The breakout athletes of 2020
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The breakout athletes of 2020

Despite a disjointed year in sports, 2020 still saw its fair share of breakout athletes. These 25 breakouts stand out.

 
1 of 25

Josh Allen

Josh Allen
Rich Barnes / USA Today Sports Images

Allen was an early MVP candidate in 2020 after struggling through his first two NFL seasons. While the MVP talk has cooled, it's now clear that the Bills have their long-term quarterback with Allen's improved play.

 
2 of 25

Randy Arozarena

Randy Arozarena
Tim Heitman / USA Today Sports Images

Arozarena put the Rays on his back through the 2020 playoffs, hitting 10 home runs over 20 games and winning ALCS MVP. That was after posting a 1.022 OPS in 23 regular-season games.

 
3 of 25

Shane Bieber

Shane Bieber
David Richard / USA Today Sports Images

Bieber was a very good starting pitcher before 2020, but he became a dominant pitcher this year, winning the AL Cy Young. The Cleveland right-hander finished 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 77.1 innings.

 
4 of 25

Chase Claypool

Chase Claypool
Douglas DeFelice / USA Today Sports Images

The Steelers have grown a reputation for producing wide receivers, and Claypool is their newest project. The second-round rookie scored 10 touchdowns through his first 11 career games in his rookie season.

 
5 of 25

Crystal Dangerfield

Crystal Dangerfield
Mary Holt / USA Today Sports Images

Dangerfield was a second-round pick by the Minnesota Lynx and went on to win the 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year. The point guard averaged 16 points per game.

 
6 of 25

Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau
Rob Schumacher / USA Today Sports Images

DeChambeau put the golf world on notice with a breakout 2020 season after adding muscle and yardage to his drives. He won the 2020 U.S. Open and finished fourth at the PGA Championship.

 
7 of 25

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic
Ashley Landis / USA Today Sports Images

Doncic won the 2018-19 NBA Rookie of the Year, but he became one of the league's stars in his sophomore season. He averaged nearly 29 points per game, along with 9.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists.

 
8 of 25

Antonio Gibson

Antonio Gibson
Jerome Miron / USA Today Sports Images

Gibson has become a workhorse running back for Washington after spending time at wideout in college. Through 11 games, the rookie had 878 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns.

 
Trey Hendrickson
Derick E. Hingle / USA Today Sports Images

Hendrickson has become a pass-rushing star in his fourth NFL season for the Saints. He had 9.5 sacks through 11 games as one of the league leaders in the stat.

 
10 of 25

Justin Herbert

Justin Herbert
Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA Today Sports Images

There were questions about Herbert's NFL readiness after he was drafted in the first round by the Chargers. He emerged as the starter in Week 2 and is the clear favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, with over 3,000 passing yards and 23 touchdowns through 10 games played.

 
11 of 25

Sabrina Ionescu

Sabrina Ionescu
Richard Brian / USA Today Sports Images

Ionescu won the Wooden Award after a spectacular year at Oregon, leading to becoming the first overall pick in the WNBA Draft by the New York Liberty. She missed much of his rookie season to injury but still made a big impact.

 
12 of 25

Justin Jefferson

Justin Jefferson
Brad Rempel / USA Today Sports Images

Jefferson had big shoes to fill replacing Stefon Diggs in Minnesota, and he's responded with a historic rookie season. The LSU alum had 918 yards receiving and six touchdowns through 11 games.

 
13 of 25

Mac Jones

Mac Jones
Derick E. Hingle / USA Today Sports Images

Formerly known as Tua Tagovailoa's replacement at Alabama, Jones has managed to make his own name known with a great 2020 season. He's put up huge numbers for the Crimson Tide with 3,113 yards passing and 27 touchdowns through nine games.

 
14 of 25

Sofia Kenin

Sofia Kenin
Susan Mullane / USA Today Sports Images

Kenin solidified herself as one of the elite tennis players in the world, winning the Australian Open and reaching the French Open final in 2020. Not bad considering she just turned 22 in November.

 
15 of 25

Betnijah Laney

Betnijah Laney
Julio Aguilar / Getty Images

Laney won the WNBA Most Improved Player Award in 2020, her fifth season in the league. She averaged 17.2 points per game for the Atlanta Dream.

 
16 of 25

Kyle Lewis

Kyle Lewis
Darren Yamashita / USA Today Sports Images

A former first-round pick who previously struggled through injuries, Lewis was terrific in his rookie season for Seattle. He hit .262-11-28 in 58 games to win AL Rookie of the Year.

 
17 of 25

Cale Makar

Cale Makar
James Guillory / USA Today Sports Images

Makar won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie in 2019-20. He helped the Avs with 50 points in 57 games at age 21.

 
18 of 25

Ja Morant

Ja Morant
Ashley Landis / USA Today Sports Images

The second overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Morant proved he was worthy of the hype despite playing at a small college in Murray State. He won NBA Rookie of the Year with 17.8 points per game and 7.3 assists.

 
19 of 25

Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray
Patrick Breen / USA Today Sports Images

A former Heisman Trophy winner in college, Murray has now taken over the NFL. He's a legitimate MVP candidate with more than halfway into the 2020 season.

 
20 of 25

James Robinson

James Robinson
Reinhold Matay / USA Today Sports Images

An undrafted free agent rookie, Robinson has been one of the NFL's most productive running backs in 2020. He had 1,170 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns through 11 games.

 
Andrei Svechnikov
James Guilory / USA Today Sports Images

Svechnikov took a huge step forward for Carolina in his second NHL season, with 61 points in 68 games. He has a bright future for the Hurricanes, turning 20 this past season.

 
22 of 25

Obi Toppin

Obi Toppin
David Kohl / USA Today Sports Images

Toppin won the Wooden Award in his final season at Dayton, averaging 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds. His year was capped off by getting drafted eighth overall by the Knicks in the 2020 NBA Draft.

 
23 of 25

Kyle Trask

Kyle Trask
Justin Ford / USA Today Sports Images

Trask is a top candidate to win the Heisman Trophy in his second season as the starting quarterback at Florida. He had 3,243 yards passing and 38 touchdowns through nine games.

 
24 of 25

Devin Williams

Devin Williams
Mark Hoffman / USA Today Sports Images

A relative unknown before this year, Williams won NL Rookie of the Year after dominating in the Brewers bullpen. He allowed just one earned run in 27 innings and had 53 strikeouts.

 
25 of 25

Zach Wilson

Zach Wilson
Rick Bowmer / USA Today Sports Images

Wilson led BYU to a tremendous start this season, completing 73 percent of his passes for nearly 3,000 yards and 27 touchdowns through 10 games. He's a candidate for the Heisman Trophy and a possible first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

Seth Trachtman is a fantasy sports expert and diehard Kansas City Chiefs fan still hoping for a Super Bowl win during his lifetime. He doesn't often Tweet, but when he does, you can find him on Twitter @sethroto.

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