Top Bounce Back Candidates From All 30 MLB Teams

Here at Just Baseball, we have identified the top bounce back candidates from all 30 MLB teams. Here's the complete list of names.

FORT MYERS, FL- APRIL 05: Byron Buxton #25 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates a home run with Carlos Correa #4 during a spring training game against the Boston Red Sox on April 05, 2022 at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

Baseball is a very difficult sport, in which sustaining success is never easy. Players naturally go through ups and down, with only the absolute best players being able to remain consistently excellent year over year.

There are often players who show us they can put it altogether at the big league level, who will later endure a brutal season where nothing goes right. Whether that is due to injury, a lack of a clear role, or just pure ineffectiveness, there are always players who end up disappointing based what we expect of them from their past success.

The beauty of entering a new season is that everyone gets to start the year with a clean slate.

Of the players who endured bad seasons last year, there are many who will turn things around completely this year and bounce back to their prior form. Throughout one of our latest series here at Just Baseball, we have been looking at each division to identify bounce back candidates for every team in Major League Baseball.

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Here is a synopsis of everything we uncovered through that series, with one primary bounce back candidate listed for all 30 teams.

For a full breakdown of each player listed, click the link for each division below.

American League East Bounce Back Candidates

The American League East is set to be a bloodbath once again, with the Baltimore Orioles returning as one of the best young teams in the game, the New York Yankees adding Juan Soto, and the Rays and Blue Jays both being perennial contenders as well.

Every team in this division features a collection of players who need to bounce back for their team to realize its full potential. Here are the one’s featured in our AL East Bounce Back Candidates for 2024.

John Means, Baltimore Orioles

Once the ace of the Baltimore Orioles, John Means started Opening Day two years in a row in 2021 and 2022, before eventually needing Tommy John surgery which would sideline him for nearly all of the 2022 season and most of 2023.

Means did return to make four starts down the stretch, where he pitched to a 2.66 ERA, but this will be the first full season for the left-hander off Tommy John. Set to be a free agent next winter, this is a big year for Means and the Orioles.

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Aaron Civale, Tampa Bay Rays

If you look at Aaron Civale’s stats for last season as a whole, you would wonder what exactly does he need to bounce back from?

Civale pitched to a 3.46 ERA across 23 starts and 122 1/3 innings pitched, but that does not tell the full story of his season. The right-hander opened the year with the Guardians and pitched to a 2.34 ERA in 13 starts. He was then moved in a trade to the Rays, where he struggled to a 5.36 ERA.

If Civale can bounce back to pitch like he did earlier last year in Cleveland, the Rays will have another quality starter who can help lengthen their rotation.

Alek Manoah, Toronto Blue Jays

Maybe the highest-profile guy on this list, Alek Manoah’s fall from grace was widely documented last year. He went from finishing third in the AL Cy Young in 2022, to pitching to a 5.87 ERA and getting demoted in the middle of last season.

At just 26 years old, Manoah is more than capable of bouncing back to at least being a quality starter again, if not getting back to the prior ace-level pitcher he was expected to be before 2023.

Carlos Rodón, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees need Carlos Rodón to get back to being himself if they want to contend this year. That already was true entering camp, but is even more true now with Gerrit Cole sidelined for the first few months of the season.

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Rodón dealt with injuries last year and only made 14 starts. When on the mound, he got rocked to the tune of a 6.85 ERA in 64 1/3 innings pitched. Prior to signing his six-year, $162 million contract, the 31-year-old had finished in the top-six in Cy Young voting two years in a row.

Trevor Story, Boston Red Sox

The bounce back candidate we featured in our original article on the AL East was Lucas Giolito, but his season has already been ended prematurely due to needing Tommy John surgery. Trevor Story was our honorable mention, but now he is the top bounce back candidate to watch in Boston.

Coming off elbow surgery of his own, Story is finally healthy and looking to get back to being one of the better shortstops in baseball. Story graded very well defensively upon his return from injury last year, but struggled with the bat. If he can get back to being at least a slightly above league-average offensive player, his glove could carry him to a very productive season overall.

American League Central Bounce Back Candidates

A completely wide-open division, the American League Central features at least four teams who look to be vying for a playoff spot come Opening Day, with the Chicago White Sox being the one exception of a team that is more focused on a rebuild.

With a division that could be tightly-contested, star players who bounce back could very well decide which team is holding the division crown by year’s end.

Carlos Correa, Minnesota Twins

Carlos Correa is being paid to be the face of the franchise for the Minnesota Twins, but his play did not support that last year. Correa posted just a .711 OPS and was only worth about a win above replacement according to his 1.1 fWAR.

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However Correa showed what he could do when the lights shined brightest, as he hit .409 in the Twins six playoff games, helping them end their long playoff-win drought to advance past the Blue Jays in the Wild Card round.

Only a year-removed from hitting .291/.366/.467 with 22 home runs, Correa can certainly bounce back in a big way this year. He is still just 29 years old.

Jack Flaherty, Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers signed Jack Flaherty on a one-year deal because they believed in his ability to bounce back and be a quality starter for them in 2024. Flaherty finally had a healthy season in 2023, making 29 starts and pitched to a 4.99 ERA.

While he might not ever get back to being the pitcher he was in 2019, when he finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting, Flaherty could put together a strong season, particularly making half of his starts in the pitcher-friendly confines of Comerica Park.

Andres Gimenez, Cleveland Guardians

In 2022, Andres Gimenez was one of the best second basemen in all of baseball, finishing sixth in the AL MVP voting. He hit .297/.371/.466, with a 142 wRC+ and a 6.2 fWAR. Those numbers dipped in a considerable way last year, when he hit .251/.314/.399, with a 97 wRC+ and a 3.6 fWAR.

If you look at the counting stats however, Gimenez posted nearly the same amount of home runs and RBIs, while scoring more runs and stealing more bases. He also won his second-straight Gold Glove, and took home his first Platinum Glove for being the best defender in the AL.

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With his glove and speed alone, Gimenez will be a well-above average regular regardless, but a return to his 2022 form could still be in the cards for the Guardians in 2024.

Brady Singer, Kanas City Royals

Brady Singer was trending towards being the ace of the Kansas City Royals in 2022, when he pitched to a 3.23 ERA across 153 1/3 innings pitched. Unfortunately after a rough appearance in the World Baseball Classic, Singer carried that over into the regular season in 2023.

The 27-year-old pitched to a 5.52 ERA across his 29 starts and saw his strikeout percentage drop below 20% for the first time in his career. With all of that said, Singer’s FIP of 4.29 and xFIP of 4.28 point to some bad luck. The Royals are hoping for a bounce back in 2024.

Eloy Jimenez, Chicago White Sox

Originally our bounce back candidate for the White Sox was Dylan Cease, but now that bounce back will have to happen in the NL West with the San Diego Padres. Instead, we move to our honorable mention in the article, which was Eloy Jimenez.

Jimenez was largely healthy in 2023, playing in 120 games, but his offensive numbers dropped to posting just a 105 wRC+ compared to the 143 wRC+ he had in 2022. While he was able to get on the field more, nagging injuries still kept Jimenez in and out of the lineup last year. If we ever got a full 162-game season of Jimenez were his body felt great, the results could be spectacular.

American League West Bounce Back Candidates

The last two World Series champions have come from this division and both the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers aren’t going anywhere any time soon. The Seattle Mariners remain in the hunt, while the Angels are trying to contend, even if it is unlikely without Shohei Ohtani.

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Cristian Javier, Houston Astros

Prior to the 2023 season, the Houston Astros felt comfortable letting Justin Verlander walk in free agency because they still had Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier to headline their rotation. Then midseason, they traded for Verlander again, while Javier was in the midst of a season where he failed to meet those lofty expectations.

On the bright side, Javier set career-highs with 31 starts and 162 innings pitched, but did so pitching to a 4.56 ERA. His K/9 also dropped from 11.74 in 2022 to 8.83 in 2023. Javier is still just 26 years old (will turn 27 later this month) and is capable of putting it altogether to be one of the better starting pitchers in the game.

Brock Burke, Texas Rangers

Last year, the Texas Rangers got huge bounce back seasons from Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, while seeing so many of their young players break out in a major way as well. Finding a bounce back candidate is a bit tougher coming from the World Champs, but reliever Brock Burke fits the bill.

Burke was one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball in 2022, pitching to a 1.97 ERA in 82 1/3 innings pitched. Last year, Burke pitched to a 4.37 ERA in 59 2/3 innings pitched.

If he can split the difference in 2024, the Rangers will again have a very effective left-hander they can turn to in their bullpen.

Ty France, Seattle Mariners

Across 2021 and 2022, few hitters were more consistent in the Seattle Mariners lineup than Ty France, who posted a wRC+ of at least 125 each year. Things fell off for him in 2023 however, when he hit just .250/.337/.366, with 12 home runs and a 104 wRC+.

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Still just 28 years old, France has plenty of good baseball still ahead of him and will look to get back in track in 2024.

Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If Mike Trout is healthy, he will again be one of the best players in all of baseball. Health has just become a major issue for Trout over the last few years.

Trout hasn’t played over 120 games in a season since 2019, when he won his third AL MVP Award by hitting 45 home runs in just 134 games played. Last year, Trout only suited up for about half of the season with 82 games played. He hit 18 home runs in that span, but posted an OPS below .900 for the first time in his MLB career (excluding his 40 games played in 2011).

Seth Brown, Oakland Athletics

It is hard to find many players on the Oakland Athletics roster who have MLB success they can look to bounce back too, but Seth Brown is one of them. Brown homered at least 20 times in 2021 and 2022, with the latter representing a breakout year that saw him hit .230/.305/.444, with 25 homers.

Last year, Brown hit just .222/.286/.405, with 14 home runs and a 92 wRC+. It was the first time in his career that he graded out as a below-average hitter based on wRC+.

National League East Bounce Back Candidates

The Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies are the two teams expected to make playoff runs from this division and some bounce back candidates could help them in their path towards winning the World Series. Meanwhile the Mets and Marlins are hoping a few bounce back candidates can help them stay in the Wild Card mix.

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Chris Sale, Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves traded a very talented young position player prospect in Vaughn Grissom because they believed so strongly in a return to form for Chris Sale.

Sale was healthy enough to pitch 100 innings for the first time since 2019 last season, pitching to a 4.30 ERA in 102 2/3 innings pitched. His 29.4% strikeout rate last year shows the stuff is still there for Sale. If he can stay healthy, the Braves rotation could be scary good.

J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies

There aren’t many catchers in baseball who could hit 20 home runs, with 16 stolen bases and 63 RBIs, yet we would consider it a down-year. That is exactly the case though for Realmuto, who put up a 6.5-win season in 2022, before regressing to have a 1.5 fWAR in 2023.

A big reason for that regression is a slide in the defensive metrics for Realmuto, who has long-been one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. Entering his age-33 season, Realmuto should have a few more good years left in him.

Nick Gordon, Miami Marlins

In 2022, Nick Gordon established himself as a very solid big leaguer, who hit .272/.316/.427, with a 111 wRC+ in 138 games played. Last year, Gordon was limited due to a fractured tibia that kept him off the field for all but 34 games, where he struggled offensively.

The Marlins traded for Gordon this offseason hoping he could bounce back and be a solid contributor for them in 2024. We once saw Gordon’s older brother Dee Gordon find success on the Marlins in similar circumstance, so maybe this is the perfect new home for Nick.

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Luis Severino, New York Mets

The New York Mets signed Luis Severino to a one-year deal this offseason, hoping the former Yankee could find his prior form by moving across town. Severino had a brutal season last year, which saw him pitched to a 6.65 ERA.

With that said, Sevy had a 3.18 ERA in 2022 and has looked great so far this spring.

Jesse Winker, Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals signed Jesse Winker on a minor league deal this offseason in hopes of finding a diamond in the rough who is coming off a few down-seasons.

Winker is a few years removed from being an All-Star back in 2021, when he hit .305/.394/.556, with 24 home runs and a 148 wRC+. Since leaving Cincinnati though, Winker has struggled to find that same offensive consistency and was brutal last year, hitting just one home run in 61 games.

National League Central Bounce Back Candidates

The National League Central is a wide-open division, where any of the five teams could conceivably put things together to make a run at a division title. One of the biggest differentiating factors will be which of these teams gets some bounce back performances from their star players.

Jameson Taillon, Chicago Cubs

In his first season with the Chicago Cubs last year, Jameson Taillon pitched to a 4.84 ERA in 154 1/3 innings pitched. A year prior, Taillon had a 3.91 ERA in 177 1/3 innings pitched. The Cubs hope that Taillon can return to form this year and turn in a better campaign in his second season in Chicago.

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Frankie Montas, Cincinnati Reds

Another pitcher who signed to a one-year deal as a bounce back candidate, Frankie Montas is coming off a lost-year due to a shoulder injury. Prior to the injury, we saw Montas pitch to a 3.37 ERA in 187 innings back in 2021 and a 4.05 ERA in 144 1/3 innings in 2022.

Montas was given the nod to start on Opening Day as the veteran who will be leading a young pitching staff that includes Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Andrew Abbott and Graham Ashcraft, amongst others.

Rhys Hoskins, Milwaukee Brewers

The only thing that Rhys Hoskins has to bounce back from is injury. Throughout his career, few have been more consistently productive than Hoskins, who has a career .846 OPS and has never hit less than 27 home runs in a full season.

Hoskins will spend his first season away from Philadelphia in 2023, after signing two-year, $34 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers this offseason, which will allow him to opt-out if he can have a big season in 2024.

Rowdy Tellez, Pittsburgh Pirates

Rowdy Tellez had a breakout season for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2022, which saw him hit 35 home runs and drive in 89. He followed that up however with a much worse 2023 season, where he hit .215/.291/.376, with just 13 home runs in 106 games played.

After being non-tendered by the Brewers, Tellez will remain in the NL Central after signing a one-year deal with Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason.

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Lance Lynn, St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals brought back a former homegrown player this offseason when they signed Lance Lynn to a one-year deal. Lynn is coming off a pretty rough season, where he pitched to a 5.73 ERA, while giving up an MLB-worst 44 home runs.

The one thing that Lynn did well last year however was continue to take the ball every fifth day to eat plenty of innings. The 36-year-old racked up 183 2/3 innings pitched. The Cardinals hope he can continue to eat innings this year, but pitch to a better ERA.

National League West Bounce Back Candidates

A division that feels all but decided before Opening Day, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the heavy-favorites in the NL West. With that said, the Giants, Padres and the reigning NL Champion Arizona Diamondbacks all have the chance to make a run at the playoffs this year, especially if some of their best players bounce back to prior form.

James Paxton, Los Angeles Dodgers

James Paxton signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers this offseason in hopes that they could help him get the most out of his stuff to bounce back after a few rocky years. Paxton hasn’t had a completely healthy season since 2019, when he pitched to a 3.82 ERA in 29 starts.

Last year, Paxton was able to get on the mound for 19 starts and pitched to a 4.50 ERA in his lone season with the Boston Red Sox. While Paxton might lose a rotation spot later this season when Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw eventually return, it appears like Big Maple will get his shot in the rotation early in the season.

Joe Mantiply, Arizona Diamondbacks

Back in 2022, Joe Mantiply was one of the better left-handed relievers in baseball. He pitched to a 2.85 ERA in 60 innings pitched. Last year, Mantiply struggled, pitching to a 4.62 ERA in 39 innings pitched. His strikeout percentage dropped more than seven percent from 25.1% to 17.8%.

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Jake Cronenworth, San Diego Padres

After posting an identical 4.2 fWAR two years in a row in 2021 and 2022, Jake Cronenworth saw a big dip in production last season. Fresh off signing a seven-year contract extension, Cronenworth posted a 1.0 fWAR season. He hit just .229/.312/.378, with 10 home runs and a 92 wRC+.

Like many players on the Padres, the hope is that Cronenworth can bounce back and help San Diego once again compete in the NL West.

Michael Conforto, San Francisco Giants

After missing the entirety of the 2022 season, Michael Conforto finally got back on the field healthy in 2023, although he did not put together the best offensive season. Conforto hit .239/.334/.384, with a 100 wRC+.

Those numbers look eerily similar to what he posted back in 2021 with the New York Mets, when he had an identical .384 slugging percentage. Those power numbers are far-cray from what we saw from Conforto earlier in his career, when he hit 33 home runs back in 2019.

Now another year removed from shoulder surgery, the Giants are hoping Conforto can tap back into his power a bit more in 2024.

Kris Bryant, Colorado Rockies

We close with one of the highest-profile players on this list. A man who signed a seven-year, $182 million contract with the Colorado Rockies a few offseasons ago. Bryant has only played 122 games across the first two years of his deal, and last season, he struggled mightily.

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Grading out poorly on both sides of the ball, Bryant was worth -1.2 wins above replacement. He hit just .233/.313/.367, with 10 home runs and a 73 wRC+. Those numbers are a far-cry from his career averages of being a .276/.371/.492 hitter across his nine-year big league career.

Still only 32 years old, Bryant is young enough that Rockies fans can still hold out hope for a bounce back, assuming he can stay healthy.