna mashes, and the Braves need a masher to help replace Donaldson. Over the last two years in St. Louis, the righty slugger didn't quite put up the 37-homer, 124-RBI numbers he did in 2017 with the Marlins, but make no mistake: Ozuna rips the ball. You saw what he could do in the 2019 NLDS, when he hit .429 and slugged .857 with two homers and three doubles. Now let's see what he can do in a powerful Braves lineup that already has Ronald Acuña Jr., Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies.

10. Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas, Reds
How they got there: Signed as free agents from Cubs, Brewers

Once Castellanos got out of Comerica Park following his mid-2019 trade from the Tigers to the Cubs, his numbers took off. Castellanos nearly hit 60 doubles last year -- he settled for 58, along with a career-high 27 homers. Now his home park is one of the most hitter-friendly yards in the Majors. The same goes for Moustakas, whose lefty slugging was perfect for Miller Park -- he hit 35 homers for the Brewers last year -- and is just as perfect for Great American Ball Park. These two could do big things in their Reds debut.

11. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Blue Jays
How he got there: Signed as free agent from Dodgers

Ryu showed what he can do with a career year in 2019, winning the Major League ERA crown with a 2.32 mark and finishing as the NL Cy Young Award runner-up. Can he do it again? We'll find out as Ryu leaves Dodger Stadium, where he spent his first six big league seasons, to go all the way north of the border to Toronto. The legacy trio of Vlad Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio are the headliners at Rogers Centre, but Ryu is going to immediately take over as the Blue Jays' ace.

12. Tommy Pham, Padres
How he got there: Trade with Rays

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the electric young superstar in San Diego, but Pham is pretty darn good, too, and it's going to be interesting to see what this Padres team is capable of. The Pham trade might not have stolen the show like the Betts trade or even the Kluber trade, but don't sleep on it. Pham has averaged 20-20 production over the last three seasons.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.