It’s easy to highlight all the players who are leading their teams to great things, like J.P. Crawford, Triston McKenzie, etc. But what about the guys who still have some room for improvement? Three bros in particular definitely need to step it up for their respective teams, or even just for their own stock.
1. Marcus Stroman
After a pretty solid 2021 season for his old team in New York, Stroman left ivia agency and signed a 3-year contract with the Chicago Cubs, worth up to $71 million.
The Cubs were paying for a player they believed could be a front-end starter for this season, but Stroman’s pitching has been subpar to say the least.
He posted a 3.02 ERA in 33 starts last season. His ERA has been up about one and a half runs, posting a 4.69 ERA this year, in only 11 games. He has already given up a little less than half of the runs he gave up last season, but in only a third of the starts. Stroman has a 2-5 record, and has only gone past the fifth inning three times this season.
With the Cubs playoff chances essentially out the window, Stroman could have had the potential to build his worth and get traded to a contender, but that door seems to be closed. It’s crucial for him to try and finish the year as strong as possible to show that he still has it, and that his days of being an elite pitcher aren’t over just yet.
2. Marcus Semien
With his career year in Toronto, Semien signed a 7-year, $175 million contract with the Texas Rangers, pairing him alongside fellow new signee Corey Seager. Many considered them to be the best middle infield duo in the league at the beginning of the season. So far, not so good.
Semien’s batting average is down 20 points, at .245, compared to .265 last year. He managed to hit 45 out of the yard, with 102 RBI playing in all 162 games. That earned him All-Star and All-MLB first team honors, as well as a Silver Slugger. This season, he has only 13 home runs and 44 RBI in 91 games played.
The Rangers are currently 7.5 games back in the Wild Card race. It’s a big mountain to climb, but it’s certainly doable. That peak will not be reached without Semien, and if he continues to play like he has been, consider kissing those playoff dreams goodbye. While the whole team needs to play better, it starts with Semien.
3. Ke’Bryan Hayes
There have been very few things to look forward to as a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, as they have been a bottom team for the past five seasons. One of the very few glimmers of hope has been Hayes.
After being selected 32nd overall in the 2015 draft, Hayes made his major league debut back in 2020, and boy did he make a splash. In 24 games in the shortened season, he batted .376, with five home runs, and 11 RBI. Many saw this kid as being a potential MLB star. Finally, there was hope in Pittsburgh.
Hayes put up a good 2021 season, not as electric as 2020, but still good. This season, he’s been average to say the least, batting .251, with four home runs and 28 RBI in 86 games. The Pirates are by no means competing for the playoffs, but with the recent call up of O’Neill Cruz, there’s been more and more glimmers of hope. It’s important for Hayes to show the team that 2020 was no fluke, and that he and Cruz will be an exciting duo for years to come.