MLB The Show 22: Hardest Teams to Rebuild

Here are the hardest teams to rebuild in MLB The Show 22 for those seeking a long-term challenge.


So you’ve picked up MLB The Show 22 and want a real challenge for Franchise mode. You don’t just want to choose a bad team, but a team that will be incredibly difficult to rebuild. Hey, some people like challenges!

Below, you will find the hardest teams to rebuild in MLB The Show 22. While it doesn’t always happen this way, the five hardest teams to rebuild also happen to be the five worst teams as ranked by The Show 22. The criteria for choosing the five teams is as follows:


  • Team Ranking: Each team listed below is ranked in the bottom five of MLB The Show 22 (26th-30th) as of the Opening Day live rosters (April 7th).
  • Division: Playing in the National League West or American League East will present a more challenging rebuild than playing in either Central Division, for example.
  • Number of Gold and Diamond Players: Even the presence of one Diamond player (85+ OVR) can help turn around a team, but if there are few Diamond and Gold players behind them, it’s going to be difficult for the one player to carry a team.
  • Trajectory of Top Prospects: The number, potential, and organizational trajectory of top prospects will help determine whether a quick rebuild or a longer rebuild.
  • Budget: Simply put, a larger budget makes it easier to land big free agents or land a superstar in a trade, shortening the rebuild time. Four of the five teams listed have low budgets.

One team listed below contended for the playoffs in 2021, though they didn’t reach the playoffs. However, all five are undoubtedly in a full rebuild.

26. Washington Nationals (National League East)

Rank: 26th
Notable Ranking: Contact (14th)
Best Players: Juan Soto (91 OVR), Stephen Strasburg (87 OVR)
Sleeper Player: Brady House (71 OVR)
Team Budget: $179.50 million
Yearly Goal: Finish over .500
Contract Goal: Reach Postseason

The 2019 World Series winner, Washington finished 2021 last in the National League East at 65-97.

Led by generational talent Juan Soto, the Nationals added veteran slugger Nelson Cruz thanks to the implementation of the universal designated hitter. Still, Cruz is closer to retirement than his prime and the lineup behind those two has some potential, but Cesar Hernandez is probably right around his peak and Josh Bell has yet to fully tap into the potential that made him a top prospect in Pittsburgh.


Washington ranks last in defense. Luckily, Cruz won’t be playing the field, but targeting both an infielder and outfielder with good defensive ratings will go a long way to preventing runs from being scored.

Stephen Strasburg leads the rotation…when he’s healthy, which has been his biggest issue since he was the first overall draft pick in 2009. However, Patrick Corbin has not lived up to the big contract he signed after his run in Arizona, and beyond Corbin, there’s not much else. The bullpen is also weak, so targeting both a starter and reliever in the 80s is a must.

One positive is the large budget for Washington. The biggest negative is they play in the same division as Atlanta, New York, and Philadelphia, with a young and fun Miami team as well. At least Soto is there to anchor the team for years.


27. Baltimore Orioles (American League East)

Rank: 27th
Notable Ranking: Speed (13th)
Best Players: Cedric Mullins (86 OVR), Austin Hays (83 OVR)
Sleeper Player: Adley Rutschman (74 OVR)
Team Budget: $76.00 million
Yearly Goal: Finish over .500
Contract Goal: Reach Postseason

Baltimore enters 2022 mired in a rebuild that has seen five consecutive losing seasons, including tying Arizona for the worst record in 2021 at 52-110.

Baltimore does have All-Star Cedric Mullins manning center field, a premium defensive position. Mullins is joined by a few power bats in the lineup, including Austin Hays, Ryan Mountcastle (80 OVR), and Trey “Boom Boom” Mancini (78 OVR). Jorge Mateo (77 OVR) is one of the fastest players in the game. However, there is a lot of swing-and-miss in their lineup.

John Means (80 OVR) leads the rotation after a breakout 2021 season. Still, both the rotation and bullpen are bad, needing significant improvement. Cole Sulser (77 OVR) is the highest rated reliever on the team.

Baltimore has a low budget, but at least for pitching and defense, there are in-house fixes. Consensus number one prospect Adley Rutschman – only off of the Opening Day roster due to injury – is the best catching prospect since Buster Posey and will shore up the defense and help with the rotation. Grayson Rodriguez is the starter of the future, hopefully slotting in right behind Means.

Still, you will have to make shrewd trades in order to make further improvements, hampered by the budget. It doesn’t help that the division includes the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, and Blue Jays.

28. Cincinnati Reds (National League Central)

Rank: 28th
Notable Ranking: Contact (18th)
Best Players: Joey Vott (83 OVR), Jonathan India (82 OVR)
Sleeper Player: Nick Lodolo (70 OVR)
Team Budget: $148.05 million
Yearly Goal: Finish over .500
Contract Goal: Reach Postseason

The only team with a winning record in 2021, Cincinnati finished at 83-79, competing for a Wild Card spot up to the final days of the season. However, like another team on this list, the team then went into selloff mode, not even offering competitive contracts to pivotal free agents like Nick Castellanos and sending Sonny Gray to Minnesota.

Now, the Reds are truly in a rebuild. This may be the last season for future Hall of Famer Joey Votto, who never really found postseason success with the Reds. Jonathan India, the reigning Rookie of the Year, presents a foundational piece to build the lineup around, but in the long term, the lineup looks bleak, especially once Votto does retire (which in The Show, could be after 2022).

Tyler Mahle (82 OVR) and Luis Castillo (80 OVR) lead the rotation for now as Castillo in particular has been rumored to be on the trade block. Tejay Antone is a fine reliever, but he’s their top one at 77 OVR. Upgrading both the rotation and bullpen with players in the 80s is a must. Nick Lodolo, who made the Opening Day roster, has the potential to be one of these upgrades, but the question is how long will it take?

Cincinnati does have a large budget to work with, making moves easier. However, the division has two strong teams in St. Louis and Milwaukee, and a Cubs team that will probably be better than expected.

29. Pittsburgh Pirates (National League Central)

Rank: 29th
Notable Ranking: Speed (11th)
Best Players: Bryan Reynolds (84 OVR), Roberto Perez (84 OVR)
Sleeper Player: Oneil Cruz (71 OVR)
Team Budget: $76.00 million
Yearly Goal: Finish .500
Contract Goal: Reach Postseason

Years removed from the Andrew McCutchen-led resurgence, Pittsburgh has been in a rebuild for years that doesn’t seem like it’s going to end anytime soon after finishing 2021 with a record of 61-101. They even made negative news prior to the season for a roster move many saw as service time manipulation.

The Pirates are led by Bryan Reynolds and Ke’Bryan Hayes (81 OVR). Reynolds can hit and play defense, essential as a center fielder. Hayes is considered the best defensive third basemen not named Nolan Arenado, and some experts think Hayes has already surpassed Arenado. Roberto Perez helps with his power at catcher.

On the pitching side, no pitcher on Pittsburgh is rated 80+, with David Bednar the closest at 79 OVR. This means the rotation and bullpen will need lots of help. However, with a smaller budget, it will be difficult to acquire upgrades as easily as other teams.

The Pirates could have helped themselves both in terms of bettering the team and increasing fan interest had they promoted Oneil Cruz, the 6’7″ shortstop, but they sent him to AAA rather than place him on the Opening Day roster. This move was widely panned by experts. He has the potential to be one of the best shortstops in the game. At least in The Show 22, you can promote him right away.

30. Oakland Athletics (American League West)

Rank: 30th
Notable Ranking: Defense (17th)
Best Players: Frankie Montas (83 OVR), Sean Murphy (83 OVR)
Sleeper Player: Shea Langliers (70 OVR)
Team Budget: $94.00 million
Yearly Goal: Finish over .500
Contract Goal: Reach Postseason

The trade was so recent Sean Manaea is still listed as part of Oakland’s roster!

Even though many predicted it, the quick selloff by Oakland during the offseason was still shocking nonetheless as they traded away “The Two Matts” in Matt Chapman and Matt Olson, two cornerstones for the franchise in recent years. They also traded Sean Manea to San Diego just prior to the season starting, a move so recent it wasn’t reflected on the Opening Day live rosters.

What Oakland does have is a battery that has the potential to be the best in baseball in the future depending on the development of both Frankie Montas and Sean Murphy. The power hitting Murphy broke out last year and looks to continue his development as he is now the anchor of the lineup. However, look at that Potential column: not one of the pictured MLB players on Oakland’s roster as an A grade, with most in C.

While Oakland’s budget isn’t small, it isn’t large. You can make some moves here and there, but it will be unlikely that you can make that big splash – whether a signing or trade – with a budge under $100 million. They play in a competitive division with the Astros on top and Angels, Mariners, and Rangers all improving and looking to contend.

Now you know which five teams are the hardest to rebuild. For those wanting a challenge, which team will you choose?


Bruce Lee

Bruce "Lee" is the Lead Editor for OutsiderGaming. He's a passionate writer, great editor who works tirelessly to develop young writers, and of course a great gamer. Bruce is interested in many games--from MLB the Show to the newest Pokemon releases.
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