Every year in the MLB, there are players who build a reputation in the league by putting together some consistently productive games, which could be considered a breakout year. 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 West team who can have a breakout season in 2021.
Houston Astros: Cristian Javier (SP)
In a shortened 2020 season, Cristian Javier posted a 3.48 ERA in 54 1/3 innings pitched and finished third for AL Rookie of the Year. He kept his WHIP under 1.000 at 0.994, and struck out three times more batters than he walked with a ratio of 54:18. Javier has pitched three scoreless innings to start his 2021 Spring Training campaign. If he keeps that pace across a full season, he should be able to have quite the year in Houston.
Los Angeles Angels: Griffin Canning (SP)
Griffin Canning has spent two seasons in the big leagues, but didn’t surpass 100 innings in either of them. He threw 90 1/3 innings in 2019 and posted a 4.58 ERA. He showed some notable improvements in 2021, such as an ERA down to 3.99. Canning has also showed the ability to strike hitters out consistently, averaging a little over a strikeout per inning pitched. However, he also went up slightly in H/9 and BB/9 from 2019 to 2020, which is something he will want to work on heading into 2021.
Oakland Athletics: Sean Murphy (C)
Sean Murphy has played in 63 games across 2019 and 2020 to start his big league career. He has 11 homers, 10 doubles and 53 RBIs. Murphy also has a solid slash line of .237/.355/.491. If he got to play a full season last year, it very well could have been a breakout season. However, it could be tougher to tell with 140 plate appearances compared to a full season’s worth. However, if he can continue to keep a high OBP and a slugging percentage near .500, a breakout year should be on the horizon for Murphy.
Seattle Mariners: J.P. Crawford (SS)
J.P. has been a highly rated prospect through his time in the minors, but he hasn’t quite met the potential he was rated at yet. He won a Gold Glove in 2020, so things are going pretty well defensively for him, but the offensive end hasn’t been the same. He is currently slashing .231/.325/.359 through his first 218 MLB games. Crawford also hasn’t played more than 93 games in a single season, which could be a factor in his lacking offense. If he finds an increase in offensive production in 2021, he can certainly be on the breakout list in the MLB.
Texas Rangers: Nick Solak (2B, 3B, LF)
It is looking like Nick Solak is going to start at second base for the Rangers in 2021. He could play at other positions as well, which increases his value to the team and could increase his playing time. Solak currently has a .747 OPS in 91 big league contests. He has 90 hits in those games, 24 of which have gone for extra-bases. Solak also has 40 RBIs and has drawn 33 base on balls. The 26-year-old has helped solidify his spot by his .324/.342/.676 line through his first 13 Spring Training games of 2021.
Featured Image Courtesy of Athletics Nation.