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Fantasy Baseball: Early Predictions for 2013's Biggest Breakout Targets

Eric MatulaContributor IIOctober 1, 2012

Fantasy Baseball: Early Predictions for 2013's Biggest Breakout Targets

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    Every season, there are a handful of breakout players that shake up the fantasy rankings.

    This year, it was Edwin Encarnacion (ADP of 271), Mike Trout (ADP of 218) and R.A. Dickey (ADP of 244). If you were able to snag any of these players this season, then you cashed in on huge performances. Each of those three players currently sits in the top 10 of the fantasy rankings.

    So, as the 2012 season dwindles down, it's never too early to look forward to next year, especially if you were already eliminated from your playoffs.

    Here are 10 candidates that could have breakout seasons in 2013,

Mike Minor, SP, Atlanta Braves

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    2012 stats: 179.1 IP, 11-10, 4.12 ERA, 145 K, 1.15 WHIP

    Mike Minor was a tale of two halves.

    In the first half of the season, Minor was awful. At the time of the All-Star break, Minor was 5-6 with a 5.97 ERA and 1.42 WHIP.

    But, in the second half, Minor caught fire. He went 6-4 with a 2.18 ERA and 0.87 WHIP. He was especially hot in September, when he went 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA and 0.71 WHIP.

    Minor will be 26 years old next year and look for him to have his breakout season.

Andrelton Simmons, SS, Atlanta Braves

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    2012 stats: .294 BA, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 16 R, 1 SB

    Andrelton Simmons might not have the long-term upside of someone like Manny Machado or Jurickson Profar, but he should be a more stable play in 2013.

    For one, Simmons will have a starting job come Opening Day. Simmons is arguably the best defensive shortstop in the game. And because of this, he'll get regular at-bats the entire season.

    His hitting isn't too shabby either. As a 23-year-old, Simmons has played in 45 games this season and is hitting just under .300.

    He has the potential to put together a 10-HR, 20-SB season. Plus, he doesn't strike out too much (11.9 K percent), so his average shouldn't dip too low.

Addison Reed, RP, Chicago White Sox

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    2012 stats: 54 IP, 29 SV, 4.67 ERA, 53 K, 1.37 WHIP

    As a 23-year-old, it has been Addison Reed's job to close out games for the White Sox with a playoff berth on the line.

    For the most part, he's been a solid closer this season. He'll have a chance to earn 30 saves after starting the year as a setup man.

    The ERA and WHIP are too high for a reliever, but I'll chalk that up to being a rookie closer.

    As Reed continues to mature, he'll learn to bury that slider and pick up even more strikeouts. Reed should become a more reliable closer in 2013.

Brett Lawrie, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays

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    2012 stats: .273 BA, 11 HR, 48 RBI, 70 R, 13 SB

    Brett Lawrie was supposed to have his breakout season this year. Many writers, myself included, were fooled into taking Lawrie pretty early this year, but he just never panned out to his lofty preseason expectations.

    That should change in 2013.

    Lawrie is far too good of a player to underachieve for a second consecutive season. Lawrie has the potential to be a 20/20 player if he stays healthy

    Third base isn't very deep, and it's especially hard to find someone with a combination of speed and power. Hanley Ramirez was the only third baseman to amass both 20-plus homers and 20-plus steals this year.

Manny Machado, 3B, Baltimore Orioles

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    2012 stats: .272 BA, 7 HR, 26 RBI, 24 R, 2 SB

    Manny Machado has certainly held his own since his surprise call up on August 9. Machado is only 20 years old and he's hitting over .270 with 18 extra base hits.

    What seemed like a peculiar move by the Orioles has turned into a great decision. With third base being realitively open, Machado has shown he can make a fantasy impact next season.

    Machado should earn the starting nod out of spring training next season, meaning he'll have a full season to work with.

    Machado could also gain shortstop eligibility. That is Machado's original position and if he gains versatility, he'll be even more valuable.

Justin Ruggiano, OF, Miami Marlins

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    2012 stats: .313 BA, 13 HR, 36 RBI, 38 R, 14 SB

    The Miami Marlins had a disastrous season, but Justin Ruggiano was one of the few highlights of the team.

    When Ruggiano was on the field, he produced. In 91 games, Ruggiano hit well above .300 and was able to steal 14 bases to go along with his 13 long balls.

    Ruggiano is a journeyman (he's 30 and has been with four different organizations), but he'll compete for a starting job next season.

    Ruggiano can provide value late in the draft next year. If he can earn a full-time gig, he's certainly capable of being a 20/20 player.

Marco Estrada, SP, Milwaukee Brewers

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    2012 stats: 138.1 IP, 5-7, 3.64 ERA, 143 K, 1.14 WHIP

    Marco Estrada started the year in the bullpen, but he made a very smooth transition to the starting rotation once the Brewers gave him the opportunity.

    Down the stretch, Estrada was brilliant. He went 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA in August and then followed that up with an even better September. Over the last month, Estrada went 3-2 with a 2.63 ERA.

    Estrada only won five games, but there's a lot to love about him. For one, his strikeout rate is very good. His 9.30 K/9 rate ranked him tied for sixth in the entire league. Secondly, his WHIP is exceptional as well, sitting at 1.14.

    Estrada's good season and hot run late in the season should allow him to secure a spot in the rotation in '13.

Lorenzo Cain, OF, Kansas City Royals

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    2012 stats: .266 BA, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 27 R, 10 SB

    Lorenzo Cain was a valuable fantasy player in 2012. The only problem: he couldn't manage to stay healthy.

    Because of injuries, Cain was limited to just 61 games this season. He made the most of his playing time though, posting a .266 average with seven homers and 10 steals.

    The Royals have a young, talented offense arriving soon. Butler is their workhorse, but a strong rebound from Eric Hosmer coupled with Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas and the arrival of Wil Myers can do some damage.

    Put Cain atop that lineup and he's capable of putting up solid numbers across the board, as long as he can stay on the field.

Carlos Carrasco, SP, Cleveland Indians

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    2012 stats: Did not play

    Carlos Carrasco missed the entire 2012 season after receiving Tommy John surgery. With a full-year off, he should be in good shape for 2013.

    Carrasco is a little bit of a longshot here, but with so many pitchers having successful seasons after TJ, he was worth mentioning.

    In 2010, Carrasco broke onto the scene with a 3.83 ERA in 44.2 innings. Then last year, before getting injured, he was 8-9 with a 4.62 ERA.

    With the Indians' staff less than stellar, Carrasco should have a good chance at cracking the rotation next year. He should be all full capacity before spring training.

Mike Olt, 1B/3B, Texas Rangers

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    2012 stats: .156 BA, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB

    Out of all the corner infielders, Mike Olt should have the most impact as a fantasy rookie.

    Olt got his feet wet in the MLB this season, but he only scratched the surface. This is a guy who blasted 28 bombs with 82 RBI in 95 games at Double-A this season.

    Olt is in a good situation to enjoy success early on. He got his experience this season and he will playing with a loaded Rangers offense at a hitter-friendly stadium.

    Olt will most likely begin the year at Triple-A, but don't be surprised to see him with Texas by the end of May.

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