Six MLB Players Who Should Bounce Back In 2021by John Supi March 3, 2021 0 comments
Last year was a strange year. The players started spring training just to have it abruptly end due to the pandemic. After much back and forth from the player’s association and the owners, a 60-game season commenced. With the unusual circumstances of the season, we saw some star players struggle and have an uncharacteristic season. With everything (hopefully) starting on time, we could see these players return to glory. Here are some of those players poised to have a bounceback in 2021.
Yelich was the 2018 National League Most Valuable Player and finished second the following year, that’s why his 2020 season was so bizarre. He finished batting .205 with a career-low in on-base percentage and OPS+, but could it had just been bad luck? Yelich finished with a career-high in exit velocity (98) and finished with a low strikeout percentile ranking (11), and whiff percentile ranking (12). This is why I believe last year was a fluke and you will see him back to his normal self.
The 2019 National League Rookie of The Year went like the polar bear’s habitat in 2020, very cold. Although he had what you would say is a sophomore slump, there wasn’t much difference in some numbers; his walk rate only dropped from 10.4% to 10.0%, his hard-hit rate from 42.7% to 41.2%, and his strikeout rate actually dipped slightly from 26.4% to 25.5%. The reason for the struggle could be because he had trouble adjusting to the shift. His plate appearances with the shift went from 25.0% in 2019 up to 38.1% last year. If he can make the adjustments this season, we can see a bounce back in 2021.
For Arenado, it may not have been so much his situation on the field as the reason he struggled in 2020, but off it. Going into the 2020 season there were rumors the Colorado Rockies were considering trading their superstar third basemen just a year after giving him a big contract. This and the struggles of the team could have contributed to Arenado’s poor numbers. This season he will have a brand new attitude with his brand new team; he comes to a St. Louis Cardinals squad that is poised to make a playoff run. This will be the first time in a while Arenado will have a realistic chance with a contender and we’ll see him back to his old self this year.
2020 was supposed to be the year Flaherty made the push into the Cy Young conversation. Unfortunately for him and the Cardinals as a whole, several Covid outbreaks really hurt the team’s ability to play a steady schedule. Although his ERA was almost at five, that was due to only making nine starts, and one bad outing of allowing nine earned really skewed those numbers. His 28.8% strikeout rate was near his career average and his 34.4% whiff rate was better than in 2018 and 2019.
Just two years ago, Báez was the runner-up for National League Most Valuable Player and was poised to be a force in the league. Last year he posted career lows in batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage. He recently admitted that after helping the Chicago Cubs win their first World Series in 108 years, the celebrity life took a toll on him, and pulled him away from concentrating on baseball. There have been a few changes to the Cubs roster this offseason, and he’ll be looked upon to help put a boost in this offense.
Not only did Bregman have to deal with the challenges of the 2020 season, but also had the Houston Astros cheating scandal looming over him and the entire team. Now with fans coming back, there is the X-factor of dealing with the backlash from the stands, can Bregman persevere? When you look deeper in Bregman’s season, there are some positives; the average and power numbers weren’t great but he still was in the 90th percentile in strikeouts, 96th percentile in whiffs, and tied his career-high with 91.8 zone contact percentage.
Follow John Supowitz on Twitter @ImThatSupi
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images