Who Is The Breakout MLB Pitcher Of 2023?
This is one of eight burning questions comprising Baseball America's 2023 MLB Season Preview. To see the full preview, click here.
Matt Eddy—Logan Gilbert, RHP, Mariners. Gilbert was one of the most durable, hardest-throwing and effective—3.20 ERA in 185.2 innings—starters in baseball last season. He showed some of the best command markers among power pitchers as well. But he tended to get hit hard when batters did connect. That’s one reason why Gilbert added a new splitter to his fastball/slider-dominant repertoire in the offseason. The pitch gives him an arm-side weapon for batters to think about.
Josh Norris—Eury Perez, RHP, Marlins. The Marlins have already shown the willingness to move Perez exceedingly quickly, and when healthy he was up to the challenge—and then some—as the youngest pitcher in Double-A. He could get to the big leagues quick enough to show everyone why he’s got such high expectations.
Carlos Collazo—Brandon Pfaadt, RHP, D-backs. Pfaadt has an excellent combination of stuff, command and upper-minors track record after a 2022 season in which he logged 167 innings and struck out 218 batters. He is ready for his major league debut and should be a solid mid-rotation starter from the jump.
Kyle Glaser—George Kirby, RHP, Mariners. Kirby seamlessly stepped into the Mariners rotation as a rookie last season and only got better as the year went on. Watch for him to take another jump in year two as he moves closer to fulfilling his frontline starter potential.
Ben Badler—George Kirby, RHP, Mariners. Kirby established himself as a quality mid-rotation starter for the Mariners last year as a rookie. There’s more upside in there, and between his stuff and command, Kirby could soon jump into the game’s upper echelon of pitchers.
Geoff Pontes—Nick Lodolo, LHP, Reds. The tall lefthander with the funky slot had a strong rookie campaign. In 2023 he’s poised to take the next step to rank among the top 20 starters in the game. With a mid-90s fastball from a tough slot, paired with a plus breaking ball, Lodolo has the type of one-two punch to overwhelm hitters and limit hard contact in play, a major bonus for any pitcher who calls Great American Ballpark home.
Savannah McCann—Brady Singer, RHP, Royals. Singer’s breakout campaign began during the end of the 2022 season, and earned him Royals’ Pitcher of the Year honors. His sinker and slider amount for nearly 80% of his pitch usage, but when it works … it works. He gets hitters to swing in the zone and limited his walk rate to 5.6% last season. With a new coaching staff behind him, his second-half numbers could be the tip of the iceberg.
Chris Trenkle—Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Orioles. If not for a lat strain that kept him sidelined for a significant portion of the 2022 season, Rodriguez likely would have made his big league debut. With four above-average or better offerings and plus control, Rodriguez should have no trouble adjusting to the big leagues, and he’ll compete for Rookie of the Year honors.