Who Is Baseball's Breakout Pitcher In 2019?
This is one of 10 burning questions in our 2019 MLB season preview. To see all of our bold predictions, click here. All answers to the question are from Baseball America’s editorial team.
Carlos Collazo: Nick Pivetta, Phillies. Pivetta took a big step forward in his second season in 2018, increasing his first-pitch strike percentage and adding a sinker and cutter to complement his breaking pitches. He was 13th in K-BB% in 2018 (19.7), a big improvement from 2017 (14.2%) while getting more whiffs across the board, both inside and out of the zone.
Justin Coleman: Corbin Burnes, Brewers. Burnes was a starter in the minors, but pitched exclusively out of the bullpen for the Brewers in 2018. A fastball with an elite spin rate is his best weapon and should help him to continue his success.
Matt Eddy: Luis Castillo, Reds. Hard to hit in the strike zone and out of it, Castillo cruised to a 2.63 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in his final 14 starts to go with 80 strikeouts in 82 innings. With the Reds’ deeper rotation this season, look for Castillo to emerge from the pack.
Kyle Glaser: German Marquez, Rockies. Marquez has quietly been one of baseball’s best young starters the last two seasons. This is the year he goes mainstream and starts entering Cy Young Award conversations.
Kegan Lowe: Touki Toussaint, Braves. Taking any of the Braves’ young arms is risky, just because we still don’t know which ones will break away from the pack and establish themselves in a full-time role this season—there are a lot of options and not many open roles for rookies to take. I’ll take Toussaint, who has the talent necessary to grab a spot in Atlanta’s rotation, but also has the pure stuff needed to succeed in a high-leverage relief role if that ends up being his best fit in 2019.
Josh Norris: Tyler Glasnow, Rays. The Rays’ haul of Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Shane Baz for Chris Archer last summer was among the biggest heists of trade season. Glasnow has long had premium stuff but had failed to harness it in Pittsburgh. Now he’ll turn to Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder, who helped turn Blake Snell into the AL Cy Young Award winner.