When you’re a skinny, nerdy, teenager with a 24 inch waist, and an unhealthy obsession with Gal Gadot, breakouts are no bueno. In fact, it can put a real damper on those “extended” bathroom breaks, where you’re just trying to get a “handle” on your burgeoning adulthood. You sit there in the mirror getting familiar with yourself like the protagonist in a Diablo Cody movie with her pants off. So it might come as shock to you, high school reader, that some times, breakouts, can in fact be great. I’m of course talking about minor league breakouts! I’m a minor league writer, not a dermatologist brah! Over the years, some of the most important moves I’ve made in my dynasty leagues have been adding mid-season breakouts from the wavier wire. Don’t believe me? Take a look at some of the names added last year in my 30 team dynasty league’s mid-season signing period. Luis Urias, Chance Adams, Koda Glover, Seth Lugo, Ben Gamel, Max Schrock, Greg Allen, Shed Long, Jose Albertos, and Fernando Tatis Jr, just to name a few. Keep in mind this is a 30 team dynasty league where over 900+ prospects are owned, and almost half the teams are managed by prospect writers. Still some good names right? The point I’m trying to make here is, there’s always new talent, breakouts, and undervalued assets in every format. With half of the full season leagues in their all-star breaks, let’s take a look at some of the names making hay here in the early going. Today we’ll take a look at the hitters, we’ll go into the other side of the ball with pitching breakouts on Sunday.
Bats To Target
A 3rd rounder last year out of Jacksonville, Hays is one of the more exciting breakouts of the early going. He brings above average raw power, and has shown the ability in the early going to tap into it in games. He’s got the bat speed for it to translate at the next level, but he needs to improve his approach, and pitch recognition skills, if he plans to continue to succeed as he climbs the ladder in the minors.
I’ve written about Bichette a lot, and it’s no stretch to say he’s been one of my favorite players in the minors. A second rounder last year with some notable bloodlines, Bichette has arguably had the best first half of any player at any level.
How far back does the line start for an intriguing young Rockies prospect with both power and speed? Not as far as you think, as I’ve seen Welker on many wavier wires, even in deepish dynasty, in the early going. He has a big power hitter’s body, which leads many to see his future position at first base. Good thing is, Welker has both the contact ability, and raw power, for his bat to play in the corner infield.
A first rounder in 2014, Chavis has taken some time to settle in to pro-ball, but so far in 2017 he’s been worth the wait. He profiles as your classic power hitting corner infield guy, with pull-side power. His bat speed is electric, and some tweaks to his swing over the last year plus have lent themselves to an improved ability to make contact. Quick side note, he was promoted to AA this morning.
An athletic, power/speed prospect, destined for a career in center. Wilson made some tweaks to his swing in the last year (added a leg kick), that have allowed him to tap into his raw power, while cutting down on the whiffs. The outfielder has always had approach, giving him the perfect combo of power, speed, on base ability, and projection.
I’ve talked a lot about Florial’s power/speed upside, and consider him one of the less talked about talents in the Yanks farm system. The 19 year old Hatian native, has the kind of ceiling that either makes you a genius or a stooge in a dynasty league, so there’s some bust factor. Needs to cut down on the 30% strikeout rate, but at 19 with these results I can look past it.
A 5th rounder out of New Mexico State last year, Johnson was a raw college player with plus bat speed, and plus plus speed. So far in 2017 it looks like he added some polish over the off-season, and could be yet another steal for an organization great at finding them.
Probably the breakout I was the least enthused about on this list coming into the season. But the results speak for themselves, and Harrison is back on the prospect radar. Power and speed is the game here, and there have been improvements to his approach and pitch recognition skills.
Arguably the highest upside position player in the Rays system. Sanchez brings middle of the order power and hitting potential, and has taped into it in his first taste of full season ball in 2017.
Another high upside teenage outfielder with power/speed upside. However, Lee’s flaws are obvious from just a passing glance at his slashline. Here’s the good news, he’s just 18 years old, a year removed from his draft year, and in full season ball. Though the .239 average is yuck, a 12% Bb rate illustrates that there’s some approach. Pair that with double digit homers and steals in his first half a season, and you got a lot to dream on.
The switch-hitting catcher with some power upside was a hot name on the wavier wire in many dynasty leagues in the early going. I’m not one to burn minor league spots on catchers, but Cumberland might be the rare exception. A 2016 second round supplemental pick, he has shown approach (13.1% Bb%), and pop (.269 ISO), two of my favorites dishes.
Teammate of the aforementioned Austin Hays, Mountcastle in dynasty circles is viewed as the higher end prospect. His approach is still raw, but his plus game power, and superior contact ability make him one of the more buzzy bats in the early going. Hell, I fielded a question this morning asking if he was a Top 30 prospect in the mid-season. The answer is no, but he’s firmly in my Top 100 and rising.
Through his first 2 1/2 seasons of pro-ball Luplow flashed solid power, and on base ability, but nothing like we’re seeing in 2017. A three year starter at Fresno State, Luplow was the 100th overall selection in the 2014 draft, and was viewed mostly as a safe but unexciting prospect with some power and speed upside. In the first half of 2017 he’s moved toward a power-only corner infield or outfield bat, backed by 16 homers to only 1 steal to date. At AA he’s not that far from the majors, and could be pop-up guy, or this year’s Mitch Haniger. Point is you never know.
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