There is something to be said about anchoring your fantasy baseball team with players that have already reached their potential.
With that said, there is always a new crop, often made up of younger players, that takes its game to the next level. Here’s a look at some American League East fantasy baseball breakout candidates.
Casey Janssen, RP, Toronto Blue Jays
Casey Janssen nailed down 22 saves last year while posting a 2.54 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP and 67 strikeouts in 63.2 innings. The Blue Jays have made significant improvements in both their lineup and their rotation. The save opportunities should be bountiful.
Desmond Jennings, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Desmond Jennings hit .246 last year, which is slightly lower than his .248 lifetime average. He improved his batting average by 27 points after the All-Star break. His on-base percentage (plus-31 points) and OPS (plus-97 points) also saw significant improvement after the break. Jennings stole 31 bases in 132 games. He could easily bring that total to 40 and beyond.
Brett Lawrie, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays
Brett Lawrie is another young, AL East third baseman that is poised to break out, though he’ll have to wait as he will begin the season on the disabled list (oblique, per MLB.com). Lawrie posted a .273-73-11-48-13 line in 125 games. He should approach 20-20 territory, especially in the Blue Jays’ potent lineup.
Manny Machado, 3B, Baltimore Orioles
Manny Machado posted a .262-24-7-26-2 line in 51 games. That projects to .262-76-22-85-6 in a full season. Machado will turn 21 in July and is one of the game’s top prospects. There wasn’t a significant drop-off in his home-road or right-left splits.
Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Boston Red Sox
Will Middlebrooks also mans the hot corner in the American League East. He posted a .288-34-15-54-4 line in 75 games, which projects to a .288-73-32-117-9 line. He hit well against both right-handed and left-handed pitching.
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