At this point a year ago, I was wondering where notable free agents like Chris Bryant, Trevor Story, Javier Baez, Nick Castellanos, Chris Taylor and Eduardo Rodriguez would go. Other than being part of the free agent class last offseason, what do these players have in common?They all had a 2022 season he’d rather forget.
Now that the calendar has changed to 2023, the problem is: Will the new year bring diamond luck to these folks? See nine players who want a rebound in the second year of their free agency contracts this season and why there’s reason to believe it will happen Let’s look at.
Rockies’ Kris Bryant
Baseball was shocked when Bryant signed a seven-year, $182 million deal with the Rockies. Mile He At High City, Nolan Expectations were high that he would be the big-name slugger the team needed in the middle of the lineup after the departure of Arenado and Trevor Story. But at least in 2022 it didn’t work.
Bryant suffered two injuries and played in just 42 games in his first season with Colorado.A back injury put him on injured reserve less than a month into the season. After he returned from there, a foot problem that was later diagnosed with plantar fasciitis kept him out of the lineup for most of the rest.In 181 at-bats, Bryant batted .306/.376/.475. but he entered 2023 without a home run at Coors Field in a Rockies uniform.
Bryant, who turns 31 on Wednesday, boasts an impressive roster of Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player awards, a four-time All-Star selection and a World Series ring. But he will have to prove he can stay on the field going forward.
What Bryant has proven is that when he’s in the lineup, he’s productive. Much of the Rockies’ hopes rest on Bryant’s shoulders, back and legs, and Colorado wants him on the field at least his 150 games in his 23 years.
Trevor Story, Red Sox
From the new Rocky to the old Rocky. Story’s first season in Boston didn’t go as well as he had hoped, but there was a stretch where he was the hottest hitter on the planet. ?) He had a lot on his plate heading into his first season with the Red Sox.
Story signed a six-year, $140 million contract with Boston, and got off to a slow start at bat, batting below .200 by May 15 with a . But then he hit his 8th home run in his 10th straight game. His slugging percentage soared by nearly 200 points in the process, and it seemed like the storyline was flipping his script.
However, Story was homeless over the next 20 games with an OPS of .552. 271/. 307/. 496 in the second half and missed the second half with wrist and heel injuries, missing 13 games.
With the change and injuries behind him, assuming he can stay on the field for most of next season, Story isn’t the Story when he was in Colorado where he had .909 OPS (123 OPS+). there is no reason to believe that it will. From 2018 to 2020 he had 83 home runs and he had 65 stolen bases, but an elbow injury derailed him in 2021.
Javier Baez of the Tigers
Baez’s first experience in the American League was bitter. After spending the first eight years of his career with the Cubs (and Mets) in his league Nationals, in his first season with Detroit he hit .238/.278/. I let go. months in 2021).
However, these numbers are a little deceptive. Baez’s Tigers career got off to a very difficult start, achieving .190 and .524 OPS by June 15th. But from there he hit .264/.302/.448 and hit 14 home runs in 94 games.
If adapting to a new team and league is really why he struggled early on, we could see a performance similar to Baez’s in Detroit in ’23.
Tigers Eduardo Rodriguez
Rodriguez is another Tiger who hopes his first year in Detroit goes better than it did, and before missing the entire 2020 campaign due to heart inflammation from a COVID-19 infection, the Red Sox Aims to regain the form in
In 2019, Rodriguez had the best season of his career. In his league-best 34 starting appearances in the majors, the left-hander Boston posted a 3.81 ERA (128+ ERA) in his 203 1/3 innings. He’s only 29, but a good starter in the AL shows he can be one. Interestingly, his 3.47 xERA in his 21st year in which he started 31 times is more than a run lower than his actual ERA of 4.74 (his FIP is also much lower than his 3.32). ), meaning he looked like a victim of a bad blow. ball luck.
Last season, Rodriguez made just 17 starts after missing a ribcage injury and taking three months off on the restricted list to deal with family matters. If he doesn’t and has more luck than he did in 21, the veteran left-hander could turn heads in his 30-year-old season.
Phillies’ Nick Castellanos
694 OPS in the regular season and the Phillies won almost everything is a good deal. When he signed a five-year, $100 million contract with Philadelphia last offseason, Castellanos joined a lineup featuring then-NL MVP Bryce Harper, and soon after another free agent slugger, Kyle, joined him. joined Schwarber. Outfield defense is certainly a question mark, but the fireworks potential at bat was huge.
Harper had a great year despite injuries and Schwalber led the NL with 46 home runs, but the Castellanos never really got offensive. This he should change in 2023. Especially since the defending NL champion will be without Harper for at least the first half of the season (recovery from Tommy John surgery).
His overall numbers in the regular season weren’t great, but Castellanos had some promising signs, but an oblique injury kept him out for most of September from July 2nd to August. missed the He batted .27 with a .303/.327/.431 batting average. Prior to that, a wrist injury delayed play and in 75 games he had an OPS of . His bat didn’t wake up in the postseason (. 478 OPS in 17 games), but he managed to contribute defensively.
Like the rest of this list, Castellanos should be back in All-Star form in Cincinnati starting in 2021 if he can stay in the lineup at full strength.
Chris Taylor, Dodgers
804 OPS with 78 home runs from 2017-2021, Taylor was a key player in the Dodgers’ well-oiled machine as he helped Los Angeles win the World Series title in 2020. It proved to be an excellent gear. Then, during his postseason ’21, he continued his regular season All-Star campaign by hitting . 476 with his three home runs in his NL Championship Series with the Braves.
All of this earned Taylor a four-year, $60 million contract with the Dodgers. Unfortunately, 2022 was an unlucky year for him. His OPS has dropped more than 100 points from the previous season, to .677 in 118 games. His second half was really tough, posting .193/.278/.313.
These numbers are hard to see, but there are bright spots. From 2021 he had a significant drop in OPS over 22, but Taylor’s hard-hit percentage and barrel rate were about the same both years. His hard hit percentage in 2011 was 38.1% compared to 38% in 22, but his barrel rate was exactly the same both years, at 10.2%.
While his chase percentage was in the 83rd percentile last season, Taylor’s strikeout rate increased significantly from 28.7% to 35.2% year-over-year in 2021-22. For him to be revived in his 23rd year, the circumstances will have to change.
Abisail Garcia, Marlins
Garcia signed a four-year, $53 million deal with Miami after a stellar 2021 season batting .262/.330/.490 and hitting 26 homers in 135 games with the Brewers. However, his first year with the Marlins was disappointing, as lingering hamstring problems and back and hand injuries limited him to 98 games. In 380 at-bats, his OPS was .
Garcia’s doubts were always healthy. He appeared in more than 130 games only three times in his 11-year MLB career. In the last two seasons like this, he has posted his OPS over .800. 885 mark during his All-Star campaign with his Sox in 2017.
The 31-year-old slugger’s formula is pretty simple and familiar to the players on this list. to stay on the field. If he can do that in 2023, it could be a very good year for him.
Jorge Soler, Marlins
Soler, another Marlins slugger who suffered a slump in his first season at the club, is unable to follow up the Braves’ MVP performance in the 2021 World Series with a performance that came close to that in Miami in 2022. was.
Sorrell, who spent most of last season with a back problem, appeared in just 72 games, batting .207/.295/.400 in 270 at-bats with 13 home runs. Compare that to his production after the Royals dealt him to Atlanta the previous summer — in 64 fewer at-bats in a stretch with the Braves, he hit 14 home runs with . 882 OPS.
After setting a Royals franchise record with 48 home runs in 2019 (tied with Salvador Perez in ’21), Soler had a poor year in the pandemic-shortened ’20 campaign before rejuvenating in the final World Series. ’21 got off to a bad start. Champion Braves. However, he is not yet 31 years old and is not far from good attacking production.
Once again, expect Soler to recover in 2023, if he’s healthy.
Mark Melancon, D-backs
Considering we are talking about a seasoned reliever, this is questionable. Relief pitchers’ performances can vary greatly from year to year, and Melanson is slated to turn 38 on Opening Day. But he’s also talking about a man who led the majors with 39 saves in 2021 with the Padres, where he recorded his ERA of 2.23.
That was before Melancon signed a two-year deal with the D-backs, and 2022 wasn’t so kind to the right-hander. His ERA is 4.66, the highest in 10 years, and his WHIP is 1.50.
It’s hard to find a silver lining, but Melancon’s walking rate in 2022 (8.5%) was actually lower than in 2021 (9.4%). The problem is that his strikeout rate has dropped significantly from his 22.3% to his 14.2%, and the quality of opponent contact was much better in his 22nd year. His opponent’s average exit speed jumped from 86.6 mph to 89.7 mph (the highest ever tracked by Statcast). Melanson’s career), Hard his hitting percentage went from his 36.1% to 38.9%.
Part of that may be the result of Melanson losing a tick on his fastball. His average speed in 2021 was 92 mph and last year he was 90.9 mph. This again raises the question of age and mileage, but if there’s one thing Melanson has shown throughout his career, it’s refer to 2012 and his 2017.