As the MLB regular season winds down, we will complete our recap on the year by looking at “Where I Was Wrong” and “Where I Was Right.”
I’m a big believer in looking back on the season immediately when it’s fresh in our minds so we can make notes on what to do the following season. If we wait until next March, we will just repeat our mistakes.
Where I Was Wrong
Los Angeles Dodgers Outfielder Cody Bellinger Bounces Back
I have accepted the fact that we will see a lot of big hits from Bellinger in the month of October as the Dodgers try to win another World Series. However, his fantasy relevance in the regular season is done. The outfielder was awful in 2021 (he finished with a .165 batting average), but he hit .353 in October. I was banking on the success he had throughout his career along with a strong performance in the playoffs to catapult him into becoming an impact player once again in 2022.
However, Bellinger is hitting .206 with 18 home runs this season. His OPS is just .646. We hoped the former National League MVP would show life this season, but that has not been the case. In the postseason Bellinger may finally look like the player he did early in his career, but he won’t be on any of my fantasy rosters moving forward.
Seattle Mariners Outfielder Jarred Kelenic Breaks Out
Kelenic was a top prospect in the past but has yet to put it together in the big leagues. After struggling as a rookie for most of 2021, Kelenic showed life last September by hitting .248 with seven home runs. He entered the 2022 season as a 22-year-old who hoped to build off a strong September.
That turned out not the case, as Kelenic was demoted back to Triple-A Tacoma in May after hitting .140. He once again dominated Triple-A this season with a .295 batting average and 18 home runs. Kelenic is having another decent September in the big leagues, as he’s batting .250 with three home runs.
Kelenic won’t be on any draft boards next season, but he could be a late-round flier. I’m not willing to give up on someone who turned 23 in July.
Detroit Tigers Over 77.5 Wins
The Tigers showed improvement in the second half of 2021 and added high-priced free agents in the offseason. Given the young talent already on the roster, I thought this team was ready to take the next step, but that was not the case.
There were numerous injuries to Detroit’s young core, especially the starting pitchers. Signing shortstop Javier Báez and starting pitcher Eduardo Rodríguez did not work out in Year 1. This has led the Tigers to a battle for fourth place in the American League Central. I still believe in the young talent, but they have to stay healthy. We will get a much lower win total in 2023.
Minnesota Twins Outfielder Byron Buxton and Chicago White Sox Outfielder Luis Robert Win American League MVP
I preach all draft season about not investing in injury-plagued players. However, when it comes to MVP bets, I don’t listen to my own advice. Buxton has only played 100 games once in his career and Robert has never reached that total, yet I not only thought would they stay healthy, but they would win MVP.
The talent for both is off the charts, but players need to stay healthy consistently to display their skills. Buxton will once again fail to play 100 games in 2022. Robert was on pace to finally pass that number, but not surprisingly, was shut down due to another injury. Robert will also fail to play 100 games.
Like our fantasy players, we can’t invest bets in players who have proven they can’t stay healthy. I will be bitter about this all offseason.
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