Noah Syndergaard, RHP
Which pitcher has arrived in Dodger Blue and hasn't gotten better? Add in the raw tools of Noah Syndergaard, his rededication to discovering his velocity, and the baked-in "Tommy John bounce back year" of 2022, and Thor has all the ingredients to be vastly improved next year.
Out of the rehab chamber and into the fire last year, Syndergaard took an expensive one-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to attempt to reestablish his value. He showed flashes, but wasn't the same pitcher; his fastball was down several ticks, and it was often too flat (with impeccable control, which only added further to his Meatball Count).
By the time the playoffs rolled around, Syndergaard had been handed a life raft by the Phillies, and his performance down the stretch in Philadelphia was an upgrade, though he was still limited entering the World Series. During Syndergaard's Fall Classic start, it felt like Phillies manager Rob Thomson was hovering over a "Break Glass in Case of Emergency" call to the bullpen with every single. Ultimately, he allowed a homer and two earned runs in three innings before giving way to relief. The Old Thor? He would've stalked around the mound in fury and commanded the upper quadrant of the plate until the manager ripped the ball from his palm.
That's the guy he's hoping to be in 2023. Even if the Dodgers can't unlock the dormant fire-breathing Thor, they can at least bank on harnessing the soft contact he allowed throughout last season --80th percentile in average exit velocity against.
We'll bet on him missing a few more bats and snarling a little more this season, though.