Adrian Gonzalez ready to break out
If you were in the room on the first day of Philadelphia Phillies camp last spring to hear the determination in Cole Hamels' voice, to see his confidence, you would've had a strong feeling that he was going to bounce back from his struggles of 2009 and pitch well in 2010.
In the same vein, here are eight players who appear poised to take big strides in 2011:
Last year, the American League East was home to the three highest-scoring offenses in the majors, and yet Marcum posted a 3.64 ERA. Now Marcum moves from the toughest division in the majors to the National League, where he will have a chance to exploit weaker lineups -- and Marcum has the type of pitching smarts and competitiveness to take advantage of the inherent holes in the NL batting orders.
"To me, if he's healthy -- and it looks like he is -- he's got a chance to win 20 games," said one longtime scout. "He's a great athlete, he'll fit that NL style really well." The one possible drawback: Marcum will be backed by what looks to be one of the weaker defenses in the majors (although he is an acute fly ball pitcher).
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