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 NL East.
|Jarlin Garcia, LHP | MIA||Age: 22||ETA: 2017|
So, um, the Miami farm is still a little on the thin side. I could have gone with Justin Nicolino here, but opted to stick with a player still in the minors. From slim pickings, Garcia made one of the biggest jumps in 2015. Baseball America slotted him #2 on their midseason top ten list, and while the 22-year-old southpaw could still end up a starter, there’s a strong possibility he ends up as a bullpen lefty. One reason is his arsenal, which includes only one above average pitch. I don’t think there’s a lot to see here from a fantasy perspective.
|Andrew Knapp, C | PHI||Age: 23||ETA: 2017|
As much as I hate to write fantasy blurbs on catching prospects, Knapp had one of the purest breakouts this season. After hitting four and six home runs in the 2013 and 2014 seasons respectively, the 23-year-old backstop slugged 13 this year while also raising his batting average about 50 points. I follow Phillies Twitter pretty closely, and Knapp’s breakout was well documented and a lot of fun to watch. What impressed me the most was that while he split time evenly between High-A and Double-A, it was in Double-A where he did most of his damage with the bat – hitting .360 with 11 homers in 55 games for Reading.
|Victor Robles, OF | WAS||Age: 18||ETA: 2018|
The helium is palpable with Robles, who is still only 18 years old. You can’t read a prospect chat or breakout article without finding his name plastered all over it. It’s well deserved, as you can tell by his numbers, but it’s also important to keep in mind that this is rookie level and short-season ball and not AA/AAA. That said, Robles has all the tools you want in a fantasy prospect, and if the power kicks in later…watch out. He could blossom into a five-category stud, or at the very least a high batting average/stolen base threat. Manuel Margot had a similar number of games in the NYPL at 18 years old, and Robles simply put up better numbers. Margot has quickly developed into a top 50 prospect and I’d expect Robles to follow a similar path.
|Ozzie Albies, SS | ATL||Age: 18||ETA: 2018|
Albies ranked eighth on the preseason top ten here at Razzball, but heading into 2016 the teenage shortstop could be the best prospect in the system. The profile isn’t exactly what you want for fantasy, since Albies really isn’t going to give you much in the power department. However, I wouldn’t dismiss him and instead focus on what he brings to the table in on-base skills, speed, and instincts. There’s a chance some power develops later as well (he is just 18 after all) and – dare I say it – he reminds me a little bit of Francisco Lindor (without quite the same elite glove). Albies had a good year in 2014 as well, but to me the 2015 breakout was in the way he handled his first full season of plate appearances, hitting over .300, as one of the youngest players in the Sally. Unfortunately a hairline thumb fracture cost him the last month of the season.
|Gavin Cecchini, SS | NYM||Age: 21||ETA: 2016|
I don’t remember reading anything on Cecchini that listed any of his tools as plus, but it’s hard to ignore a 21-year-old who hits .317 in his first full season of Double-A ball. Not to mention the pretty plate discipline numbers. I get the feeling he’ll end up more as a middle-tiered “high-floor” type for fantasy rather than any kind of super stud, but guys like Cecchini are perfect for deeper dynasy leaguers looking for prospects that are relatively close and have proven competent at a higher level of the minors. 2016 should see Cecchini test out Triple-A and a late summer call-up to New York would make sense if he continues his success. Right now he’s sandwiched between Wilmer Flores and Amed Rosario, but trades, injuries, etc. can help shake things out.