The off-season can be a rough two month struggle, but thanks to MLB Network, they provide us with all sorts of baseball content throughout the winter. They offer countdowns and top plays that highlighted the previous season.
In this edition of MLB Network Countdown, we get a look at the Top 30 Biggest Breakout Players of the 2018 season. You may notice a few familiar faces that have cracked the top 30.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) December 17, 2018
Coming in around the middle of the pack at the number 17 spot, the young bull Walker Buehler. In my completely un-biased (completely biased) opinion, I was expecting to see Walker much lower than that. Buehler’s outstanding 2.62 ERA in 137.1 innings of work blew everyone away.
Just a few short months following the Dodgers decision to take Buehler in the first round of the 2015 draft, Walker had a minor setback. Tommy John Surgery was necessary, and Buehler made a full recovery about a year and a half after the surgery. As we’ve all seen, his arm is stronger than it’s ever been.
Just in case you forgot, yes, Walker Buehler was the starting pitcher in game 3 of the World Series. His outstanding seven scoreless innings were ultimately over-shadowed by the 7 and a half hours of baseball, and of course Muncy’s walk-off bomb in the 18th innings.
Buehler finished in third place in the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year voting behind Ronald Acuna Jr. and Juan Soto. At the age of 24, Buehler has proven his worth as a legit starting pitcher in this league. The fastball velocity sits around 98 and tops out around 100 most of the time. The fastball is without a doubt his number one pitcher, but also tends to turn to his slider and curveball the throw hitters off balance.
This man right here will always have a special place not only in my heart, but in other die hard fans as well. Max Muncy took the baseball world by storm in 2018 and never looked back. Following a rough couple of seasons in Oakland, Muncy was let go by the team in March of the 2017 season. The Dodgers jumped on him and signed him the next month.
This is a guy that was not on the Dodgers Opening Day roster to start the season. He started the season in Oklahoma City, and was called up to the Dodgers in the middle of April. At this point of the season, the Dodgers weren’t off to a great start. Justin Turner was out. Logan Forsythe was out. Muncy was originally called up to play both first base and third base.
Without a doubt, this was my favorite Muncy moment of the season. In what was basically a must-win for the Dodgers, Maximus Muncy delivers late into the night. Chills every time.
Muncy took part in the Home Run Derby at the mid-summer classic in Washington D.C. and went toe-to-toe with Bryce Harper in the second round. His .263 batting average is by far his best in his career. In the National Leaue ranks, Muncy finished 3rd in OPS (.973), first in AB per HR (11.3), and fifth in home runs (35).
[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”samewindow” url=”http://dodgersnation.com/dodgers-2019-salary-obligations-after-winter-meetings-tr0864/2018/12/17/”]2019 Dodgers Salary Obligations Revisited[/button]