This is the “no-man’s land” of prospects – that time between the end of the minor league regular season and the the start of the offseason leagues. That makes it a natural point to look back on the year that was. This next series of posts will focus on a breakout prospect from each team, broken down by division. These are players who “broke out” statistically in 2015 and were either ranked in the bottom half of their team’s preseason top ten list or didn’t make their team’s list at all. Some of these names will look familiar and have already been scooped up in many dynasty formats. Others may still be flying low enough that their big performances have gone undetected. This week we’ll look at five breakout prospects from the AL East.
|Trey Mancini, 1B||Age: 23||ETA: 2017|
After slugging .409 with ten homers in 2014 as a 22-year-old in High-A, Mancini turned it on in a big way this season. He hit a ridiculous .359 in 84 games for Double-A Bowie and slugged 13 of his 21 homers there. Crush Davis could be headed for free agency, and while Christian Walker is temporarily ahead of Mancini on the depth chart, it won’t be long before Mancini is breathing down Walker’s neck for the first base gig in Baltimore. I’d expect him to see most of his time at Triple-A in 2016, but if he continues to put up stupid numbers the clock could speed up.
|Anthony Alford, OF||Age: 21||ETA: 2017|
Splitting time between two levels this season, Alford is a name you’ll hear about as one of the biggest breakouts of the 2015 season. Formerly a two-sport athlete, things are starting to click as Alford focuses solely on baseball activities on the Toronto farm. While he only hit four homers this season, Alford does have above-average raw and pairing that with his double-plus speed makes him desirable for fantasy. I’m not sure of the exact streak, but at one point this July he had reached base in 67 of 71 games. That’s prettay, prettay good for a guy that was recently on Bo Jackson duty.
|Andrew Benintendi, OF||Age: 21||ETA: 2017|
So technically Benintendi wasn’t eligible for the preseason lists since he was just drafted, but it doesn’t take away from the season he had. The 21-year-old was taken in the first round (7th overall) by the Red Sox, and did just about everything you’d hope to see from a first-round pick. Good power, speed, plate discipline…it’s all there. Shout out to Lowell Fluff & Fold for keeping me updated all season on this guy’s progress.
|Blake Snell, LHP||Age: 22||ETA: 2016|
If you haven’t heard of Snell by now, then it’s probably been a pretty weird summer for you. Like, one of those summers where you did some peyote at a bus stop in New Mexico in late May and woke up yesterday morning in France, coaching a little league soccer team and going by the name Pierre-Louis Lefèvre. Welcome back! I’ll catch you up. Snell had arguably the best season of any minor league arm in 2015 and he’s knocking on the door of Tampa Bay’s rotation.
|Domingo Acevedo, RHP||Age: 21||ETA: 2017|
After just one start in Single-A, Acevedo went to the New York-Penn League, where he dominated with a heater that can reach triple digits and an above-average changeup. His season earned him NYPL Pitcher of the Year honors, and a slot on Baseball America’s midseason top ten. The Yankees had another big breakout from Jorge Mateo, but since I already ranked Mateo #3 coming into the year (compared to Acevedo, who I didn’t rank at all) the 21-year-old righty gets the nod here.