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Nine sustainable breakthrough seasons

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Breakout players who can sustain success

David Schoenfield and Eric Karabell look at the biggest breakout players of 2015 and discuss which pitcher and hitter is most likely to sustain that success in the future.

Many players have had breakthrough seasons in 2015, but these are the nine breakouts I believe are most sustainable into future seasons. I picked four starting pitchers and five position players.

Chris Archer, SP
Tampa Bay Rays
2015 stats: 2.77 ERA, 169 IP, 42 BB, 205 K's, 4.0 WAR

I mentioned Archer in my 2014 predicted breakouts column, saying he should jump into the top 10 in strikeout rate; I guess I was just a year off, as he's third in the majors in strikeouts as a percentage of batters faced, behind only lefties Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw. His slider, now often as hard as 91 mph, has become one of the majors' best, although a big part of its effectiveness is his improved fastball command, so he's getting ahead in the count more frequently and staying there as well. For one example, he has gone to 65 2-0 counts so far this year, after doing so 110 times last year. Getting ahead with your fastball so you can finish hitters off with your off-speed stuff is an old formula for pitching success that I doubt will ever change -- because it works -- and it has helped Archer become a top-five pitcher in the American League.