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Top 5 Hitters In Their Prime Set for A Breakout Season

Mining for Draft Day Gems

Players like Todd Frazier and Michael Brantley in 2014, players who provide value far greater than their ADPs, emerge every fantasy season. The challenge is finding those players before everyone else does. The players below are guys who just might enter their prime this year, catapulting their value. Some are more of a reach than others, but the idea is that each has the ability and the opportunity to have a Frazier-esque breakout year in 2015.

 

Jason Heyward (OF, STL)

Finding trends in Heyward’s career is like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle blindfolded. However, there is one thing that's apparent in his sporadic since 2010: potential.  The former Atlanta Braves outfielder has impressively succeeded in every rotisserie category, but never at once in the same year. Fortunately, the 25-year-old defensive stud has a new slate in St. Louis with the Cardinals, and I’m intrigued to see what he’ll do with it.

Heyward has loads of potential. If he's able to put it all together this year, fantasy owners will be looking at a 20-25 HR, 20 SB, 75 RBI, and 100 R this season. It’s tough to give any specific reason for a breakout this year, aside from the fact that he's shown he can do it before. Once all of the elite and very-high-upside outfielders (like Bryce Harper and George Springer) are off the board, I’m looking to grab Heyward, and I'll be expecting that breakout year.

 

Manny Machado (3B, BAL)

Injuries have killed this highly touted prospect during his first three seasons as the Baltimore Orioles third baseman. But with both knees fixed up, Machado might finally be ready to settle in as a top-of-the-line corner infielder, both a offensively and at the plate.

Although still just 22 years old, Machado has shown flashes of surprising power and impressive run production. From the start of June until the August knee injury that ended his 2014 season, he hit .307 with a solid 10 HR. The O’s are going to need someone to step up in the power categories with the departure of Nelson Cruz, and I’m hopeful that Machado will fill that role while keeping his great batting average and breaking out in a big way.

 

Bryce Harper (OF, WAS)

I guess there’s a bit of an injury trend here. Along with Machado above and Wil Myers below, Bryce Harper’s inconsistency is due largely to his various injuries over his three seasons with the Washington Nationals. The young outfielder, however, has shown that when healthy, he can mash baseballs further than any human should be able. Harper’s ADP puts him in the area of a late-third-round pick, so I’m not the only one who believes in his potential breakout year.

Harper has the highest ADP out of these five potential breakouts, and it’s mostly because of his power stroke. He will likely continue his trend of hitting around .270. If he can stay healthy, Harper’s power can produce 30 HR and 100 RBI in no time, thanks to that stacked Nationals lineup. I guess we’ll see if the 22-year-old can play a full season in 2015. If he can, it’s possible that this third- or fourth-round pick will return first-round value.

 

Wil Myers (OF, SD)

Wil Myers showed the MLB something special when he put together a stellar half-season with the Tampa Bay Rays in his 2013 rookie year. Projected out over an entire season, Myers would have hit 25 HR and nearly eclipsed the 100 mark in both runs and RBI. He also hit .293 in those 88 games, but as we all know, he fell back down to Earth hard in 2014.

I’m not ready to write Myers off quite yet. Now that he showed he was human and was shipped off to San Diego during the offseason, I think he's poised for a “silence the haters” kind of season. The 24-year-old can flat-out crush the baseball, and I can’t count how many times I saw him hit a scorching line drive right at a defender last year. I’m willing to forget about Myers’s dismal 2014 and give the youngster another shot. Surrounded by a spirited organization and a couple of veteran outfielders, I think he will surprise a lot of people this year.

 

Jean Segura (SS, MIL)

Along with Myers, Jean Segura was another player who I was ecstatic to draft in March, only to watch him play like a minor leaguer for most of 2014. But hey, live and let live, right? Maybe Segura won’t bounce back to the .294 hitter who stole 44 bases in 2013, but I am confident he won’t repeat as a .246 hitter this year, either.  If the 25-year-old shortstop can get back above .270 and regain a little of that power, those peripheral numbers are going to look pretty darn good at the end of the year.

If there’s a promising stat regarding Segura’s 2014 season, it’s that he played 146 games for the second straight year. Milwaukee loves Segura’s defensive presence, so as long as he continues to stay healthy, he will get plenty of at-bats. Just like the players above, I can certainly picture Segura at the top of his position in overall production come September, if all goes well.

 




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