Every year in the MLB, there are players who build a reputation in the league by putting together some consistently productive games. An example from 2020 is Randy Arozarena, who provided seven homers for the Rays in the last month of the regular season, and took his hot streak into the playoffs. Here is a player from each team in the AL Central who can have a breakout season in 2021.
Chicago White Sox: Luis Robert (OF)
The White Sox have a lot of eyes on them going into 2021, and one of the reasons is to see how Luis Robert can do in his first full season. He will likely be patrolling center field for Chicago in 2021, and will get to showcase his arm and fielding ability as he already won a Gold Glove in 2020. He also has pop in his swing. At just 23-years-old, it’s pretty clear why there has been a lot of hype around him. If he could have a breakout season in 2021, it can be the first of many All-Star caliber years for the White Sox outfielder.
Cleveland Indians: Triston McKenzie (SP)
Although the Indians lost some of their starters like Francisco Lindor, the team has a lot of young players that can develop and breakout this season. One of them is starting pitcher Triston McKenzie. He debuted last season and made eight appearances for a total of 33 1/3 innings. McKenzie posted a 3.24 ERA in those innings. One thing that stands out is his 0.900 WHIP last season. He struck out 42 hitters and walked just nine with 21 hits allowed. More strikeouts than hits is a big plus for a big league pitcher, and though it’s a small sample size, McKenzie could continue to put up solid stats like his low WHIP this season.
Detroit Tigers: Casey Mize (SP)
Like McKenzie, Casey Mize made his debut last season. However, he did not fare as well. Mize posted a 6.99 ERA in 28 1/3 innings pitched. The 23-year-old allowed 29 hits, so he’s given up more than one hit per inning in a very small sample size. Another problem was that he allowed seven home runs, which is just under homer every four innings. This is definitely something he will want to change going into 2021. Two of Mize’s pitches are a sinker and a splitter, so using those to get more ground balls will be a step in the right direction.
Kansas City Royals: Brady Singer (SP)
Brady Singer is the third starting pitcher to debut in 2020 on this list. The 24-year-old made 12 starts last season. He pitched 64 1/3 innings; striking out 61 batters and compiling a 4.06 ERA. He finished eighth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting and was third amongst American League rookies who pitched in 2020. This can be a confidence boost for Singer. Also, the Royals do not have the best pitching rotation in the league, so Singer may be somewhere in the middle of the rotation, which can also help his confidence.
Minnesota Twins: Alex Kirilloff (OF/1B)
Since 2018, Alex Kirilloff has played in 27 MLB games, so he still has rookie eligibility. He should be on the club this year, and it looks like he can get a some time in the outfield, which can lead to him becoming a starter. In those 27 games, Kirilloff has a slash line of .306/.328/.452 in 62 plate appearances. He also has 279 registered minor league games played where he is slashing .317/.365/.498. About a third of his hits have gone for extra-bases in those 279 games.
Featured Image Courtesy of NBC Sports.