Three MLB underrated pitchers of 2022

The 2022 MLB season gave us a plethora of surprises, the emergence of Julio Rodriguez, the playoff upsets and some players coming out of nowhere to post solid seasons.

Some are more well-known than others, but let’s focus on the underrated pitchers of the 2022 season.

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Merrill Kelly (13-8, 3.37 ERA, 1.14 WHIP)

A lot of fans recognize Zac Gallen as the ace of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and understandingly so after the 2022 season. But he is not the only bright spot in the Arizona rotation as Kelly posted a solid season too.

The eight losses look excessive, but when five of them come against the Los Angeles Dodgers, it shows Kelly struggled against one team more than the league. In these five starts, two were blow-up games where Kelly allowed five and eight runs, but the other three losses to the Dodgers he allowed three.

His other three losses against Detroit, Cincinnati and San Francisco he allowed, four, five and eight runs. He pitched an incredible July with a 4-0 record and 1.31 ERA with a 0.77 WHIP. These were against some of the better teams in the league too as he picked up two wins against the Giants and one against the Padres.

The biggest problem was the Dodgers for Kelly. The argument can be made that the Dodgers gave every decent pitcher problems, but Kelly still posted a respectable record despite it.

Cal Quantrill (15-5, 3.38 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)

This season may surprise casual fans as Quantrill is an under-the-radar pitcher. He pitches for the Cleveland Guardians, not a huge strikeout per nine (K/9) guy and is not even the ace of his staff. But when Shane Bieber, faltered, Cleveland maintained contention due to Quantrill.

In August, Quantrill owned a 4-0 record with a 2.13 ERA and WHIP of  0.76. He regressed in September, but posted a 3-0 record in six starts with a 3.06 ERA and 1.39 WHIP.

His last lost came on July 5 against the Tigers where he allowed three runs. In his17 starts after he allowed three or more runs just six times, and these were no decisions. Quantrill was lucky in some of these starts because he allowed four or more runs and escaped with a no decision.

In 2021, Quantrill posted an 8-3 record with a 2.89 ERA in 22 games started. While his ERA, WHIP, and opponent batting average rose, he made 10 more starts. He may have declined, but he pitched a tremendous season and if he takes a step forward in 2023, he may become one of the better pitchers in the league.

Joe Ryan (13-8, 3.55 ERA, 1.10 WHIP)

In limited action for the 2021 season, Ryan showed some promise for the Minnesota Twins. His 4.05 ERA disagreed, but the .168 opponent batting average and WHIP of 0.79 showed potential. His 10.13 (K/9) in 2021 demonstrated strikeout upside.

Fast forward to 2022, and Ryan became a rookie phenom pitcher, and while he did not win rookie of the year, he delivered for Minnesota. In six of the eight losses,  he surrendered four or more runs including a horrible 10 runs allowed against the Padres. This may be alarming in the 2023 season because when Ryan is off, he is abysmal.

His 9.24 (K/9) in his rookie season gives Minnesota a true ace in the making. Since 2023 will be Ryan’s opportunity at a second full season it is important to watch for a sophomore slump.

While he is not the most recognized pitcher for the Twins, Sonny Gray or Kenta Maeda are probably more well-known, he owns the highest upside.