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Five MLB Breakout Pitchers For The 2023 Season

Could Anyone Else Match Ohtani's 101 mph/106 mph Feat?

With the flip of the calendar to the new year and the end of the NFL regular season, the focus for many turns to baseball.

With a little less than three months until the beginning of the season, now is a great time to look at potential breakouts for 2023. Each year young pitchers take steps forward—last season it was the Braves’ Kyle Wright and the Guardians’ Triston McKenzie. While it’s impossible to pinpoint every breakout, we can look at late season trends to spot potential growth and study projection systems like Steamer or ZIPs to see how a pitcher’s skills translate to expected production. The following pitchers fall into the grouping of younger starters with varying degrees of major league experience who look primed for a breakout season.

Nick Lodolo, LHP, Reds
Age: 24

Entering the 2022 season Lodolo ranked as the 36th-best prospect in baseball, but by season’s end he looked like he might be a top 30 starting pitcher entering 2023. After three starts to begin the season, Lodolo landed on the 60-day injured list with a back injury. Upon returning in early July Lodolo made 16 starts over the remainder of the season, producing a 3.35 ERA, a number backed by strong ERA estimators (3.78 FIP and 3.55 xFIP). During that 16-start period Lodolo struck out 30.1% of batters he faced and held opposing hitters to a .224 batting average with a .312 BABIP.

While Lodolo’s home park and team certainly limit the upside of his numbers he’s a highly touted young lefthander with excellent stuff and strike-throwing ability. He mixes four-seam and two-seam fastball variations, sitting 93-96 mph on each. His low-80s curveball is a hellacious sweeper that generates whiffs on 46% of the swings against the pitch. Lodolo shows the ability to navigate lineups with a strong combination of bat-missing and groundball-generating abilities. A step forward in 2023 could cement him as a top 30 starter in the game.

Hunter Greene, RHP, Reds
Age: 23 

It was an up-and-down rookie season for Greene. He struggled initially with command and relied too much on his upper-90s fastball. Greene adjusted by leaning in to his plus slider and jumping its usage early in May. He struggled initially to find results but over June and July found a happy medium. While his ERA over that period was 4.78, the ERA estimators told a different tale. His 3.64 FIP and 3.61 xFIP ranked 30th and 34th among 69 eligible starters over that period. Following Greene’s start on Aug. 1, he was placed on the…

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