We see it every year. There are players who come out of nowhere and have big seasons, and then there are accomplished studs we thought would be stars who put up a clunker.
Instead of accepting failure, who's going to pick themselves up by the bootstraps and have a big year for their respective team? Here are six players poised for major bounce-back seasons in 2020.
6. OF Byron Buxton
Byron Buxton is a former top prospect who was supposed to be a perennial All-Star. Defensively, he's that and more, but his bat has never translated to MLB for a lengthy period of time, in part because he's never healthy. That's been the case the last couple seasons, as Buxton has played in a combined 115 games, but that will change in 2020. Buxton slugged over .500 last year in 271 at-bats, so we know the power is there. Buxton needs to be better at reaching base more consistently, but at 25 years old he's entering his prime. Don't be surprised if Buxton leads this Twins team to a second consecutive AL Central title.
5. DH Khris Davis
Normally, you can pencil in a .247 batting average and over 40 home runs for Oakland A's slugger Khris Davis, but he wasn't even close to that last year. Instead, Davis hit just .220 with 23 home runs in 133 games. Davis was a weak link in Oakland's lineup. However, he didn't forget how to barrel up a baseball, so to make up for lost time, 50-plus homers should be in range for Davis in 2020, who needs to prove he's one of MLB's best home run hitters once again.
4. RHP Rick Porcello
Rick Porcello has been around the majors since his early twenties, but he's still only 30 years old and is a former Cy Young Award winner. The dude knows how to pitch, which is why it was shocking that he had one of the highest ERAs in baseball at 5.52 last year. That came at the wrong time, as he's entering free agency, but whoever picks him up will see a huge bounce-back season. Porcello embarrassed himself on the mound in 2019, so expect a 2016-esque campaign (22-4, 3.15 ERA) from the right-hander in 2020. Quite simply, he has too much talent to be this mediocre.
3. OF Andrew Benintendi
After posting an .830 OPS in 2018, last season was supposed to be Andrew Benintendi's coming out party. Well, that certainly didn't take place, as the Red Sox outfielder slashed .266/.343/.431 with 13 home runs and 68 RBIs. Would it be totally unexpected if Benintendi doubled those numbers in 2020? This guy has been able to put the bat on the baseball since his college days, and with some uncertainty surrounding several players in the Red Sox everyday lineup, Benintendi will be put in a position to drive in more runs in a critical part of the starting nine. Expect a big season from the 25-year-old.
2. RHP Noah Syndergaard
I won't guarantee that Noah Syndergaard is the 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner, but he's too good not to be in the conversation. How offenses can hit this guy is unknown to us, but over 32 starts last year he posted a 4.28 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. Syndergaard barely averaged over a strikeout-per-inning, which is far too low for a pitcher who can throw 100 MPH and has a 90 MPH changeup. After a full bill of health in 2019 and a normal offseason, expect Thor to put it all together and be the dominant force everyone's been waiting to see.
1. INF Jose Ramirez
Jose Ramirez wasn't a complete failure over his 2019 campaign, as he was red-hot in the second half, but after 85 games he was slashing a woeful .218/.308/.344 with only seven home runs and 35 RBIs. Something clicked after the All-Star Break and he hit like the MVP candidate we've come to expect. Ramirez will be that for a full season, once again, and should be a candidate to take home the hardware.