We’ve been focusing on a breakout prospect from each team (broken down by division) while we wait for offseason leagues to kick in. 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. Today we’ll look at five breakout prospects from the AL West.

Sean Newcomb, LHP | LAA Age: 22 ETA: 2017
Level IP “+” Pitches ERA HR/9 BB/9 K/9
A/A+/AA 136.0 FB/SL/CH 2.38 0.3 5.0 11.1

Newcomb didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. He was the Angels’ first round pick last year and ranked highly on most prospect lists, including mine. Without a ton of other options to choose from, I decided to look at Newcomb as this year’s breakout. Outside of his walk rate, he put up good numbers across the board in his first full season as a pro. Especially interesting for fantasy is the high strikeout rate. I’m curious to see how quickly he moves through the system since he already logged 36 innings in Double-A this year, and probably should have been there sooner. If he can improve his control without sacrificing the strikeouts, Newcomb should reach his frontline starter potential and be a major fantasy asset.

Tyler O’Neill, OF | SEA Age: 20 ETA: 2018
Level PA AVG/OBP/SLG HR SB BB% K%
A+ 449 .260/.316/.558 32 16 7% 31%

O’Neill is a little more of the under the radar type I’m looking for with these. I’m not getting too excited yet, despite the gaudy homer total from this season. There’s really two simple reasons for that. First, I would want to see him do it outside of the Cal League, which is sort of the standard “prove it to me” line when I guy makes a statistical jump there. Bakersfield is known as a homer-happy park. Second, the strikeout rate is too high for me to rush out and grab him. Anything in the neighborhood of 30% gives me pause. Oh, I almost forgot the third thing, which is if he makes it all the way to the bigs without a trade he’d have to play in Seattle’s park. Now that I’ve thrown a big wet blanket over O’Neill’s great season, I have to recognize that the guy did go god-mode in the homer department for most of the year.

Lewis Brinson, OF | TEX Age: 21 ETA: 2017
Level PA AVG/OBP/SLG HR SB BB% K%
A+/AA/AAA 456 .332/.403/.601 20 18 10% 21%

I was actually pretty high on Brinson coming into the year. I ranked him third on the Rangers’ list and 33rd overall. That wasn’t the case everywhere, and Brinson’s approach had a lot of folks wondering if he’d ever be able to tap into all of his outstanding tools. Like his former teammate Nick Williams, Brinson answered a lot of questions at the plate this season, and in turn he’s getting noticed. Plus raw power, plus speed, and a hit tool that you’d have to at least consider average at this point all make for a very appealing fantasy player. There’s room on his frame for some more power, and I don’t think it’s crazy to dream on 15-homer/30-steal seasons with great defense in center. With trades and graduations, Brinson could be the #1 prospect in Texas heading into 2016.

Jacob Nottingham, C | OAK Age: 20 ETA: 2018
Level PA AVG/OBP/SLG HR SB BB% K%
A/A+ 511 .316/.372/.505 17 2 6% 19%

Nottingham became a household name after the trade to Oakland this summer. If you’re going to invest in a catching prospect in fantasy, make sure you’re at least getting an offensive-minded one like Nottingham. He’ll need more time to develop, like most catchers, but Nottingham’s bat should be worth it if he continues to tap into the double-digit power he displayed this year. Oakland isn’t an ideal offensive environment, but if Nottingham is still sitting out there in your dynasty league, he’s probably worth a stash. The eventual jump to Double-A will be a big test.

A.J. Reed, 1B | HOU Age: 22 ETA: 2016
Level PA AVG/OBP/SLG HR SB BB% K%
A+/AA 622 .340/.432/.612 34 0 14% 20%

I’ll get this out of the way right off the bat: it was impossible to decide between Reed and Francis Martes. They were both awesome in 2015. Forgive me for going with the bat. Remember the concerns I had with O’Neill and his numbers? I don’t have those with Reed. Reed showed his numbers weren’t a Cal League mirage when he hit .332 with 11 homers in 53 games at Double-A. He also doesn’t have the plate discipline concerns, as he was able to keep his strikeout rate around 20% at both levels while also keeping his walk rate above 10%. Couple that with the question marks surrounding first base in Houston next season and Reed could be looking at a very short stay in Triple-A in 2016. First base is pretty far down there on the defensive spectrum, so Reed’s bat will need to carry him. But 2015 showed us his bat is more than ready to shoulder the load. Reed already snuck into my Midseason Top 50, but he’ll likely climb even higher on the 2016 preseason list.


AL: East | Central | West                    NL: East | Central | West

  1. Wombat says:
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    Not a prospect question, but I’d appreciate some advice!

    Have to drop one OF in my NL only this weekend: Moss or Soler.

    Moss hasn’t done much since his hot streak but did have three hits the other day.

    Soler just hit a bomb but the Cubs’ OF is crowded and he’s been a disappointment overall.

    Which one would you drop?

    Thanks!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      drop Moss

      • Wombat says:
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        @Mike: thanks!

  2. apoxonbothyourhouses says:
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    Reed’s MASHED. He’s going to be VERY good VERY soon in Houston. I wouldn’t be surprised if they traded Singelton to an AL team in need of a 1B/DH for some starting pitching (Tampa seems logical) and looked at also moving/DFAing Carter. That would allow Gattis to man the DH role full time and the Astros to bring up Fisher to man LF. A Springer-Gomez-Fisher OF is a pretty darn good OF (with Marisnick as the 4th OF) and the Reed-Altuve-Correa-whomever plays 3B infield could be special

    • Yescheese says:
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      @apoxonbothyourhouses: I just don’t see them trading Carter or Singleton, though I agree with you this makes sense on paper. Then you have to wonder where to fit Bregman, Tucker, Tucker, Daz, Teoscar, Kemp, Moran…

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        they’re loaded

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      here’s how I think it will go down…Reed spends the first month+ in AAA, then comes up as either the full time 1B or shares time on the RHP side of a platoon. Somebody almost always sucks/gets hurt/gets traded in these situations.

  3. danny almonte says:
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    Do you have an mlb comp for B.zimmer and Snell?

    Thank you!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      off the top of my head maybe a Gomez ceiling/Marisnick floor for Zimmer? power/speed combos

      Snell just pick any LH #2 starter in the bigs and you’ve got his ceiling

  4. Shitbird says:
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    Hey Mike, thanks for keeping my interest alive right through the end of the season. Who do you like best for 2017+. For an AL only league where I’ve locked up this year but sold th me farm so next year is a rebuild. Unfortunately Reed and Nomar are not available in Yahoo yet.
    Nick Williams
    Christian Walker
    Manuel Margot
    Nick Gordon
    Tim Anderson
    Deven Marrero
    Zimmer

    Thanks!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      anytime…thanks for reading!

      Williams, Margot, Zimmer, Anderson are the four I like from that list (in order)

  5. HappyHarry1958 says:
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    GM Mike, 12 team, 6X6, H2H…Which SP? – Peavy vs. SD or Porcello vs. TB.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d go with Peavy

  6. Luvdarooks says:
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    Great call on garnea over Pena last week THX!
    5×5 sooooooclose for 1st place overall

    HR then RBI then R then Ave will determine it.
    With tulo Stanton gishuk on my bench I’m gonna need some luck to hang on .

    Week starts Tuesday. Which one to bench from uribe Jace Peterson or mercer. Next week?
    Jace finally had a good game yesterday.
    AND
    kKep Pena benched for garneau and grandal ?
    Now they platoon grandal! Ugh.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      sweet! glad I could help. I’d probably bench Mercer

      I’d roll with the guy in Coors of the three backstops

      • Luvdarooks says:
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        hmmm y mercer over uribe?

        That suprises me cause mercer should double uribes AB next week right?

        • Luvdarooks says:
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          PS
          I could also bench bourgeois and start mercer and uribe. Jason has a couple of homers this month. I think.

          • Mike

            Mike says:
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            boom, there ya go…bench him

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          you should bench Uribe then

  7. Baezaworldseries says:
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    Mike. Is Dahl more of a 2017 guy? Or would you grab him in a deep keeper(12 tm 17 keepers) for 2016? I have some bench space. But, I’m afraid dead weight on my bench will exacerbate my OCD.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I think he could be second half 2016, sure. If he hadn’t come back to the field this year I’d be less optimistic.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Mike: nice to hear he did that

  8. Fever Dog says:
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    Hi

    10-team, h2h, 5×5

    I have Carlos Gomez. Probably gonna win this week to get into the championship next week. Should I drop him?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I w ould try to hold him if you can, that way you have him for the championship

  9. bungalowbill61 says:
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    Hi Mike,

    Can only keep 7 of the following 10 minor leaguers. Which 7 would you suggest?

    AJ Reed $1
    Nick Williams $1
    Lewis Brinson $1
    Rafael Devers $1
    JP Crawford $4
    Joey Gallo $1
    David Dahl $1
    Nomar Mazara $3
    Austin Meadows $1
    Alex Reyes $1

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Reed, Crawford, Mazara, Dahl, Brinson, Williams, Gallo

      I really like Devers a too but he’s a little further away and not sure how long you wnat to cook these guys

  10. Packers says:
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    Mike, in a dynasty league, could you rank the top 3 pitchers out of the following guys?
    A. Conley,T. Duffy,J. Lamb,K. Medlan,D. Norris,J. Paxton,R.Ray,J. Ross and L. Verrett. I’m planning on dropping 2 relievers for sure, and is your 3rd choice a better option than Happ? Thanks

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d probably go Norris, Ross, and Paxton

  11. Kenneth says:
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    Tyler O’neill posted some video game numbers after the Pan Am games. Something definitely clicked for him there. Also, the reports I’ve read are that he has pretty decent pitch recognition, which provides hope that he can learn to bring the strikeout rate to a more reasonable level going forward. One of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal year for the Mariners from top to bottom.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      word, I hope the K rate comes down. yeah Mariners had a roungh one

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