Our 2013 candidates for the Reds players poised for a breakout year are...
@RedlegsWriter: Is it possible to have breakout years in back-to-back seasons? Last year, Chapman was going to start, but broke out in the closer's role and was one of the most dominant closers the game has ever seen. This year that plan is once again to move Chapman to the starting rotation and barring injuries that require his move back to the bullpen, I think he will break out as a starter and prove that it was the right move. He was a starter and I think he wants to start. He's matured as a pitcher and it will allow him to make a smooth transition.
Of course, Chapman's innings will be limited, but if played correctly, he should be on track to contribute fairly regularly near the end of the season and still make about 25 starts or so while throwing some 160 innings. That's plenty of time to make a difference, especially if it's at the end of a division title race and going into the playoffs. Chapman's 2013 season will be viewed as a success and he will remain a starter, giving the Reds a scary 1-2-3 punch at the top of their rotation.
@Redlegs_Review: The Ole Miss product showed great potential in his rookie season. He played solid defense at shortstop, displayed plenty of pop (15 HR, 33 2B), and carried himself in a manner in which you would like to see young players do. Cozart's debut campaign may have been overshadowed a bit by the surprise emergence of Todd Frazier, but I for one believe Cozart is poised for a breakout year in 2013.
Cozart enters this season with a full year of big league experience under his belt. Now, one year may not sound like much, but it is definitely a big difference over none. Plus, Cozart will no longer be stuck in a position in the batting order at which he cannot succeed. Cozart spent majority of his time in the leadoff spot in 2012, which judging by his minor league numbers, may not have been the optimal spot for him. But the Reds desperately needed a leadoff man and Dusty Baker believed he was the best option. The addition of Shin-Soo Choo to insert atop the order allows Cozart to slide down to a place in the lineup he can be better served at. Look for Cozart to cash in on all the extra RBI opportunities he will have thanks to his propensity to drive the ball into the gaps and over the wall. Now, if he can just improve his K/BB ratio he will be golden.
Honorable mentions go to Devin Mesoraco, Mike Leake, Todd Frazier, and Xavier Paul.
2013 season predictions schedule:
Monday: Offensive MVP
Today: Defensive MVP
Wednesday: Pitching MVP
Thursday: Most Improved
Friday: Top Newcomer
Saturday: Player Poised for Breakout Year
Sunday: Top Youngster
Monday: Potential All-Stars