Dodgers' Breakout Players, Most Disappointing to Start 2022 Season

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2022

Dodgers' Breakout Players, Most Disappointing to Start 2022 Season

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    There aren't many opportunities for breakout performances on a loaded Los Angeles Dodgers roster, but they have managed to find a few unexpected contributions this season.

    Those have ranged from an under-the-radar reliever carving out a regular role in the bullpen to a young starter who has shown flashes in the past but is now putting it all together to become a key member of the starting rotation.

    On the other end of the spectrum, there are a few veterans who have fallen well short of expectations, with Max Muncy and Justin Turner sitting atop that list.

    Ahead, we've taken a closer look at the biggest breakout players, as well as the most disappointing one, on the Dodgers roster through the first quarter of the 2022 season.

Under-the-Radar Breakout: RHP Evan Phillips

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    Since making his MLB debut with the Atlanta Braves on July 3, 2018, right-hander Evan Phillips has bounced around from the Baltimore Orioles to the Tampa Bay Rays to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    The Dodgers claimed the 27-year-old off waivers from the Rays last August, and he made seven appearances following the move, posting a 3.48 ERA in 10.1 innings.

    He pitched his way onto the Opening Day roster this spring, and with Kenley Jansen gone and Blake Treinen injured, he has taken advantage of his opportunity in the bullpen.

    Phillips is tied for second on the Dodgers with 16 appearances, and he sports a 2.81 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 11.3 K/9 with three holds. Not bad for a pitcher who looked to be little more than organizational depth when the season began.

Biggest Disappointment: IF/DH Max Muncy

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    It was a toss-up between Max Muncy and Justin Turner as to who has been the bigger disappointment on the Dodgers roster thus far:

    • Muncy: 73 OPS+, .154/.329/.269, 3 HR, 14 RBI
    • Turner: 73 OPS+, .201/.263/.354, 4 HR, 29 RBI

    Muncy has more walks (33) than hits (20), and his offensive value to this point has been tied almost exclusively to his solid on-base percentage.

    Turner has similarly struggled overall, but he's started to pick things up of late, hitting .265/.333/.571 with three home runs and 16 RBI in his last 13 games entering play on Wednesday.

    That's enough for Muncy to earn the less-than-desirable "biggest disappointment" title, and it's fair to wonder whether being forced off of first base by the Freddie Freeman signing to now play a more demanding position at second or third base has had an impact on his offensive game.

Biggest Breakout: RHP Tony Gonsolin

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    When healthy, Tony Gonsolin has always shown significant potential.

    The right-hander entered the 2022 season with a 2.85 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 148 strikeouts in 142.1 innings over the previous three seasons, but he had never pitched more than 55.2 innings in a season, and he had also been used in the bullpen sporadically.

    The 28-year-old has been a regular member of the rotation from the get-go this year, and he's responded by going 4-0 with a 1.62 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 39 innings over his first eight starts.

    The Dodgers are slowly giving Gonsolin a longer leash, as he's completed six innings in consecutive outings after doing so just once in his first six starts, and he has gone from intriguing depth to another major weapon on the starting staff.


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and accurate through Tuesday's games.