Colorado Rockies: Kris Bryant looking to have bounce back year

In the National League West, we know where the Colorado Rockies stand. The Rox will compete in the division, but it likely won’t be enough to make the playoffs due to the strong competition. The Rockies could possibly make a push for a Wild Card spot in the postseason but, to do that, they need Kris Bryant to stay healthy.

Bryant, the former 2016 NL MVP, signed a seven-year, $182 million contract in 2022 with the Colorado Rockies, but it wasn’t a great start for both sides. Bryant dealt with a back and foot injury throughout the 2022 season, only playing in 42 games, slashing .306/.376/.475 with 49 hits, 5 home runs, and 14 RBI. On the other side, the Rockies finished last place in the division with a record of 68-94 and had the fourth-worst record in the National League.

Colorado Rockies: Kris Bryant needs to stay healthy

In Bryant’s first three seasons in his career as a Chicago Cub, he was a two-time All-Star, 2015 Rookie of the Year, 2016 MVP, and a World Series champion. He also had over 600 plate appearances each season, posted his best SLG, OPS, OPS+ in his career in 2016, and his highest career batting average of .295 and OBP of .409 in 2017. After those three seasons, however, he hasn’t been the same Kris Bryant.

After the 2017 season, he has dealt with numerous injuries, such as shoulder inflammation as well as injuries to the knee, ankle, back, oblique, hamstring, and more. As you can see from the injury history he has dealt with throughout those past five seasons, he hasn’t been able to play a full season as he has in years past.

Additionally, according to Baseball Savant, Bryant’s xwOBA, Max Exit Velocity, HardHit%, xSLG, and Barrel % have all decreased season by season since 2017. His WAR from 2015 to 2022 has also diminished, going from a 5.3, 7.3, 5.7 to a 2.3, 4.4, 0.5, 2.2, 1.1, and 0.4, which is his lowest WAR ever in his career.

In 2021, with the Cubs and Giants, he stroked a .265/.353/.481 slash line with 25 home runs and 73 RBI, which was an All-Star year for him. With the departures of Nolan Arenado in 2020 and Trevor Story in 2021, the Rockies needed a superstar caliber player and Rockies fans were astonished and excited with the news that Bryant was coming to the Mile High City.

According to Baseball Reference, Bryant is projected to hit .262/.341/.443 with 349 plate appearances in 2023, cranking 12 home runs with 37 RBI. I know it’s called a “projection,” but next year I believe Bryant is going to go over those numbers and produce like the true All-Star he can be. I have no doubt he’s hungry to get back on that baseball diamond and show out for the Rockies fan base.

Obviously like I said before, 2022 wasn’t the year for Kris Bryant and the Rockies, but there is still talent on that Rockies roster. C.J. Cron, Charlie Blackmon, Brendan Rodgers, Kyle Freeland, Daniel Bard … I mean, the talent is there and, with a healthy Bryant who has that veteran leadership and postseason experience, it could boost their win percentage and maybe make a push for the postseason.