2012 was an anomaly. We are not going to see a player bust onto the scene like Mike Trout did last year. Add in another superstar like Bryce Harper, and well, that’s kind of unreasonable to expect. But that doesn’t mean some young guns won’t break out this season. Here are some names to keep an eye on for 2013.
1. Matt Harvey – SP – Mets – Harvey got called up late last season and looked every part of a top pitching prospect. He threw just under 60 innings, and had a K/9 of over ten. He definitely has the “stuff” to sit MLB hitters down. His wins may be low due to pitching for a poor Mets team, but make no mistake, Harvey is the real deal.
2. Domonic Brown – OF – Phillies – There was a point in time when Brown was not only the top Phillies prospect, but the top prospect in all of baseball. He obviously has not lived up to that billing so far. With Hunter Pence now in San Francisco after last season’s deadline trade, Brown has a spot in the Phillies outfield. The talent is there, and Brown has to show Charlie Manuel that he can put it together. It would be no shock to see him go 20-20 this year.
3. Brett Lawrie – 3B – Blue Jays – Lawrie plays as hard as anybody in the league, and unfortunately for him, that has landed him on the DL multiple times in his short career. If he can get a full year under his belt, the baseball world will know what he can do. Lawrie will hit in a prime part of a stacked Jays lineup, probably in the 5 or 6 hole. As long as he can stay on the field, a monster year is ahead of him.
4. Mike Minor – SP – Braves – Minor started to come on strong the last month or so of the 2012 season. He was always a hyped prospect, but has struggled at the big league level. Minor is still only 25 years old, so he has plenty of time to turn things around. With a great offense in front of him, and a talented defense behind him, 200 innings and 200 strikeouts is well within reason for Minor.
5. Eric Hosmer – 1B – Royals – Wil Myers was expected to have a big season for the Royals this year, but was traded to the Rays in the offseason to shore up their pitching staff with James Shields. More pressure now falls on Hosmer, who started last season terribly. The projected 30-homer power may not be there just yet, but Hosmer has gotten off to a strong spring and should carry the young Royals offense this season.
6. Desmond Jennings – OF – Rays – B.J. Upton left Tampa for Atlanta this offseason, and there’s a reason, besides money, that the Rays didn’t give him big money: Jennings. He has stolen 51 bases in just over a year’s worth of games, so the speed is there. The power is developing nicely, and Jennings plays a mean outfield. Put all those together and he has all the tools for a breakout season in Tampa.
7. Freddie Freeman – 1B – Braves – With almost 1300 plate appearances under his belt, it’s hard to believe that Freeman is still just 23 years old. His average dipped a bit last season, but there’s not doubt he has .300-30-100 potential (average, HR, RBI). Whether or not this is the year for it remains to be seen, but Freeman is due for a big year hitting in the middle of the Braves lineup.
8. Jarrod Parker – SP – Athletics – A former top 10 draft pick, Parker threw like one after the A’s acquired him from the Diamondbacks. He’s not a huge strikeout guy, but Parker knows how to pitch, and playing in the spacious Oakland Coliseum certainly doesn’t hurt him. By year’s end, look for Parker to establish himself as the ace of a young and talented Athletics staff.
9. Mike Moustakas – 3B – Royals – Moustakas joins Hosmer as young guys the Royals are counting on to produce a lot. He eclipsed the 20-homer mark last year, but his average struggled. If he can cut back on his K’s, and just work on putting the ball in play, more hits will come for him. Hitting behind Hosmer, Billy Butler, and Salvador Perez should give Moustakas many opportunities to come up big this season for the Royals.