Top Free Agent Hitters for MLB Teams This Winter – Who Will Make the Leap?

Cody Bellinger: From MVP to Reclamation Project to Free Agent Market Leader

In theory, Cody Bellinger is a prime-time All-Star. At 28 years old, he’s a former MVP with accolades including Rookie of the Year, Gold Glove, and Silver Slugger. However, that was five years ago.

Bellinger now has an unsurpassed top-line resume, and with a free-agent market that lacks offensive firepower, he holds the top position right after Shohei Ohtani. He’s just coming off a bounce-back season with the Chicago Cubs after grappling with being one of the game’s least productive players. So, the poser is, which version of Bellinger will prospective bidders get in the future?

It’s a tough question, according to San Francisco Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. Projection systems usually assume a certain level for the next season and then gradually flatten out over time. However, the reality for players looks a lot different. This can make it challenging to predict.

This offseason, the free-agent market offers a range of challenging cases for position players. It includes players like Ohtani, who is recovering from surgery, and Rhys Hoskins, who missed last season with a torn ACL but still rank in the top three players. Some others are facing issues with their offensive performance or injuries. Acquiring these players will, in fact, involve multi-year contracts worth over $100 million.

Tampa Bay Rays president of baseball operations, Erik Neander, is quick to point out that predicting a player’s future performance is a complex task, despite the advanced tools available. It’s easier to weigh a player’s most recent performance as the heaviest factor, but this itself comes with a caveat.

Consider Bellinger’s OPS jump from .654 in 2022 to .881 in 2023. But, there’s more beyond the surface-level analysis. His expected performance based on quality of contact improved, while his barrel percentage and hard-hit percentage went down last year.

In today’s market, teams also rely heavily on their own proprietary systems of player analysis and biomechanical technology to break down a player’s mechanics. They use this to paint a picture of what a player will become.

With the free-agent landscape getting more complex, Ross Atkins, general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, emphasizes the need for in-depth scouting to bridge gaps between projections and historical statistics, because at the end of it all, “it’s a leap of faith.”


Denial of responsibility! Vigour Times is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
DMCA compliant image

Leave a Comment