2014 was definitely an interesting year, and we got to see some real star-power from rookie pitchers such as Masahiro Tanaka and Jacob deGrom.
But can we see a sophomore slump from either of them? Or will they get better?
I have narrowed it down to the top three players to watch in 2015 and interestingly, I do not believe that A-Rod is one of them. Also, they are interestingly all pitchers. What I am looking for, is players that are expected to come back and make a huge impact, which is why players like A-Rod are not on the list, because hey, can we really expect anything more than a mediocre season from A-Rod?
Jose Fernandez, SP, Marlins
Ok lets just remember that Jose Fernandez pitched for the Marlins as of 2 years ago, meaning that they are not nearly as good as the Marlins we saw in 2014. So, even with the poor offense, he still managed to win 12 games. What that means is that he had an extremely low ERA of just 2.19. He also had a WHIP under 1.00. I think that that was possibly one of the greatest rookie seasons for a pitcher ever. But, there is a downside. He missed all of last season. Why this is a downside is because we don’t know if he is a fluke or if he can prove to be an ace once-again in 2015.
Prediction: 13-8 2.50 ERA 218 SO
Masahiro Tanaka, SP, Yankees
People criticized the Yankees last offseason for signing Tanaka to such a big deal. People thought that pitching in Japan wasn’t enough to prove himself. Tanaka proved all of those people wrong, by pitching to a 13-5 record with a 2.77 ERA in just HALF A SEASON. He managed to win 13 games in just half a season. We could easily expect him to win 20 games in a full season. But, like Fernandez, there is a downside. A more serious downside. Tanaka left with a tear in his UCL, which usually means Tommy John surgery, but he opted to not go for the surgery which could have been a mistake. Tanaka announced today that his elbow has “healed” but only time will tell if that is a true statement.
Prediction: 18-8 3.10 ERA 227 SO
Matt Harvey, SP, Mets
Matt Harvey had an excellent 2013, pitching to a 2.27 ERA, going 9-5 and striking out over 170 batters. He even finished 4th in NL Cy Young voting. His season was excellent, but like our other two candidates, he had arm problems and missed the entire 2014 season. We don’t know exactly what to expect from Harvey, but one thing is for sure. He will be playing with a different team than the team he once pitched for, meaning that the 2015 Mets will definitely be better than the 2013 Mets he was used to, meaning that he can expect more run support.
Prediction: 14-5 2.98 ERA 188 SO