MLB Power Rankings: 15 Breakout Fantasy Stars for 2011

Shaun McPartlinCorrespondent IIIJanuary 25, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: 15 Breakout Fantasy Stars For 2011

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    The football season is coming to a close and it is now time to start to focus our attention on our national pastime.

    The key to a successful fantasy season is finding those five tool players who are poised to breakout.

    Carlos Gonzalez and Joey Votto became household names last year due to their tremendous seasons. S

    ome young players are ready to make their ascent into greatness and being along for that ride will be the key to a successful fantasy season.

15. Brennan Boesch, OF Detroit Tigers

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    Brennan Boesch had a fantastic first half of the regular season in 2010.

    He has one of the sweetest swings in the majors, hitting for both power and average for the Tigers.

    Boesch went into the All-Star break hitting .342 with 12 HRs and 49 RBI.

    He lost his swing somewhere during that time off and during the second half of the season, hit .163 with two HRs and 18 RBI.

    Boesch will have a chip on his shoulder going into the 2011 season. He will want to prove that his first half surge was not a fluke and I believe in his capabilities.

    He has a smooth, fluid swing, and can hit to all fields. He is someone I have my eye on going into this years draft.

14. John Jaso, C Tampa Bay Rays

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    John Jaso played a solid catcher for the Rays last season.

    Coming in for Dioner Nivarro, Jaso stepped into the lead-off spot for the Rays and delivered.

    His stats are a bit underwhelming with a .263 BA, five HRs and 44 RBI, but one stat sticks out the most to me. He scored 57 runs in 109 games.

    Not too shabby.

    With nearly a full season under his belt, Jaso is primed for a breakout year. The Rays shipped off almost all of their stars, but are known for their in-house talent stepping up to the plate. 

    John Jaso could be the man to make the biggest impact on a team looking for a new crop of leaders. 

13. Chris Johnson, 3B Houston Astros

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    Chris Johnson was a waiver-wire steal in the second half of the season.

    The Astros brought the young third baseman up form the minors and he made sure he never was sent back down.

    After the All-Star break, Johnson posted a .316 BA, smacked 11 HRs and knocked in 44 RBI.

    He might strike out more than you would like—73 times in the second half of the season—but with that kind of production, you can take the good with the bad.

    Johnson is a player who will provide you with top-round production at a middle-round price.

12. Dominic Brown, OF Philadelphia Phillies

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    Dominic Brown will most likely be every fantasy baseball owner's sleeper going into 2011.

    He will finally get his chance with the Phillies after Jayson Werth inked a mega-deal with the Washington Nationals.

    Brown surely has the hype; it is just a matter of whether or not he can live up to it.

    In AAA, Brown hit a whopping .346 with five HRs and 21 RBI. He might have his ups and downs in his first big-league season, but he looks to me like the next Jason Heyward.

    He might not have as much pop in his bat, but he makes up for it with wheels on the base paths.

    It's Brown's time to shine, so draft him with confidence.

11. Chone Figgins, 3B Seattle Mariners

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    Chone Figgins had a horrific first season with the Seattle Mariners. He hit only .256 with one HR and 35 RBI.

    He did steal 42 bases, but we all expected much more from this former Angel.

    Figgins will be moving back to third base this season, which will hopefully spark the rest of his game as well.

    RBI and home runs are not something we look for from Figgins, but his batting average was nearly 40 points lower than it was in 2009. 

    He will fall in drafts at a rapid rate this year, but moving back to the hot corner could get his game going back in the right direction.

10. Pedro Alvarez, 3B Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Alvarez is another up-and-coming player who could be destined for stardom next season.

    Andrew McCutchen needs all the help he can get, and Alvarez could be the answer he is looking for. 

    Pedro posted a .256 BA with 16 HRs and 64 RBI in only 95 games. With a full season ahead of him for the Pirates, his season totals will steadily rise. 

    Keep your eye on Alvarez as he looks to put together a solid campaign in Pittsburgh in 2011.

9. Daniel Hudson, P Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Daniel Hudson flew under the radar last season, as did most players on the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks.

    With the big-name pitchers stealing the show last season, young starters did not receive the recognition they deserved.

    Hudson started in 14 games, finishing with an 8-2 record, 2.45 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and held opposing hitters to a .202 BA.

    Not too many pitchers showed as much dominance as Hudson, yet not too many people knew his name.

    Let's be sure not to make the same mistake next season. Hudson should be a staple in your fantasy starting rotation in 2011.

8. Stephen Drew, SS Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Stephen Drew has been on fantasy owners' watch lists for years now. He is finally starting to live up to his hype.

    Recently, Drew avoided arbitration with the Diamondbacks and signed a two-year deal worth $13.75 million.

    It is time that he plays up to that lofty contract.

    Drew hit a respectable .278 with 15 HRs and 61 RBI. With Mark Reynolds departing for Baltimore, someone will have to pick up slack in the long ball department.

    Stephen Drew can be that guy.

    Arizona's Chase Field is a launching pad and Stephen Drew is ready for lift off.

7. Danny Valencia, 3B Minnesota Twins

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    Valencia is one of my favorite players going into 2011.

    He filled the void that the Twins had a third base and posted fantastic numbers in only 85 games. Valencia finished 2010 hitting .311 with seven HRs and 40 RBI. 

    Lets compare him to a Twin favorite, Joe Mauer. Mauer in 137 games posted a .327 BA, hit nine home runs, and knocked in 75 RBI. 

    Valencia posted numbers very similar to the 2009 MVP in only 85 games.

    With a full season to look forward to next year, Valencia is on the way up.

6. Brandon Morrow, P Toronto Blue Jays

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    The Toronto Blue Jays shut down Brandon Morrow once they fell out of contention last year.

    For some this could look like a red flag, but the Jays know they have something special with this flame-thrower.

    Morrow posted a 10-7 record coupled with a less than stellar 4.49 ERA.

    What stands out about Morrow is his ability to mow down opposing lineups. He accumulated 178 strikeouts last season. 

    He does boast a resume that includes a 17 K-one hit performance against the Rays and fairs well against the tough AL East going 9-5.

    The Jays are on the rise and Morrow will be the ace on their up-and-coming staff.

5. Gaby Sanchez, 1B Florida Marlins

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    The Florida Marlins have a strong nucleus of young players who are on the rise.

    Logan Morrison, Mike Stanton, Josh Johnson and Gaby Sanchez are some names to commit to memory.

    Sanchez slumped a bit after the All-Star break, which seems to be a common theme amongst young players.

    On the other hand, he had a solid enough first half to earn respect around the league. Sanchez finished the year with a .273 BA, 19 HRs and 85 RBI. 

    The Marlins are filled with young stars and Sanchez will have a breakout year in his sophomore campaign.

4. Carlos Santana, C Cleveland Indians

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    Santana had his season cut short with a torn LCL in his knee. Fortunately during his 46 big-league games, he didn't fail to impress.

    With the Indians in shambles, Carlos Santana is the lone, bright spot. A .260 BA with only six HRs and 40 RBI might be less than impressive, but don't let the stats fool you. This guy can play.

    In 57 games at the AAA level, Santana smacked 13 HRs, knocked in 51 runs and had a BA of .316.

    He has the potential to be a stud and will finish in the top five at his position.

3. Jeremy Hellickson, P Tampa Bay Rays

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    Hellickson might look like he belongs in Little League, but this guy has Major League stuff.

    In 10 games, with the Rays, Jeremy went 4-0 with a 3.47 ERA to go along with a 33:8 strikeout to walk ratio.

    Hellickson is one of if not the best of the Rays prospects and with Garza leaving for the Cubs, he has a spot in the rotation.

    In what could be a rebuilding year for the Rays, Hellickson will have a stage to showcase his abilities.

2. Mike Stanton, OF Florida Marlins

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    Mike Stanton is one of the up-and-coming Florida Marlin stars mentioned before.

    Stanton played in 100 games and smacked 22 HRs. His power is what makes him a fantasy star.

    His .259 BA is not very impressive, but as his at-bats pile up at the Major League level, he will mature as a hitter.

    Stanton is slated to take over the cleanup spot in 2011, and with Hanley Ramirez ahead of him and Gaby Sanchez behind him, he will be protected in the line up and will be set up for success. 

    If Stanton can produce any where near his minor league numbers—39 HRs in A and 37 HRs in AA, he will be the next fantasy star.

1. Drew Stubbs, OF Cincinnati Reds

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    Joey Votto and Jay Bruce broke onto the scene in 2010.

    This year belongs to Drew Stubbs.

    Stubbs is a five-tool player who has the skill set to be a fantasy stud. He can steal bases (30 in 2010) and hit for power (22 HRs in 2010).

    With maturity comes more discipline at the plate and this will lead to an increase in batting average, which was only .255 last season.

    Stubbs can be the next big thing in Cincinnati that already boasts a NL Central crown.

    This is a bold statement, but Drew Stubbs will be the next Carlos Gonzalez in 2011.

    Make sure he breaks out on your fantasy roster.