Which players will break out in 2019? I decided to take a look at who might do that next season.
Reyes has already showed some potential in 2018 by batting .280/.340/.498 with 16 HR in 261 AB. He also had a 129 WRC+ and a 92.6 Average Exit Velocity. Reyes has power and that is despite him playing his home games at spacious PETCO Park. Reyes could be on the way to becoming one of the top power hitters in the game. Steamer predicts him to bat .251/.320/.457 with 30 HR and 85 RBI next season, but I think that he can do better than that. In fact, I predict a .270/.330/.503 batting line with 35 HR and 98 RBI.
2. DEREK FISHER
One of the top Houston Astros prospect’s batting line in 2018 wasn’t impressive to say the least: .165/.209/.392 in 79 AB with an abysmal 59 WRC+. The important thing is that it was a very short sample size. There’s also the below average .257 BABIP, the 93.7 Average Exit Velocity and the .228 ISO. If Fisher gets a chance to start next year, he can be an AL rookie of the year contender. Steamer isn’t high on him and projects a .219/.297/.364 batting line in 141 PA with 5 HR. If he gets 400+ AB, then I can see him batting .250/.320/.480 with 25 HR.
O’Neill might not get a chance to start with St. Louis in 2019, but if he does he could have a big year. In 2018, his batting line was .254/.303/.500 with a 114 WRC+ and an ISO of .246 He also had a 93.3 Average Exit Velocity. He has plate discipline issues, but also a lot of power. Steamer predicts him to bat .243/.306/.470 in 93 PA, but if he gets something close to 400 AB, then I can see him bat .250/.306/.520 with 30 HR.
4. KYLE TUCKER
Another one of Houston’s top prospects, Tucker batted .141/.236/.203 in 64 AB, but also had an extremely low .176 BABIP. He did however have a 91.9 Average Exit Velocity and bat .332/.400/.590 in AAA. Steamer doesn’t expect much from him in 2019: .219/.297/.384 in 141 PA. I think that if he receives 400+ AB, that he can do a lot better than that. I expect something closer to .255/.320/.470.
5. SHANE BIEBER
Bieber isn’t exactly flying under the radar too much, but I suspect that not too many people realize his potential. Bieber had a 3.23 FIP and 3.30 XFIP, along with 9.3 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 2018. Steamer projects him to receive 23 starts and provide 130 innings with a 3.86 ERA. I can see him pitching 150 innings and receiving 26 starts, while delivering a 3.45 ERA.
6. DAVID DAHL
Dahl is expected to be Colorado’s Left Fielder in 2019 and that could be his breakout year. In 2018, he hit .273/.325/.534 with 16 HR in 249 AB, with a 109 WRC+ and a .261 ISO. He’s also playing his home games in Coors Field. Steamer projects Dahl to bat .271/.325/.472, bit I can see him batting .280/.330/.530.
You can make an argument that he already broke out in 2018, but he still largely flew under the radar and was taken out and then reinserted back into the rotation. He had a 3.02 ERA, 3.41 FIP and a 2.99 XFIP, along with 10.0 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 33 games (21 of them being starts) and 122 innings). Steamer expects Stripling to deliver a 3.44 ERA in 31 games (with only 6 of them being starts) and 61 innings. I can’t see that at all. I see him delivering a 3.35 ERA in 37 games (25 of them being starts and in 155 innings).
8. WILLY ADAMES
Adames hit .278/.348/.406 with a 109 WRC+ in 288 AB in 2018. He did have a .128 ISO and a .378 BABIP to be fair, but I can see him improving on his 2018 due to his success in the Minors, such as in 2018, when he batted .286/.353/.412 in AAA. Steamer projects Adames to produce a batting line of .248/.322/.380. I predict a home for a batting line more along the lines of .280/.350/.400.