The 2021 MLB season is about to get to its halfway point.
Some players haven’t been able to contribute much, if at all, due to injuries.
That doesn’t mean, however, that they won’t get healthy and help their respective squads reach their objectives in the second half.
These three MLB stars are prime candidates to be important contributors after the break.
3. Luis Severino
Luis Severino underwent Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery last spring, and has had to endure a long recovery process.
During a rehab assignment (usually the last hurdle in the road back from Tommy John) he suffered a grade 2 groin strain in mid-June, pushing back his return to the New York Yankees at least another month.
We are now talking about a late-July return for the big fireballer.
Severino is a crucial piece in a Yankees rotation in need of some stability.
If the Yankees want to advance to the postseason and make a run at the World Series, they need a healthy and effective Severino in the second half.
Severino hasn’t pitched much since 2019 because of injuries, but he was virtually an ace in 2017 and 2018, surpassing 190 innings on both occasions.
The Yankees season, in large part, depends on how good are Severino and Kluber upon their respective returns.
2. Byron Buxton
Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton proved this year that last season’s power gains were not a fluke.
He has hit .369 and has 10 homers in limited playing time in 2021.
Sadly, the limited at-bats are because of injuries.
He missed almost six weeks with a hip injury, and in his third game back from injury, he was hit by a pitch in his left hand that resulted in a boxer’s fracture.
The Twins need a hot streak to get back in contention, but it would be very hard to do it without their very best player on the field.
In any case, Buxton is not expected to miss the rest of the season and can be an important second-half contributor for the Twins.
Murphy’s Law. Ugh. You have to absolutely feel for this kid. He simply can’t catch a break. This one wasn’t on him. Should miss 4-6 weeks. Needs 5th finger to close grip. #MLB #Buxton #Twins @tfdmlb 😥🤦🏼♂️ https://t.co/c20y7fprsI
— Jesse Morse, MD (@DrJesseMorse) June 22, 2021
1. Chris Sale
The Boston Red Sox have been surprisingly competitive in the first three months of the 2021 MLB season.
They are currently the leaders in the American League East division, over the favored Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays.
The most impressive thing is that they have been able to do it without their best pitcher: left-hander Chris Sale.
Sale, like Severino, went down with elbow ligament damage last spring and had to go under the knife.
He has been throwing for a while, even bullpens, but the Red Sox have understandably been very conservative with his recovery to avoid any re-aggravations.
He will face hitters for the first time on Saturday, in what represents a very important step toward a July or August return.
Chris Sale will face hitters at Fenway on Saturday. Big step in his rehab. He had another bullpen at Portland today.
— Fenway Freaks (@FenwayFreaks99) June 22, 2021
Boston without Sale has managed to stay at the top of the division, so one would imagine that Boston with Sale, who has a career 3.03 ERA and a boatload of strikeouts, would be a very hard team to beat in October.NEXT: 3 Exciting Storylines With An All-Chicago MLB World Series