Jumat, 30 Maret 2012

MLB Season Preview: Breakout Players

We are less than a week away from the official Opening Day (even though the A's and Mariners played two games in Japan) and the excitement is building despite the fact that the Final Four is this weekend and the Masters begins on Opening Day. To kick off our MLB season preview, here is a list of players that we think will have breakout seasons this year.

Athletics OF Josh Reddick
Despite the fact that he is not seen as a longterm outfielder for Oakland, Reddick will force his way into them as he has similar hitting abilities to Matt Holliday. The Red Sox should of tried to avoid giving up Reddick when they traded for their new closer Andrew Bailey. Reddick could put up huge number as 25 home runs and 90 RBIs would not surprise me despite the fact that Oakland's stadium is very pitcher-friendly. Reddick has a big bat and could definitely be a young up-and-coming middle of the order hitter for Oakland just like how Jayson Werth took off after he was traded by the Dodgers to Philly. Watch out for Reddick to have a surprisingly impressive season.

Rays OF Matt Joyce
Joyce had a breakout first half last year but he faded down the stretch despite the run the Rays went on to make the playoffs. His struggles in July and August taught him a lesson and he rebounded with an effective September to prove how good of a run producer he is. Joyce has the talent to be the big bat that the Rays are looking for to pair up with Evan Longoria in the middle of the order. Joyce will not have too much pressure to produce on him due to the prescence of Longoria, and Carlos Pena. I expect Joyce to be a 25 to 30 home run guy with around 90 to 100 RBIs as that could depend on some of the guys that are in front of him in the Rays' lineup. Joyce will make a huge impact on a Rays' team that can definitely win a World Series.

Rays SP Matt Moore
The Rays are loaded with talent in their rotation with guys James Shields, David Price, and Jeremy Hellickson occupying the first three spots in the rotation. Matt Moore was elite when he was called up and he proved he could handle pressure when he pitched well against the Rangers in game 1 of the ALDS. Moore is one of the best young pitchers in all of baseball and the Rays made sure they locked him up. One of the best things about Moore is that his pitching form puts very little stress on his arm which means he should have impressive durability and he should be able to be as fresh in October as he is in April. Moore will definitely be the favorite to win rookie of the year as he could be a key part of an excellent Rays' team.

Pirates 3B Pedro Alvarez
The Pirates are loaded with young players that are close to becoming really good players just like the Pirates own star centerfielder Andrew McCutchen. Alvarez is one of the best young infielders in all of baseball and despite the fact that he is not the best defensive third baseman, Alvarez has a huge bat that makes him dangerous in Pittsburgh's stadium. Alvarez was excellent when he was called up in 2012 but was a major disappointment last season for the Pirates. However, I expect to see the Alvarez that wowed fans in 2012 as he could be a 25+ home run guy with around 80 to 90 RBIs. The Pirates will have a shot to have a winning season as long as Alvarez does what I think he can offensively this year.

Dodgers SS Dee Gordon
The Dodgers have been renergized recently with the team being bought by a new ownership group headlined by Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten. Gordon is going to be the leadoff man for the Dodgers as it will be important for him to get on base to set up run-producing opportunities for Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Gordon knows how to get on base whether it be a single, double, or a walk. Once on base, Gordon is a dangerous base stealer as his base stealing ability is similar to that of Marlins SS Jose Reyes. Gordon was impressive last year as he had 24 steals in only 56 games. I expect Gordon to hit for at least a .300 batting average with at least 40 to 45 steals. Gordon is one of the most exciting young player that no one knows that much about.

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