April 16, 2021

Szymborski’s 2021 Breakout Candidates: Pitchers (FanGraphs)

On Wednesday, I tackled my picks for 2021’s breakout hitters, so now it’s time to look at the pitchers who feel like good bets to reach a new level of performance this season. Pitchers are inherently volatile creatures, so while there’s the potential for looking smart, there’s ample opportunity to end up sitting in the analytical dunce corner with that pointy hat that I’m not sure was actually ever a real thing. Let’s get straight into the names!

Jordan Montgomery, New York Yankees

The Yankees were cautious with Montgomery in 2020, a smart thing to do for a pitcher who was returning from Tommy John surgery in a season in which every good team made the playoffs. The 5.11 ERA in his 10 starts wasn’t impressive, but many of the underlying numbers were. A .320 BABIP meant that his FIP was a much sunnier 3.87, but the good stuff doesn’t end there. Compared to his promising rookie season of 2017, Montgomery walked fewer batters, struck out more, and induced more soft contact. A lot of soft contact, actually; Monty’s average exit velocity of 84.6 mph was the third-lowest in baseball, behind Ryan Yarbrough and Max Fried. Not bad for a pitcher coming off two lost…

Read “Szymborski’s 2021 Breakout Candidates: Pitchers” at FanGraphs