In every season, there are always certain moments when some previously unknown players come to the limelight and rise to stardom. Of all the significant number of players drafted in the previous seasons, how many of them finished as top players at the end of the season? While certain players’ performances dwindled as the 2020 season ended, the 2021 MLB season provides us with an opportunity to watch some new stars as they take a leap towards the scene of fame, or which known stars can further cement their greatness.
We’ve selected three players to look out for in 2021, though in no particular order. These pitchers might not have gotten their acts together yet; nevertheless, their selection is based on their show of talents as well as potentials as great pitchers in the MLB.
Note that the selection does not necessarily reflect the best players in any way, but is only an opinion-based selection; neither does it project wins or outvalue players that may come up at the later part of the year. If you are a baseball bettor, you can check out the helpful betting tips from the resources made available by Online Betting Guide.
Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
The last two seasons have revealed that there might not be a better pitcher than Jacob deGrom. He is, in fact, already a star. Still, as he enters his mid-30s, he has a great opportunity to cement his greatness by maintaining his level of dominance past what is considered to be his prime.
Even at 33, where most pitchers’ performance dwindle, the New York Mets’ ace continues to demonstrate that one can always cheat age. He is known to continuously improve his fastball velocity, a skill that diminishes with time. deGrom is the type of pitcher that every team wants to have.
He is a three-time All-Star, the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, and the 2018 and 2019 NL Cy Young Awards. Additionally, he has finished top-ten of the MVP voting twice. Despite the fact that he doesn’t receive significant run support, he pitches in an inspiring way. Over his seven-year career, he has posted a 70-51 record with a 1.047 WHIP and a 2.61 ERA. Even with this, he is yet to show any sign of slowing down.
His 1.047 WHIP, which ranks seventh all-time, his 10.46 K/9, and 150 ERA+ all qualify him to be considered as one of the greatest in MLB history through seven seasons.
Daulton Varsho, Arizona Diamondbacks
Daulton Varsho‘s performance in his first taste of major league action in 2020 was not impressive. He posted a .653 OPS and 0 rWAR in 37 games played. Still, he was the Arizona Diamondbacks’ fifth-best prospect heading into 2020. Having spent six weeks on the disabled list with a broken hamate bone, he faced some difficult times.
The 25-year-old lefty is known for having a great eye and making good contact on the ball. Additionally, he demonstrated his athleticism during the season. Varsho was drafted as a catcher, but he also had some time in the outfield. His manager once lauded him for his ability to adapt to whatever role he was given.
The three walks and four hits he had in 33 plate appearances, while not a ton of production, are a reflection of the great discipline he displays at the play. The D-backs only needs to give him more playing time to fully realize his potential as a quality MLB player.
Keegan Akin, Baltimore Orioles
Since he was first drafted in 2016, Akin has become a name of interest among Baltimore Orioles fans. Akin started his first MLB game in late August in an empty stadium. His teammate John Means had told him about how the experience would be different in front of a crowd. He replied on a note of optimism.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic that affected the 2020 season, the left-hander debuted against the Washington Nationals on August 14th. He pitched well, at times. His start against the Toronto Blue Jays on August 31st saw him finish with two runs and three hits with two walks in 4 1/3 innings and six strikeouts. Altogether, he appeared in eight games which also included six starts. He went 1-2 with a 1.44 WHIP and 4.56 ERA. Akin struck out 35 hitters in 25 2/3 innings and allowing 27 hits and 10 walks.
Akin has demonstrated his continuous practice of finetuning his command and pitch development skills. He only needs more consistency, and his team also has a significant role to play in his development. The team’s investment in the pitcher will start to yield great returns in the 2021 MLB season. During Spring Training, Akin continued to show that he can always make a significant impact if given the opportunity.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images