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Breakout Hitters Watch for Fantasy Baseball - Luke Raley, Keibert Ruiz, and More

Luke Raley - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB News

I'm a day late on the breakout hitters as I've been traveling a bit, but I'm here to bring you a few more names popping out in the data!

If you're new here, every week I give 3-5 hitter names that seem to have sustainable improved production this season. Most of these names will be young hitters because that is the nature of a breakout. There will be exceptions from time-to-time as well as I give you more well-known and well-established names that seem to have made a change to their profile this year.

For full transparency, I also track the picks every week, so you can go back and see who I picked. There will be some misses, but hopefully, we'll have enough hits to make this a worthwhile endeavor. I'll give you the tracker first and then we'll get into the four names we're picking for this week.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


2023 Breakout Picks Tracker

Week Date Breakout Picks
Week 3 4/12 Logan O'Hoppe, Miguel Vargas, Nolan Gorman, Josh Lowe, Brandon Marsh
Week 4 4/19 Jarred Kelenic, Ian Happ, Luis Garcia, Kerry Carpenter, Brent Rooker
Week 5 4/26 Jack Suwinski, James Outman, Nico Hoerner, LaMonte Wade Jr., Cody Bellinger
Week 6 5/2 Masataka Yoshida, Jarren Duran, Jonah Heim, Edward Olivares, Jorge Mateo
Week 7 5/9 Ezequiel Duran, Triston Casas, Joey Gallo, Zach McKinstry, Ke'Bryan Hayes
Week 8 5/16 Alex Kirilloff, Matt McLain, Zach Neto, Taylor Walls
Week 9 5/23 Josh Jung, Brett Baty, Ryan Noda, Esteury Ruiz
Week 9 5/23 Riley Greene, Leody Taveras, Seiya Suzuki

Week 11 Picks

Luke Raley, Tampa Bay Rays

Another Ray to add to the list. Tampa Bay seems to be the fountain of breakout! Raley isn't playing every day, at least not for right now, ranking 10th on the Rays in plate appearances over the last month. However, he has made the most of his opportunity, blasting 11 homers this year in 155 PA. That's a homer every 14 plate appearances on average, the fifth-best mark in the entire league.

Player PA HR PA/HR
Aaron Judge 213 19 11.1
Pete Alonso 260 22 11.8
J.D. Martinez 194 15 12.6
Max Muncy 229 18 12.7
Luke Raley 155 11 14.0
Patrick Wisdom 197 14 14.0
Jorge Soler 246 17 14.5
Yordan Alvarez 237 16 14.7
Joey Gallo 165 11 15.0
Nolan Gorman 218 14 15.4

To hit homers, you have to hit barrels – and Raley has been hitting some barrels.

He's way up there with some of the game's best power hitters – Yordan, Alonso, Muncy, Wisdom, Burger – so yeah, the power seems legit.

Of course, he's not a must-add in all fantasy leagues due to the lack of everyday playing time (91% of his PAs are against righties, so he's benched or pinch hit for against lefties) and his high strikeout rate (30%), but if you're in a deep league with daily roster changes where you can bench him against a left-handed starter, Raley can definitely help your squad out in homers.


Keibert Ruiz, Washington Nationals

So much has gone right for Ruiz over the last month, but the bad luck he's experienced has been insane. Since May 7, Ruiz has just a .197/.279/.382 slash line. I have no idea how that is the case because this dude also has a 13.9% Brl% with a 5.8% K% over that same time frame.

I wouldn't have thought it were possible to go that long with a 14% Brl% and sub-10% K% and a slugging percentage under .400, but here we are. If we look at the list of players over the last month with a Brl% above 10% and a K% below 15% (criteria that Ruiz easily fits), we get these names, presented along with their slash lines in that time

The lowest OPS in this fivesome of hitters is Ruiz at .661 – the second-lowest is Acuna at .892. It's insane. Ruiz is due for so, so much more success. He's not striking out, and he's barreling the ball at a very high rate. Go get your hands on him now if you don't have a strong option at catcher currently.

Lane Thomas, Washington Nationals

I'm reaching for the bottom of the barrel to come up with a third name here for you. There aren't too many left that I feel confident about, but I think Thomas deserves a shout-out. He isn't new to the game, and we're pretty confident that he's mediocre – but what he's done lately has been striking.

Over the last several weeks, he's been making more contact and at the same time hitting the ball harder.




Since May 15:

91 PA, .298/.352/.560, 5 HR, 1 SB, 195 fantasy points

That puts him in the top 30 in the league in fantasy point scoring since May 15. He has a 10% Brl% and a 26% K% – solid enough numbers, and he's getting the ball off of the ground with just a 42% GB%.

The pitch I can make on Thomas is that even when he's not "hot," he is leading off, stealing some bags, and hitting some homers. He's never been an awful fantasy player, and maybe he's taking a small step forward here at the age of 27.


Jake Burger, Chicago White Sox

Is Jake Burger a top-20 power hitter in the league? He trails only Aaron Judge this season in barrels per plate appearance at 13.8%. He trails only Manny Machado and Matt Olson in max exit velocity this year, he has 12 homers in 145 plate appearances! That's the good news. The bad news is the strikeout rate (30.3%), the contact rate (66.2%), and the spotty playing time.

All things considered, I believe Burger to be a very useful fantasy hitter in providing homers. Since the beginning of last year, his 16.4 PA/HR ranks behind only Judge, Trout, Stanton, Pujols, Alvarez, Alonso, Schwarber, Buxton, and Carpenter. Great stuff. Not a league-winning fantasy player, but a good guy to pick up in shallow leagues where you need some extra pop.

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