To follow up on yesterday's article on breakout starting pitchers, today we have the breakout hitters from the 2008 season.
Alot of these hitters were given increased playing time this season as compared to last year, and they have shown they belong. The one that stands out for me amongst all of the players listed is Matt......no, Ryan Ludwick.
Ludwick finally got his chance to play everyday with the Cardinals in 2008 after flashing power in the minors and in a part-time role last year, belting 14 HRs and 52 RBIs in 303 ABs. When playing full-time in the minors from 2000-2006 he hit 25 or more HRs three times, and in part-time roles he hit 15 or more two times. Ludwick turned 30 in July, and he is making the most of his opportunity with the big club.
The other hitter that stands out is Diamondbacks 3bman Mark Reynolds. He was given the starting 3b job due to the leg injury to Chad Tracy, after slugging 17 HRs and 62 RBIs in a part-time role in 2007. Reynolds has always hit for power slugging .454, .633, and .537 in his last three seasons in the minors. The knock on Reynolds throughout his career has been that he strikes out too much, but that hasn't stopped him from leading the D-backs with 24 HRs and 82 RBIs so far this season.
A couple other players who stand out are: LA OFer Matt Kemp who has the chance to steal 40 SBs, but the expected power has not come to frution yet; Lastings Milledge who can approach 15 HR and 20-25 SBs despite hitting .256; and ROY favorite Geovany Soto who is hitting .286 with18 HR and 69 RBIs.
Of the players listed above, several may not be able to outperform their 2008 statistics, while others are ready to catapult their careers in the majors. Some of these players could still come cheap in auction leagues next season since some may be skeptical of their 2008 performance.