30 MLB Players Who Were Surprises This Year..So Far

30 MLB Players Who Were Surprises This Year..So Far

At the beginning of the 2022 MLB season, everyone was trying to figure out which MLB players would step up to the plate and which ones would fold in dismay. Now that teams are through 120 games (give or take), we have a pretty clear idea of which players fall in which category.

It’s what makes the MLB season so exciting and unique – you never really know what you’re going to get. MLB players can have a great season one year, but a tumultuous one the following year. Like most sports, however, the MLB is a ‘what have you done for me lately’ kind of league.

The MLB players that perform well this season will set themselves up for more opportunities in the near future. At the same time, those that fail to meet expectations this season will have an uphill battle moving forward. If things don’t work out for them, they’ll likely be released or traded. 

RELATED: MLB Teams to Score 25 or More Runs in a Game Since 1900

Which MLB Players Are Having a Successful Season?

30 MLB Players Who Were Surprises This Year..So Far
Carlos E. Santa Maria / Shutterstock

The 2022 MLB season has been full of surprises. The New York Yankees are back atop the AL East – a division they haven’t won since 2019 – and are just 19 wins away from tying their win record from a year ago. With that said, the Houston Astros are currently the best team in the AL. 

In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the first team to hit 80 wins – currently sitting at 82-36. The NL East is stacked, with the New York Mets sitting at 77-43 and the Atlanta Braves at 74-47. On the other hand, the San Diego Padres have a roster that’s built to win now.

Enough about the teams, though. We’re here to talk about some of the MLB players that have surprised us so far this season. Whether they were expected to have a good or bad year, they’ve exceeded expectations and have left us with our jaws dropped due to their stellar play.

30. Amed Rosario

Amed Rosario is a 26-year-old shortstop who’s currently playing in his sixth season in the majors and second season with the Cleveland Guardians. He’s batting .284 in 496 plate appearances, including 8 home runs, 7 triples, 21 doubles, 51 runs batted in, 69 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases. He’s the current MLB co-leader in triples. 

29. John Brebbia

John Brebbia is a 32-year-old relief pitcher who’s currently playing in his fifth season in the majors and second season with the San Francisco Giants. He has a 6-1 record in 57 games played – including three starts. In 51.2 innings pitched, he has a 2.79 ERA and 41 strikeouts. He’s the current MLB leader in games pitched. 

28. Gavin Lux

Gavin Lux is a 24-year-old second baseman and outfielder who’s currently playing in his fourth season in the majors – all of which with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He’s batting .296 in 392 plate appearances, including 102 hits, six home runs, seven triples, 17 doubles, 39 RBIs, 60 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. He’s the current MLB co-leader in triples. 

27. Andres Gimenez

Andres Gimenez is a 23-year-old second baseman and shortstop who’s currently playing in his third season in the majors and second season with the Cleveland Guardians. He’s batting .309 in 400 plate appearances, including 110 hits, 14 home runs, two triples, 20 doubles, 58 RBIs, 48 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases. He was named an All-Star this year. 

26. Kenley Jansen

Kenley Jansen is a 34-year-old closer who’s currently playing in his 13th season in the majors and first season with the Atlanta Braves – after 12 seasons with the Dodgers. He has a 5-0 record in 46 games pitched, including 28 saves and 62 strikeouts in 46.1 innings pitched. He’s one save away from being the current MLB leader. 

25. Jose Iglesias

Jose Iglesias is a 32-year-old shortstop who’s currently playing in his 11th season in the majors and first season with the Colorado Rockies. He’s batting .312 in 408 plate appearances, including 119 hits, three home runs, 29 doubles, 47 runs batted in, 46 runs scored, and two stolen bases. Compared to last year, he’s much more productive in 2022. 

24. Josh Hader

Josh Hader is a 28-year old closer who’s currently playing in his sixth season in the majors and first season with the San Diego Padres – he was traded by the Brewers at this year’s trade deadline. He has a 2-5 record in 42 games pitched, including 29 saves and 63 strikeouts in 37.1 innings pitched. Hader is the current MLB leader in saves. 

23. Emmanuel Clase

Emmanuel Clase is a 24-year-old closer who’s currently playing in his third season in the majors and second season with the Cleveland Guardians. He has a 2-2 record in 54 games pitched and 49 games finished. In 51.2 innings pitched, he has 55 strikeouts, a 1.22 ERA, and 28 saves – which currently leads the American League. 

22. Jeff McNeil

Jeff McNeil is a 30-year-old second baseman and outfielder who’s currently playing in his fifth season in the majors – all of which with the New York Mets. He’s batting .318 in 420 plate appearances, including 122 hits, seven home runs, one triple, 31 doubles, 49 RBIs, 53 runs scored, and two stolen bases. He was named an All-Star this season.

21. Carlos Rodon

Carlos Rodon is a 29-year-old starting pitcher who’s currently playing in his eighth season in the majors and first season with the San Francisco Giants – after seven seasons with the White Sox. He has an 11-6 record in 24 games started, throwing a 2.89 ERA and 179 strikeouts in 140.1 innings pitched. He was named an All-Star this season.

20. Jose Ramirez

Jose Ramirez is a 29-year-old third baseman who’s currently playing in his 10th season in the majors – all of which with the Cleveland Guardians. He’s batting .281 in 501 plate appearances, including 125 hits, 23 home runs, 37 doubles, four triples, 99 RBIs, 67 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases. He has hit two grand slams this season and was named an All-Star.

19. Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols is a 42-year-old first baseman and designated hitter who’s currently playing in his 22nd season in the majors and 12th season with the St. Louis Cardinals – it’s his second stint with the team. He’s batting .269 in 226 plate appearances, including 53 hits, 13 home runs, nine doubles, 37 RBIs, 25 runs scored, and one stolen base. He was named an All-Star this year.

18. Pete Alonso

Pete Alonso is a 27-year-old first baseman who’s currently playing in his fourth season in the majors – all of which with the New York Mets. He’s batting .271 in 51 plate appearances, including 122 hits, 30 home runs, 23 doubles, 102 runs batted in, 68 runs scored, and three stolen bases. He was named an All-Star and is the current MLB co-leader in RBIs. 

17. Julio Urias

Julio Urias is a 26-year-old starting pitcher who’s currently playing in his seventh season in the majors – all of which with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has a 13-6 record in 23 games started, throwing a 2.40 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 127.2 innings pitched. It’s not as good as his 20-3 breakout season a year ago, but he’s solidifying his role as a top pitcher in this league.

16. Sandy Alcantara

Sandy Alcantara is a 26-year-old starting pitcher who’s currently playing in his sixth season in the majors and fifth season with the Miami Marlins. He has an 11-5 record in 24 games started, throwing a 1.92 ERA and 152 strikeouts in 173.0 innings pitched. He was named an All-Star this year and is the current MLB leader in innings pitched. 

15. Freddie Freeman

Freddie Freeman is a 32-year-old first baseman who’s currently playing in his 13th season in the majors and first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers – after 12 seasons with the Braves. He’s batting .321 in 530 plate appearances, including 148 hits, 16 home runs, two triples, 39 doubles, 74 RBIs, 84 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases. He was an All-Star and currently leads the MLB in hits and doubles.

14. Dylan Cease

Dylan Cease is a 26-year-old starting pitcher who’s currently playing in his fourth season in the majors – all of which with the Chicago White Sox. He has a 12-5 record in 24 games started, throwing a 2.09 ERA and 178 strikeouts in 133.2 innings pitched. He walks a lot of batters, but his 12.0 strikeouts per nine innings currently leads the entire MLB.

13. Luis Arraez

Luis Arraez is a 22-year-old second baseman and designated hitter who’s currently playing in his fourth season in the majors – all of which with the Minnesota Twins. He’s batting .333 in 447 plate appearances, including 134 hits, seven home runs, one triple, 22 doubles, 40 RBIs, 67 runs scored, and four stolen bases. He was an All-Star and currently leads the AL in batting average.

12. Kyle Wright

Kyle Wright is a 26-year-old starting pitcher who’s currently playing in his fifth season in the majors – all of which with the Atlanta Braves, but this is his first season as a full-time starter. He has a 15-5 record in 23 games started, throwing a 3.14 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 140.2 innings pitched. His 15 wins is currently tied for the most in the entire MLB.

11. Yordan Alvarez

Yordan Alvarez is a 25-year-old designated hitter and outfielder who’s currently playing in his fourth season in the majors – all of which with the Houston Astros. He’s batting .295 in 428 plate appearances, including 105 hits, 31 home runs, two triples, 16 doubles, 77 RBIs, 76 runs scored, and one stolen base. He was named an All-Star this year and currently leads the AL in OBP. 

10. Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander is a 39-year-old starting pitcher who’s currently playing in his 17th season in the majors and fourth full season with the Houston Astros – after 13 seasons with the Tigers. He has a 15-3 record in 22 games started, throwing a 1.95 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 143.0 innings pitched. He was named an All-Star and currently leads the AL in ERA and is the MLB’s co-leader in wins. 

9. Dansby Swanson

Dansby Swanson is a 28-year-old shortstop who’s currently playing in his seventh season in the majors – all of which with the Atlanta Braves. He’s batting .293 in 520 plate appearances, including 139 hits, 16 home runs, one triple, 27 doubles, 68 runs batted in, 79 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases. He was named an All-Star this season and hasn’t missed a single game.

8. Kyle Schwarber

Kyle Schwarber is a 29-year-old outfielder who’s currently playing in his eighth season in the majors and first season with the Philadelphia Phillies. He’s batting .213 in 488 plate appearances, including 90 hits, 34 home runs, one triple, 17 doubles, 71 RBIs, 73 runs scored, and six stolen bases. He was named an All-Star this year and currently leads the NL in home runs.

7. Carlos Carrasco

Carlos Carrasco is a 35-year-old starting pitcher who’s currently playing in his 13th season in the majors and second season with the New York Mets. He has a 13-5 record in 23 games started, throwing a 3.92 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 126.1 innings pitched. The last time he had at least 20 starts in a season was 2018 with the Cleveland Guardians. 

6. Jose Abreu

Jose Abreu is a 35-year-old first baseman who’s currently playing in his ninth season in the majors – all of which with the Chicago White Sox. He’s batting .308 in 514 plate appearances, including 140 hits, 14 home runs, 29 doubles, 58 runs batted in, and 66 runs scored. He has hit at least .342 in each of the past three months – a 74-game stretch. 

5. Tyler Anderson

Tyler Anderson is a 32-year-old starting pitcher who’s currently playing in his seventh season in the majors and first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has a 13-2 record in 31 games started (23 games played), throwing a 2.73 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 135.1 innings pitched. He was named an All-Star for the first time this year after going 7-11 in 31 starts last season.

4. Austin Riley

Austin Riley is a 25-year-old third baseman who’s currently playing in his fourth season in the majors – all of which with the Atlanta Braves. He’s batting .289 in 523 plate appearances, including 136 hits, 31 home runs, two triples, 34 doubles, 78 runs batted in, 71 runs scored, and two stolen bases. He was named an All-Star and is nearing career-highs in most batting categories. 

3. Paul Goldschmidt

Paul Goldschmidt is a 34-year-old first baseman who’s currently playing in his 12th season in the majors and fourth season with the St. Louis Cardinals. He’s batting .341 in 492 plate appearances, including 145 hits, 31 home runs, 34 doubles, 100 RBIs, 86 runs scored, and five stolen bases. He was named an All-Star, currently leads in the MLB in batting average and total bases, and has hit at least 30 home runs for the seventh time in his career.

2. Tony Gonsolin

Tony Gonsolin is a 28-year-old starting pitcher who’s currently playing in his fourth season in the majors – all of which with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has a 15-1 record in 22 games started, throwing a 2.12 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 123.1 innings pitched. He was named an All-Star this year, is the current MLB co-leader in wins, and also leads the majors in win percentage. 

1. Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge is a 30-year-old outfielder who’s currently playing in his seventh season in the majors – all of which with the New York Yankees. He’s batting .295 in 517 plate appearances, including 129 hits, 46 home runs, 20 doubles, 102 RBIs, 98 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases. He was named an All-Star and currently leads the MLB in home runs, RBIs, runs scored, and slugging percentage. He’s on pace to hit more than 60 home runs this season – his career-high is 52 in 2017.

Which MLB Players Aren’t Performing Well?

The MLB players listed above are performing very well with roughly 40 games left to play, but it hasn’t been a good season for everyone. There’s a laundry list of pitchers and hitters that are having a horrible season and it could put their future in jeopardy – at least for the time being.

For example, some of the pitchers that are struggling are Mike Minor (1-10, 6.31 ERA), Joan Adon (1-12, 7.10 ERA), Patrick Corbin (4-16, 6.96 ERA), Zach Plesac (2-11, 4.43 ERA), Aaron Ashby (2-10, 4.58 ERA), Brad Keller (6-13, 5.27 ERA), and JT Brubaker (3-10, 4.19 ERA). 

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Likewise, some of the batters having a tumultuous season include Carlos Correa, Marcus Semien, Marcell Ozuna, Cody Bellinger, Tyler O’Neill, Trevor Story, Bobby Witt Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr. (suspension), C.J. Abrams, Spencer Torkelson, and Nick Castellanos.

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