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2022 MLB Season: Three Bounce-Back Candidates

Check out our three MLB candidates primed for a bounce-back season;

One of the best skills elite front office’s value is the ability to identify talent. It doesn’t take a genius to pencil in Vlad Guerrero Jr. for 35 home runs, or to rely on Jacob DeGrom for 30 starts of an under 3.00 ERA. The best general managers and organizations do their work finding players who haven’t yet excelled, or finding players who were once productive, but took a step back last season. Predicting bounce-back candidates is one of the most crucial things winning teams do, and today, I’ll put myself in the shoes of an MLB decision maker.

OF Jackie Bradley Jr, Boston Red Sox

Jackie Bradley Jr. is making his return to Boston where he spent his first 8 season’s in an MLB uniform. He made the move to the NL last season, and put up not only the worst numbers of his career, but some of the worst numbers of any player in baseball. JBJ hit a career worst .163, and reached base just 23% of the time. Bradley has always been a victim of the strikeout, but he went down on strikes over 30% of the time in 2020, up from his career average of 25.9%. While he struggled at the dish, he was still an elite center fielder for the Brewers. Bradley is never going to be an above-average hitter, but going back to the familiar city of Boston, I expect his hitting stats to regress to his career norms, and continue to be a stud in the field.

SS Francisco Lindor, New York Mets

Lindor is another guy who found himself with a new club in the 2021 campaign, and things didn’t go great for the star shortstop. Lindor sported a career worst OPS of .734, good for a WRC+ of just 3 percent above the league average hitter. However, most of Lindor’s issues were in the early part of the season where he got off to a miserable start. After June 1st, Lindor put up a slash line of .253/.342/.480, which gives him an OPS of .822. Lindor was also the second best shortstop in baseball with 20 outs above average. His batted ball profile also gives us an elite offensive weapon, with a career high 44% hard hit rate. The Mets are going to be a good baseball team in 2022, and Francisco Lindor’s bounce-back is going to be a part of the recipe.

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SP Eduardo Rodriguez, Detroit Tigers

Rodriguez was one of the unluckiest pitchers last season. The southpaw put up an uninspiring ERA of 4.74 in over 170 innings of work. However, the underlying metrics show a reason for hope. It’s fair to assume that the Detroit Tiger’s are also believers, as they inked him to a 5 year deal before the lockout. EROD had a FIP of 3.32, and an expected FIP of 3.43. Both of these numbers suggest that he should have had much better success preventing runs than he did with the Sox. He also struck hitters out at a career high 10.56 per 9 innings. The Red Sox defense didn’t help the lefty either, as he allowed hitters to hit .316 on groundballs, which was the highest mark in the league. Eduardo Rodiguez probably isn’t going to be an ace, but a bounce-back season is coming for the Tiger.

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Written By

I am a senior college student studying sports administration. I hope to work in college athletics following graduation. I love the Iowa Hawkeyes, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild, Oklahoma City Thunder, and New York Jets. I hate sac bunts and announcer's insisting teams do not need a 3 at the end of games.

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