Early Predictions for the Breakout Pitchers of MLB Spring Training
Each year there are a number of pitchers who get off to a good start during spring training and then are able to carry their performances over to the regular season.
These breakout pitchers can have huge impacts on the playoff races around the MLB. While every team is looking for these starters, they are not easy to find.
This season will be no different, and there are a number of starters who could end up being these breakout players. The following five pitchers all have a chance to have breakout years.
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As the Chicago Cubs look to continue rebuilding in 2013, they will hope that some of their young players can take big steps forward. Jeff Samardzija could very well be one of those players.
In 2011, Samardzija proved that he can be an effective reliever, and during this past season, the Cubs moved him to their rotation. Chances are that Samardzija's numbers will be much better this year.
He was victimized by a 12.8 percent HR/FB rate, which hurt his ERA. Samardzija has improved his strikeout and walk rates and could be a big sleeper this season.
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Throughout the course of the 2012 season, there were moments where Dillon Gee looked like he would breakout. That never happened and his year was cut short as the result of a blood clot.
Assuming that Gee is able to stay healthy all year, he could be a big piece of the New York Mets rotation. It would not be that surprising to see Gee post a sub-3.50 ERA in 2013.
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After their relatively quiet offseason, the Texas Rangers are going to need to rely on a number of their young prospects to make an impact. This means that Martin Perez could get a big opportunity in 2013.
Perez is one of the Rangers' top pitching prospects, and although he is just 21 years old, he already has big league experience. There is a lot to like about Perez, and he has the talent to be one of the biggest surprises of the season.
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If the Boston Red Sox are going to have a chance to contend in the ultra-competitive American League East in 2013, they are going to need an outstanding year out of their starting rotation.
Felix Doubront's continued development will play a big role in that. The most impressive thing about Doubront's performance last season was his 9.34 K/9 rate. If Doubront can make improvements in other areas, then he could be in for a good year.
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It looked like James McDonald was going to be a breakout starter in 2012, but he struggled mightily after the All-Star break. However, there is still a lot to like about McDonald.
In the first half of 2012, he pitched to a 2.73 ERA and had a 0.98 WHIP. McDonald also had a 3.23 K/BB rate. One of the reasons for his struggles in the second half was because this rate fell to 1.34.
McDonald proved that he can be a breakout pitcher, and it will be interesting to see if he can perform at a high level for the entire 2013 season.