One starting pitcher stood out from the pack of unexpected breakouts in the American League West during 2014. Collin McHugh of the Astros had appeared in 15 big-league games (nine starts) before last season, but had pitched to the uninspiring tune of an 8.94 ERA while posting a pedestrian 5.3 K/9. Last summer, the 27-year-old hurler sang a completely different song, as he won 11 games to go along with an impressive 2.73 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 157 strikeouts over 154.2 innings.
Even though the Arizona Diamondbacks finished 2014 in the cellar of the National League West with their 64-98 record, the team was not without its fair share of breakout performers last summer. A duo of young players, starting pitcher Chase Anderson and outfielder David Peralta, displayed plenty of promise for the Phoenix faithful and left them with something to anticipate moving forward.
Though they are technically Twins, there are only two things that are glaringly similar about Minnesota’s Danny Santana (5’11”, 175 lb.) and Kennys Vargas (6’5”, 275 lb.). First, they are both switch hitters. Second, the two of them were headliners on the list of unexpected breakout performers in the American League Central during 2014.
When it comes to unforeseen breakouts in the National League Central during 2014, two young Chicago pitchers, one starter and one reliever, immediately come to mind. Both Kyle Hendricks and Neil Ramirez debuted in the bigs last summer to little fanfare, but each will enter the upcoming season with plenty of promise and expectations following outstanding rookie efforts.
Whether it be the emergence of Boston’s seven-position leadoff batter Brock Holt or the lights out late-inning dominance of Yankees’ setup man Dellin Betances, the American League East certainly showcased its share of unforeseen breakout performances throughout the summer of 2014.
This past weekend of NCAA Men’s Basketball can be summed up in one word: shocking! Not one, not two, but three AP Top-5 teams went down over the course of a couple of days, leaving the likes of Wisconsin, Louisville and Duke licking their wounds as they head into a new week. Let this installment of the College Campus Tour begin.