Perhaps more than other sports, baseball always has this way of surprising fans. Already we have seen several MLB breakout players in 2021.
MLB breakout players 2021
Before the season, pundits may have pegged a few youngsters as being on the verge of MLB breakouts in 2021, but even players who weren’t on the radar have come to the forefront.
Let’s take a look at some of the breakout and surprise performances of the 2021 MLB season.
For what it’s worth, Jesse Winker has been a good player for the Reds over the last few seasons. But he’s actually playing every day this year and has taken things to another level. In his first 23 games of 2021, he’s batting .259 with an OPS of 1.063.
Some of the club’s other hitters have fallen short of expectations, but Winker has helped to pick up the slack and then some. The 27-year-old was always a top prospect with a high ceiling, and he finally appears to be fulfilling his potential.
Per Fangraphs, the pitches with the highest value so far this year:
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 5, 2021
For those who don’t know, he was 7-0 with a 2.61 ERA in 2018 while pitching out of the Milwaukee bullpen, helping the Brew Crew reach the NLCS.
He also made nine starts and three relief appearances last year, posting a 2.11 ERA. But his first five starts of 2021 have been on another level. Burnes owns a 1.53 ERA despite going just 2-2. He struck out 49 batters over his first 29.1 innings, which is almost at a deGrom level, while also holding batters to a .152 average.
The 27-year-old was a 39th-round pick of the Angels in 2015, so nobody expected him to get anywhere close to the majors. But after hitting nine homers in 99 at-bats during a shortened 2020 season, Walsh is having a proper breakout campaign in 2021.
We're fully committed to being a Jared Walsh fan account pic.twitter.com/jf6zppIBOz
In his team’s first 29 games, he’s batting .330 with an OPS of .970, providing Trout with a little protection.
Huascar Ynoa is providing one of the true surprise performances of the 2021 MLB season for the Braves.
The kid won’t even turn 23 until the end of May but he’s shined in the Atlanta rotation with the Braves hit hard by the injury bug early in the season. If it wasn’t for one rough outing against the Cubs, his ERA would be even lower than 2.36. He’s allowed one earned run or less in four of his six starts and has been electric on the mound.
Even White Sox fans probably didn’t know who Yermin Mercedes was before the season. But the guy was a career .302 hitter in the minors with 130 home runs over eight seasons.
He had literally one at-bat during the 2020 season before finally getting a chance this year as Chicago’s DH. He’s taken advantage of the opportunity and currently leads the majors with a .386 batting average.