With the 2013 MLB season almost in full swing (no pun intended), fantasy enthusiasts have recently been drafting up a storm. Of course, wives and girlfriends of fantasy addicts are absolutely thrilled.
Anyway, let’s draw up a scenario, shall we? Say you are in the later rounds of your draft and are looking for some guys who have the potential and possibility of breaking out. You want to get a few players who will provide terrific later round value for your fantasy roster. Well, think of me as your breakout tour guide, if you will. When talking about breakout candidates for the 2013 campaign, a handful of players come to mind. Of course, none will produce the type of astronomical numbers we saw from Mike Trout a year ago, but should still be on fantasy radars heading into the season.
Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers: A tremendous combination of power and speed, Gomez finally produced multiple category fantasy numbers in 2012. He hit 19 home runs and lead the majors in steals in the second half of the season, ultimately finishing with an impressive 37. His .260 batting average definitely won’t kill your team and at 27-years old, is just hitting his prime. Gomez is already improving his plate patience and as long as he can get on a base a good amount, I truly believe he is a safe 20-home run, 20-steal candidate… At least.
Domonic Brown, Philadelphia Phillies: I love Dom Brown. There, I said it. Though it isn’t official that Brown will open the season as the team’s starting left fielder, all signs are certainly pointing to it. Brown is absolutely raking this Spring, batting .376 with seven home runs and 17 RBI. Once a top prospect, there is no doubt that Brown has a boatload of potential and I believe that 2013 is the year he plays to it. Head coach Charlie Manuel stated that Brown has been one of the brightest spots at camp and is very high on the 25-year old. The speed is legit and if the power is as well, Brown could be a very relevant fantasy option in 2013.
Dexter Fowler, Colorado Rockies: Fowler finally emerged as a hitter in 2012, batting an impressive .300 with 13 home runs and 53 RBI. However, it’s what he didn’t do that was most impressive. Fowler didn’t swing at nearly the amount of pitches outside of the strike zone as usual, helping him finish the season with 68 walks (1oth in NL). With his speed, it is a bit odd that he only stole 24 bases combined over the past two seasons. However, if he continues to be a smart, patient batter, he will get on base very frequently and will get more opportunity to swipe some bags. He is projected to start the season as the Rockies’ lead off man, presenting opportunity to score more runs as well, with guys like Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez batting behind him. Also keep in mind the Rockies’ ballpark is very favorable for hitters, thanks to the altitude. Look for his best season yet as the 27-year old is about to hit the prime of his career.
Will Middlebrooks, Boston Red Sox: One of the few bright spots for Boston a season ago, Middlebrooks has the opportunity to make some more noise here in 2013. In 75 games played last year, Middlebrooks batted a solid .288 with 15 home runs and 54 RBI. If he would have played the majority of the 2012 campaign, he would have been on pace for over 30 homers and over 110 RBI. Now, with David Ortiz (heel) likely out for an extended period of time, the Red Sox will look for Middlebrooks to be a focal point of their lineup. With the injury bug flying all over the third base position in fantasy land, Middlebrooks will provide great value in the later rounds. The power is legit and he will be batting in the heart of the Red Sox lineup. Whether or not the average is legit remains to be seen, but he is batting .327 this Spring, so make of that what you will.
Notables: Andrelton Simmons (ATL), Josh Rutledge (COL), Wil Myers (TB).
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.