Fantasy Baseball Breakout Players – Picks For 2014

March 24 9:59am
Nick Sharp

Fantasy baseball is a game of prediction. We’re always trying to figure out which players hold value, which are in line for big seasons, and which will disappoint. As you’ve seen during Parts 1-6 of our 2014 MLB Preview Series (all of which can be found at the bottom of this article), we’re here to help.  In Part 7, we’ll take a stab at predicting which guys will be fantasy baseball breakout players in 2014. Let’s get down to it.

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Breakdown

Top Fantasy Baseball Breakout Players

According to our MLB Bloggers, Xander Bogaerts should be THE next fantasy baseball breakout player in 2014. All of the players listed below have untapped potential, but perhaps none more than young Xander of Boston. The Sox must believe they have the real deal here, as they let World Series champion Stephen Drew walk out the door for nothing. Bogaerts was essentially handed the job, but he should have no trouble holding on to it.

 

Taijuan Walker seems to have all the tools necessary to become a top flight pitcher in the Major Leagues. He rode a cool 3.61 ERA in the hitter friendly PCL League last year, and should be able to continue that success into his first professional season. Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon had hoped that Walker would be able to win himself a spot in the rotation, but shoulder inflammation has slowed down his development. Rest assured, Walker should be in the rotation by May, and he should be able succeed immediately.

 

Last year, there wasn’t one fantasy baseball player who wasn’t in love with Oscar Tavares. With the emergence of young studs like Byron Buxton and Xander Bogaerts (also mentioned in this article), it’s easy to overlook Tavares. Take it from us, don’t overlook him. He was hampered by an injury last year, and has all the necessary tools to be a top-10 shortstop in 2014.

 

What’s more fun than predicting which players breakout all season long? Predicting which players will breakout for just one day, that’s what. Whether its a spot starter, recent call up, or just a guy who ate a good breakfast that day, it happens all the time. Join FanDuel with promo code MLBPREVIEW14 and we’ll match your first deposit 100%! It’s time to get in the game. 

 

Billy Hamilton has to be one of the most polarizing fantasy baseball prospects of all time. Some people say he has a legitimate chance to break the stolen break record, while others say he won’t reach base enough to even attempt to break the record. Regardless, one thing is for sure. The kid can FLY. He is currently sporting a .400 OBP through spring training thus far. While this trend is unlikely to continue, with his ability to score runs and steal bases, Hamilton may just be the next big fantasy baseball breakout player and dominate one category.

 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, Bryce Harper should be a name that you recognize. He burst onto the scene in 2012, only to be overshadowed by fellow rookie sensation Mike Trout. Harper is one of those rare “five tool” players that you hear about every once and a while. He’s got power, speed and an arm that would make Vlad Guerrero blush. The best part? He’s only 21 years old. You will remember his name. He was a FanDuel All-Star on Opening Day last season – we can’t wait to see what he’s got in store for an encore peformance this time around.

 

Only 20 years old, Byron Buxton is steadily preparing for his first big league season. It’s highly unlikely that he’ll be on the team’s opening day roster, but a major league invite to spring training this year should give him the experience needed to make a splash sometime during 2014. The second overall pick of the 2012 draft and MLBs #1 prospect heading into this year, Buxton should be a guy to keep tabs on if you haven’t started doing so already.

 

Minor league prospects on the Astros have a knack for getting forgotten about. Let’s hope this isn’t the case for young George Springer. Springer personally holds all the tools necessary to succeed, but he won’t be able to do it all himself. If the Astros are able to put a formidable lineup around him, he should thrive. Pulling a page out of the Sandy Alderson playbook, Houston likely won’t call up Springer until mid-June to avoid arbitration with him for an extra year. Even though he won’t be on the major league roster to start the season, Springer should make a real push for NL Rookie of the Year in 2014.

 

Jason Kipnis made a huge splash in the MLB last year. In just his second full MLB season, Kipnis posted 86 runs, 17 homers, 84 RBIs, 30 steals and an impressive .284 average. You’d be hard pressed to find another second basemen as consistent as Kipnis, and there’s no reason that he shouldn’t improve upon last years All-Star season.

 

You remember Yasiel Puig, right? Good. Now, let us introduce Jose Abreu. The next big name out in fantasy baseball could very well be another defector from Cuba. He’s 27 years old, and signed a monster contract with the White Sox this season. Many project his tremendous power from the Cuban league to translate into MLB success, and we’re on board with that projection. Don’t shy away from Abreu because of his inexperience. If Puig, Yoenis Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman taught us anything, it’s that these Cuban ball players are Major League ready.

 

Jose Fernandez was easily one of the best stories of the 2013 baseball season. The now 21-year-old fireballer finished 2013 with an unbelievable 2.13 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. Those numbers would have been impressive for Roger Clemens during his prime. Instead, we had a kid who had never pitched higher than Single-A ball for a team winning 20% of the Marlins games. If the Marlins can find a way to score some runs for Fernandez, he should easily be able to top last years 12-6 record.

 

At a glance, Jurickson Profar looks like a young, over-hyped prospect struggling to make his way in the big leagues. Over sporadic starts, inconsistent defensive placement, and a less than helpful mentor in Ian Kinsler, Profar’s 2013 was lackluster to say the least. That’s all about to change. With the Kinsler trade comes a secured starting spot on a high-powered Rangers team and once this young gun hits his stride, he’ll be one of the next big names in the fantasy baseball. [UPDATE 3/23- Profar has a torn muscle in his shoulder and will be out 10-12 weeks]

 

You might not see him out on third in Wrigleyville when the season starts, but keep looking because Cubs’ prospect Kris Bryant may just become one of the fantasy baseball breakout players in 2014. He has been demolishing the minors with a .336 average and 9 home runs over 36 games. We’ve since seen 16 spring training plate appearances with the Cubs that included 2 more souvenirs shots. If he can control his strikeout rate, he’ll be paying off big fantasy dividends for years to come.

 

It can sometimes be easy to get too excited over spring ball pitching, but new Yankee pitcher and Japanese prospect Masahiro Tanaka may be worth it. Known for a swing-and-miss splitter, the 25 year old has good movement on his high 80s stuff, and can get a low to mid 90s fastball in there to keep batters honest. If he can keep it up in the games that count, he may just be a fantasy baseball breakout player in 2014.

 

Many recognize Michael Wacha as the pitcher with the Muppet sounding last name who dismantled the Dodgers in the NLCS last year. That same name has moved from a punch line to being one of 2014′s expected fantasy baseball breakout players.  The young St. Louis stud is coming off a 2.78 ERA and 1.098 WHIP 2013 season, and aside from a year of experience under his belt, he’s also honing in a cutter that would add a 4th pitch to his already impressive arsenal.

 

With all the time, money, and effort you spend prepping yourself for fantasy baseball season, it’d be nice to see some payback, right? Even if you’re lucky enough to finish in the money, you’re season-long league won’t pay out until September. FanDuel will be paying out $1,000,000 PER DAY (!) during MLB Season. Deposit now with offer code MLBPREVIEW14 and we’ll match your first deposit dollar for dollar up to $200 bucks. Go ahead, you deserve it!

 

When you intermittently played on a team that lost 96 games the previous year, it’s easy to get lost in the fantasy shuffle. But that was then. Now Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia might just be the next big fantasy baseball breakout star. Through his mixed playing time, Arcia still managed 14 homers in 97 games and always puts a lot of pop on the ball. He looks to be an everyday right fielder this year which means he could be looking at a 20 to 30 home run season that may come with RBIs reaching the triple digit mark. Those are definitely numbers any fantasy team could use.

 

If he wasn’t already, Paul Goldschmidt should be on your fantasy radar. Goldy is coming off a phenomenal year with the Diamondbacks and there’s no sign of stopping him. When it comes to offense, last season this first basemen’s 36 home runs, 125 RBIs, and .551 slugging was some of the best in the business, and this 26 year old may not have reached his prime. When he does, he’ll not only be a household name, but top the list of fantasy baseball breakout players.

Survey Results

Website Breakout Player Website Breakout Player
i70 Baseball Taijuan Walker Detroit Tiger Tales Oscar Tavares
Draft America Billy Hamilton Matthew Musico George Springer
BrokeMets Taijuan Walker Off the Bench Baseball Xander Bogaerts
NY Mets Life Michael Wacha Red Legs Review Masahiro Tanaka
Advanced Fantasy Baseball Kris Bryant SF Giants Baseball Jose Abreu
Seattle Mariners Musings Xander Bogaerts Through the Fence Baseball
Around Citi Taijuan Walker The Best Sports Blog Jose Fernandez
Cheap Seats Please Xander Bogaerts Sox Addict Byron Buxton
Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks Paul Goldschmidt Fenway Nation Xander Bogaerts
Red Sox Nation Alberta Xander Bogaerts Tenth Inning Stretch Oswaldo Arcia
SeamHeads Xander Bogaerts More Hard Ball Jason Kipnis
Mets Chronicle Rafael Montero Fantasy Six Pack Oscar Tavares
Owen O’Brien (FanDuel Insider) Billy Hamilton Diamond Hoggers Bryce Harper
Reading Between the Seams Call to the Pen Xander Bogaerts
500 Level Fan Oscar Tavares Philip Oliveri (FanDuel Insider) Jurickson Profar
Buzz on Broad Eric Hosmer Blood Sox Taijuan Walker

FanDuel’s MLB 2014 Preview Series

FanDuel’s MLB 2014 Preview Series

Part 1- Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings

Part 2- Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy

Part 3- Fantasy Baseball Busts

Part 4- Fantasy Baseball Sleepers
 
Part 5- Surprise MLB Teams
 
Part 6- Fantasy Baseball Bounce Back Players
 
Part 7- Fantasy Baseball Breakout Players
 
Part 8- World Series Predictions
 

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