3 Rookie Pitchers Poised for a Strong Follow-up
Major League Baseball's 2013 season saw many talented, young arms make their debut in the big leagues. These pitchers have been advertised to a high standard and have lived up to their billing. This list details some of the best rookie pitchers entering their sophomore season ready to follow up their 2013 season with an equally impressive 2014 performance.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD
Hyun-Jin Ryu is technically not a rookie pitcher. After pitching for a handful of years professionally in South Korean, Ryu chose to pitch for the Dodgers to follow in the footsteps of fellow countryman Chan-Ho Park. Ryu made bold proclamations at the start of the season, setting his sights on giving the Dodgers a dominant performace every time he was out on the mound. In 2013, Ryu was largely a success in the Dodger lineup.
There's a lot to like about Hyun-Jin Ryu. In his first year with the Dodgers, Ryu placed in the top 25 for just about every statistic imaginable for qualifying pitchers. His body type and pitching style are similar to C.C. Sabathia of the New York Yankees, a dominant left handed starter in his own right. Additionally, Ryu wields the bat quite well for a pitcher, which is always a plus in the National League. The Dodgers have truly earned themselves a dependable, durable starter in Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Zack Wheeler, NYM
The New York Mets should count themselves lucky to have been able to roll out not one, but two ace quality rookie starters in the 2013 campaign. As Matt Harvey works on rehabilitating his arm, Zack Wheeler is set up for a dominant 2014 season. In 100 innings pitched, Wheeler sported a 3.42 earned run average with 84 strikeouts.
Although erratic at times, Wheeler made a strong impression in his limited time at the big league level. After being shut down for shoulder stiffness, Wheeler figures to make a large impact in the 2014 season.
Jose Fernandez, MIA
The time may have finally come for the Miami Marlins. Since winning the World Series trophy in 2003, the Marlins have largely underperformed. A facelift following the 2011 season did little to improve the Marlins as a whole. However, in 2013 the Marlins introduced the electric Jose Fernandez who single handedly improves the overall outlook for the Miami Marlins. In a little over 170 innings pitched, Fernandez sported a 2.19 earned run average, a whopping 182 strikeouts, and a league best 0.182 opponent's batting average.
Fernandez ended his season with some fireworks, and the sophomore to be figures to be just as dominant in 2014. The Marlins may bubble wrap that gifted arm earlier than some might like, but expect the 2013 Rookie of the Year to live up to his billing on the mound.
Each of these pitchers bring a lot of key qualities to the mound. I expect every pitcher on this list to have a dominant follow up to a fantastic 2013 season. Although the Marlins might impose yet another innings limit on Jose Fernandez, the sky ought to be the limit for the best pitcher on this list.