It’s a known fact that whatever goes up but come down whether it’s simple physics or the world of entertainment and sports. It works that way in all areas, even sports where some hit that plateau and feel the pressure is too great and plummet back down to earth. Others continue striving to stay on top and will work harder to make sure they stay there. Bryce Harper is surely one of the best examples as the year before, no one really knew who he was, but after 2015, everyone knew who he was with and without clothes on (as the ESPN Body Issue showed off).
But it doesn’t necessarily work that way in baseball.
Of MLB’s 25 most improved players — as defined by the biggest jumps between 2014 WAR and 2015 WAR — some will prove their leaps are wholeheartedly sustainable. In 2016, they’ll live up to the new set of expectations, boosting their squads by significant amounts while cementing themselves as stars and superstars.
Others, however, will follow that maxim from above.
While finalizing the list of the 25 most improved players, our friends at Point After decided to omit guys who were rookies during the 2015 season or spent most of 2014 injured. Technically, players such as Kris Bryant, Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor had massive WAR increases, but they shouldn’t count because they’re new to the Major Leagues.
Mookie Betts serves as a non-rookie example. He provided 3.9 additional WAR in 2015 but would’ve improved by just 0.1 WAR if he’d played an equivalent number of games during each of the two relevant seasons.
For that reason, candidates needed to record a plate appearance in at least 75 games or pitch in at least 30 games during the 2014 season to qualify for these rankings.