Fantasy owners are always looking for the next big star, though don’t forget that you don’t need to swing for the fences with every pick. Sometimes all it takes is a solid pick, one that you can count on to deliver solid stats to fill out your roster.
That said, finding those late round gems only make your fantasy roster that much stronger. While these two players may never be superstars, they are among our favorite sleepers/breakouts for 2020. Let’s take a look:
Isan Diaz – Miami Marlins
There’s been some hype surrounding the Marlins’ Isan Diaz, but after thriving at Triple-A (.305 with 26 HR over 435 PA) he fell completely flat in his MLB debut:
179 At Bats
.173 Batting Average (31 Hits)
5 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.259 On Base Percentage
.307 Slugging Percentage
.224 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Obviously there was a little bit of bad luck behind the numbers, though with a flyball-centric approach (45.1% in the Majors) it’s easy to justify a below average BABIP. That wasn’t an issue at Triple-A, and his 38.8% Hard% and 28.1% Oppo% support a better number. He also showed a strong approach, despite a 29.4% strikeout rate:
- SwStr% – 10.0%
- O-Swing% – 25.9%
While we could point towards opposing pitchers making an adjustment down the line, he only saw fastballs 52.20% of the time in the Majors. That limits that risk, and while he’s going to strikeout a significantly better mark should be in his future.
There’s never been a question about his power potential, and his 17.3 launch angle would’ve placed him among the Top 40 in the Majors had he qualified. Couple that with his strong approach and there’s a lot to like. While he’s not a top level option currently, he could play his way into a Top 10-15 second baseman and is worth targeting as a middle infielder.
Anthony Santander – Baltimore Orioles
We’ve touched on Santander previously (click here for the article), but he’s certainly worth revisiting. The concern about him being too aggressive isn’t going to disappear (40.2% O-Swing%), and he did have just 1 BB over 30 AB during Spring Training. However he continued to make contact (5 K), and it’s not like he had significant swing and miss issues in ’19 (Whiff%):
- Hard – 10.50%
- Breaking – 12.66%
- Offspeed – 10.27%
Than you have his solid Statcast numbers, all of which were above average during his 405 PA last season:
- Barrel% – 7.7% (league average was 6.3%)
- Exit Velocity – 89.5 (league average was 87.5)
- Launch Angle – 14.8 (league average was 11.2)
All of that supports his power, having hit 20 HR courtesy of a 15.6% HR/FB. At 25-years old could a 30 HR season be in his future (depending on the number of games played)? You can argue that he “broke out” in 2019, though many didn’t take notice. Don’t expect that to be the same in 2020, where he could thrust his name into people’s attention.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, MLB.com, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out all of our 2020 preseason rankings: