<
>
Insider

Players facing make-or-break seasons

Can Yasiel Puig reverse his OPS decline in 2017? Rob Tringali/Getty Images

I'm calling this a list of make-or-break seasons, although I'm using that in broad terms. For some guys, yes, their careers as starters may be on the line. For others, it's about taking their games to the next level or simply holding on to their current roles.

No matter how you label it, these are some of the more intriguing players to watch in 2017.

Archie Bradley, P, Arizona Diamondbacks
Age:
24
2016: 5.02 ERA, 141 2/3 IP, 154 H, 67 BB, 143 SO, 1.0 WAR

Bradley's season had some bright spots, mostly notably striking out more than a batter per inning. He also made 33 starts and pitched 180 innings between Triple-A and the majors. With Arizona, however, he was still too hittable -- batters hit .308 and slugged .503 against his fastball -- and he still walked too many guys, his problem throughout his minor league career. He's just 24, but for him to reach that top-of-the-rotation potential he flashed when he was a top-10 prospect in the game, he needs to throw more strikes and command the fastball. Is this a bad time to mention he allowed six runs in 1 1/3 innings on March 7? He did bounce back with better results Sunday, with no walks -- although he gave up five hits and three runs -- in four innings.

Prediction: He's a little better than last year, lowering his ERA to 4.50, then appears on this list again.