10 MLB Players Who Are Primed for Comebacks in 2013
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Some MLB players are due for a comeback in a big way in 2013.
They may have missed part or all of 2012 due to injury like New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, or just had a subpar year like San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum.
What all of these players have in common is a hunger to come back big in 2013. And if their track records are any indication, it would be foolish to count against them.
Here are 10 players primed for a big comeback in 2013.
All statistics via ESPN.
Rivera missed nearly all of 2012 after a freak injury.
Rob Carr/Getty Images
The New York Yankees closer pitched in just nine games in 2012 after suffering an ACL injury while shagging fly balls. Rivera resigned a one-year with the Bombers in the offseason, and all systems are a go for the greatest reliever ever.
Rivera may be 43 but age hasn’t slowed him. In 2011 he pitched to a 1.91 ERA, 60 strikeouts and 44 saves in 64 appearances. You’d have to go back to 2002 to find the last season Rivera pitched in less than 60 games.
Even last season, Rivera was off to a strong start, striking out eight in his nine appearances. Expect the Yankees closer to return to form in 2013.
Bautista played in just 92 games in 2012.
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
The Toronto Blue Jays right fielder had a respectable 27 home runs and 65 RBIs in 2012, but those numbers pale in comparison to his previous two seasons.
By comparison, he hit for 54 home runs and 124 RBIs in 2010 and 43 home runs and 103 RBIs in 2011.
Bautista played in just 92 games last year thanks to a wrist injury and hit a paltry .241.
But with the Blue Jays adding shortstop Jose Reyes and outfielder Melky Cabrera to the lineup in the offseason, Bautista will enjoy even more lineup protection and should return to form.
Martinez hit more than 100 RBIs in his first season as a Tiger.
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Unfortunately for Martinez, he missed all of 2012 with an ACL injury. While the Detroit Tigers signed Prince Fielder and went on to a World Series appearance, expect the Tigers designated hitter to come back strong in 2013.
Comerica Park may not be a hitter’s haven, but Martinez performed well in his first season in a Tigers uniform. In 145 games he batted .330 and drove in 103 runs.
With a deep Detroit lineup, expect Martinez to return strong in 2013.
Halladay is a two-time Cy Young winner.
Jason Arnold/Getty Images
The Philadelphia Phillies ace only pitched in 25 games in 2012 thanks to a shoulder injury and a trip to the DL, but expect Halladay to bounce back in 2013.
The two-time Cy Young winner had an uncharacteristically poor season, pitching to just an 11-8 record and a 4.49 ERA with 132 strikeouts.
However, Halladay has proven to be nothing if not consistent. Prior to last season he had six straight years of at least 30 games pitched. The past four seasons he has struck out more than 200 batters and kept his ERA below three runs.
Expect the Halladay of old to return to the mound in 2013.
Lincecum had an uncharacteristically poor year in 2012.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
The San Francisco Giants better hope The Freak’s 2012 season was an aberration if they are to have any shot at repeating as World Series champions.
The two-time Cy Young winner had a bloated 5.18 ERA to go with a 10-15 record in 33 starts last season. While Lincecum did strike out 190 batters, that was a closest thing to a bright spot for him on the season.
The Giants hurler did turn things around a bit in the postseason. While he only started one game, he thrived as a reliever, striking out 20 in 17.2 innings with a 2.55 ERA.
After that type of performance, there’s no reason to believe Lincecum can’t return to his Cy Young form when he routinely struck out 200-plus batters and held his ERA under three.
2013 will be the first in a Dodgers uniform for Crawford.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder endured a rocky 2012, playing in just 31 games and being traded from the Boston Red Sox.
Crawford was never really a good fit in Fenway and should benefit from a full season out in Chavez Ravine.
While he may never play up to his $142 million dollar contract, he should benefit from the lineup protection Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez offer.
From 2005 to 2010 with the Tampa Bay Rays, Crawford only had one season where he did not bat .300 and steal at least 40 bases. In a new city, expect him to play closer to that level in 2013.
Longoria signed a big extension with the Rays in the offseason.
J. Meric/Getty Images
The Tampa Bay Rays third baseman played in just 74 games in 2012, adding 17 home runs and 55 RBIs with a .289 batting average in that span.
At that pace over a season Longoria would have had a great year, but a hamstring injury got the best of him.
Longoria signed a six-year $100 million contract extension with the Rays in the offseason, so expect him to come into 2013 with a vengeance.
The two-time Gold Glove winner has driven in 100 runners and clubbed 30 home runs twice in his young career. Expect those types of numbers from Longoria in 2013.
Utley suffered an injury-shortened 2012 season.
Rob Carr/Getty Images
The Philadelphia Phillies second baseman missed the first half of last season due to knee issues, but a return to form in 2013 is to be expected.
Utley’s production has fallen off a bit the past few years as he hasn’t played in more than 115 games since 2009. That year he hit 31 home runs to go with 93 RBIs—so he’s still got a stroke.
Utley is still only 34 and will have newcomer Michael Young to help spell him in the infield. As long as the Phillies second baseman stays healthy—and that’s a bit of an if—a resurgent 2013 seems to in order.
Look for Kemp to bop 30 home runs and bat in 100 runners in 2013.
Harry How/Getty Images
The Los Angeles Dodgers outfield had a respectable 2012 campaign, batting .303 with 23 home runs and 69 RBIs in only 106 games.
But that comes off as disappointing following Kemp’s incredible 2011 when he batted a sizzling .324 to go with 39 home runs and 124 RBIs.
With a stacked Dodgers lineup—Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford add protection—and aces Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke, the time to win is now in Los Angeles.
Expect Kemp to have a banner 2013 as he leads the new-look Dodgers.
Expect the Rockies shortstop to bounce back in 2013.
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
The Colorado Rockies shortstop had an injury-shortened 2012 campaign. Tulowitzki played in just 47 games, hitting .287 to go with 8 home runs and 27 RBIs.
But if his 2011 is any indication, the rest of the National League West better watch out in 2013. That year, Tulowitzki batted .302 and hit 30 home runs and knocked in 105 runners.
If he stays healthy for a season, expect Tulowitzki to wreak havoc in the thin Rocky Mountain air.