Predicting 20 MLB Players Who Will Have Breakout Season in 2014
Predicting 20 MLB Players Who Will Have Breakout Season in 2014
There are a ton of variables in each and every MLB season that make it special and different from the season prior to it and the ones to follow. Most of those are surrounded around the players themselves and the kind of seasons that they have. Who will compete for which award? Which rookies will shine and fight for the best rookie award? Will any veterans finally have that magical breakout season?
The wonder of the breakout season is what the subject of this article is. In and of itself the breakout season is unique and unpredictable. One main reason for that is the simple fact that no variable or stat can prove whether or not a breakout season is coming or will result in continued performance after it arrives. Many times a player can have a breakout season and then just struggle for the rest of his career.
Also there are many times when the breakout season is the jumping off place for the legends of the next decade to take charge. Something else that is interesting about the breakout season is that it can be different depending on the individual player that it happens to. A pitcher for instance might win 20 games as a breakout season or he might only win 10 but have a dominant ERA all year long.
Hitters can have a breakout season is as many ways as there are statistics to count. Whether it is a base stealer, an RBI machine or a big-time power hitter that is emerging, it is all considered a breakout season. Who will be the breakout stars in 2014? They will be varied and different but still we’ll take a stab at trying to predict who will emerge as a star this season. Take a look and leave a comment below if you want.
20 – Lorenzo Cain – Kansas City Royals
Cain has been on the cusp of breaking out for a few seasons with the Royals. He has all of the tools to be one of the more electric players for the Royals and that certainly means something. Looking at his numbers in the minor leagues and the hot stretches that he has hit from time to time, it seems like he should be capable of a batting average nearing .300 and much more run production. Look for him to take a stab at that in 2014.
19 – Adam Eaton – Chicago White Sox
The entire White Sox team could just about be considered on the brink of a breakout season but some individuals for sure will be on the list of guys to watch. Eaton will be one of them. He has the potential to have severe impact on this team. He won’t slam 40 home runs but that does not take away from what he can do. Just watch him this season and you’ll see it too. Eaton is only one of three White Sox that made this list but he could be the most effective easily.
18 – Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox
You didn’t have to wait for very long on the next White Sox man did you? Abreu almost has no choice but to be a big impact player for the Sox. Right now he only has Adam Dunn and the Chicago legend Paul Konerko on the same roster. If he does not produce it isn’t too difficult to imagine what might happen. Don’t assume he doesn’t know that as well. It will help to push him to a big debut season in MLB.
17 – Jurickson Profar – Texas Rangers
Profar has been one of the most promising young stars in MLB for quite some time but he has yet to cross that magical threshold into being a big impact player. The trade that brought in Prince Fielder also sent Ian Kinsler away however and now Profar will have second base all to himself. Look for him to absolutely love this spot and take full advantage of having the spotlight on him.
16 – Michael Wacha – St. Louis Cardinals
This isn’t too much of a surprise for anyone who watched this guy in the postseason last year. The fact remains that he didn’t see much time in MLB regular season starts however. Having only made nine official starts, he is a mere babe in the game still. Also it is important to remember that success is one’s first postseason appearance does not guarantee success during the entire regular season. It is going to this time though. It might be a toss up to see which starting pitcher is the best for the Cardinals this season. Yes, I just said that.
15 – Adeiny Hechavarria – Miami Marlins
Though he is not thought of as one of the top shortstops in the game, most know well what the Marlins young shortstop is capable of at full potential. Defensively he can make all of the plays plus a few flashy ones. Offensively he could be more than some think he could however. I would expect a big year for him this season where he feeds off of the good moves made by the Marlins to improve their offense this offseason.
14 – Danny Salazar – Cleveland Indians
Few players exist in the majors who have spent such little time as Salazar that also carry the weight of his expectations. The Indians completely need this guy to be a top level starting pitcher for them this season and he only had a small taste of the bigs last year. He showed great signs however and you can probably consider it a safe bet that Salazar will be well deserving of an All-Star spot around mid-season and only get better from there.
13 – Bud Norris – Baltimore Orioles
Norris showed a little plus potential with the Astros last season but wasn’t all that effective once he showed up with the Orioles. He has made it his personal goal to show the Orioles what the real Norris is like all season in 2014. I won’t suggest that he will be an award winner or anything but Norris certainly has the potential to be a huge impact player for the O’s over the balance of the season and that, coupled with a good ERA and 15 wins would certainly be a breakout season.
12 – Starlin Castro – Chicago Cubs
Castro is pretty well known already in MLB but it isn’t a stretch at all to admit he is capable of more. Can you guess who else is capable of more? Whoever said Javier Baez is right on track. Baez is the Cubs’ number one prospect who is crushing the baseball already this spring and making many ask how long the Cubs could possibly wait to call him up. Castro isn’t worried and he shouldn’t be. That is because you can bet that he plans to drive himself to a career season on the desire to make sure the Cubs know where he is.
11 – George Springer – Houston Astros
Springer is basically the offensive version of Salazar for the Astros. They need him to show up this year in the majors and be the player that everyone expects him to be. It is okay if he starts slow or even spends a week or two in the minors to start the year. In the end however he will rise to the bigs and be every bit as impactful as most think he will.
10 – Hector Santiago – Los Angeles Angels
Some fans of the Angels might regret the Mark Trumbo trade for a while if things don’t look good. I think when they see the impact that young starter Santiago can have on the team however they will change their tune. Look for him to be the best of the two starters they gained from that trade at least for this first season.
9 – Jackie Bradley Jr. – Boston Red Sox
Bradley might not quite be as needed as a few of the expected rookie starters this season but I do believe he will prove to be one of the best. Everyone expects Xander Bogaerts to be the shining rookie on this team and he certainly will be good. It shouldn’t surprise anyone however when Bradley is even more impactful over the course of the season.
8 – Billy Hamilton – Cincinnati Reds
At first we can probably assume that Hamilton will have a little issue here and there with getting on base regularly. His time in the minors and at the end of last MLB season suggest that he will find a way on base however. I think his impact will be such that it becomes almost a mini-game within the game itself as to which catchers are good enough to throw him out. He will be great very quickly; no pun intended.
7 – Masahiro Tanaka – New York Yankees
MLB Scouts get paid a lot of money to do a specific job and they are very good at that job. Individually when one or two suggest a player has what it takes to succeed you can look for that player to have a chance. When literally every single scout that knows the game goes nuts over a guy like they did over Tanaka, you know he is great potentially. Already in Spring Training we have seen why. He’ll be dominant as long as no one finds a tell in any of his moves.
6 – Erik Johnson – Chicago White Sox
I hope you didn’t think I forgot the other White Sox player. I promised three and here is the biggest potential star of the three. Look for Johnson’s rookie season to be good enough to warrant serious votes for Rookie of the Year and to outperform some of the veterans around the league who are considered aces.
5 – Josmil Pinto – Minnesota Twins
At the end of last season Pinto did something amazing. It is impossible for anyone to assume they could replace everything that Joe Mauer means to the Twins. At the end of the year in 2013 however, Pinto at least made it comfortable for everyone to suggest Mauer make the move away from the catcher’s position. He should prove to be a very important member of this team this season as long as he can stay healthy all year.
4 – Sonny Gray – Oakland Athletics
Someone just tuning in during the postseason and seeing Gray might have assumed that he was the ace of this staff already because of the way he dominated on the mound. While he is still not considered the ace going into the 2014 season, you can bet that he will be considered that by most fans at the end of the season. Look for great things from this guy right out of the gate.
3 – Chris Owings – Arizona Diamondbacks
The shortstop position is slammed with talent both currently in the majors and with the top prospects in the game. Don’t be surprised when Owings quickly gets his name in the conversation of the best young guys at this position however. If he does not win rookie of the year this season it will be because someone else had a shockingly awesome season.
2 – Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies
Last season Arenado made a lot of defensive noise as a rookie. His offense was not nearly at the same level however. Do not expect the same thing to happen this year. With a full season under his belt and a good offseason of prep work he will see his offense leap towards being the same level as his defense. When that happens you will be able to combine both sides of his game and definitely put him up there with the best third baseman in the National League.
1 – Andrelton Simmons – Atlanta Braves
Simmons has been so good on defense since his MLB debut that most probably consider him to be the best defensive shortstop in the game right now. Offensively his stroke is coming along nicely and he is primed and ready to take the next step in 2014. He will see slightly more power, a higher batting average and more run production this season. When that happens he will easily be named the king of the shortstop mountain in MLB and that is saying a great deal right now.