Gleeman: The breakout players of 2018

From SABR member Aaron Gleeman at Baseball Prospectus on September 13, 2018:

Each spring, with the help of a fresh batch of PECOTA projections, I pick 10 hitters and 10 pitchers to have breakout seasons. This year’s picks have been a mixed bag—for every Blake Snell and Matt Chapman success story, there’s a big whiff on Greg Bird and Lewis Brinson—because, you know, predicting the future can be somewhat difficult. But now that we’re actually in that future, I thought it would be worthwhile to identify the real breakout players of 2018.

This type of thing is inherently subjective, but I’ve limited the pool of candidates to those who improved by at least 2.0 WARP compared to 2017. From there, I’ve removed from consideration veterans like Manny Machado and Wilson Ramos who were previously very good before a down 2017, as well as veterans like Derek Holland and Jordan Zimmermann who have been merely decent in 2018 after being very bad in 2017. My goal here is to focus on young and/or unproven players who made The Leap this season, reaching new heights.

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Originally published: September 14, 2018. Last Updated: September 14, 2018.