Our final division in this breakout prospect series is the NL West. 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. I’ll see most of you on the other side when the offseason posts start next Wednesday, but in case I don’t – thanks for a great season and good luck to you on the final weekend! Here are the breakout prospects from the NL West…
|Daniel Palka, OF | ARI||Age: 23||ETA: 2017|
A third round draft pick back in 2013, Palka’s pop isn’t anything new (he hit 22 homers just last year). He did raise his batting average over 30 points and jumped from 22 to 29 homers in 2015. While the standard Cal League asterisk is still in play, the thing that really gets my attention about his season has nothing to do with his bat. Palka stole 24 bags…nearly tripling his total from the year before. The 23-year-old is playing mostly corner outfield now, and if he can maintain that power/speed combination in Double-A, he could quickly become an interesting fantasy prospect in 2016.
|Jordan Patterson, OF | COL||Age: 23||ETA: 2017|
Here’s another power/speed combo in the outfield, but this time with a potential Coors bonus. Patterson had a good 2014 season in the Sally, but 2015 saw him nearly double his doubles total from the year before and he actually lowered his strikeout rate in Double-A, which is typically one of the bigger jumps in the minor leagues. I don’t count any hitting prospect out as long as they’re still in the Colorado system, but Patterson’s 2015 season could earn him some top ten love this offseason.
|Ruddy Giron, SS | SD||Age: 18||ETA: 2018|
Not only did Giron bust out nine homers after hitting none in 2014, but he held his own as an 18-year-old in the Midwest League this year. His strikeout and walk rates point to a good approach, and there’s enough pop to get to double-digit homers. He’ll most likely end up at a middle infield position, either shortstop or second base, but there’s a long way to go with an ETA still a good 2-3 years away. I’d invest in deeper formats if you’ve got a minor league slot where you can let him cook.
|Sam Coonrod, RHP | SF||Age: 23||ETA: 2017|
Coonrod pitched the entire year in the Sally league, where he threw 111+ innings and struck out more than a batter per frame. He has two plus pitches in his fastball and slider, but if the rest of his arsenal (mainly a changeup) doesn’t come around he may be destined for the bullpen. Much like stocking up on Colorado hitters can’t hurt you, it’s never a bad idea to give Giants pitchers a long look. Coonrod already made it into the top ten on Baseball America’s midseason report, and he should be a name you see more in the coming months.
|Johan Mieses, OF | LAD||Age: 19||ETA: 2018|
If you’re looking for a prospect who might have a Robles/Margot type rise over the next year or two, Mieses may be your guy. The center fielder spent the first two years of his pro career in the rookie leagues, but found himself in High-A as a 19-year-old by the end of the 2015 season. He more than doubled his home run output in just 165 more plate appearances. If he continues to respond well to tougher, older competition then Mieses could be a household name by midsummer. At the very least, deep dynasty leaguers should have him on their radars.