By: Logan McKee, KCOU Sports
Every MLB season has its share of breakout players. It may be one of the most unpredictable occurrences found in the long baseball season. Whether it be a 20-year-old Mike Trout, or a 27-year Cuban outfielder, somebody is bound to catch everyone off guard. Here are my five names to watch for the upcoming MLB campaign.
- SP Drew Pomeranz, Oakland Athletics
After being selected with the fifth overall selection in the 2010 draft by the Cleveland Indians, Drew Pomeranz has bounced around a bit. Pomeranz struggled in his brief moments in a Colorado Rockies uniform, despite posting impressive minor league stats. Maybe the hitter-friendly ballpark was holding the young 240-lb lefty back because Pomeranz earned a spot in the Oakland A’s rotation last year.
With the departure of John Lester, the Athletics will need someone to step up and replace that production. Pomeranz has shown promise with a 2.35 ERA en route to 10 wins in 20 starts in his first action with Oakland. In his first full season as a starter, look for Pomeranz to burst on the scene and become a major cog in the Athletics rotation.
- OF Avisail Garcia, Chicago White-Sox
The Southside of Chicago already witnessed a breakout season with the show Jose Abreu displayed all last year. I believe Chicago may have another breakout player on their hands.
After suffering an injury in the first week of the season in 2014, Garcia wasn’t able to return to the lineup until the tail end of the season. Garcia is a legitimate five-tool player who has a chance to thrive in the middle of this revamped White-Sox lineup. Keep an on this 6’4” 240 lb. prospect from Venezuela.
- OF Jorge Soler, Chicago Cubs
The MLB has seen a number of young Cuban prospects thrive in recent years and I think Jorge Soler will continue that trend. The 23-year-old outfielder assaulted minor league pitching posting a .340/.432/.700 slash line with 15 dingers. Soler has as much raw power as any prospect today and he has reportedly tacked on an extra 15 lbs. of muscle this offseason.
The Cubs are loaded with young potential and you could honestly make a case for a number of players on their roster to have a breakout season, such as Javier Baez and Kris Bryant. With Anthony Rizzo already dominating big-league pitching, watch out for Soler to become a nice complement to the left-handed stud.
- RP, SP Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals breed starting pitchers. With Yadier Molina behind the plate, the Cardinals are able to squeeze the most out of their pitching staff. The hard-throwing 23-year-old right hander has dominated minor league hitters and has maintained a solid spot in St. Louis bullpen over the last two seasons.
As seen done with many young, talented arms, Martinez was given his first big-league experience as a relief pitcher. Now, with Joe Kelly and Shelby Miller out of town, Martinez has a golden opportunity to lock up a spot in the Cards’ rotation. His main competition for the final sport in the rotation should be Marco Gonzalez, another talented young arm. If he does indeed snag that spot, look for Martinez to make a name for himself.
- OF Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox were big spenders this winter as they were able to sign Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. But an overlooked addition to this ballclub is the speedy Mookie Betts. While he is not technically an addition, Betts was given was given his first big-league taste last year and made a positive impact in his short time with the club.
Along with having one of the coolest names in baseball, he may also be one of quickest. Before being called up to Boston, Mookie had 66 stolen bases, then proceeded to swipe seven more in his time with the Red-Sox. With some heavy, veteran bats behind him, Betts could be rounding third base plenty of times this season. Don’t be surprised by 40 stolen bases either.