Before the season, MLBTR writers identified 13 players who were set for 'make or break' years. These players had experienced ups and downs in their respective careers and were positioned to re-establish themselves as difference makers at the Major League level and set themselves up for success in free agency.
We checked in on the players at the quarter pole of the campaign and let's do it again now that we're midway through the season (all links go to the MLBTR posts):
- Scott Kazmir - Kazmir spent time on the DL, made one appearance for the Angels and posted a 17.02 ERA with more walks than strikeouts at Triple-A before getting released. The former first rounder is now a free agent.
- Nate McLouth - McLouth's .225/.345/.330 line is better than it was last year and features a respectable on-base percentage, but his offensive production has fallen off considerably since 2007-09. He spent time on the DL this June.
- Grady Sizemore - Sizemore missed time with a knee injury, but he still has nine homers and a .231/.295/.448 line. However, he has a career-high 29.5% strikeout rate and a career-low 6.1% walk rate.
- Ryan Doumit - The switch-hitter has spent most of the season on the disabled list, though he has a .269/.333/.441 line when healthy.
- Jonathan Broxton - Broxton is on the disabled list with a bruised right elbow and he has had another setback, so there's no timetable for his return. If he doesn't pitch well later this season, he will be overshadowed by this offseason's strong crop of free agent relief pitchers.
- Joel Zumaya - Zumaya had elbow surgery in March and it's not clear if he'll ever return to the Tigers.
- Casey Blake - Blake has returned from surgery for an elbow infection and has a .243/.346/.386 line as a third baseman, first baseman and left fielder. The 37-year-old isn't in the Dodgers' everyday lineup anymore.
- Aramis Ramirez - Ramirez has a .298/.346/.497 line with 15 homers and could be en route to his best season since 2008.
- Edwin Jackson - Jackson, a free agent this winter, has a 4.30 ERA (3.31 xFIP) with 7.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 106 2/3 innings for the White Sox.
- Bobby Abreu - Abreu, 37, has a .277/.394/.363 line this year. A year after hitting his usual 20 homers, Abreu's power is diminishing, but his on-base skills still exist.
- Carlos Beltran - Beltran has a .285/.377/.503 line with 13 homers. There seems to be a good chance that he'll finish the season with another team, as he would agree to waive his no-trade clause under the right circumstances.
- Matt Capps - Capps has 15 saves, but his strikeout rate has fallen from 7.3 K/9 to 4.9 K/9 and his average fastball velocity has fallen from 94 mph to 92.8 mph.
- Jeff Francis - The 30-year-old left-hander appears to be headed for the second 200 inning season of his career. Francis, who battled shoulder injuries in 2009-10, has a 4.60 ERA with 4.4 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9.