With the 2017 Reader Top 30 drawing to a close, it’s time to make your selections for sleeper and break out prospects this season. Enter your guesses in the comments section and I will gather them into a Google Sheet for easy viewing.
Two years ago, prior to the 2015 season, I was one of two who correctly identified Andrew Knapp as a player who would have a break out season. Last year, not only did I along with 20% of respondents predict Dylan Cozens’ break out season, but I and Anonymous VOR correctly identified Nick Fanti as a solid sleeper pick.
Cozens was expected to have a good season in Reading, but probably not the break out numbers he produced. He forced national analysts to stop ignoring him. Fanti was such a sleeper that he is still not respected here or on any other site, in spite of a season where he tied for the GCL lead with 7 victories (along with teammates Mauricio Llovera and Luis Carrasco), led the league with 65 strike outs , led league starters with an 11.3 K/9, and finished second among qualifying pitchers with a 1.57 ERA and 0.87 WHIP (behind teammate Sixto Sanchez 0.50 and 0.76).
I also garnered bragging rights again among friends on another Phillies’ site when I came closest to divining that the Phillies would win 71 games (I had 70, and was the only one who correctly predicted 63 in 2015.) So, if you want some advice from this swelled head, I suggest that you not consider any of the following – Josh Tobias, Mitch Gueller, Venn Biter, Samuel Hiciano, Jake Sweaney, Robert Tasin, Anthony Vasquez, Carlos Alonso, Gabriel Lino, or Jimmy Cordero.
In previous years, I provided site founder James’ definitions for Sleeper and Break Out performances. A comment from Matt Winkelman when he was a contributor here is also provided below.
In 2011, “… talk about your favorite sleeper prospects heading into 2011. Note, Brody Colvin, Jon Singleton and the like are not sleepers. A sleeper prospect is a guy that people don’t talk about a lot, or do not consider in the upper tier of our prospects. Think more obscure, under the radar guys who you think might break out.”
In 2012, “… solicit your picks for 2012 sleepers. To make it clear, Trevor May and Jesse Biddle aren’t sleepers, they are well established upper echelon prospects. When I say “sleeper”, I define it as a guy who is not a consensus top 10-15 prospect, preferably someone who is even further off the radar, who you feel will break out in 2012 and establish/re-establish his prospect status. For instance, Mike Stutes was a breakout guy this year, because he wasn’t on any industry Top 30 lists this past winter, and was on very few Reader Top 30 ballots. Those are the guys I’m thinking of.” (editor’s note: the use of the words break out above is unfortunate and probably helps fuel confusion.)
In 2014 (from Matt), “… Everyone has that one player they believe is just going to explode on to the scene this year. Whether it is the growth of a single tool, the ability to stay healthy, or just to survive another level, a prospect’s stock can change wildly. In general most people think of a sleeper as a player who is completely off the radar, and a breakout prospect as a player who is going to have his stock take a large leap forward …” (editor’s note: now we have a distinction between the two terms.)
We talk about almost everybody here with little distinction between top tier prospects and off-the-radar non-prospects . So, I extrapolated from the above comments to come up with a reasonable distinction between the two terms for our discussions –
- A sleeper prospect is a player from outside the top 15-20 (we are deeper this year, after all) who you expect to have a bigger year than we should expect for a player at his level, both in the organization and as a prospect.
- A break out prospect is a player who is expected to perform well but who does so with a much better year than anticipated and comes from the upper tier of prospects, say from within the top 15-20.
These are still arbitrary definitions. We’re certainly not going to nitpick over your interpretations. But IMO a move from 47 to 22 (if 47 were one of the older guys still on the poll), wouldn’t really qualify as a break out year because 22 is still pretty far down the prospect ladder. This would be a sleeper to me. Now if 47 were one of the teenagers, that might be easier to classify as a break out year.
So, let’s start listing your picks in the Comments section here. I’ll consolidate, track, and report back periodically. If you listed them in other threads, post them again here. I’m not going through older posts to gather them. Last year’s consolidated list is here. It will be replaced and updated as your responses arrive. I guess I’ll pin this to the site so it will remain easy to find for the next couple weeks.