MLB breakout candidates 2023: Potential MLB breakout players
One of the biggest unknowns heading into the new baseball season is who the MLB breakout candidates for 2023 will be. There are always breakout stars who get overlooked in pre-season position rankings but blossom once the season begins.
We just don’t ever know who those MLB breakout players will be.
MLB breakout candidates 2023
In preparation for the season, we wanted to take a crack at predicting the breakout stars of the new season. We’re not saying any of these players will end up having one of the best rookie seasons in MLB history or having a hall-of-fame career.
But we do think there are some breakout prospects that most fans don’t know about yet. With that said, here is a list of our 10 MLB breakout candidates in 2023.
If the Red Sox are going to make some noise this season, they will probably need Japanese transplant Masataka Yoshida to have a breakout season in his MLB debut. The good news is that the 29-year-old outfielder should be more than prepared for the big leagues.
He won the Pacific League batting title in both 2020 and 2021 and then helped his team win the Japanese Series last year.
Yoshida has a great understanding of the strike zone and makes a ton of contact. Keep in mind that he was a career .327 hitter in Japan. That should translate to a lot of success in the big leagues this year with Yoshida being capable of hitting .300 or better right away.
The Mariners must be pleased with George Kirby’s rookie season last year. In 25 starts, he went 8-5 with a 3.39 ERA. But the best could be yet to come with him.
Before slowing down late in the year, Kirby went 4-0 with a 2.15 ERA over his five starts in August. That shows the ceiling of just how good he can be. After making the playoffs last year, the Mariners will be on everyone’s radar this season. That should help to shine the spotlight on Kirby and let the rest of the league know that he’s one of the top young pitchers in baseball.
One could argue that Daulton Varsho was one of the top MLB breakout players last year when he hit 27 home runs for the Diamondbacks. But he wasn’t even an all-star despite his best efforts.
However, now that he’s in Toronto, Varsho should get a little more recognition, at least if the Blue Jays can get back to the postseason.
Obviously, the power is there after posting a slugging percentage of .443 last year. If Varsho can round out the rest of his game, he’ll have a breakout season. While versatile defensively, Toronto won’t need him to play behind the plate, nor will they ask him to play center field. Instead, Varsho has a chance to become one of the top left fielders in the league.
The Yankees are certainly hoping that everything can start to click for Harrison Bader now that he’s in pinstripes. He’s had some good moments in St. Louis and has proven himself to be a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder.
Bader just has to show a little more consistency offensively and turn his potential into consistent production.
He wouldn’t be the first player to thrive after going to the Yankees. Keep in mind that Bader will be playing about 10 miles from where he was born in Bronxville, New York, so the hometown advantage could make him one of MLB’s breakout candidates in 2023.
If you just look at Hunter Greene’s overall numbers in 2023, they are a little ugly. However, he finished the season as strong as the Reds could have wished.
Despite a stint on the IL late in the year because of a shoulder problem and arm fatigue, Greene threw six scoreless innings in four of his last five starts of 2022.
He lowered his ERA from 5.59 to 4.44 in that span. Clearly, the second overall pick in the 2017 draft has started to figure something out, and if he can keep it going in 2023, Greene could be one of the best pitchers in the National League this season.
Based on his raw tools alone, Oneil Cruz is one of MLB’s breakout candidates in 2023. Even in an era of tall, athletic shortstops, Cruz is one of a kind at 6’7’’.
He didn’t exactly establish himself as a star last season, hitting just .233 with an OPS of .744. But he also had 34 extra-base hits, including 17 home runs, in 87 games last year. The power he showcased last season could just be the opening act because Cruz has almost unlimited potential. If he starts to perform the way the Pirates expect him to, 2023 could be his breakout season.
Playing in Kansas City has made it easy for the baseball world to overlook Brady Singer. But the 18th overall pick in 2018 has the stuff to become one of the top pitchers in the American League this season.
In 24 starts and three relief appearances for the lowly Royals last year, Singer still managed to win 10 games while posting a 3.23 ERA. It was a huge step forward from the previous season when Singer lost 10 games and had a 4.91 ERA in 27 starts. He may not have eye-popping strikeout numbers by today’s standards, but he’s started to gain a good understanding of how to get hitters out, which is why his 2023 campaign could be even better than his 2022 season.
We caught a glimpse of Corbin Carroll last season, but not enough people saw what the 22-year-old did during the final month of the season because he plays for the Diamondbacks. But when he plays his first full season in the big leagues in 2023, Carroll will do so as one of the fastest players in the majors.
In addition to his speed, Carroll also hit .260 with four home runs in just 104 at-bats. The D’Backs have to be excited about what they saw last year because if he can keep putting the bat on the ball, Carroll’s speed could make him one of this year’s breakout stars.
Despite making his MLB debut in 2019, injuries have prevented Dustin May from fulfilling the immense potential we saw during the shortened 2020 season when he posted a 2.57 ERA. The 2021 season was supposed to be his breakout season until Tommy John surgery derailed those plans.
However, May was able to return late in 2022, making six starts.
Now that he’s nearly two full years removed from surgery, May should be close to reclaiming the form he had early in his career.
If he can stay healthy for a full season in 2023, there’s no reason why May shouldn’t be able to establish himself as a frontline start and yet another bonafide ace the Dodgers have in their rotation.
Vinnie Pasquantino is another promising player who is a little harder to notice because he plays for the Royals and didn’t come up last year until late June. Fortunately for Kansas City, that may not be the case for much longer.
The left-hand-hitting first baseman hit .295 with an OPS of .833 over the first 72 games of his MLB career. That was after he crushed 37 homers in the minors in 2021 while also hitting .300.
Pasquantino has immense power but is far more than someone who is just going to hit home runs. He’ll have a chance to showcase his talents for Team Italy during the World Baseball Classic. But after that, keep a close eye on him because he could be anchoring Kansas City’s lineup and becoming a key figure for the Royals in 2023.
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