5 MLB Pitchers that Need to Prove Themselves in the 2021 Season

5 MLB Pitchers that Need to Prove Themselves in the 2021 season

With Spring Training approaching in a matter of three days, most teams are done or close to wrapping up with free agency. There are many pitchers that have to prove themselves to their organization for many types of reasons. Some of these pitchers might have to prove their worth for a rotation spot, and others have to prove their critics.

There are many pitchers to chose from the starting rotation to the bullpen. However, there are five candidates that will get more attention than others in the 2021 MLB season. This list of 5 MLB pitchers that need to prove themselves in the 2021 season are in no specific order.

5.CHRIS PADDACK (SDP)

The San Diego Padres have been very busy this offseason building a serious team that could contend for the World Series. After bringing in Blake Snell via trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, one domino fell after another. They ended up with Yu Darvish from the Cubs and Joe Musgrove from the Pirates.

The emergence of Dinelson Lamet who put up Cy Young type numbers in 2020. Plus a top starting pitching prospect, MacKenzie Gore, who is ranked #6 in the MLB puts Paddack in a tough spot if he wants to keep his starting pitching role. 

4. JOSE BERRIOS (MIN)

The Minnesota Twins are not known for having the best starting rotation in the MLB. He was highly regarded as the next ace for the Twins; however, he did not strike out many batters with a career ERA of 4.19 and a career FIP of 4.06. 

Kenta Maeda had an excellent year after being dealt from the Los Angeles Dodgers and looked like the ace in the shortened 2020 campaign. The 26-year-old right-handed pitcher needs to take the next step to be in the Cy Young conversation. The team will need him at his very best as the White Sox have emerged as the favorites to win the AL Central.

3. AARON NOLA (PHI)

The Philadelphia Phillies have been underperforming for a couple of years after spending big in the 2019 free agency. Their starting rotation has not been the greatest and needs all the help they can get. 

Nola had a good 2020 season but had a rough start in 2019. Five starts into 2019, the right-handed pitcher had a 6.84 ERA and a 6.06 FIP. He finished that season with a 3.87 ERA and 4.03 FIP. The Phillies will need their ace to be top-notch against a very tough NL East division.

2. Shohei Ohtani (LAA)

After winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2018, he was one of the most hyped two-way international players. He can pitch and bat at any given time. However, things did not go as planned. He has had a tough time staying healthy. 

He had to get Tommy John surgery and struggled in 2020. He had a 37.80 ERA in 1.2 innings pitched. 

In addition to that, his bat was subpar as well. He finished the year with a .190 batting average with 7 home runs. The Angels will need his bat and especially his arm, as they have a weak starting rotation.

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1. Trevor Bauer (LAD)

He won the Cy in the shortened 2020 season, but some of his critics call it the Mickey Mouse Cy Young. Some fans were confused when he joined the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

All eyes will focus on Bauer as he joined the World Series champs on a record deal in terms of AAV worth 102 million over three years. Bauer is a great pitcher, but he needs to prove the critics rather than the organization and himself. 

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Shane Bieber, Edwin Diaz, Kenley JansenChris Archer

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