It’s never easy for MLB fans to see homegrown talent leave their favorite team.
But these days, it’s very rare to see a player spend his entire career with a single club.
There are some superstar-caliber MLB players we could see in a new uniform for the first time in 2022, and while the thought is exciting for neutral fans, it’s just the opposite for fans of that player and team.
These two homegrown stars highlight the list of players who could be on the move in 2022.
2. Kris Bryant
The Chicago Cubs selected Kris Bryant in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft.
He was always regarded as a top prospect as he made his way through the farm system, and he completely lived up to expectations when he finally broke into The Show.
Cubs fans’ first impression of Bryant was a Rookie of the Year campaign in 2015.
That year, he batted .275 with an .858 OPS, 135 OPS+, and 26 homers in 151 games.
He also added a WAR of 5.3, an outstanding number for a rookie.
Fans didn’t have to wait very long for Bryant to exceed what he accomplished that year, though.
In 2016, the young phenom slashed .292/.385/.554 to complement 39 home runs, 35 doubles, three triples, and a 146 OPS+.
He accumulated a WAR of 7.3 and was named the National League MVP.
Oh, and by the way, he helped the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years.
It’s safe to say that Bryant had already engraved his name in the hearts of Cubs fans at that point, but he didn’t stop there.
He has continued to produce at an All-Star-caliber level in nearly every year of his tenure with Chicago.
In all, he has been named to three All-Star teams.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 26, 2021
He is a career .279 hitter with an .885 OPS.
He averages a WAR of 5.4 per 162 games.
But all good things must come to an end, and it’s a very real possibility that Bryant and the Cubs will part ways this offseason, as the star’s contract is set to expire.
For a while, it looked like the Cubs were going to try to trade Bryant, but with the team hanging around in the playoff race this year, he will likely stick around for one more postseason run.
1. Freddie Freeman
The Atlanta Braves drafted Freddie Freeman in the second round of the 2007 MLB Draft.
That feels like ages ago, and it also feels like Freeman has been a Brave forever.
The craziest part is that Freeman has played some of his best baseball in the latter stages of his career, but maybe it’s not so crazy when you consider the fact that is somehow still just 31 years old.
When you break into the league at 20, it’s easy to seem older than you really are.
He was named the National League MVP in 2020 after batting .341 with a 1.102 OPS.
Freeman is a career .293 hitter with an .889 OPS.
Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves (17) pic.twitter.com/XD7KW3AMgy
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) June 24, 2021
He has been named to four All-Star teams, has received Silver Sluggers honors twice, and Gold Glove honors once.
But his numbers do the best possible job expressing how consistent he has been throughout his 12 years.
These two bits in particular are fascinating:
- Excluding first two seasons, the veteran has never finished a season with an OPS below .800.
- He has finished every season of his career with an above-average OPS+.
Unfortunately for Braves fans, Freeman is set to hit free agency in the offseason.
The club may very well lose its homegrown star in 2022, or perhaps even sooner if Atlanta decides to deal him at the upcoming deadline.