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2020 NL East

(Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)

2020 NL East Breakout Candidates

2020 NL East
It’s time to analyze 2020 NL East breakout candidates. Which two players on each team in the division could take the next step forward? (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)

After hitting all 3 divisions in the AL, we now move to 2020 NL East Breakout candidates. If you read the other posts, you know the drill. We will pick two players from each team in the division that have a chance to make the next jump. Baseball is always the most unpredictable sport. Hopefully, I picked someone you didn’t have in mind. Here are the 2020 NL East breakout candidates!

Atlanta Braves

Touki Toussaint

Touki Toussaint is the perfect buy low candidate for someone. I think moving him to the bullpen really hurt his development. I talked about it a bunch in a previous post. Check it out.

Christian Pache

The Braves have young talent all over the place. Christian Pache is another young gun coming. He should get a good number of at bats this year. Pache is the number 13 prospect in baseball right now. He’s not as well regarded as Ronald Acuna but who is? Talk about an outfielder if Pache pops right away.

Miami Marlins

Sandy Alcantara

Sandy Alcantara was the big piece in the Marcell Ozuna trade with St. Louis. In his first full year as a starter, I thought Sandy more than held his own. 3.88 ERA over 197.1 innings. His FIP number was actually worse despite playing with Miami which seems odd. Alcantara does have nasty stuff. Heading into year 2, he feels like a candidate to really take the next step.

Jazz Chisholm

The pressure is on Jazz. The Marlins traded for Chisholm in a trade with Arizona at the deadline giving up Zac Gallen. An odd move considering how well Gallen pitched right away as a young pitcher. He was excellent for the D-Backs too. Chisholm is an athletic infielder from the Bahamas that hasn’t made his big league debut yet. His strikeout rates have been really high in the majors. His bat has also been hot and cold at times. I’m more curious to see how this turns out because Zac Gallen looks like a stud.

New York Mets

Edwin Diaz

Was 2019 a fluke for Edwin Diaz or did the Mets permanently curse him? Both of those options seem viable. It seems odd that Diaz would just fall off a cliff. From a 1.96 ERA in 2018 to a 5.59 ERA in 2019. The weird part is his K per 9 rate was actually better in 2019. I can’t wait to find out which version of Diaz we’re getting in 2020.

Dominic Smith

I’m looking at this one more of a trade chip. Dom Smith has a dangerous stick at the plate. An OPS+ of 134 despite having weird usage is super impressive. Like the Padres with Franmil Reyes, the Mets might not have a choice here. Pete Alonso is locked in at first. Smith sure as hell can’t play the outfield. Something has to give.

Philadelphia Phillies

Zach Eflin

Zach Eflin was so close to really putting it all together. There were times last year where Eflin looked like a monster. One bad month really tanked his ERA. In 16.2 innings in July, Eflin had an ERA of 11.88. Otherwise, I thought he was pretty good. The younger guys on the Phillies I don’t feel like were ready to eat so many innings. 2020 has to be the year where Eflin establishes himself as that guy to hold the fort. If Philly is going to win the division, the pitchers like Eflin and Vincent Velasquez need to be assets.

Roman Quinn

Roman Quinn has to be more than just Billy Hamilton, right? Quinn is probably the fastest player in the big leagues. He hasn’t hit at all at the major league level. All he has to do is start drawing a bunch of walks and Quinn has real value. It’s time for Quinn to start hitting.

Washington Nationals

Erick Fedde

Young pitchers are a lot like young players in the NBA. We can give up on them too soon. It feels like Fedde has been around for a long time but he’s just 27. Fedde is entering his prime. Last year his K per 9 rate was an awful 4.7. Was that just an outlier season or does Fedde just stink? At some point, he has to take the next step.

Michael A. Taylor

I know he’s just a 4th outfielder, but I thought Michael A. Taylor was outstanding during the postseason. Sometimes that kind of thing can turn around a career. Just ask Daniel Murphy. Taylor was outstanding during the Nats title run hitting .316/.395/.632 with 4 homers in 63 at-bats. Taylor is another guy who should be in his prime and totally forgotten about. Don’t be shocked if he finally takes off.

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