Injuries are an unfortunate part of baseball, and even for some of the game’s best players.
More than a few players would likely have a plaque in Cooperstown now if their health improved during their career. Injuries have also taken a toll on some of today’s top talent, including eight of Klopp below, all of whom have achieved success at the major league level but have been bogged down by health issues and are no longer truly capable. It has not fulfilled its potential.
But new hope emerges at the beginning of each season, and 2023 could be the year each of these players finds the health they need to get back on the road to the top of the baseball mountain.
Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Braves
Acuña has had superstardom in his first five years in the majors, but there’s a strong feeling that he’s not quite there. This outfielder has hit 41 home runs and 37 stolen bases in 2019 at the age of 21, but his 5.1 bWAR remains his career-high. Acuna was on pace to break that mark while running in his rare 50/30 season for 2021, but tore his ACL in July and was unable to return to his former self last year. Unable to do so, he recorded a career-low 114 OPS+. In 119 games he has a 2.8 bWAR. The 25-year-old may have a big year ahead as he moves away from knee surgery.
Byron Buxton, OF, Twins
A staggering pace of 51 home runs, 14 stolen bases and an 8.9 bWAR in 162 games over the past three years remains a big unknown in baseball as to what Buxton can accomplish in a healthy season. looks like. The highly talented center fielder has been plagued with injuries throughout his career, with only one time in his season he played more than 92 games (2017 saw him 140). A right hip strain and right knee ailment that required season-ending surgery last year dampened his first All-Star campaign. Can Buxton put it all together? But we can dream.
Wonder Franco, SS, Rays
After an impressive rookie run and an 11-year, $182 million deal, last season was supposed to be the year Franco officially emerged as a megastar. And for about a month, everything went according to plan for his former MLB No. 1 overall ranking. However, Franco plummeted in May, going on the injury list twice with a strained right quadriceps and a broken hoof in his right wrist, missing a combined 74 games. Ha…it was fine. But in 2023, his 22-year-old season, he is expected to significantly improve his . 277 batting average, 6 home runs, and 117 OPS+.
Tyler Glasno, RHP, Rays
Glasno has an electric weapon, but has had limited opportunities to showcase it over the past four years. The 6-foot-8 right-hander was a contender for the AL Cy Young in 2019 and 2021, but he ran into arm problems in both seasons. First, he collapsed from a right forearm strain, then suffered an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. He allowed one run and two walks for 15 K in 2/3 innings and included five shutout frames in Game 2 of the AL Wildcard Series against the Guardians. , slightly better than the 2021 figure of 97.0 mph. With Glasnau going all out and Shane McClanahan finishing his 6th-place finish in his AL sai Young Voting, the Rays are one of the best in the AL rotation if both pitchers stay on the mound. -2 punches.
Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox
Jimenez, the No. 3 prospect in baseball entering 2019 according to MLB Pipeline, is four years into his career and has yet to play a full season. The only year the right-handed slugger hasn’t spent time on the injury list is in the shortened 2020 campaign, where he’s missed more games than he’s played in the past two years, and he’s out for 2021. In 2022 he suffered a torn and torn left pectoral muscle, a hamstring tendon behind his right knee in 2022. When healthy, Jimenez displayed prolific potential, averaging 36 home runs and 108 RBIs in 162 games, and overall he had 123 OPS+. The 26-year-old could rank him among the AL’s home run leaders if he avoids his IL in 2023.
Dustin May, RHP, Dodgers
May has already played in some of his four seasons (and two playoff appearances) with the Dodgers, but he has pitched less than 150 innings, partly due to Tommy John surgery in 2021. He struggled with control (4.2 BB/9) and posted a 4.50 ERA (94 ERA+) in 30 innings. But it’s hard not to be intrigued by his stuff, especially his nasty mix of curveballs and high-octane fastballs. May looks headed for a breakout season before collapsing with an elbow injury in 2021, posting a 2.74 ERA, 13.7 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in five starts. The player could prove to be an X-factor for the Dodgers club, which lost multiple key players to free agency this offseason and lacks ace right-hander Walker Buehler (TJ surgery).
Luis Roberto, OF, White Sox
Like teammate Jimenez, Robert has missed a significant amount of time in the last two seasons, collapsing with a right hip flexor strain in 2021 and battling several ailments last year. Still 25 years old, he was one of the prospects for his rank at the top of the game, considered a potential superstar, and far from the days when he had better tools across the board. Is not … A career average of .289 with 36 homers, 26 steals and 122 OPS in 222 games isn’t surprising, but he hasn’t lived up to expectations so far, but that could change in 2023. There is a possibility.
Fernando Tatis Jr., SS/OF, Padres
Expectations were understandably high for Tatis to join the campaign in 2022 at the age of 23, but he broke his left wrist before the start of the season and was suspended after testing positive for a banned substance over the summer. Missed the entire season. Tatis said he will lead the NL with 42 homers in 2021 and has been in the top four in NL MVP voting twice, and in his lifetime he has 160 OPS+. In a season he never played more than 130 games. Tatis, in his new position after the Padres signed shortstop Xander Bogaerts in December, will have to prove he can stay on the field, but there’s no denying his ceiling is the best in the game.