Fantasy Baseball: Breakouts 2016

Is MLB's top prospect Seager ready for the  spotlight?

 

 

The next big thing, we are always looking for it in fantasy baseball. If we can find that breakout star before it happens all the fantasy riches belong to us. Last year’s breakout star was as hyped as ever as his spring training became a home run derby. Of course, I am referring to Kris Bryant, the Cub’s stud third basemen. There are number of prospects who could be ready for their chance at fantasy stardom this year.

The qualification to make this list are simple, any player who has not posted a stellar season so far is eligible. What exactly is a breakout season? Is it different from “sleepers”?  Great questions. First, I detest the term sleeper. I do not use it as I feel the outdated term is used as a shot in the dark on players.  “It could happen, possibly so I’ll call him a sleeper just in case”.  A breakout, or coming out season is any player living up to their potential or exceeding preseason expectations.

Like the majority of the fantasy community, I have loved Bryce Harper and his potential since his call up. It wasn’t until last year, though that he finally fulfilled his prophecy with a MVP season. Admittedly, I have been expecting a breakout from him each of the last few years so I was wrong every time until last year, when it seemed most people finally gave up on him.

We are still a ways out before the season starts and we do not have lineups to look at yet, so I will focus on the core group of guys I think can make a difference this year regardless of where they bat in the lineup. Once spring training commences we may see players who have opportunities to make a difference in fantasy if they are given the chance to hit high enough in the lineup. Until then,  let’s unleash the list.

 

Jorge Soler

Can Jorge Soler deliver a breakout this year? (Getty Images)

Jorge Soler is one of the Cub’s young promising players and as a Cuban defector he came to the states with hype. We expected big things with his quick bat speed and promising power potential, yet have been left less than impressed thus far. Look for a breakout year with “Soler Power” delivering upwards of 30 homers.

Rusney Castillo and Xander Bogaerts are puzzling pieces to breakdown. They are both young promising hitters who people thought would have already broken out by now. Disappointing 2015 seasons may drive their prices on draft day down to where they are just must adds. Bogaerts was regarded as baseballs top prospect just a few years ago by MLB.com, this feels like the year he will shine. Rusney on the other hand, is another Cuban defector who is an accomplished hitter who can easily deliver top outfielder value for cheap this year.

 

 

Conforto

Michael Conforto is ready to contribute this year, will you let him?

 

Michael Conforto is another top hitting prospect who may already be the Mets best hitter. I do not fear the resigning of Yoenis Cespedes will block the future slugger this year from losing playing time. I see Conforto hitting for average with some power in his first full year in the big leagues.

Miguel Sano is possibly the best pure hitter on the list, but suffered from injuries recently. He also may only be eligble as a DH player in your league. These are the knocks against him. That’s it. He will hit in the top half of the Twins line up and be given every opportunity to showcase his talents. Own him this year if you can, he is a special slugger.

 

Carlos Rodon

Will Carlos Rodon pitch his way into the top tier in 2016?(Getty Images)

Carlos Rodon already possesses a nasty wipe-out slider as a strike out pitch. This future front line starter can break through this year and be one of the games best pitchers. He can dial it up to high 90’s on his fastball and has been looking to improve his off speed stuff. He makes any positive strides from last year, an innings limit may be the only barrier that can slow him down.

Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer are two more arms who could be ready to make the leap this year. Both have flashed glimpses of excellence and possess the strikeout rates to sustain a great year. Via Fangraphs.com, last year Bauer had a K/9  of 8.87. Salazar owned a K/9 or strikeouts per nine innings  of 9.87 in 2015 and can still get better. If these Cleveland picthers can put it all together for a whole year the sky is the limit.

byron-buxton-

No longer baseball’s top prospect, do we still love Byron Buxton? Yes! (Twinkietown.com)

 

Byron Buxton was the top prospect according to MLB.com last year. While he was dethroned this year by my next candidate, he still has the same tools as he did last year. So why did he drop this year? Simple, he didn’t “wow” anyone in his cup of coffee. Maybe he was rushed to the big leagues and had some injuries in the past, but this is a new year. I’ll wipe the slate clean and expect big things from the guy I have heard compared to Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. Those guys are decent.

Corey Seager is baseballs new golden boy. He is this years top overall prospect. There are big expectations resting on this 21 year old’s shoulders after debuting last year. According to Fangraphs.com, he slashed .337/.425/.561 in his 113 plate appearances. (By the way, any time I use the slash stat it is referencing batting average/on base percentage/slugging percentage.) This kid can hit. His power and steady bat have prospect hounds salivating at his potential. He may not be this years Kris Bryant and mash 30 home runs, but I have little doubt he will be a consistent top option at short stop or middle infielder on your fantasy team.

As always I must be as clear as possible, I’m not hedging when I say I cannot guarantee all or any of these players will have breakout campaigns this year. Predicting the future has never been my strong suit, analyzing numbers and looking for predictive stats are the best I can do. I feel strongly about each candidate to at least hold their value if not exceed it. Most of these guys will be on my teams if possible, so I will put my money where my mouth is. Follow me and lets be rich together.

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