No MLB season is without its fair share of exciting breakout candidates, and based on what we saw from certain players around the league last season, 2020 is no exception to the rule. However, there's a select group of those players that have the potential to really take the baseball world by storm, and that could blossom into true superstars if they keep building on their past success.
With that in mind, here are five breakout superstar candidates for the 2020 MLB season.
5. Victor Robles, OF, Washington Nationals
He had an up and down rookie season with the Washington Nationals in 2019, but Victor Robles looks poised to take a huge step forward in 2020. The 22-year-old centerfielder's .255/.326/.419 slash line from last season may not look like much, but his ability to come up big in the clutch is pretty solid indicator that a breakout is in the cards. Despite being a rookie, Robles looked like seasoned veteran when stepping up to the plate with two outs and runners in scoring position, slashing a ridiculous .300/.402/.571 with five homers and 29 RBI in that split in 2019. Already a Gold Glove-caliber defender and a menace on the base paths (28 steals in 2019), an improved year at the plate is all it may take for Robles to break out and become a household name.
4. Amed Rosario, SS, New York Mets
The first week of Spring Training hasn't been kind to Amed Rosario so far, but if he can find his groove before Opening Day, baseball fans should get ready to see great things from the young shortstop. Once baseball's best prospect, the 24-year-old Rosario has faced a lot of criticism for failing to live up to his potential in his short career. Things really started to pick up last year though. He entered the All-Star Break with a mediocre .260/.299/.414 slash line, but he went on a tear at the plate in 70 games (289 plate appearances) after the break, recording a .319 average and .804 OPS to round out the year. If Rosario can build off of his impressive second half in 2020, he could quickly become one of the league's best at his position, living up to the hype he once received as a prospect.
3. Luke Weaver, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Luke Weaver was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of the blockbuster Paul Goldschmidt trade last season and expectations weren't high after a poor start to his major league career. However, the 26-year-old righty ended up being a pleasant surprise in 2019, giving D-Backs fans a glimpse of what he's truly capable of. In 12 starts, Weaver went a respectable 4-3 while recording career-best marks in ERA (2.94) and WHIP, (1.07). Unfortunately, what looked like a promising season was derailed by a forearm injury that kept him off the mound for three months. With a whole offseason to get healthy, look for Weaver to pick up where he left off.
2. Willy Adames, INF, Tampa Bay Rays
Just like Rosario, Willy Adames was a top prospect that looked at risk of fizzling out. And while consistency remained an issue early on in 2019, the young middle-infielder finally put it together when it mattered most. The 24-year-old shortstop was one of Rays' most fearsome hitters in their run to the postseason, slashing .278/.340/.467 with 10 homers and 26 RBI over the last 67 games of the season (251 plate appearances). And he was arguably Tampa's postseason MVP, slashing .294/.400/.706 with 2 home runs in six postseason games (20 plate appearances). He was starting to put things together at the right time, and now Adames could be an important piece for the Rays as they look to return to the playoffs in 2020.
1. Jack Flaherty, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
Of any player that could possibly breakout in 2020, Jack Flaherty is easily the most likely of the bunch. The 24-year-old righty had a strong 2019 campaign, posting career-best marks in wins (11), ERA (2.75) and strikeouts (231) while leading the National League in WHIP (0.97). However, Flaherty's season-long numbers are only a small indicator of just how good he can be this year. The Cardinals' fireballer was arguably the most dominant pitcher in baseball after the All-Star Break, recording a microscopic 0.91 ERA and 0.71 WHIP to go a long with an average of 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings. A sub-1.00 ERA is clearly unsustainable for an entire season, but the superstar potential is clearly there. Flaherty already finds himself in the conversation as a potential NL Cy Young candidate for the season ahead.
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Mike Esposito is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Esposito also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username espo6891. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.