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Kris Bryant’s 2023 Season: A Bounce Back on the Horizon

Kris Bryant

Kris Bryant signing with the Colorado Rockies was a head-scratcher to some. But the 2022 MLB season for the  Rockies was a wash as there was little to cheer about in the year for the team. Their biggest disappointment was the biggest addition from the previous free agency, the 2016 World Series champion. In his first season with Colorado, Bryant only played 42 games before losing the rest of the season due to an injury. Even in his limited action, he performed well after a rocky start. 

It took three calender months into the season, but he finally hit his first home run as a Rockie on July 5, 2022, against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He hit .306/.376/.475 with five home runs and 14 RBI for an OPS of .851 in his small sample size, according to Baseball-Reference

Kris Bryant’s 2022 Season Was Underwhelming

Despite his injuries, he utilized his time on the injured list to familiarize himself with the team culture and his new teammates. Bryant described his time injured as frustrating as he did not contribute to his team on the field. However, in the same breath was thankful for the time to get to know his teammates.

With an entire offseason to rehab and stronger relationships with teammates, Bryant is ready to come back stronger. His statistics from previous seasons help with the bounce-back narrative as well. It should be noted that he played exceptionally well in his last full season in 2021. That year was split between the Chicago Cubs and San Fransico Giants as the All-Star hit .265/.353/.481 with 25 home runs and 73 RBI

Comparing Bryant’s 2015 MVP Campaign

His 2021 All-Star nod was the fourth of his career and the second time since his 2015 campaign. Even so, his percentile rankings also pointed to him being one of the better hitters in the league. 

In that season, he was in the 74th percentile in max exit velocity, 71st percentile in walk percentage, 67th percentile in slugging percentage, and 68th percentile in xwOBA, and he was even one of the faster players in the league in terms of spring speed, according to Baseball Savant. 

Most importantly, his 2021 season was the third-best season regarding barrel percentage of his career. For instance, his 10.3% barrel rate was only 1.2% lower than in 2016. That percentage significantly over his terrible 2020 campaign. In 2022, his barrel percentage was the opposite, being the second-worst of his career at 6.7%, according to Baseball Savant. 

Last year was only comparable to the other heavily shortened season that Kris Bryant played, 2020. His next lowest percentage was 9.1% in 2018, his lowest rate in full-season production. With the same rate as in 2018, he will still be one of the most potent hitters in the Rockies’ lineup. With that production, he is in line to bounce back and lead an up-and-coming team to wins. 

Once he announced that he planned to sit out the rest of the season, Bryant looked forward to 2023 with high expectations for the new season. With new confidence, his body healed, and analytics, 2023 will be a return to form for the former NL MVP. 

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