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Biggest Fantasy Baseball Breakout Hitters in 2022

It's always a blast to reminisce on the past, and today we've got a fun topic to discuss. We all love watching offensive-minded players, but a few in particular stood out this past season. Let's take a look!

I hand-picked four players that outperformed their expectations in 2022. Alejandro Kirk, Nathaniel Lowe, Andrew Vaughn, and Andres Gimenez are the recipients of the biggest breakout hitters award. Let's take a deep dive into the numbers behind these players' breakouts.

Make sure to check out all of the fantasy baseball content here at RotoBaller! Now sit back and enjoy some fantasy baseball talk!

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Alejandro Kirk, Toronto Blue Jays

Alejandro Kirk had the epitome of a breakout season. It's almost as if he changed his identity. Kirk went from a .242 hitter in 2021 to a .285 hitter this past season. He took his game to an entirely different level when his bat began to produce. Kirk secured his first Silver Slugger award and was named to his first All-Star game, which is quite promising for the Blue Jays who weren't so invested in Kirk before he broke out.

By simply grabbing his baseball reference numbers, it's clear to the naked eye that his performance improved a lot. 2022 was his first full season in the pros, but he's not eligible to be considered a rookie since he played considerable time last season in the majors. First and foremost, Kirk is a relatively low strikeout hitter and he maintained a new low 10.7% strikeout rate this past year. His primary perk at the plate is his ability to hit consistently as displayed by his .372 OBP, but he still laced 14 dingers.

The Jays may have one of the most potent catching duos in the game with Kirk and Danny Jansen. Kirk is already given a 4.5 fWAR from Steamer, which is a 0.7 improvement from last year. Kirk is sharper behind the plate, which gives him more reps behind the plate. If he can continue on this trajectory, Kirk may be the next big thing in Toronto.


Nathaniel Lowe, Texas Rangers

He's always been a valuable component of the Rangers, but Nathaniel Lowe resembled a completely different hitter this past season. Lowe created loud contact, which translated into 27 HRs and a .492 SLG. He always had the tools and build to become a competent hitter, and all of that came together in 2022. The big question is of course, will we see continuous success?

The metrics themselves are predicting Lowe to build upon his breakout year. Since going pro in 2018, his OPS+ has improved by the year, which led to a 141 mark in 2022. He's already given .352 wOBA for the incoming year, which isn't an outlying stat considering his .368 wOBA last year. As I mentioned earlier, he's hitting the ball harder and the metrics clearly corroborate it. Lowe was in the 75th percentile for hard-hit rate and the 89th percentile for max exit velocity.

We've seen a big discrepancy in Lowe's performance between the past two seasons and I'm not too worried that he will regress.


Andrew Vaughn, Chicago White Sox

One of the biggest surprises for the White Sox was Andrew Vaughn. The Sox coped with loads of injuries and setbacks this past season and Vaughn stepped up big time. Unfortunately, all of the injuries derailed the Sox's hopes for the playoffs, but at the same time, it enabled Vaughn to tap into his potential.

The 24-year-old was cruising in the first half of the season after slashing .301/.350/.470 with a 133 wRC+. He isn't necessarily a heavy hitter but Vaughn still produced a .168 ISO through the first half. Although after the break, Vaughn slumped big time. His struggles translated into a .292 wOBA after compiling a .355 wOBA through the first few months. Even though he wasn't as productive in the second half, I completely believe that he will have a strong 2023, and the metrics don't lie. He was in the 90th percentile for hard-hit rate and 82nd for average exit velocity and those numbers typically don't decline after your sophomore year.


Andres Gimenez, Cleveland Gaurdians

Andres Gimenez is undoubtedly my favorite breakout hitter out of the four. Brought up as a highly touted prospect, it seemed that Gimenez was veering toward the "bust" category. He showed some promise with the Mets in his rookie year but never found solid ground until this season. After the show he put on in Cleveland, the bare minimum I could do is to put him on this list.

The most glaring number from the season that Gimenez had, especially for a geek like me, was his 7.4 WAR. He finished sixth in the league and nearly surpassed the reigning NL MVP- Paul Goldschmidt who amassed just 0.4 higher. He exceeded his projected wOBA by nearly 40 points and filed a .364 wOBA. The 24-year-old displayed some impressive power at the plate after smacking 17 dingers with a career-high .169 ISO. He's slowly generating louder contact and the second baseman is closing in on a 40% hard-hit rate after compiling a 37.8 mark in 2022.

The big question is of course, will Gimenez build on his 2022 burgeon?

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