Top 3 Comeback Pitchers for 2014
In the 2013 season, Major League Baseball saw rookies pitching like aces, and some aces pitching like rookies. Whether their season got shut down early due to injury or they just had an all around bad season, this list covers three pitchers that will toe the rubber in 2014 with something to prove.
Josh Johnson - San Diego Padres
To say Josh Johnson has something to prove in the coming season would be a wild understatement. After a microscopic 2.30 ERA for best in the National League, Johnson saw his 2011 season come to a quick end. A mediocre 2012 followed by another injury shortened 2013 season has Josh Johnson pitching for the San Diego Padres.
Why he'll have a good year: Johnson has a lot of talent in his arm. The man who was once the Marlins ace can be durable and rack up outs at a efficient pace. He's also pitching the majority of his games in Petco Park, which is an absolute cavern.
Why he'll have a bad year: The injury bug has bit Johnson on the arm with alarming regularity. Additionally, Johnson does have a decent contact ratio, and contact pitchers are about as good as the defensive cast behind them.
R. A. Dickey - Toronto Blue Jays
Robert Allen Dickey was the absolute feel good story on his way to beating Clayton Kershaw for the 2012 Cy Young. To say he fell short in 2013 would be an understatement at best. Dickey prides himself on his knuckleball, with the ability to sneak a fastball by hitters as well.
Why he'll have a good year: Dickey has the ability to pitch under duress. In his Cy Young winning season, he revealed that he was pitching under pain for most of the season. His durability and ability to eat innings cannot be understated.
Why he'll have a bad year: The injuries could mount up against Dickey, and pitching in pain is never an easy thing to do. Dickey has had his name mentioned on the trading block as well.
Justin Verlander - Detroit Tigers
If Max Scherzer didn't have the year that he did, it is quite possible that the Tigers would have missed the playoffs. Missing the playoffs would have greatly magnified the bright light on Justin Verlander's otherwise pedestrian year. The Tigers ace fell short of expectations, but remember that his 2013 numbers are actually quite similar to his career averages. Don't jump ships quite yet.
Why he'll have a good year: Justin Verlander had an absolutely stunning season all the way through the beginning of the season. His troubles in the middle of the season mostly stemmed from tinkering around with his mechanics. Once he reintroduced hitters to his knee buckling curveball, Verlander was absolutely unhittable at the end of the season. The dominance continued in the postseason, although some standout performances were matched inning for inning by the opposing pitcher.
Why he'll have a bad year: There's no reason to believe that Justin Verlander will have another bad year. As he begins to age, some of his durability may slip, but fans will have to wait and see.
All three pitchers have had the pitching makeup of absolute aces. In their own respect, each pitcher didn't live up to their billing in 2013. However, look for each of these candidates to make a strong comeback in the new season. I especially like Justin Verlander and his absolute bulldog mentality to pull through the struggles of the 2013 season to pitch to greater heights in 2014.