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10 MLB Gamers Who Modified the Narrative in 2023

Zachary D. RymerSeptember 18, 202310 MLB Players Who Changed the Narrative in 20230 of 10Fernando Tatis Jr. is still a star, albeit one of a different kind.Sean M. Haffey/Getty ImagesWith the regular season winding down, hundreds of players across Major League Baseball are busy writing the final chapters to their 2023 stories.The genres of these

10 MLB Gamers Who Modified the Narrative in 2023

Zachary D. RymerSeptember 18, 2023

10 MLB Gamers Who Modified the Narrative in 2023

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    Fernando Tatis Jr. is still a star, albeit one of a different kind.

    Fernando Tatis Jr. continues to be a star, albeit one among a distinct form.Sean M. Haffey/Getty Pictures

    With the common season winding down, tons of of gamers throughout Main League Baseball are busy writing the ultimate chapters to their 2023 tales.

    The genres of those range vastly, however of curiosity right here and now are the redemption arcs.

    Particularly in focus are 10 gamers who’ve modified the narratives of their careers for the higher. A pair guys confirmed they don’t seem to be busts. Others confirmed they don’t seem to be washed up. One merely confirmed he has a couple of trick up his sleeve. And so forth.

    Please notice that this isn’t about breakout players or those that have leveled up their video games. As you’ll be able to inform by these hyperlinks, these guys have their very own articles.

    As to the fellows who’re on the record, let’s test them off in alphabetical order.

CF/1B Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs

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    Cody Bellinger

    Cody BellingerDustin Bradford/Getty Pictures

    The Narrative Then

    Removed from simply any fallen star, Cody Bellinger was arguably the fallen star in MLB previous to 2023.

    It is onerous to start a profession higher than he did, as he gained the Nationwide League Rookie of the 12 months in 2017 and the MVP in 2019 earlier than he even turned 25. However then got here the crushing accidents and the impact they’d on his inventory. Between 2021 and 2022, Bellinger was 44 percent worse than the typical hitter.

    As soon as seemingly destined to change into a franchise legend, Bellinger was non-tendered by the Dodgers final November. Even after he signed a modest one-year, $17.5 million take care of the Cubs, some nonetheless took offense.

    The Narrative Now

    Bellinger is not going to win one other MVP, however he ought to have some votes coming his means. By means of a .311 common and 25 residence runs, he is been one of the best offensive participant on a Cubs staff that is eyeing the playoffs.

    Bellinger’s agent, Scott Boras, credited Bellinger’s renaissance to him merely being wholesome. He additionally anticipates the demand for his consumer to be “very, very excessive” this winter. That tracks, as he’d be arguably the best of the upcoming free brokers had been it not for Shohei Ohtani.

RHP José Berríos, Toronto Blue Jays

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    José Berríos

    José BerríosAndy Lyons/Getty Pictures

    The Narrative Then

    José Berríos was the worst pitcher in baseball final 12 months.

    That is clearly debatable, if for no different cause than that there is no universally agreed upon strategy to quantify such issues. However he did lead the American League in each hits and runs allowed, and his minus-0.6 rWAR was the lowest of any certified starter.

    None of it made any sense. Berríos had been an All-Star in 2018 and 2019 and he even positioned within the prime 10 within the AL Cy Younger Award voting in 2021. He was additionally not but 30 years previous, so 2022 was both a fluke or a untimely starting of the top.

    The Narrative Now

    The previous clarification is the one which’s holding extra water in 2023, whereby Berríos has appeared like…nicely, like José Berríos.

    He is shaved his ERA down from 5.23 to three.49 whereas averaging simply south of six innings over his 30 begins, a efficiency just about consistent with his pre-2022 norms. If it appears like he is flown underneath the radar, that is solely as a result of Kevin Gausman’s ongoing rise and Alek Manoah’s fall from grace have been the larger tales regarding Blue Jays starters.

RF Nick Castellanos, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Nick Castellanos

    Nick CastellanosTim Nwachukwu/Getty Pictures

    The Narrative Then

    Within the first season of his five-year, $100 million contract, the Phillies obtained mainly zero manufacturing from Nick Castellanos in 2022.

    Certainly, it was actually zero manufacturing. As a result of his rWAR was 0.0, you see. Castellanos got here to Philly with an .853 OPS over his final six seasons, however solely managed a .694 OPS final season whereas taking part in his sometimes under common protection.

    That Castellanos actually began struggling after bruising his wrist hinted at a very good excuse for all of it, however different clues prompt his bust standing can be everlasting. As an illustration, he noticed more breaking pitches in 2022 and did nothing with them.

    The Narrative Now

    The report ought to present that 2023 hasn’t been all good for Castellanos. Regardless of a heat August wherein he hit eight residence runs, he is been cool for the reason that All-Star break to the tune of a .666 OPS.

    Castellanos was nonetheless an precise All-Star throughout mentioned break, and generally he is appeared extra like himself in racking up a .768 OPS and 24 residence runs. He is additionally been an iron man, taking part in in all however three of the Phillies’ video games. As such, possibly it was simply the wrist final 12 months.

C William Contreras, Milwaukee Brewers

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    William Contreras

    William ContrerasBrian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire through Getty Pictures

    The Narrative Then

    William Contreras was not the headliner of the three-team commerce that despatched Sean Murphy to Atlanta final December. Nor was he essentially considered a steal for the Brewers.

    Although Contreras was recent off making the Nationwide League All-Star squad in 2022, seemingly no person may have a look at him with out recognizing the identical elementary flaw that his older brother, Willson, is understood for: protection.

    Although undeniably good hitters by catcher requirements, neither got here into this season with credentials as difference-makers behind the plate. That was very true of William in ’22, as he rated as under common as a framer, blocker and thrower.

    The Narrative Now

    The Brewers should have waved a wand and mentioned “Catcher-us good-us!” Opposite to final season, the youthful Contreras is among the greatest framers and blockers within the sport and his throwing is way improved.

    Making these enhancements has value Contreras nothing offensively, as he is misplaced some slugging however upped his common and on-base share from final season. Because of this, he is probably the greatest two-way gamers at crucial place on the diamond.

RHP Josiah Grey, Washington Nationals

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    Josiah Gray

    Josiah GreyMitchell Layton/Getty Pictures

    The Narrative Then

    Think about being traded for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner after which going full flop together with your one and solely probability to make a very good first impression.

    Such is the CliffsNotes model of Josiah Grey’s introduction to the Nationals. Although he arrived in Washington because the No. 42 prospect in baseball, he ended 2021 with a 5.38 ERA over 12 begins and struggled once more with a 5.02 ERA in 28 begins in 2022.

    No person may chalk it as much as unhealthy luck. Grey served up greater than two residence runs per 9 innings in his first 40 begins as a Nat, and he even led the Nationwide League in residence runs and walks in ’22. It was simply plain unhealthy pitching.

    The Narrative Now

    To make certain, this season hasn’t passed by with out Grey taking any extra lumps. He solely has a 4.07 ERA for the 12 months and he is up to now coughed up a 5.48 ERA within the second half.

    His first half, although, was ok to be worthy of his first All-Star choice. And even now, he is not deviating from the much-improved fee of 1.3 residence runs per 9 innings he has for the season. He is merely a greater pitcher, and one who hasn’t even turned 26 but.

DH J.D. Martinez, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    J.D. Martinez

    J.D. MartinezRonald Martinez/Getty Pictures

    The Narrative Then

    Come the top of 2022, it appeared like J.D. Martinez was washed.

    He’d had a tough one simply two years earlier in 2020, nevertheless it was a shortened season and, nicely, who did not have a tough 12 months in 2020? What occurred in 2022 was completely different. He missed all however 23 video games with the Boston Crimson Sox, but he managed solely a .790 OPS and 16 residence runs.

    This from a man who had clubbed 38 lengthy balls per 162 video games with a .926 OPS between 2014 and 2021, and the numbers beneath the numbers did not present a lot optimism. His batted-ball metrics had been means down from ’21, together with a 3.0-mph drop in exit velocity.

    The Narrative Now

    Like with Castellanos and Grey, it hasn’t been all good for Martinez in 2023. Due to a bothersome core damage, he is performed simply 15 video games and hit one residence run for the reason that begin of August.

    This 12 months has nonetheless been a return to type for the veteran. His 22 residence runs on the All-Star break marked his greatest first-half exhibiting since 2018 and he has an .852 OPS for the 12 months. He is among the many greatest gainers in touch high quality, particularly along with his hard-hit rate.

CF Luis Robert Jr., Chicago White Sox

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    Luis Robert Jr.

    Luis Robert Jr.Duane Burleson/Getty Pictures

    The Narrative Then

    No person ever denied Luis Robert Jr.’s expertise as he was making his mark on the league in his first three seasons.

    How may anybody? He debuted as a Gold Glover and the runner-up for the AL Rookie of the 12 months in 2020 and he proceeded to submit an .830 OPS over the following two years. That was with 162-game averages of 24 residence runs and 17 stolen bases.

    The issue, although, was that Robert performed in simply 166 out of 324 doable video games throughout ’21 and ’22. As that was a results of 5 completely different journeys to the injured record, it was truthful to stay him with the dreaded “damage inclined” label.

    The Narrative Now

    The White Sox have performed 150 video games this 12 months. Robert has gotten into 139 and began 135 of them. Not as a result of he hasn’t had accidents, however fairly as a result of he is performed by those that have cropped up.

    That alone would mark a serious step ahead, however then there’s what he is finished with the additional time on the sphere. Between his .845 OPS, his 35 residence runs, his 17 stolen bases and his glorious glovework, he is legitimately probably the greatest gamers within the American League.

LHP Blake Snell, San Diego Padres

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    Blake Snell

    Blake SnellCarmen Mandato/Getty Pictures

    The Narrative Then

    Maybe this may come off as a confession since there was no common consensus or something, however Blake Snell’s 2018 season felt like a one-off, did not it?

    That was the 12 months he gained the AL Cy Younger Award on the power of 21 wins and a 1.89 ERA over 180.2 innings. It was a tremendous efficiency that solely obtained higher over time. His final 16 begins noticed him pitch to a 1.25 ERA.

    In 5 seasons on both facet of 2018, nevertheless, Snell’s ERA vacillated between the low 4.00s and mid 3.00s and he failed to achieve even 130 innings in any of them. And whereas he racked up strikeouts in bunches, he additionally did the identical with walks.

    The Narrative Now

    No matter doubters Snell had are fairly quiet lately. Although walks stay an issue, he is as soon as once more main the majors with a 2.43 ERA and he is gone the place few have ever gone before in posting a 1.33 ERA over a 21-start span.

    Snell possible has the NL Cy Younger Award in his future, wherein case he’ll change into solely the seventh pitcher to win it in each leagues. After that, he’ll strike it wealthy in free company.

RF Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres

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    Fernando Tatis Jr.

    Fernando Tatis Jr.Sean M. Haffey/Getty Pictures

    The Narrative Then

    Fernando Tatis Jr. did not precisely make new followers when MLB suspended him 80 video games for utilizing performance-enhancing medicine in 2022.

    In any other case, hanging over his head coming into 2023 wasn’t a lot a story as a way of thriller. Between the suspension, two surgical procedures on his left wrist and one other on his left shoulder, may he be the identical man who was one among MLB’s most dynamic gamers between 2019 and 2021?

    This, after all, is to say nothing of the questions pertaining to Tatis’ maturity stage. Or to these pertaining to his shift from shortstop to proper area. Or about…nicely, you get the concept.

    The Narrative Now

    Along with his OPS not within the .900s, Tatis hasn’t fairly been the fearsome hitter that he was previous to 2022. However a .793 OPS will play, as will 25 residence runs, 26 stolen bases and a position-leading 12 Outs Above Average in proper area.

    He is nonetheless a star in different phrases, albeit one among a barely completely different classic than the one who took MLB by storm between ’19 and ’21. And by all accounts, the opposite main distinction between the star he’s now and the star he was then is that he is more mature lately.

1B Spencer Torkelson, Detroit Tigers

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    Spencer Torkelson

    Spencer TorkelsonWealthy Schultz/Getty Pictures

    The Narrative Then

    The Tigers had been naturally excessive on Spencer Torkelson after they drafted him No. 1 general in 2020, however there was all the time a catch.

    As a result of the pandemic put the faculty and highschool baseball worlds on pause, neither the Tigers nor another staff in MLB had full footage of the prospects they had been scouting. Much more than typical, each decide was a roll of the proverbial cube.

    Following his good season within the minors in 2021, the heightened threat appeared to chunk the Tigers in 2022 and even earlier this 12 months. Regardless of all his accompanying hype, Torkelson’s first 796 main league plate appearances yielded only a .651 OPS.

    The Narrative Now

    Do not look now, however Torkelson is all of the sudden one of many extra harmful hitters within the American League. In 56 video games relationship again to July 18, he is put up an .859 OPS with 16 residence runs.

    Does it move the scent take a look at? You wager it passes the scent take a look at. Since that day, he ranks fifth amongst certified hitters in hard-hit rate and fourth in barrel rate. He’s, lastly, the slugger who was promised.

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