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Eric Cross’ 2023 Breakout Prospects: American League East

In dynasty leagues, we’re always on the lookout for players that can make our team better next season than it was the season before. Identifying and targeting potential breakout prospects is a great place to start that journey.

Throughout the entire 2022-23 offseason, Chris Clegg and I ranked our Top 20 dynasty prospects for each organization. We’ll also be providing our breakout prospects in each division, picking one per team. After covering all of the National League divisions previously, I’ll be diving into the American League East today.

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2023 Breakout Prospects: AL East

Baltimore Orioles: Dylan Beavers, OF

This Baltimore system is one of my favorites right now. But with so much elite talent at the top, including five inside my Top 25 overall, some other exciting names in this system feel a bit undervalued right now. One of those players is Dylan Beavers. The Orioles selected Beavers with the 33rd overall pick in the 2022 draft after back-to-back standout years for the University of California. In 23 MiLB games following the draft, Beavers wasn’t able to clear the outfield fence, but he did hit .322 with a .438 OBP and nearly as many walks (16) as strikeouts (18).

With Beavers, the bat certainly stands out with his plus power leading the way. In 123 collegiate games, Beavers racked up 68 extra-base hits and 36 home runs with a .615 SLG and .321 ISO. In addition to his raw power, Beavers’ swing path creates natural loft and he’s deceptively strong in his lower half with quick hands as well. This is a potential 25+ homer bat longterm and Beavers has enough speed to provide double-digit steals early on in his career.

There are some questions surrounding where the AVG will land, but given his power, speed, approach, and on-base abilities, even a 45/50 grade hit tool should be enough to allow Beavers to blossom and rise up rankings significantly in 2023 and beyond.

Boston Red Sox: Roman Anthony, OF

Another exciting outfielder taken in the 2022 draft, Roman Anthony’s power/speed blend makes him one to target in FYPDs if you’re looking for upside and breakout potential. Right off the bat, Anthony’s plus or better raw power stands out in a major way. Just look at this mammoth blast he hit in Coors Field as a 17-year-old back in the summer of 2021.

A 105 exit velo, 450-foot blast is highly-impressive for a high school bat that was barely 17 years old. Anthony’s swing is quick and fluid from the left side with plenty of bat speed and natural loft created by his bat path. He’s already shown the ability to drive the ball hard in the air to all fields and still has some projection left on his 6’3 frame. Anthony’s improvements this past spring, mainly with his swing mechanics, really quieted questions that some evaluators had regarding his hit tool as well.

Overall, this is the type of bat that has the chance to really thrive in a place like Fenway Park. Where the hit tool lands is still to be determined, but the power potential is definitely there and Anthony could wind up around a 50-grade runner (or a tick below depending on added bulk) that can add close to double-digit steals annually as well early on. The breakout potential here is immense.

New York Yankees: Keiner Delgado, SS/2B

Don’t get me wrong, the entire minor league season is an absolute blast, but a bit of additional excitement comes into play when rookie ball kicks off in June with the Complex Leagues and the Dominican Summer League. There’s always a whole new batch of breakout names to dig into, and one of the names that broke out the most this past summer was the Yankees’ Keinerr Delgado.

Although diminutive in stature (listed 5’8/145), Delgado was mighty at the plate in 2022. In 52 games (238 PA), Delgado slashed .310/.504/.506 with 23 extra-base hits, three home runs, and 34 steals. Yes, that’s a .504 OBP that your eyes just glossed over. Delgado posted a ridiculous 24.4% walk rate while also only striking out 11.8% of the time. I’ve long said to take DSL stats with a grain of salt, but walking more than twice as much as you strikeout is something to certainly take note of.

There’s not a lot of video available on Delgado yet (not surprising), but from what I have been able to see, Delgado’s hands are very quick and he’s able to really turn on pitches. Given his smaller build, there’s not a ton of game power yet, but that’s something that could come in time as he bulks up and matures physically. How much power will come? That’s hard to answer right now, but given his speed and swing decisions at the plate that he’s already shown, I’m more than willing to invest and see how the profile develops.

Tampa Bay Rays: Junior Caminero, 3B

While I’m targeting all of these names in dynasty leagues, the name I want the most shares of is Junior Caminero. After a solid minor league debut in the Cleveland organization in 2021, Caminero was acquired by Tampa Bay in November 2021 for Tobias Myers and posted an even better 2022 campaign. In 62 games, Caminero racked up 11 home runs and 12 steals with a .314/.384/.498 slash line. This while only turning 19 in early July. Caminero more than held his own in the Lo-A South Atlantic League with a .299/.359/.505 slash line, facing compeitition that was mostly a couple of years older than him. He’s also getting some extra work in over in the Australian Baseball League this winter where he currently has eight home runs, a .496 SLG, and a .244 ISO in 28 games.

Caminero’s raw power has already been put on full display with an 89.4 mph AVG EV and 44% hard-hit rate, both of which are impressive for someone his age. There’s still a decent amount of projection left on his frame as well, giving hope for more power to be added in the next year or two. Outside of that power, Caminero is proving to be a solid all-around hitter as well, with a 84% zone contact rate and 77% contact rate in 2022. With an average hit tool, plus power, and enough speed to add 5-10 steals early on, Caminero should continue to rise up prospect rankings in 2023, potentially even flirting with top 25 overall status if he continues making strides with his hit tool.

Toronto Blue Jays: Addison Barger, SS

The breakout for Addison Barger really began earlier this season as he excelled in Hi-A Vancouver. In 69 games, Barger slashed .300/.366/.558 before being promoted to Double-A New Hampshire where he slashed .313/.384/.528 in 47 games. Barger’s offensive explosion didn’t stop there either as he hit another three home runs in eight Triple-A games to finish the season with 26 homers, 33 doubles, nine steals, and a stellar .308/.378/.555 slash line across 526 plate appearances.

So, calling Barger a breakout might not be the perfect terminology. However, he still feels incredibly undervalued in fantasy circles and I believe his rise up rankings is going to continue in 2023. Hence his inclusion in this article.

With all that said, I’m not expecting Barger to hit .300 or even close to it. Given his contact skills and swing-and-miss tendencies, he’s probably more of a .260-.270 hitter longterm. However, Barger’s above-average to plus power is legit and could lead to 25+ home runs over a full season to go along with 5-10 steals or so.

Barger played both shortstop and third base this past season, but I’m expecting him to move over to the hot corner and take over for Matt Chapman if he leaves via free agency following the 2023 season. Barger’s bat and cannon arm would fit in just fine there.

Media Credit: Ian Smith (@FlaSmitty), Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire, MLB Pipeline, Buffalo Bisons

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