Springtime is here and that means rebirth and fresh starts. Fresh starts for summertime, and that also means fresh starts for MLB players. I'm going to lay out four players who are going to have resurgent 2022 seasons.
Okay, it's difficult to call anything a "resurgence" or "comeback" when a player has never had a truly good season. I know that sounds harsh, but Heaney's career ERA+ is 91. 100 is considered league-average. It is too early to speak on returns, but Heaney has thrown 10 innings in 2022. In those 10 innings, he's already racked up 16 strikeouts and given up zero runs. ZERO. The Dodgers helped adjust his arm slot and have him ditch his curveball for a sweeping slider, which has obviously worked out well so far.
Two Dodgers? Sorry—how can we ignore Cody Bellinger? How does a 2019 MVP wind up where Bellinger has? In 2019 he won an MVP on the strength of 47 home runs and a .305/.406/.629 batting line, good enough for a 167 OPS+. He also won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award that season. In 2021, he posted a .165/.240/.302 line with a 45 OPS+. Now I'm not going to sit here and suggest he's going to have another MVP season, but I do see a 2018 Bellinger season for him. I can see him posting .260/.343/.470 with 25 home runs. He posted a 120 OPS+ that year. Bellinger is going to find his swing for a few stretches and put together a much better 2022 season.
Now wait, before you throw stuff, let me explain. It's not that Nolan Arenado didn't have a good 2021 season. Most players would love to have 34 home runs and 105 runs batted in. Compared to some of Arenado's numbers when he was in Colorado, however, those numbers ring a little hollow. A player like Arenado, who has MVP-type seasons, should not be posting a .312 on-base percentage. His 121 OPS plus last year is by no means a bad number, but Arenado is better than that. Think back to his 2019 season, when he slashed .315/.379/.583, with 41 home runs. That's the kind of season Arenado is going to have. So far in 2022, he's posting a .433/.514/1.000 line. That's unsustainable, but it sure shows where his season is headed.
In 2021, Yu Darvish went 8-11 with a 4.22 ERA, and a 92 ERA plus. We're talking about a guy who almost won the Cy Young in 2020 and who has some of the filthiest pitches in MLB history. A career ERA plus of 119 but he posted a 92 in 2021. There's no way he doesn't pitch better for a top-heavy Padres rotation in 2022. The whirling Darvish is going to have a better 2022 season.
If you're annoyed that I chose players who have already had big seasons, well that's why it's called a "resurgence." The only player on this list who didn't qualify was probably Andrew Heaney, but if you saw his last two outings you'd be on the bandwagon too!
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