The 2016 Major League Baseball season is coming to a close and fans and players are already excited for the offseason and the 2017 season. Some players are looking to 2017 as their time to shine and breakout as major league stars. Note — I will not be naming Javier Baez of the Cubs because he is breaking out right now in the postseason.
Byron Buxton (Minnesota Twins): The former second overall pick in the 2012 MLB draft has struggled in his brief stints in the majors, but that all changed in September and October of 2016. In September his slash line was .277/.340/.596. He hit 7 balls out of the ballpark while driving in 18 men. In a brief October his slash line was .429/.556/1.429 while swatting 2 home runs. He looks to play an above-average centerfield while his bat will finally appear to break out in 2017. Oh and he can run too.
Sean Manaea (Oakland A’s): Manaea enjoyed a solid rookie season for the struggling A’s as he put up a 3.86 ERA while fanning 124 batters in 144.2 innings. After the all star break the lefty had a 2.67 ERA with a 1.02 WHIP. He looks to extend his strong second half into 2017 as he and Sonny Gray (pending a trade) look to be a formidable 1-2 punch for Oakland.
Greg Bird (New York Yankees): Bird sat out the entire 2016 season rehabbing a torn labrum in his right shoulder. With his great eye at the plate along with his raw power, he is primed to break out in 2017.
Marcus Stroman (Toronto Blue Jays): Stroman suffered a disappointing 2016 after he looked primed to break out after a superb come back in 2015 helping the Blue Jays reach their first postseason berth since 1993. He went 9-10 with a 4.37 ERA compiling 166 K’s in 204 innings pitched. He still seems primed to break out as he looked solid in the postseason for the Jays in 2016.
Some other players who were rookies in 2016 and look ready to break out are Dansby Swanson (ATL), Alex Bregman (HOU), Alex Reyes (STL), Julio Urias (LAD), Lucas Giolito (WAS), Josh Bell, Tyler Glasnow, and Jameson Taillon (PIT).