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#pounditSunday, April 11, 2021

5 MLB players in need of a bounceback season in 2020

Trevor Bauer

There is still hope of playing the 2020 MLB season. While players definitely want to get back to action, there are some who may feel they have more to prove than others. Those players had bad seasons in 2019 by their standards, and would love nothing more than to make things right in 2020.

Here are five players who are looking for bounceback seasons after underwhelming 2019 campaigns.

5. Eric Hosmer, 1B, Padres

The second year of Hosmer’s eight-year deal with the Padres wasn’t much better than the first, which is worrisome from San Diego’s perspective. The veteran first baseman hit .265 with 22 home runs, but his .310 OBP simply isn’t good enough, especially for someone making $21 million annually. Hosmer is only 30, and he is still sound defensively, but he doesn’t look like the guy who was once an All-Star for the Kansas City Royals. The Padres need that to change.

4. Edwin Diaz, RP, Mets

Prior to the 2019 season, the Mets gave up a huge sum to get Diaz and Robinson Cano — most notably top prospect Jarred Kelenic. Diaz was a bust. After posting a 1.96 ERA in his final season with the Mariners, Diaz’s ERA ballooned to 5.59 in New York, and he blew seven saves. Whatever the reason for Diaz’s issues — one ex-teammate thought the city was a bad fit for him — the Mets need him to be a lot better to justify the hefty price they paid for him.

3. Miguel Cabrera, DH/1B, Tigers

Cabrera mostly stayed healthy last season, which is an improvement from a lost 2018 season. However, his tally of 12 home runs is unfathomably low for a player who was once one of the most feared sluggers in the game. It may be that age and injury have sapped Cabrera of his power, as his numbers have cratered since the 2016 season. The Tigers have him on the books through 2023, and while he may never be an MVP again, they’d desperately like to get some production out of him.

2. Joey Votto, 1B, Reds

Votto is one of the most intelligent and cerebral hitters in the league, so to see him post his worst season as an MLB player in 2019 is really alarming. Votto hit just .261, with only 15 home runs and 47 RBIs. Those are remarkably bad numbers from one of the most reliable hitters of his generation. Votto turned 36 last September, so this is another instance where age may be catching up to him. The Reds, who have been very aggressive in the offseason, are hoping that is not the case. They need Votto to be himself in order to contend. Based on some of his recent comments, we expect a turnaround.

1. Trevor Bauer, P, Reds

Bauer had a 2.21 ERA in 2018 and looked to be establishing himself as one of the game’s best pitchers. He wasn’t quite as good for the start of 2019, and then his numbers cratered after he was dealt to Cincinnati. Bauer won just twice in 10 starts for the Reds, posting a 6.39 ERA, though he said he was playing through injury. Bauer was acquired to lead the staff, and he’s entering a contract year. For those reasons, he should be motivated to be at his best in 2020. The Reds, who will likely anchor their rotation around him, desperately need that to be the case.

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