10 NFL rookies primed to break out in Year 2

In 12 starts as a rookie last season, Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky tossed just seven touchdown passes and registered a 29.2 Total QBR, which ranked 29th in the NFL. It was a severely limited offense under former coordinator Dowell Loggains, and Chicago had one of the league’s worst passing offenses.

With new coach Matt Nagy and coordinator Mark Helfrich installing a system that will cater more to the modern quarterback and the Bears adding weapons in free agency, however, Trubisky is in a position to take a major step forward in 2018.

Let’s break down why the Bears’ new system and personnel upgrades are a boost for Trubisky while also discussing nine more second-year players who can make the leap in 2018.

With two key power hitters likely out (Mike Zunino is already on the DL and could be joined by Cruz) and the two others being lefties (Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano), this sets up nicely for Blach.

Jack Flaherty (R), 13 percent, St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers: Flaherty is the kind of early-season gamble who can turn into a full-on roster piece in short order. The 22-year-old got a chance when Adam Wainwright had to start on the DL, and Flaherty has the raw stuff to parlay that opportunity into an extended look. In the short term, he’s a strikeout arm (24 percent career strikeout rate in the minors) facing the team that had the highest strikeout rate against righties last year (26 percent); so even if he doesn’t put up a total gem, he should rack up some punchouts.

Wieters was 1-for-7 in two games before he was held out of Sunday’s game against the Reds.

Miguel Montero opened the season as Wieters’ top backup and is expected to see most of the starts until Wieters returns.

That’s one of the advantages of being in a market like ours and having the resources we do, Zaidi said. When you have a team that succeeds on the field, it’s easier to keep that team together. In 2017 and with this team, that’s been a little bit of a theme.

In other words, those Dodgers are pretty much these Dodgers. They didn’t trade for Giancarlo Stanton or re-sign Yu Darvish. Don’t mistake that for a concession. Simply put, the Dodgers are good enough to be boring. According to baseball-reference.com, last year’s Dodgers had 49.5 WAR as a team. Players accounting for 48.4 of that WAR are back. The stars are back but so is the depth. If you’re tired of seeing the Dodgers in the playoffs, 2018 likely won’t be your year, either.
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