2014 MLB Breakout Teams
Baltimore Orioles – Although the Orioles do lack quality starting pitching, their offense and defense are so good, that it almost doesn’t matter. With a lineup set to be; Nick Markakis, Manny Machado, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz, Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy, no pitcher will have much success against them, and with the AL East weaker than ever, the Orioles short window to win is now, and they have the roster to do so.
Kansas City Royals – The best defensive team in the game, some good hitters and a solid rotation, in a weakened central division is a recipe for success. The Royals have 3 current Gold Glover’s and 5 finalists, they have added Omar Infante and Norichika Aoki to the top of lineup, and Jason Vargas to the rotation. They have Eric Hosmer, a potential breakout player, Billy Butler a proven slugger and one of the best closer’s in the game; Greg Holland. With the Tigers and Indians weakening this off-season, 2014 is the year for the Royals to win the central division.
New York Mets – Many claimed the Mets have no chance without ace Matt Harvey, and although they will be much better with him, without him, they have the potential to challenge in 2014. Bartolo Colon has been added to a decent rotation which will now look like; Colon, Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese and John Lannan, they also have top prospect Noah Syndergaard to look forward to. Offensively, Chris Young is a great addition and they have Curtis Granderson and David Wright in the middle of the lineup, despite being in a very difficult division the Mets are a team to watch in 2014.
Miami Marlins – The Marlins have two of the best young players in the game; ROY Jose Fernandez and slugger Giancarlo Stanton. This off-season they have added some pieces to protect their stars, Rafael Furcal will lead off and Garrett Jones and Jarrod Saltalamacchia will provide some cover for the power-hitting Stanton. Jose Fernandez, a potential Cy Young winner in the coming season will lead the rotation once more, Henderson Alvarez who pitched a no hitter last season also has much potential. Steve Cishek who recorded 31 saves last year will once more aim to lock down the ninth. It will be difficult to uproot the Nationals and Braves from the top of the division but the Marlins have a chance to breakout in 2014, and could find themselves in the wildcard hunt come the end of the season.
Chicago Cubs – The Cubs have the brightest farm system in all of baseball with Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Mike Olt only some of the young stars who could play in the forthcoming season.With Jeff Samardzija set to stay in Chicago and lead the rotation, followed by Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson their rotation could be a strong point, they have Jose Veras and Pedro Strop penciled in to handle late inning relief work. Starlin Castro will need to bounce back, and set the benchmark for all their young talent, including exciting outfielder Junior Lake. The Central is an extremely difficult division but if their young stars prevail, the Cubs will be a team to watch.
San Francisco Giants – The Giants nearly became the first time since the Marlins in 1998 to go from winning a World Series to bottom of the division, however they just edged out the Rockies. They seem a new team heading into 2014, Pablo Sandoval has become a new man after slimming down, Buster Posey is set to bounce back and Hunter Pence is seemingly entering his prime. New addition Mike Morse could be a 30 home run man from left field. Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner are perfect to start the rotation, and the two Tims, Hudson and Lincecum are also looking good for the season ahead, Sergio Romo will again be the perfect fit to lock down the ninth. With a new sense of optimism, the Giants have a great chance to beat the Dodgers to the division in 2014.