Which Player Will Bounce Back In 2022?
This is one of nine burning questions comprising Baseball America's 2022 MLB Season Preview. To see the full preview, click here.
Kyle Glaser—Alex Bregman, Astros. Bregman posted the lowest OPS of his career in 2021 while missing two months with a quad strain and was a non-factor in the World Series due to a wrist injury that eventually required surgery. With full health in 2022, expect him to return to his all-star form.
Josh Norris—Spencer Howard, Rangers. Howard is a former Phillies top prospect who lost his luster after getting shellacked in the big leagues. Still, he was attractive enough for Texas to acquire in the deal that sent Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy to Philly. If he can regain some of his prior form, he could prove to be a steal in a wide-open Rangers rotation.
Carlos Collazo—Anthony Rendon, Angels. Rendon’s 2021 season was shortened to just 58 games thanks to a number of leg injuries that also prevented him from playing like he’s been used to. His 94 OPS+ was the lowest mark he posted since the 2015 season. I expect him to be a well above-average hitter once again in 2022 if he’s fully healthy.
Geoff Pontes—Gleyber Torres, Yankees. After a rough couple of years it’s easy to forget Torres is just 25 years old, and his best years are still yet to come. Despite a significant drop in power output over the last two seasons, Torres' approach has remained unchanged. He’s cut down on the strikeouts, takes walks and hits the ball hard. Perhaps the move to second base will help Torres find his comfort zone.
Chris Hilburn-Trenkle—Cody Bellinger, Dodgers. I know, I know. Bellinger was one of the worst hitters in all of baseball last year, but he’s going to bounce back in a big way this season. I think the addition of Freddie Freeman in the lineup will help Bellinger see better pitches, since most pitchers would much rather pitch around Freeman and Betts than Bellinger.
Ben Badler—Anthony Rendon, Angels. “If Anthony Rendon is healthy” is a major caveat, but if Rendon can stay on the field, the talent is still there that made him a top 12 finisher in the AL MVP voting from 2017 to 2020. Players generally don’t get healthier as they get into their 30s, so there’s still plenty of risk here, but the swing, plate discipline and power are all intact for him to be a well above-average offensive force.
Matt Eddy—Matt Chapman, Blue Jays. Strikeouts consumed Chapman in his final two years in Oakland, when he hit .215. Recovering from a hip injury and subsequent surgery may have played a role in his downturn in production. A year further removed from surgery and now batting in a stacked Blue Jays lineup and in parks much more favorable than those in the AL West could help Chapman get back on track.