2021 Diamondbacks Predictions: Three Players Who Could Break Out

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With an extremely challenging season ahead, it’s time to make our 2021 Diamondbacks predictions.

After a disappointing 2020, where underperforming regulars and injury trouble reigned, the Arizona squad will face an even tougher NL West with the return of most of its roster, but with such a good farm system (among the top ten in MLB) and a return to form by their key talent, the D-Backs might show a great deal of improvement. These are the three players I think could show their work and even exceed expectations.

2021 Diamondbacks Predictions: Zac Gallen

Among the most common 2021 Diamondbacks Predictions, specialists, scouts, and journalists point to Zac Gallen as the future ace of the organization.

It is kind of a hot take in the D-Backs fan community to say that Gallen would make 2021 his breakout year since most consider that he actually broke through last year. However, even with such an impressive 2020 showing where he presented a 167 ERA+ and 10.3 K/9 in 12 starts, he needs to be measured in a full season (or the closest to it available this year).

Gallen’s repertoire, comprised of a four-seamer around 93 mph, a deadly cutter at 87, complete with a curve, changeup, and sinker, is one of the most refined among young starters in the league, and he has displayed signs of reliability in longer campaign contexts. While Madison Bumgarner may take the spotlight in Phoenix at the beginning of the season, it is only a matter of time for Gallen to become the top starter.

2021 Diamondbacks Predictions: Daulton Varsho

2019’s D-Backs Minor Leaguer of the Year Award recipient Daulton Varsho is the rare talent that can fulfill multiple roles with aplomb while showing room for improvement. His potential was first spotted by the organization in 2017 when he was drafted 68th overall, and he climbed the ranks soon after, hitting a respectable .311/.368/.534 in Hillsboro before being promoted to High-A, and then to the Arizona Fall League.

He made his MLB debut last year and had the opportunity to play both as a catcher and an outfielder, holding his own in both, and displaying base-stealing possibilities. 2021 could be the year where he becomes a team regular, as his versatility gives manager Torey Lovullo more strategic options and a deeper lineup. He’s a good runner with good plate discipline and high-OBP chops; if he gets a hot start and brings bigger hits, he could play a bigger role in the coming months.

2021 Diamondbacks Predictions: Tim Locastro

Even at a time where the three true outcomes are the law of the land, and analytics heavily favor power over “small ball”, it’s still a big advantage to have the fastest man in baseball in your roster.

Outfielder Tim Locastro is a one-of-a-kind player. His impressive sprint and ability to get on base no matter what has turned him into a notable presence in the game, and yet, it still seems he’s been underutilized by managers, even Lovullo himself. But in 2019, Locastro had the chance to show his skills in 91 games, hitting a .250/.357/.340 slash line, and stealing 17 bases without getting caught once — in fact, he’s still yet to be taken out.

In the 2020 shortened season, he showed better batting numbers, as he went .290/.395/.464 with a 130 OPS+ in 33 games. This can be an indicator for things to come, and if he extends his offensive consistency in 2021 while maintaining a solid defense, this may be his year.

What are your 2021 Diamondbacks Predictions? Follow me on Twitter at @leonelmdelarosa for more of my content! Don’t forget to join our OT Heroics MLB Facebook group, and feel free to join our new Instagram –  @overtimeheroics_MLB, and listen to our baseball podcast, Cheap Seat Chatter!. We’ll see ya there!

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Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa is a writer, editor, and radio producer from Mexico. He loves Salsa music and lives in a place literally called Paradise.