A handful of starters and a couple position players are the latest players I profile as some of my successful breakout candidate choices made pre-season.
Joe Ross, SP, Nationals - Ross is well on his way to reaching the numbers I thought he would going into his sophomore season. I saw him posting a sub 4.00 ERA and reaching 15 wins, he currently has a 7-4 record with a 3.49 ERA, so both of those predictions are looking good at this point halfway through the season.
Steven Matz, SP, Mets - Being overshadowed by the other guys in the Mets' rotation, much like I thought, he's flown under the radar. He's posted a win-loss record of 7-5 and posted a crisp 3.38 ERA, on most teams his ERA would be leading the pitching staff, but on a stellar Mets rotation, it only ranks fourth. If you banked on his small sample size of success and thought he would succeed like I did, good on ya.
Tanner Roark, SP, Nationals - Going into the All-star break, Roark has the second best ERA on the Nationals behind Stephen Strasburg and in front of Max Scherzer. Pretty impressive for a pitcher who pitched out of relief most of last year. Luckily for me I foresaw him earning the fifth spot in rotation and running with it throughout the season.
Jeremy Jeffress, RP, Brewers - I said pre-season that if Jeffress was able to claim the closer's role out of spring training that he would establish himself in that role. Safe to say he's done that, by posting a 2.35 ERA and 23 saves through 40 games this year.
Jonathan Schoop, 2B, Orioles - Going into the all-star break, Schoop has been one of the best fantasy second basemen in the league. He's slugged 14 HR, driven in 52, and hit to a .304 AVG. Not bad for a guy who many believed, including myself, would not be able to hit for a decent average. I did believe his power would remain by thinking he would hit 20+ HR and drive in 70+, at this rate he'll blow by both numbers.
Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers - Currently on pace to score 107 R, hit 30 HR, and drive in 75, he's well on his way to winning the NL Rooke of the Year. Seagers home run numbers are a bit of a surprise to me and others, I only thought he would hit 15 all year. As much as I would like to say I saw this BIG of a year coming, I can't, with saying that he still is in the middle of a breakout campaign.
Ken Giles, RP, Astros - The Astro's paid a hefty price to acquire Giles in the off-season, so far it's been a bust of a trade. I thought Giles would step in as the closer and lead the AL in saves but that hasn't been the case, he's only saved one game thus far while posting a 4.38 ERA.
Patrick Corbin, SP, Diamondbacks - After a strong second half last year I thought Corbin would be able to carry over that success, but he has not. He currently has a 4-7 record and a 4.94 ERA. Not at all what I envisioned for him.
Here's another handful ofsleeper candidates predictions that I thought would be good options to draft late or on the waiver wire that have succeed thus far. Also listed are a couple I was completely wrong about.
J.A. Happ, SP, Blue Jays - Many Jays fans were unsure of the three-year, $36 million contract management signed him to in the off-season, mainly due to his less than stellar previous stint with the team. Happ has quieted nay-sayers by having an outstanding first half by compiling a 12-3 W-L record and a 3.36 ERA. I said pre-season that if Happ is average every five days when it's his turn to start that he would succeed, he's done that and more and has been one of the Jays' best starters this season.
Justin Bour, 1B, Marlins - Bour is one of the least know first base sluggers in the league, mainly because he plays for the Marlins. A first half that saw Bour hit 15 HR and 46 RBI, has put him on pace to surpass his 2015 numbers of 23 HR's, and 73 RBI's easily. Not bad for a guy who went largely un-drafted in most leagues and who's only owned in 27% of Yahoo Leagues.
Jake Lamb, 3B, Diamondbacks - Lamb always had his success at the minor league level but hadn't been able to translate that into the big leagues. However, this is the year I thought he would be able to put it all together, and boy has he ever. Batting cleanup for the Diamondbacks, Lamb has hit 20 homers, driven in 61, all while maintaining a .291 AVG. He's currently on pace to mash over 30 HR's and drive in 100+. If you were wise enough to draft him late or grab him on the waiver wire, good on ya.
Chris Colabello, 1B, Blue Jays - Many thought Colabello's feel good 2015 season wouldn't be replicated, I thought he would be able to and because of that I felt he would be a good sleeper candidate. A poor start to his season brought Colabello and his feel good story back to earth, then came the 80 game PED suspension. Needless to say I dropped the ball big time on this one.
Byung Ho Park, DH, Twins - .191 AVG, 12 HR, and 24 RBI are not what I envisioned for this over seas talent. I thought he would have fared better thus far but that hasn't been the case. Chalk this one up in the loss column.
Now that we're at the mid way point of the season, I'm going to take a look back on some of the sleeper/breakout/bounceback predictions I made pre-season, and see where they stand today. I know some of them have panned out and others have not. As much as I would like to highlight my awesomeness so far with my correct picks, I'm humble enough to show the ones I was completely wrong about so far as well. Here's my first batch starting with some outfielders I thought would be good sleeper candidates.
Mark Trumbo, OF, Orioles - The Orioles got Trumbo in the off-season for next to nothing and it's proved to be one off the better moves made in all of baseball. Trumbo has emphatically put his name back on the map with and outstanding season thus far that see's him leading the majors in homers through 84 games. Trumbo went undrafted in most leagues this year but has been one of the most productive hitters at his position. The main reason I chose Trumbo as a sleeper this year was due to the ball park he would be hitting in, Camden Yards, one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league. I predicted him flirting with 30+ long balls and 85+ RBI, and he's a good bet to surpass my predictions as well as his career highs in every offensive category.
Mid-season numbers: 52 Runs, 96 Hits, 26 HR, 64 RBI, and a .285 AVG
Jackie Bradley Jr, OF, Red Sox - Highlighted by a 29-game hit streak, Bradley Jr has already passed his career highs in every offensive categories in only 77 games this year. He came alive late in the second half last year which helped him solidify his spot in the lineup. I believed Bradley Jr. would be able to carry over that momentum and confidence into this season and he's made me look good in doing so by doing just that.
Mid-season numbers:50 Runs, 85 Hits, 14 HR, 54 RBI, and a .293 AVG
Marcell Ozuna, OF, Marlins - Ozuna had a bit of a breakout year in 2014 by compiling 72 R, 23 HR, 85 RBI, and a .269 AVG. With those numbers, expectations were high going into the 2015 season, unfortunately for him he struggled mightily and was sent to the minors as a result. So going into the 2016 season, Ozuna wasn't on many people's fantasy radar, which is why I viewed him as a prime sleeper candidate. He's worked well with co-hitting coach Barry Bonds and has put last seasons dreadful season behind him by already surpassing most of last seasons offensive numbers.
Mid-season numbers: 52 Runs, 97 Hits, 17 HR, 47 RBI, and a .310 AVG
Michael Saunders, OF, Blue Jays - A freak injury de-railed Saunders debut year with the Blue Jays as he was only able to play in nine games before he was shut down for the season. Coming into the 2016 healthy and motivated, Saunders came out of the gate wanting to show why the Blue Jays signed him. In 75 games this year, he's already mashed 15 HR's, only four off his career high, and driven in 37, just 20 off his career high, all of which will be surpassed so long as he remains on the field.
Mid-season numbers: 46 Runs, 86 Hits, 16 HR, 40 RBI, and a .296 AVG
Mikie Mahtook, OF, Rays - This one was a semi loss as him being successful was contingent upon him making the team out of spring training, which he did not. Mahtook has played in 24 games thus far but the inconsistent playing time has contributed to a weak season thus far.