15 MLB Players With The Most To Prove In 2013
15 MLB Players With The Most To Prove In 2013
Major League Baseball is a billion dollar industry where extreme expectations and pressure are placed upon owners, managers and obviously the players. The players are paid copious amounts of money to perform at an extremely high level of play on the field and are expected to lead their respective teams to greatness.
For a multitude of reasons, this is not always the case. Players under perform due to injury, lack of motivation or commitment, erosion of skill and even personal off field issues. Players who experience a down year or don’t necessarily live up the expectations placed upon them by their team and fans must look to bounce back and prove the naysayers wrong.
This season is no different with many teams fielding players looking to rebound or entering the season with a chip on their shoulder to prove someone wrong whether it be an owner, manager or teammates.
If you access your favorite team, I am positive you can easily name a few players who are more motivated entering this season than in previous years. This season we have players returning from performance enhancing suspensions, players traded or shuffled to new teams and demoted players who had to swallow their pride and report to the minors.
Here is a list of 15 players whose respective baseball careers may hinge on a successful season and have something to prove to the baseball world entering the 2013 campaign.
Clayton Richer covers the Toronto Blue Jays for Rant Sports. Follow and interact with him on Twitter at @MLBHotCorner.
Carl Crawford is returning from injury and the Dodgers have $20 million reasons why they need a huge year from him. If Crawford cannot return to All-Star form, top prospect Yasiel Puig is knocking on the door which could see Crawford get shipped out of California.
Ubaldo Jimenez had an atrocious 2012 season losing 17 games and posting an ERA of 5.40 for the Cleveland Indians. The former All-Star will attempt to prove he belongs in a major league rotation in 2013.
If the Philadelphia Phillies have any chance in the National League East, they will need Ryan Howard to return to MVP form. Howard spent more than half the season on the disabled list in 2012 and only batted .219 when he returned to action.
Ricky Romero will not break camp with the Toronto Blue Jays after being demoted to Single A. The opening day starter for the Jays in 2012 will have to tooth and claw his way back to the majors in 2013.
Roy Halladay has arguably been the most dominant pitcher in the majors over the last decade. He struggled in 2012 posting a 4.49 ERA. Halladay will need to prove father time is not catching up to him in 2013.
Yunel Escobar will attempt to put his eye black scandal behind him and reassert himself as a premier shortstop with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013.
The former first rounder was dealt to the Cleveland Indians in the offseason and was poised to earn a spot in the Indians rotation. Bauer had a terrible spring and was demoted back to the minors, and the clock is ticking for the hurler.
Jon Lester will look to regain his All-Star form and lead the Boston Red Sox in the much improved American League East. Lester slipped to 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA in 2012
Colby Rasmus must figure it out in 2013. The five tool player will need to make more consistent contact in 2012 and improve on his 149 strikeouts. If Rasmus gets off to a slow start, the Jays have Anthony Gose chomping at the bit to get a shot at the center field job.
The former 2nd overall pick is in jeopardy of losing his major league job. Ackley had a terrible 2012 batting .226 with an unimpressive OPS of .622. Ackley will have to figure it out in 2013 or he will find himself riding a bus to the ballpark.
Torii Hunter will begin the season with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove to his former Los Angeles Angels team. Hunter was not offered a contract by the Angels who in turn went out and signed Josh Hamilton to a monster deal.
Drew Stubbs was dealt to the Cleveland Indians along with Trevor Bauer in the offseason. Stubbs will look to improve on his .213 average and .610 OPS from 2012. In the last two seasons, Stubbs has struck out an alarming 371 times. Stubbs will need to make consistent contact or he will be find himself watching ball games from the bench.
The man known as "The Freak" put up some freakish unorthodox numbers last season. Lincecum posted a 10-15 record with a bloated 5.18 earned run average for the World Champions. Lincecum needs to assert himself as a front of the rotation starter again in 2013.
Melky Cabrera will attempt to prove to the world that he can be a successful major leaguer without the assistance of performance enhancing drugs. Cabrera has nestled himself into a nice lineup for a rebound season.
Justin Upton was finally dealt to the Atlanta Braves after years of trade speculation and reunited with his brother. Upton will look to improve on a lackluster 2012 season with the stacked Braves.