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Fantasy Baseball 2012 - Breakout Seasons

6/5 -Updates

Last Season we loved the potential of the Rays players, with Matt Joyce, Desmond Jennings and Jeremy Hellickson making our list.  This season the Royals and Mariners dominate our list with 4 Royals and 3 Mariners making the cut.

C Jarrod Saltalamacchia Boston Red Sox
  • 6/5 - Salty leads all catchers with 10 home runs.  A .308 avg in May raised his season average up to .281 before an 0 for 8 start to June brought it back down to .265.  Jarrod will rank amongst the elite Catchers all season long and the quicker Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellisbury return, the better for Saltalamacchia owners. 
    • Salty has yet to have over 358 at bats in a season but he did manage to belt 16 home runs last season for the Red Sox.  Given the fact that Jason Varitek is now retired and Saltalamacchia is the everyday catcher for the Red Sox, it is almost a given that Jarrod will hit 20 home runs this season.  His average will probably hover around the .260 mark, but as a catcher you can live with that.  He is entering his 5th MLB season and turns 27 years old in May so this is a prime year for the Catcher.who was once ranked 18th best prospect in 2006 by Baseball America.

C Salvador Perez Kansas City Royals
3/16 - Salvador Perez will miss the first 12-14 weeks of the season
  • With just 148 MLB at bats, and 39 games played, Salvador Perez has signed a 5 year extension with the Royals.  He hit .331 last season and should find himself in plenty of run producing situation batting in the 7 spot of this newly powerful Royals lineup.  The 6'3, 230lb Venezulean catcher should easily hit 12-15 HRs this season and drive in over 65 runs.  Just 10 catchers did that last season.

C Jesus Montero Seattle Mariners 
  • 6/5 - Jesus is currently tied for 10th overall Catcher with Carlos Santana.  The Mariners and fantasy owners would like to see his .259 batting avg get back to the .290 mark it saw in early May but the 7 HRs and 27 RBIs have kept them happy...for now.
    • Projected to DH and bat 5th for the Seattle Mariners, Montero will finally get his shot in the Bigs.  He took full advantage of his 61 at bats, hitting .328 in New York, with 8 of his 20 hits going for extra bases(4 2Bs 4 HRs).  Montero should hit 17-20 HRs while driving in nearly 70 runs but it all depends on Chone Figgins' ability to get on base and Ichiro's ability to continue to dominate major league pitching. 

1B Paul Goldschmidt Arizona DiamondBacks 
  • 6/5 - Goldschmidt is riding a 13 game hit streak in which his average has jumped from .223 to .277!  During this streak he has hit 4 of his 6 HRs and 7 doubles which has increased his SLG from .339  to .478!  Expect a HUGE June from Goldschmidt.
    • Goldschmidt only hit .250 last season for the Diamonbacks, but his Minor League numbers show who he really is, a career .316 hitter with 83 HRs in 315 games.  I doubt he will hit .300 this season but a .275 20+ HR first baseman is extremely valuable in fantasy land.  Just 8 first basement who hit at least 20 HRs batting .275 or better.

1B Yonder Alonso San Diego Padres 
  • 6/5 - Alnso is currently struggling to drive in runs and score himself.  With 15 RBI and 14 runs scored, it is hard to justify playing him everyday and to no fault of his own.  The Padres offense is just terrible.  Yonder has hit 16 doubles already this season, but just 1 home run.  Only Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz have hit more doubles.  Alonso has been struggling lately though seeing his .305 average plummet to .274 in just 9 games.
    • The sweet swinging lefty was given 88 at bats last season for the Reds and hit .330.  He has 15 HR power, but his ability to put the ball in play keeps his strike out totals nice and low.  He is a .300 hitter with gap power which will lead to 30+ doubles.

1B Mat Gamel Milwaukee Brewers
  • 6/5 - Gamel's season ended at the end of April after tearing his ACL.
    • Gamel has been dominating Minor League pitching since 2005.  Last season hit hit .310 with 29 2Bs and 28 HRs.  This season he is the Brewers starting first baseman.  With the confidence of knowing the position is his, Gamel should be able to help Brewers fans slowly move on from Prince Fielder.  Gamel turns 27 mid season so this is the year he needs to prove himself MLB ready.

2B Dustin Ackley Seattle Mariners
  • 6/5 - Ackley may only be batting .243 but his 23 walks have led to 31 runs scored.  If he can tone down the strikeouts and put the ball in play some more, Ackley could score 100 runs for the Mariners.  Ackley is currently a top 10 Second Baseman.
    • Of 2B with 300+ at bats last season, Ackley was 12th in FantasyPts/AB.  He had 91 hits in 90 games with 29 extra base hits(16 2b, 7 3b, 6 hr).  A full season with Jesus Montero added to the lineup should boost Ackley into a top 10 second basmen.

2B Jason Kipnis Cleveland Indians
  • 6/5 - Since May 23rd, Kipnis has had 7 multi hit games including 2 3 hit games, raising his average to .280.  During this span he has hit 3 HRs while driving in 10 runs.  He is currently ranked second amongst Second Basemen and sits only behind Ian Kinsler by 2 fantasy points!
    NameTeamG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS Fantasy Points
    Ian KinslerTEX5222643631926242326740.2790.3500.4600.811256
    Jason KipnisCLE5321438604393418361310.2800.3390.4530.792254
    • In just 36 games last season, Kipnis managed to score 24 times while driving in 19 himself.   At 1.2 runs created/game((runs scored + runs batted in)/games played) that puts Kipnis 5th amongst second basemen.  While that seems difficult to maintain, hitting second and in front on Adrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana, Kipnis could easily score 100 runs while picking up 70 RBI.

2B Johnny Giavotella Kansas City Royals
  • 6/5 - Giavotella was called up on May 9 and is hitting just .241 over his first 51 ABs of the season.  He is currently riding a 4 game hit streak in which he has 6 hits and scored 4 runs while driving in 3 himself. 
    • Giavotella batted just .247 in 46 games for the Royals last season but still managed to score 20 times while driving in 21 runners.  Hitting second in this Royals lineup that has maximum potential, he should continue to score runs at this pace.  His last two minor league seasons he batting .338 and .322 so you know he is a better hitter than .247.  With an average hovering around .270 and plenty of weapons in this lineup, Giavotella could score 80+ runs while driving in 60+ runners.  Just 7 2b accomplished that last season.

3B Brett Lawrie Toronto Blue Jays
  • 6/5 - Since serving his 4 game suspension for tossing his helmet at an umpire, Lawrie has notched a hit in 10 of 12 games raising his average from .273 to .281.  He has not hit for the power fantasy owners were expecting, but the season is still young and Lawrie won't dissapoint for much longer.  The doubles and homers will come.
    • In 150 ABs last season, Brett Lawrie averaged more FantasyPts/AB than any other 3B in the MLB(I consider Bautista an OF).  That being said you can understand why Lawrie will put up HUGE fantasy points this year.  He is projected to bat 7th for the Blue Jays, but you can expect him to be hitting 5th very quickly.

3B Mike Moustakas Kansas City Royals
  • 6/5 - Moustakas' average peaked at .318 in early May before a slump brought it back down to earth at .264 on May 27th.  Since then Moustakas has raised it back to .285 while hitting 3 doubles, 2 HRs and plating 8 runs in the process.  Moustakas is currently a top 15 Third Baseman.
    • With just one minor league season of a .300 average or better, Moustakas' .263 avg should bump up into the .270 range but not much better.  However, his 30 double 30 home run power is where his value will come from.  Batting 5th for the Royals, behind Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler will provide Moose PLENTY of RBI opportunities.  Another plus to his game is that he rarely strike outs, which is rare for a power hitter. ranked him the 7th best prospect in all of baseball before last season.

3B Kyle Seager Seattle Mariners
  • 6/5 - In the Mariners last 5 games the team has scored 53 runs.  Seager has taken full advantage of this outburst cashing in on 10 hits, 4 doubles, 2 homers, 6 RBI and scoring 8 runs himself.  Seager is currently a top 10 Third Baseman.
    • Seager has put up back to back minor league seasons on .333 and .345, so his .258 avg last year is obviously going to get better.  Gap to gap power, Seager is a 40 double guy waiting to happen, and could see added triples playing at Safeco Field.  It wont be long before Chone Figgins is struggling again and Seager gets to take over the hot corner full time.

SS Zach Cozart Cincinnati Reds
  • 6/5 - Cozart came out swinging in April batting .271 with 10 XBH (7 doubles, 2 triples and a homerun) and scored 13 runs in 22 games.  May was not so kind fo Zach, although he did hit 4 HRs, he batted just .208 and struck out 28 times in 27 games.  He still managed to scored 12 runs increasing his total to 25 in 49 games.  In June, Cozart has 4 hits in 13 ABs, driving the ball for 2 doubles and his 6th HR of the season.  His 5 runs over these 3 games give him 30 runs scored on the year.  He may only be hitting .240, but you can expect that average to climb to the .265 - .280 range by season's end.  Cozart is currently a top 10 Shortstop.
    • 323 minor league at bats combined with 37 major league at bats led to a .311 batting average for Cozart.  It was the first time in his career that he hit over .280 so expect the average to come back down to earth.  However, 30 doubles and 15 home runs from a shortstop is extremely valuable. Just Troy Tulowitzki, Asdrubal Cabrera and Alexei Ramirez did that last season.  

OF J.D. Martínez Houston Astros
  • 6/5 - J.D. Martinez got off to a hot start batting .282 in Aprils with 3 HRs and 19 RBI while walking 17 times in just 22 games.  Then May happened and Martinez hit just .192 for the month over the same 22 game span hitting 2 HRs and driving in just 9 runs, walking 6 times and striking out 19 times.  Thankfully that month is now over and Martinez seems to be on track again.  He is 4-12 over the first 3 games of June and can hopefully continue on this path while earning respect in fantasy baseball again.
    • J.D. was a Get To Know Him player last season and rightfully so.  He scored 29 runs and drove in 35 in just 53 Major League games.  With 1.2 runs created per game, that was top 20 amongst all MLB Ofs last season.  His lowest average in 3 minor league seasons was .338!  This guys is a major league hitter and batting 3rd for the Astros will have Carlos Lee to protect him. 

P Chris Sale Chicago White Sox
  • 6/5 - After starting the season 3-1 in his first 5 starts, the White Sox decided to move Sale back to the bullpen.  In his only relief appearance, Chris blew a save against the Indians.  Since that game, he has made 5 more starts going 4-1 and improving his record to 7-2.  On May 28, Chris Sale struck out 15 Rays hitters in 7.1 innings.  He followed that up with a complete game 5 hitter in which he struck out 8 more batters and lowered his ERA to 2.29 on the season.  He has struck out 69 batters while walking just 18.  Sale is currently at top 10 Pitcher.
    • The 22 year old lefty has 111 career strike outs in 94.1 career innings pitched, out of the bullpen.  Now Sale is moving to the starting rotation and will EASILY eclipse the 200 K mark.  Lefties hit just .225 off of him, while righties hit just .177.  The strike outs are what will give him his most value, but will also help is his very high K/BB ratio of 3.  Clearly as he will be pitching more innings per game and facing lineups 2, 3, 4 times a night, his ERA, WHIP and BB will all rise, but they will all be very respectible numbers, and a must own in fantasy baseball.