4. Martin Perez
On June 26, 2012, the Texas Rangers called up pitching prospect Martin Perez, he would pitch in 12 games that season for the Rangers, finishing with a 5.45 era over 38 innings. Perez has pitched for the Rangers in every season since 2012. Despite posting a career 4.70 ERA throughout his career before 2022, Perez found a rotation spot this season.
Martin Perez impressed early on, posting a 4-2 record in April and May as well as a 1.46 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. Perez continued to impress through the All-Star break, earning him an All-Star honor on a Texas team that finished in 22nd place in team ERA, 21st in strikeouts, and 24th in WHIP. Perez proved to be a breakout star and bright spot for a team that had a very disappointing year after signing Corey Seager and Marcus Semien to big contracts. Perez finished his 2022 campaign with a 12-8 record to go along with a 2.89 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 169 strikeouts, all career-bests.
3. Andres Gimenez
After the 2020 season, Andres Gimenez was acquired by the Guardians in the package that sent star shortstop Fransisco Lindor to the Mets. In stints with the Mets in 2020 and Guardians in 2021, Gimenez looked underwhelming to say the least. Before the 2022 season, Gimenez was named the starting shortstop. With low expectations for the young player, the sky was truly the limit.
After starting hot and hitting .340 in the month of April, Gimenez never looked back, helping lead the Guardians to the playoffs. Gimenez earned All-Star honors as well as finishing 15th in batting average. Gimenez is apart of the eighth-youngest team to make the playoffs in MLB history. Gimenez finished the regular season with a .297 average, 17 homers, 69 RBI, 20 stolen bases, and an .837 OPS. At 24, the best is yet to come from Gimenez, who has proven to be a breakout star.
2. Ryan Helsley
Ryan Helsley spent his first two seasons in the majors splitting time between Triple-A and the St. Louis Cardinals. Between 2019-2021, Helsley appeared in 87 games, pitching 96.2 innings with a 4.00 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, and 89 strikeouts. Prior to the 2022 season, Helsley was a middle of the pack reliever at best.
To start his 2022 season, Helsley logged 14 straight scoreless appearances, the strong start was not short-lived. Slowly over the season, Helsley established himself as a top closer in the league. Helsley’s effectiveness was lights out as he stayed constant throughout the season, only allowing nine earned runs over 64.2 innings of work. Helsley also owned the fastest pitch in MLB, throwing a fastball that clocked in at 104 mph. Ryan Helsley finished the season with a 9-1 record, 19 saves, a 1.25 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, and 94 strikeouts. At 28, Helsley is entering his prime with a breakout season that will go down in the history books.
1. Nathaniel Lowe
In 2021, Nathaniel Lowe cemented his starting spot with a solid season at age 26. Entering his age 27 season, Lowe had everything to prove after showing a glimpse of what he could do in 2021. The Rangers had high expectations as a team entering the 2022 season, Lowe was no expectation to this.
Lowe started off the season promising batting .270 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI before the All-Star break. Lowe went on a tear after the All-Star game, posting a .339 average with 15 homers and 38 RBI. Lowe was named AL Player of the Week in late August for his performance.
Lowe led the Rangers in batting average, slugging percentage and on base percentage. The growth for Lowe in 2022 was substantial and, as he enters his physical prime, the expectations are high as ever. With the 2022 regular season in the books, Lowe had his best year to date while providing hope for Rangers after a tough and disappointing season.