2020 MLB Breakout Candidates

Dinelson Lamet, P,  San Diego Padres

Dinelson Lamet quietly had a dominant second half of the 2019 season.  Lamet averaged 12.9 K/9 ranking third just behind Gerrit Cole and Chris Sale.  From July 18 – Sept 18 Lamet lowered his ERA by nearly three runs while opponents hit just .224 against him. Lamet brings a 96mph fastball to go along with a devastating slider that held hitters to a .129 batting average last year. Surprisingly Lamet’s biggest concern was his troubles in his home park, hitter friendly Petco Park was not kind to him.  Giving up a 5.25 ERA and a surprising .432 slugging percentage.  

At just 24 years old the Padres have a potential ace to continue to progress along with fellow flame thrower Chris Paddick.  Lamet’s biggest issue is his control averaging 3.71 walk per nine last season, actually improving from his career mark of 4.04.  Lamet brings ace caliber stuff to a team that should be much improved in 2019 with the full time production of Fernando Tatis Jr.  Lamet will be a steal for fantasy owners as well as the Padres. Big things are coming for him in 2020. 

Jesus Luzardo, P, Oakland Athletics

Luzardo would have cracked the Athletics rotation out of spring in 2019 if an injury hadn’t derailed his season.  The 22-year old Luzardo eventually had his chance during the tail end of last season and immediately made an impact with 16 strikeouts in 12 innings and showing the ridiculous stuff that have baseball scouts drooling.

Luzardo is projected to be the 4th starter for the A’s which means he will daily be matched up with pitchers that don’t even scratch the surface of his ability.  Luzardo has the stuff to become an ace as long as he stays healthy.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr, INF, Toronto Blue Jays

Gurriel has serious holes in his game. His 25% strikeout rate and his subpar defense are both things that need to be improved on.  Despite his issues Gurriel still brings a lot of power to the table, 20 homers in just 84 games last year show’s what he has the possibility to do in a full season.  Gurriel’s .264 ISO and .541 SLG allow him to be in the middle of any lineup. The Blue Jays have a young core of hitters Vlad Guerrero Jr, Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette are the headliners of the organization while Gurriel is still just 24 year old and will be a mainstay in the lineup for years to come. 

Austin Hays, OF, Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles have become the 76ers of baseball.  Since losing the 2016 wild card game Baltimore went into the cellar of the AL East and the entire league.  The Orioles moved all players with any major league success in order to rebuild the organization from the bottom. Austin Hays ranked as high as the 21 in the MLB Pipeline prospect rankings.  Hays got a surprisingly September call up in 2019 and he immediately paid off. 309/.373/.574 in 21 games during the month forced the organization to move quickly inserting Hays as the prospect to watch heading into 2020.  

Hays will have the chance to start the year in th majors during the upcoming season.  His defense in center along with his potential should make him a pre-season candidate for AL Rookie of the Year.

David Dahl, OF, Colorado Rockies

David Dahl has been a preseason favorite of mine for a number of years.  2020 seems like the time for Dahl to take the next step. Injuries have continually derailed Dahl’s potential.  From 2016-2019 Dahl played only 63, 77 and 100 games, missing the entire season in 2017. Dahl’s splits favor Coors field as do many of the players that wear the Rockie uniform, he still brings together a great mix of power and speed. What sets Dahl apart from others is his ability to produce versus both lefties and righties.  His slugging percentage and batting average are similar no matter who he is facing.  

A healthy David Dahl will be placed right in the middle of the Rockies lineup either right behind Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story or right before them.  It really doesn’t matter what part of the lineup Dahl ends up, if he is able to stay healthy he will be in for a season that should make him a household name by the end of the season.

Honorable Mention:

Willie Calhoun, Texas Rangers (Get well soon)

Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays

MLB DFS Breakdown August 13 2019- Brewers crush reeling Perez

Pitcher Spotlight- Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals

Jack Flaherty is priced at just $9,000 versus the Kansas City Royals, making him the seventh highest price pitcher on the slate.  At such a low-price Flaherty is a bargain for all DFS players. Jack has been on another level since the All-Star break.  Flaherty has totaled over 18 fantasy points in seven straight starts, including his two most recent starts where he scored 35 and 36 versus the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers.  

One of Flaherty’s biggest problems has been giving up power which the Royals as a team don’t bring a lot of those concerns.  As a team they only have an ISO of .160.  If Flaherty can avoid the power of Jorge Soler and Hunter Dozier he should be ripe for another high scoring outing. 

Potential Stacks- Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels

The focus for my stack will be on the Milwaukee Brewers.  Martin Perez has become the Martin Perez of the last few seasons over the last three months his ERA has ballooned to a 6.67ERA during the second half of the season. Perez has given up a ton of power to righties the entire season, a .459 slugging percentage has led to a lot of short outings.  Perez combined with the struggles of the Minnesota bullpen should put the Brewers in nice spot for a four-man stack. I am going to build my lineup around Keston Huira, Ryan Braun and Mike Moustakas can all be affordable along with some plays from the Dodgers against the regression of Jordan Yamamoto.

Sneaky Stack- Philadelphia Phillies

Attacking the struggling Jose Quintana is a great option for underpriced power.  Rhys Hoskins is underpriced at just $4.1K, if you pair him along with Jean Segura and Scott Kingery at the top of the lineup you can stack some top-level pitching with the stack. 

Lineup Build-

P: Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Caridinals, $9,000

P: Joe Ross, Washington Nationals, $5,500

C: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals, $3,000

1B: Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers, $4,700

2B: Keston Huira, Milwaukee Brewers, $5,000

3B: Mike Moustakas, Milwaukee Brewers, $4,400

SS: Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers, $4,000

OF: Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers, $5,400

OF: Lane Thomas, St. Louis Cardinals, $4,300

OF: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers, $4,700

Fantasy Baseball Sleepers at Every Position.

C: Omar Narvaez, Seattle Mariners

Narvaez was a major player for almost every Draftkings lineup I put out last season. Playing in 97 games for the White Sox Narvaez popped 9 homers and added 30 RBI’s.  He also has a solid 12.3 walk rate while striking out 16.9 percent of the time. Among catchers with 200 plate appearances last season, Narvaez led all with a 29 percent line drive rate. He’s someone that has always squared up the ball going back to his minor league days. 

Narvaez was dealt to the Mariners in the offseason which will put him in a tough home ballpark.  But with multiple trips to Houston and Oakland allowing him for some hitter friendly places for the power to continue to develop.

1B: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

First Base is not the stacked position that most assume it will be.  Projected as the 18th best first base eligible player Cabrera is the perfect player to fall to the bottom of most draft boards.  An injury last year limited Miggy to just 38 games last year but he is still going to be the focal point of the Detroit offense in 2019 and he can still hit the ball hard. Per Statcast, Cabrera twice exceeded 114 MPH on batted balls last year, a feat which only 52 of 390 hitters with at least 100 plate appearances managed.

This is not the MVP Cabrera of his past but the productions should still be there for a player that no one will be looking at.

2B: Garrett Hampson, Colorado Rockies

The Rockies let DJ LeMahieu moving on to New York a spot opened up at second base for Hampson.  Ryan McMahon will most likely get a few starts at 2nd the job should go primarily to Hampson whose speed will be a great attribute to a loaded Rockies lineup. The 24-year-old hit at least .301 across every minor league level. In 2018, he hit 10 home runs and stole 36 bases across two levels. The kid can hit and he can flat out run.

Let’s never forget that Coors Field can do wonders for any player. Hampson will have huge upside while most likely being overshadowed in most drafts.

SS: Paul DeJong, St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals have made their lineup one of the deepest in the league by adding potential game changer Paul Goldschmidt.  Whether DeJong is batting in front or behind Goldschmidt shouldn’t matter with the power potential he has.  A healthy DeJong is the only worry anyone should have about his potential. 

Getting a 30HR potential bat at shortstop late in your draft will be huge down the stretch of the long fantasy baseball season.

3B: Josh Donaldson, Atlanta Braves

Donaldson’s injuries put a halt to a career that was seeing him propel himself to the top of the MLB. Donaldson won’t get back to his MVP form but his signing with the Braves puts him in the middle of a diverse lineup.  With guys like Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies around him Donaldson will have huge opportunities to knock in runs.  30 homers makes a lot of sense if he can stay healthy this season. 

OF: Domingo Santana, Seattle Mariners

Another Mariner makes my list, this one with similar traits as Narvaez.  Domingo Santana has the power to make a huge difference in any lineup.  Finally finding consistent at bats this year will be huge for a player that was the odd man out in Milwaukee last year. When given a full season of at bats in 2017 Domingo put together all-star level numbers smashing 30 homers with an .870 OPS.  Santana also surprised many with 15 steals added to those power numbers.

With an ADP of 356 you may be able to pick up Santana after the season has already begun in smaller leagues. At just 26 years old Santana is still progressing as a hitter and could add more tools as the season goes on. 

RP: Trevor May, Minnesota Twins

After missing the 2017 season Trevor May made it back to the mound in 2018 and dazzled in the back end for the Twins. His swing and miss ability was ability was nearly elite level with a `15.4% rate.  Further his K-BB% of 30.1% was top flight.   The Twins have made moves to strengthen their lineup in 2019 and with no clear choice in the back end May stands out as the best possible choice for the Twins.

SP: Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay Rays-

       Yusei Kikuchi, Seattle Mariners

       Ross Stripling, Los Angeles Dodgers

      Forrest Whitley, Houston Astros