The 2022 season has been filled with players and teams who have outperformed their expectations, like the Los Angeles Dodgers. Or you could look at the season Aaron Judge is having with the Yankees. Some have come out of nowhere since being called up, immediately making an impact on their teams like Michael Harris II is for the Braves.
Cody Bellinger (OF) Los Angeles Dodgers
Cody Bellinger hasn't had the season he had hoped for this year with the Dodgers. The 2019 National League MVP hasn't found much success at the plate. He's only hitting .200 for the year with 17 home runs. His production has seemed to take quite the fall since winning the NL MVP. He was benched by Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts about a month ago during their series with the Milwaukee Brewers.
While Bellinger has been struggling this season, the Dodgers are hoping he can flip a switch once they get into the playoffs. Bellinger seems to be the only dent in the Dodgers armor as they have the best record in baseball at 98-44. If Cody Bellinger can get hot in October, this Dodgers team might be unbeatable.
Javier Baez (SS) Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers signed Javier Baez last offseason on a six-year $140 million deal. It seemed like a good move to bring the former Cubs infielder into the AL Central division, which includes the Chicago White Sox. Baez, however, has been lackluster in Detroit so far.
Javier Baez has batted .233 for the season with 13 home runs. The one thing that Baez has improved on this year is his strikeout rate. Bringing it down to 25.3%. The rate was a staggering 36.3% two seasons ago with the Cubs. With the Tigers already eliminated from playoff contention, he may just start swinging at everything and bring that rate back up.
Fernando Tatis Jr (SS) San Diego Padres
The 2022 season started off disappointing for Tatis Jr. as he had wrist surgery in mid-march. He ended up missing three months of the season and was getting ready to start a minor league rehab assignment. With MLB fans excited to see one of the best young stars return to baseball, news came out that he was suspended 80-games.
Tatis violated MLB's performance-enhancing drug policy. The news came as a shock to the baseball world. The young star will have to miss the remainder of the 2022 season after not playing a single game for the Padres. It will be interesting to see how fans react when he comes back next year.
Josh Hader (Closing Pitcher) San Diego Padres
The dominant lefty found himself a new home in San Diego as the Padres acquired him from the Brewers during the trade deadline. The move came as a shock to both the Brewers players and fans. It seems the Brewers may have known something was wrong, however, as the closer has struggled mightily since coming over to San Diego.
In 12 appearances with the Padres, Hader has a -1.1 wins above replacement and a ballooned 12.10 ERA. The Padres gave Hader a break from the closer role in late August. As the Padres battle for a wild card spot, Hader will be relied on heavily. Hopefully the All-Star closer can turn it around.
Marcell Ozuna (DH) Atlanta Braves
The Braves signed Ozuna to a four-year deal in 2021, and he has been a huge disappointment since then. This ranges from off-the-field issues to on-field performances. The slugger was arrested in August for a DUI. Along with that, he is hitting only .218 where it seems he only strikes out or hits a home run.