Possible breakouts for 2023: The list isn’t limitless, but it’s close
Ethan Hearn – Photo by Stephanie Lynn
When it comes to disruptions, most tend to occur at the lower levels of the system. Very occasionally, we’ll see someone break out in Double-A, but South Bend and Myrtle Beach is where the magic usually happens.
To me, a breakout usually happens when a player makes an increase in their performance that increases their potential. It’s not just about putting up good numbers over a 2-3 month period, it’s really a review of what this player can be and how he might one day fit on the major league roster.
In 2023, there are almost too many guys who could break out. The reason for this is that there are many players who haven’t done everything yet. There are many who could do it next season, but there is no certainty that they will.
Here’s a list of guys by position who have a chance to really step it up next year and increase their position in the organization.
C – Ethan Hearn, Adan Sanchez, Carlos Altuve
For me, Ethan Hearn would be my favorite to come out in 2023 as he finished 2022 strong in Myrtle Beach. Hopefully, the power he showed last year along with hitting for average in the second half will show up again to start the year in South Bend.
1B – Haydn McGeary
I’m really pulling for McGeary to just tear it up next summer wherever he’s assigned. I could see him starting the year in Myrtle Beach or South Bend. I don’t care where it is, I just want to see a 6’5″ right-handed hitter just destroy some baseballs.
2B – Jefferson Rojas
Some of you may be wondering why Pedro Ramírez isn’t on this list. That’s because it’s already exploded…twice. As for Rojas, he’s been getting a bit of a buzz lately with a recent Instagram video of him in instruction. He will likely be in Arizona at 18 and play alongside Alexis Hernandez.
SS – Cristian Hernandez, Alexis Hernandez
Seeing one of the brothers catch fire next summer will be a lot of fun. Now that they are both in the States, it will be interesting to see how they adjust. For Cristian, he really didn’t have a bad year last year, he was decent and he seems to have smoothed out some things in his swing that should benefit him this year in Myrtle Beach where it’s a little harder to hit the baseball . the ball stadium. As for Alexis, it might flash every now and then, but it’s more likely to break out in 2024.
3B – Chris Paciolla
If Ethan Hearn is my best player coming out, Paciolla would be second. So far, I love the fact that he can already hit for power and still grow from it. He will improve physically and may drive some balls over the fence in the second half of the year in South Bend if he lights up in Myrtle Beach in the first half.
OF – Parker Chavers, Christian Franklin, Andy Garriola, Ke’Shun Collier, Jefferson Encarnacion
Each of these guys just needs the same thing: a chance to play every day. Chavers and Franklin missed almost all of last year. While Garriola and Collier didn’t play much after signing, Encarnació essentially missed the last 3 years.
RHSP: Kenyi Perez, Cade Horton, Jackson Ferris, Brandon Birdsell, Nick Hull, Luis Rujano, Mason McGwire, Drew Gray, Nazier Mule, Kevin Valdez,
One thing I’ve tried not to do this winter is figure out where all the aforementioned pitchers will be. Most of them will be in Myrtle Beach while a couple will be in South Bend and a few will stay for extended spring training. But most of last year’s draft class has a chance to really step it up in their first full season. I’m excited to see what they all can do and where they do it.
LHSP – Carlos Garcia, Luis Aquino
Garcia returns to the organization after being suspended for all of 2022, while Aquino will start again after coming out of the Mariners’ system, where he had very high strikeout rates but also battled some injuries. Garcia is my guy and he just needs one chance to get back on the horse.
RHRP – Johzan Oquendo, Saul Gonzalez, Wilber Rodriguez, Elian Almanzar
Here are my top four relievers who should be out this spring. Oquendo and Gonzalez will likely be in South Bend while Rodriguez and Almanzar should be in Myrtle Beach. All four can fill a zone and the radar gun, it’s just a matter of controlling their throws. Of all the categories, this is also the one where we’ll see someone come out of nowhere, which would be a real blast.
LHRP – Branden Noriega, Chase Watkins
Watkins should be where he can hopefully be healthy on opening day and pitch all season. He’s a big kid who I once thought might be a starting contender. But once he recovered, the bullpen role suits him well. And as long as he stays healthy, he should easily be a top contender. Also, his left-handedness makes him a bit more valuable as a prospect. As for Noriega, I have no expectations other than that he can throw hard. We’ll see if he gets it to the plate early and often.
I know I’ve left off this list people who might come out next year. Most of them are guys who haven’t started their careers yet. 2023 is a chance to stay healthy and play every day, it will be an exciting year, especially in Myrtle Beach, as there is a lot up in the air about who will pitch where and who will hit. in Myrtle Beach vs. South Bend.
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