Jazz Chisholm and Casey Mize are among the most exciting young players in the game. Who else might break out?
That means less than two weeks until Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, and Shohei Ohtani are on our screens again, playing meaningful baseball. But we already know about them. Who are the guys that could make that leap from pretty good to star level? Which players can give your fantasy team a much-needed jolt?
We’ve got some ideas here at Boardroom:
IF Jazz Chisholm, Miami Marlins
Swag and potential oozes out of every pore of the 24-year-old second baseman and shortstop. His infectious energy, multi-colored hair and iced out chains is what baseball needs more of. Jazz registered 18 homers and 23 stolen bases in just 124 games last season and should get better with some more consistency.
To make Chisholm a bona-fide star, he definitely needs to get on base more. His .303 on-base percentage would be even worse if not for the .388 mark with four homers and nine steals last March and April. The Bahamanian was instrumental to the Marlins’ success last season, hitting .301 with a .359 OBP in 51 Miami wins and a .209 average with a .269 OBP in 73 losses.
If he improves his OBP by 20 points, Jazz is going to be an All-Star this season.
SP Casey Mize, Detroit Tigers
The top overall pick of the 2018 MLB Draft registered a solid first full season in the bigs in 2021 with a 3.71 ERA in 150 innings. The 24-year-old certainly has room to grow, striking out just 118 batters, giving up a below average 1.4 home runs per nine innings and earning a 4.37 xFIP, which measures only stats that are in the pitcher’s control.
For Mize to truly succeed, he has to strike out more batters and go deeper into games. It’s what he did in his 2019 Double-A season and it’s something he can also achieve in 2022.
1B Bobby Dalbec, Boston Red Sox
The 26-year-old Dalbec is a brute force when he puts his bat on the baseball. He hit 25 home runs, 21 doubles and five triples in 417 at-bats last year, good for a .494 slugging percentage that should be even better in 2022.
If the mighty righty can get on base more, MLB opponents are going to be in deep trouble. His on-base percentage of .298 last season was 19 points below league average last season, but that number improved to .344 after the All-Star break and included a .431 mark in 24 August games. In a lineup with Rafael Devers, Xander Boegarts, Trevor Story and J.D. Martinez, Dalbec can do an immense amount of damage and put up the first of many 30-homer seasons.
SP Hunter Greene, Cincinnati Reds
The 22-year-old second-overall pick of the 2017 draft was on the cover of Sports Illustrated that year as a two-way phenom billed as the next LeBron or A-Rod. For now, Greene is solely focused on pitching and is prepared to take baseball by storm.
Though not a lock to make the Reds’ rotation on a team that could use a salary floor, the team’s top prospect is having an excellent Spring Training. Greene tossed two scoreless innings against San Francisco, with 26 of his 33 pitches going for strikes. An insane 18 of those registered 100 miles per hour, with four of them reaching 102. The Los Angeles native usually misses bats and walks a few too many batters, but he has the necessary tools to be a must-watch every time he takes the mound. Hopefully the Reds give him that opportunity.