Young MLB Pitchers Ready to Break Out Next Season

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Young MLB Pitchers Ready to Break Out Next Season
Koji Watanabe/Getty Images
Masahiro Tanaka is expected to be the next big name to come over from Japan.

In 2013, a new group of young pitching stars emerged with Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez leading the way. Rookies Gerrit Cole, Pat Corbin, Shelby Miller, Martin Perez, Hyun-jin Ryu, Julio Teheran and Zack Wheeler also burst onto the scene and appear to have cemented themselves near the top of their respective team's starting rotation for years to come.

So if you're a fan of pitching, you've probably had an enjoyable season. And fortunately, there are more big-time arms ready to break out in 2014. This group includes another potential Japanese import, 24-year-old right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who is expected to be posted by his current team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, as was first reported by former big league and Japanese League pitcher C.J. Nitkowski in an ESPN Insider article back in early March.

Tanaka isn't believed to be as good as Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, but many still consider him to be a top-of-the-rotation starter with a mid-90s fastball, plus-plus splitter and solid breaking pitches. If he's anywhere close to Darvish and Ryu, who were posted in each of the past two respective seasons, acquiring him could have just as big of an impact than signing either of the top two free-agent starters available—Matt Garza and Ervin Santana. 

Here's a look at seven other young starting pitchers who are ready to make a major impact in 2014.


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