When it comes to prospects, area of the pleasure is attempting to spot another breakout star before he’s a very commended, famous name. Such prospects in many cases are people currently flying under the radar, and either because they have been coming from injuries, have not performed up to expectations or maybe just beginning their pro careers.
With 2019 around the corner, MLB Pipeline has picked you of these types of prospects from each organization as a potential breakout offender. Several of the names below might be more familiar than the others, but they could jump onto the scene during the approaching season and set themselves as exciting prospects.
Jean Carlos Encarnacion, 3B, Orioles No. 1-5
Encarnacion gets the highest ceiling of their four prospects that the Orioles acquired in the deal that delivered Kevin Gausman to the Braves at the non-waiver Trade-deadline. The 20-year-old has proto-typical third base tools, as he’s already physically robust and knows how to impact the base ball. He also offered a glimpse of his potential last year (in his first full season) by slashing .273/.298/.439 with 12 home runs and 46 extra-base hits over 123 games in the South Atlantic League. Those numbers needs to improve in 2019, given they can cut his 27.7 per cent strike out rate.
As the 22-year-old fought using control — a concern that has plagued him throughout his career walking 66 over 107 innings this season, he awakened 134 strikeouts. At the AFL, Hernandez thrown from the bullpen — by which his fastball-slider combination may produce a dominant matching — also afforded just 3 runs (two earned) over 11 1/3 innings.
Albert Abreu, RHP, Yankees No. 3 (MLB No. 85)
Abreu has impressed when he has been to the mound, however keeping him has been a bit of an issue. Even the hard-throwing right-hander has missed time with a shoulder strain, an appendectomy and knee inflammation within the past two seasons, also has been on the disabled list twice in 2018. When healthy in’19, Abreu includes three pitches — a fastball, breaking ball and changeup — that most grade out as and can help him quickly grow throughout the Yankees’ system.
He impressed his raw stuff, by using a four-pitch combination that included a low- to mid-90s fastball and also three secondaries that job to be above-average or better. Evaluators expect better results from Baz going forward as the young righty’s control improves and also he refines his busting balls.
Nate Pearson, RHP, Blue Jays No. 4 (MLB No. 90)
After his brilliant ace debut in 2017, Pearson’s first full season came to an abrupt end when he was hit by a line drive and sustained a busted ulna 1 2/3 innings into his first start at Class A advanced level Dunedin. He had been rusty when he came back to the mound from the Arizona Fall League, also fought initially, until settling and controlling during the summer season’s final weeks. When he had been right, Pearson showed top-of-the-rotation potential, with a legitimate triple-digit fastball, a plus slider and texture for both a curve ball and changeup.
However, his enticing skill-set has scarcely been on display as injuries have shrunk his short career. Robert missed time together with minor injuries in 2017, then played 50 games in’18 after injuring the ligaments in his thumb. Robert showed flashes of potential from the Arizona Fall League, where he struck .324 with just two homers, but repeatedly missed a few games using a minor accident. If Robert can remain healthy in 2019, there exists a good chance he will post enormous numbers.
George Valera, OF, Indians No. 5
Signed for $1.3 million in July 20 17, Valera took a lot of buzz to his pro debut and got off to a strong start in the rookie-level Arizona League, only to have his own season ending after six games due to a broken hamate bone in his own hand and subsequent operation. The injury has done nothing to reduce the 18-year-old outfielder’s up side down, and scouts continue to rave about Valera’s gorgeous left-wing swing in addition to his ability to apply his power during games at a young age.
Jose Azocar, OF, Tigers No. 1 9
Azocar’s tools have long been contested, and each time he has appeared poised to have a step of progress, he has gone ashore. He needs to refine his overall approach at the plate, but he cut his strike out rate greatly in 2018, perhaps a hint he’s ready to head consistently in the right direction.
Kyle Isbel, OF, Royals No. 14
Isbel took a jump forward throughout his junior season at UNLV, until the Royals took him in the next round of this 2018 Draft. Even the 21-year-old carried that momentum into his professional debut, where he struck .326 using seven homers over 6 4 games. Isbel finished the season with Class A Lexington, and also his original success, together with his streamlined swing and patient approach, might be foreshadowing a big full-season debut in’1 9.
Yunior Severino, 2B/SS, Twins No. 2 1
Severino was clearly one of the Braves’ prospects who had been declared a free agent in the aftermath of the company’s international rules offenses. He signed with the Twins and had a good 2018 season from the rookie-level Appalachian League. There is considerable offensive upside here, with the chance to hit for both power and average in each side of the plate.
Bryan Abreu, RHP, Astros No. 10
Abreu notched 90 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings this year and might be waiting for you for another huge season since he continues to refine his own control and work his own way throughout the system. Abreu has thrown only 38 1/3 innings at the full-season level, but having a fastball that sits at 92-94 miles and a curve ball that a number of executives feel may be the best from the system, it’s simple to determine why 2019 can be a huge season for Abreu.
Livan so to, SS, Angels No. 16
Still another Braves prospect who had made a free broker, so to needed a good organizational debut with the Angels in the Pioneer League in 2018, hitting .291. It’s his advanced way at the plate (.385 on-base percentage, 24/24 K/BB), not to mention his defensive prowess, that bodes well for his future.
Sean Murphy, C, Athletics No. 3 (MLB No. 47)
Murphy may possibly have reached the Majors last year or even for a broken hamate bone and subsequent hand operation in July while in double a, that sidelined him for about fourteen days. Even though Murphy’s stellar defense behind the plate is a known commodity and certainly will make him an every day big league catcher in short sequence, it has his residual development for a hitter that produces him a breakout candidate for 2019. Even the 24-year-old has tools to impact the game , with a line-drive-oriented swing, above-average raw power along with advanced texture for the strike zone.
When he got going in June, the left-handed-hitting outfielder submitted a .347/.415/.547 lineup with 30 extra-base hits and 11 steals over 66 games in the Florida State League. That performance put him on the Mariners’ radar, and the club was thrilled to land him, along with Mallex Smith, this off season from the Mike Zunino trade. With a swing that has natural attic, Fraley can be a good offender to breakout ‘1 9. However, he’ll need to stay on the field to achieve this following the only 151 games across his first three pro seasons.
Crouse, who has a slightly unconventional shipping, comes with a mid-to-upper-90s fastball and also a wipe-out slider. The right-hander also features a changeup that has the capacity to be the average third pitch.
Freddy Tarnok, RHP, Braves No. 18
That is correct, another Braves pitching prospect. Atlanta went way over pick significance to sign Tarnok in the next round of this 20 17 Draft. He pitched out of the bullpen in the first half 2018 (1.26 ERA in 16 games) and scuffled somewhat as a beginner. However, as someone who didn’t pitch before his junior year of high school, his ceiling as a future rookie is quite high.
Isan Diaz, 2B, Marlins No. 9
Following joining the Marlins from the Brewers in last off season’s Christian Yelich blockbuster, Diaz, within his age-22 season, produced a .771 OPS with 13 home runs over 119 games between double a and triple a. Power is Diaz’s calling card he’s hit at 13 homers in each of the past four years, emphasized by a career-high 20 homers during his 2016 full-season debut — since he has long impressed evaluators having his power to drive the ball from the park to all fields having a Robinson Cano-esque swing. That power might be on display in Miami second season, after the club included Diaz to its 40-man roster.
Next up is top Mets prospect Andres Gimenez. On his manner is Mauricio, who signed for $2.1 million July 20 17, also had a solid debut from the Gulf Coast League in’18, before he wore down. He’s got tools on each side of the globe and can be just starting to figure out how exactly to use all them.
Francisco Morales, RHP, Phillies No. 1 3
Morales was not as striking in the New York-Penn League in 2018 as he had been during his GCL debut the calendar year before, but his stuff is still plenty good. He continued to miss a whole great deal of bats (10.9 K/9 in’18) and needs to refine his own command to take another step, perhaps like a teen ager in full-season ball for the first time.
Jake Irvin, RHP, Nationals No. 17
The Nats’ fourth-round pick from 2018 was sharp during his pro debut, observing a 1.74 ERA having a .211 batting average against 20 2/3 innings involving your rookie-level Gulf Coast League and short-season Course A Auburn. As a durable 6-foot-6, 225-pound righty having a solid three-pitch combination, Irvin gets the essential ingredients to maneuver quickly throughout the Minors within his first full season, and the potential to develop as a back-of-the-rotation beginner.
Even the 19-year-old has a mature offensive approach and also an ability to strike the ball to all fields, also if his stint in the AZL was any sign, he would be waiting for you for a enormous first full season.
Jeter Downs, SS/2B, Reds No. 7
The Reds selected Downs with all the No. 32 overall pick from the 20 17 Draft out from this Florida high school ranks, and he responded with a solid first full season in’18 that contained 13 home runs and 37 steals. There is more pop to emerge as he refines his approach, with the chance of 20-20 seasons.
Tristen Lutz, OF, Brewers No. 5
The No. 34 overall pick from the 20 17 teaser showed that a lively bat in his first full season as he uttered 13 homers and 33 doubles (with a 4-5 percent extra-base-hit speed ) in the Midwest League. While Lutz struck out quite a bit from the process, he demonstrated a solid approach, in addition to pitch-recognition skills that will only improve as he gains experience. With a mixture of size, athleticism, baseball and tools expertise, Lutz has just one of the high ceilings in Milwaukee’s platform and might emerge as a member of baseball’s greatest young outfield prospects in 2019.
Cole Tucker, SS, Pirates No. 5
Tucker’s full-season in double a was adequate enough, however it is the fact his second-half OPS has been 145 points greater than his first half, combined with his own .370 Arizona Fall League ordinary and .442 OBP (fourth and third in the AFL, respectively), making him a good candidate to put it completely in 2019.
Elehuris Montero, 3B, Cardinals No. 7
in a lot of approaches, Montero broke out from 2018, hitting .322/.381/.529 using 15 homers from the Midwest League to earn a promotion to the FSL until he turned 20. Still learning to tap into his raw power, the next baseman should become more of a known name on the national prospect landscape in’1 9, particularly when they can avoid hitting Palm Beach’s hitting sanctuary and jump to double a.
Kristian Robinson, OF, D Backs No. 1-2
The D Backs spent $2.5 million to signal Robinson out from the Bahamas in July 20 17. In his first full pro season in’18, he struck well enough to earn a promotion from the Arizona League to the Pioneer League, at which he held his own. He’s got tremendous raw power he should continue to learn to tap in 2019.
Tyler Nevin, 1B/3B, Rockies No. 11
Nevin come up with the very best offensive season of his career (.328/.386/.503) over 100 games with Class A advanced level Lancaster during the 2018 effort. But, Lancaster can be a very hitter-friendly environment, that could have made a few wary of those numbers. Should these were, Nevin helped facilitate those concerns having a .426 moderate over 17 games in the Arizona Fall League, and he will look to build on that success as he likely moves up to double a in’1 9.
When healthy, the right-hander has a pair of also pitches — a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s and also a high-spin-rate slider with tremendous depth. Grove’s control improved during his time at West Virginia, however there’s still room for improvement since he continues to develop. Grove has to create his professional debut and will also soon be coming off Tommy John, so it is unlikely that the Dodgers are super aggressive with him, but the 2019 season might be a major one for Grove.
MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Padres No. 2 (MLB No. 1 3 )
Gore, the No. 3 pick from the 20 17 Draft, was restricted to a recurring blister difficulty during his first full season and tucked only 60 2/3 innings, posting a 4.45 ERA together with 74 strikeouts and 18 walks over 16 begins with Even the 19-year-old southpaw’s stuff and overall texture had been still plenty excellent, however, and there’s reason to believe he’ll be even better once fully healthy, with a chance to move relatively quickly, in 2019.
Heliot Ramos, OF, Giants No. 2 (MLB No. 74)
Ramos gets the maximum ceiling of anyone inside the Giants’ system, however a lack of patience at the plate has led in a few battles early in his career. Ramos, 1-9, directed the rookie-level Arizona League in slugging (.645) within his 20 17 expert debut, however that number dipped to .396 over 124 games with Class A Augusta in’18. Ramos has well-above-average power, however he broke out 136 days in 124 games a year past. In case Ramos can create more contact, allowing him to utilize his power longer, his future remains bright.