2017 Sleeper and Break Out Prospects

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.

2017 Break Out and Sleeper Prospects Spreadsheet.


161 thoughts on “2017 Sleeper and Break Out Prospects

  1. Jose taveras again guys, stop sleeping on this guy. This guy is a gamer and has balls when he pitches. I see him ending up in triple A this year. RECORDED as UNKNOWN

    1. Oops I guess sleeper sorry I just feel he finally stays healthy and moves up finally CORRECTED

  2. Breakout – Seranthony Dominguez (might even qualify as a sleeper since he didn’t make the top 30)
    Sleeper – Kyle Young RECORDED

  3. Sleeper – Carlos Tocci – going to have a big year and finish at AAA with being added to the 40 man after the season.

    Breakout – Aaron Altherr – I know he’s not technically a prospect anymore but I think he’s going to lock down a corner OF spot this year. He’ll start by playing vs LHP in RF and by July he’ll be playing every day, hit 30+ HR, and deliver above average D in RF. RECORDED

    1. You do realize that his numbers off of LHP is actually worse than his numbers against RHP . . . not by much, they are both terrible. If Altherr is starting in RF than something went really wrong (Would mean Quinn and Williams aren’t playing well along w Saunders not working out)

      1. That’s not entirely fair. Last year Altherr was healing from a wrist injury. The year before, even with a mediocre batting average, he was a 1.7 bWAR player in about 40 games, which is ridiculous. Altherr may not pan out and his showing last season while he was on the mend was not good. But he has so many skills, including speed, fielding, throwing, power and plate discipline, that he could be an extremely valuable player if he could only hit about .250 or .260, which is definitely not outside the realm of possibility. Now, do I see him as a 30 homer breakout guy? Not really, but he if were to hit around 20 homers with an okay batting average and plus defense, he could be a keeper. He’s an interesting and defensible sleeper pick.

        1. Sorry guys, fat fingers, I meant to type 20+ not 30+ HRs.

          I strongly believe he has the potential for all the reasons catch lists above.

  4. Sleepers – Kyle Martin, Luke Williams
    Breakouts – Mark Appel, C Randolph RECORDED

  5. I can’t really call this kid a sleeper to me bc I think he’s going to shoot up lists soon but I dunno how many people feel the same way, my sleeper is Kyle Young . . . I think you’ll see his first spike in velocity this year, maybe sitting 91-92 touching 94-95 . . . eventually think he’s going to be 94-95 guy (sit).

    My break out is Brito however he might be ranked to low to be considered a break out, I can see Tirado as well having a break out season.

    Sleeper: Kyle Young (Baily Falter and Fanti as possible sleepers as well)

    Break Out: Brito and Tirado Recorded

    1. Jim I don’t know if this is a big deal or if anyone is having this issue but I posted the above at 5:45pm and it didn’t show up until hours later . . . weird

      1. That used to happen anytime someone would type “$$$”. IT would have to be approved. Let’s see if that rule’s still active.

  6. Pitchers:
    Sleeper: Ranger Suarez. Maybe another no-hitter.
    Breakout: Ben Lively. The
    Jared Eickoff of 2017.

    Sleeper: Chace Numata. Good behind the plate, hit .300.
    Breakout: Jhailyn Ortiz. Monster tools. RECORDED

    1. The one thing about this exercise that is difficult is defining who is a breakout guy. I see Erich had Ben Lively has a breakout, but wasn’t he really one of the great breakout stories of 2017? In other words, hasn’t he already “broken out”? Last year, I think the “sleeper” winner was probably Tommy Joseph and the “breakout” winners were probably Dylan Cozens and Ben Lively.

      This isn’t Erich’s fault, it’s hard to define these categories, although sleeper seems clear enough.

      Anyway . . . .

      Here are my guys.


      Breakout: Sixto, Drew Anderson
      Sleeper: Appel, Jose Tavares RECORDED


      Breakout: Stobbe, Crawford (I think he’s ready to take a big step forward)
      Sleeper: Knapp, Stephen RECORDED

      1. I meant wasn’t Lively one of the breakout stories of 2016. Not really awake yet; sorry.

        1. Yes, Ben Lively had a breakout year. But not enough to convince folks he’s a major league pitcher. My guess is next year he’ll be a key building block of the Phillies rotation.

          1. Yeah, I hear you, he’s still got something to prove. I like Ben Lively – he’s not a speedballer but his fb is sneak fast and deceptive. I also like his composure on the mound.

      2. Yeah, I had some trouble thinking of a breakout guy while I was looking at the Reader Top 30. A lot of the prospects on the list have already “broken out” imo. In past years, we always had some guys who had potential but hadn’t put up good numbers yet. This year, there are few guys you could say that about; and most of them were in the GCL last year.

  7. Tyler Viza
    Break-out (and also a sleeper). I expect next year he’ll be voted in the middle of this poll.

    Seranthony Dominguez
    Sleeper. Only because our system is so deep that he didn’t make our Top 30; but after this season, he’ll be in the back-half of the poll. RECORDED

  8. Sleeper: Jesse Valentin (i have him around 17-23 in my own prospects list)
    Break Out: Sixto Sanchez (let’s see what he can do if he plays a full season which he hopefully does) RECORDED

    1. I like your breakout..Eshelman… he could have been what I was going for, but went instead the young teen LA route, but Eshelman could very well be the guy this year in Reading. the Astros scouting under Luhnow is exceptional these days, and as a 2nd rounder he could be fulfilling expectations.

  9. Sleepers:

    Pitcher – Edgar Garcia
    Position – Josh Stephen


    Pitcher – Drew Anderson
    Position – Brito RECORDED

    1. I like Lucas Williams to be a Bounce Back candidate and Rafael Marchan and Leonel Aponte as the non-stateside prospects that will open some eyes in 2017.

  10. My sleeper is Viza.

    My breakout guy is Rafael Marchan. We’ll be talking a lot about this guy in 2017. RECORDED

  11. Breakouts: Medina, Moniak (in the sense he moves way up on the national lists)
    Sleepers: Stobbe, Pinto
    Deep Sleepers: Alastre, Kyle Young RECORDED

  12. Breakout Pitcher-Drew Anderson
    Breakout Position Player-Nicky Williams

    Sleeper Pitcher-Llovera
    Sleeper Postion Player-Lenin Rodriguez RECORDED

    1. I picked Nick Williams too, and if we are both right he will be in Philly as a starting outfielder. Considering he is young for level and he still has all the tools i like this pick.

  13. For breakout, I’m going with Gowdy.

    My sleeper is JoJo Romero. RECORDED

    As a side note, did the Phils release Jake Sweaney at some point and I just missed it? Or did you just criss-cross him with Darnell in your mind?

  14. Sleeper: Cole Irvin (wanted to say Falter, but too many people picked him)

    Breakout: Sixto Sanchez – I expect him to take the next step that forces people outside the organization to consider him a top RHP prospect. RECORDED

  15. I’m definitely on the Brito band wagon. I’m not sure by the definitions if he’s a sleeper or a break out but to me, he’s a break out waiting to happen. I also think Kingery will be much better this year but he’s already pretty high up our list. My sleeper is Drew Anderson. Finally healthy for an off season, I’m expecting him to come to camp ready to win a Reading rotation spot and then run with it. The Phils put him on the 40 because they know the talent is there. He now needs to go play. It’s funny, that last line could really apply to Roman also.
    Is it a break out if Quinn hits 300 with 30 steals at LHV? He oozes with talent. Just needs to stay healthy.
    Here’s a wild sleeper pick. Martin at Reading. He could hit 30 homers this year and put himself on the map also. RECORDED

    1. @murray – i’m high with Brito in 2017. Brito is a slick fielder with very good hit tool and i think he’s breakout will not going to be measured by stats. Brito will not be a sexy name amongst the national analyst because of the limitations of the 2B profile and lack of loud tools but his BB:K ratio and plate discipline will remind everybody that the Phils has a 2B version of JPC.

  16. Sleeper: Jose Pujols
    Breakout: JP Crawford

    I think pujols hits for a better average and takes a small step forward in taking walks. The power and strikeouts will likely stay the same.
    JP will have the kind of year we all hoped he would at AAA RECORDED

      1. Jims definition above didn’t satly the prospect had to go up in ranking, only performance so that’s why I chose JP. He could definitely improve

      1. DMAR…..if this were a game of chance.
        Ortiz may be a 2-1 odds favorite under that category. Whereas Lenin Rodriguez, as a relatively longshot , could a be 10-1 odds to win. And a bigger pay out if he did come in.

      2. I mean, he’s pretty far down in our rankings so I thought it was legitimate. If you guys don’t think so then will change it to Arano.

  17. Sleeper- Alberto Tirado (future closer or setup man)
    Breakout- Rhys Hoskins RECORDED

    I will also list a disappointment: Cozens’ performance craters in AAA this year

      1. I agree! I don’t agree with the Cozens will crash and burn at AAA. Yes he needs to improve against lefties and I bet he does, somewhat. He will also need to improve against off speed but trust me, all 40 homers weren’t against right handed thrown fast balls. Personally Cozens looks like a 250 hitter in the majors with 25-30 homers. Without steroids, homers are way down everywhere. 30 homer guys who can play the OF get paid.

        1. Actually, homers are recently up. Way up. Last year was a record year for homers and hitting homers alone won’t get you a big payday, as Ryan Howard and Mark Trumbo can attest. That said, if Cozens hits 30 homers, I think he will end up being a valuable player because he can field and he draws a fair share of walks.

  18. Last year I picked Evan Crower as my sleeper and he was cut the next day. Therefore, I am giving myself a one year suspension and will not be participating this year.

    1. No, no! Nobody gets a year off! If you’re worried about the “Crower effect” then pick someone like, of I don’t know, Luis Garcia, Michael Mariot, Dalier Hinojosa?

    2. Please don’t pick anyone on the top 70….
      A solid 4A guy like Featherston or Garcia should do.

    1. Stassi won’t get enough at bats. Pullin is definitely someone that has a chance to make the majors if he hits 300 with 15 homers again. He just profiles well as a 24th man on the bench, pinch hitting and playing a few positions. I wonder if he’ll play any 1b to increase his versatility.

    1. Strictly a visual aid for me so I know where I stopped recording choices onto the worksheet. Plus, if I missed someone’s response, they may ask about it and get their input included.

  19. Position player breakout: C Randolph
    Sleeper: Carlos Tocci first and Devi Grullon second
    Pitcher: Drew Anderson

    Now, my own categories:

    Dark Horse: Chace Numata
    Out of nowhere: Darick Hall Recorded …NOT

      1. Jim,

        No, keep the earlier one. I’m traveling and forgot that I already had posted my choices. Thanks

      2. Jim,

        Sorry to be so confused, but after review my original posts, yes, do replace. For clarity: breakout C Randolph; Sleepers, Carlos Tocci first, Devi Grullon second. RECORDED

        The lesson for me is not to rush and post while traveling, changing time zones and airplanes.

    1. That seals it for me, Jim. Let’s erase those two. This was a great idea if only to expose the bogus votes. You’re like Mike Brady when he threw the brief case on the floor to expose the neck brace fraud by the guy who also played Uncle Fester on the Munsters.

      (Of course I’m only half serious)

    2. 1 hitter 1 pitcher for both Drew Anderson, C for breakout sleeper Co!e Irvin sleeper J Ortiz RECORDED

  20. I believe that among those on the current major league roster, Altherr has the most to prove. Let’s hope he’s motivated accordingly.

  21. Kyle Young and Francisco Morales as sleepers and Rowdy as a breakout player…hope I can have two sleepers…. RECORDED

  22. Been crazy busy and just read almost all the way to the bottom before DMAR stole my sleeper- Llovera. Saw him twice last year and came away very impressed. Only thing that could hold him back is that he will probably stay at E.S.T and not debut until June.

    Not breaking new ground, but Randolph for Breakout.

    Final Answer- Sleeper: Llovera, BO: Randolph RECORDED

  23. I already posted my picks yesterday but this is my “keeping an eye on” list for ’17 by position:

    C Rafael Marchan
    1b Darick Hall
    2b Daniel Brito
    ss Brayan Gonzales
    3b Cole Stobbe
    OF “C” Randolph
    Jhailyn Ortiz
    RHP Francisco Morales
    LHP Cole Irvin

  24. i’m going to go with brandon liebrandt as the break out and the son of the great Wilson…Greg Pickett as the sleeper. he has a lot of time to make up and his slugging will bring him back. the super wish for me though is i think Drew anderson will really make a big jump

    1. RU,

      Canelo might be a really good choice. He was considered a prospect last year and is now a forgotten man.

  25. Every year I think the breakout will be a hitter getting to Reading for the first time. With that justification:

    Breakout: Tocci
    Sleeper: Falter RECORDED

  26. Jim I had Pujols as my sleeper but if I’m reading your graph correctly it says I picked Ortiz? CORRECTED

  27. I’m not sure I have enough knowledge to pick a sleeper, but I do feel confident that MM, C & J P are due for breakout yrs. Just gut feeling! MM because he wore down, but came back with 20 pounds of muscle, C because he was slowed by injury, then came back hitting well & J P because he was slowed by injury. In addition all 3 have an advanced approach at the plate that will have them back on track this yr. Also maybe a little wishful thinking?? If you would consider Brito a sleeper he would be my pick, but I’m not sure he fits your definition, because of his youth? I gonna love seeing Lakewood games when they visit Delmarva…

  28. I thought I would have an easy time picking my ‘favorites’, but was more difficult that I thought when forced to think through them a little bit.

    Breakouts: Medina and hitters at Reading. I will go with Tocci, Canelo, and Walding.
    Sleepers: Irvin, Morales, Pickett, and Matos.

    National level breakouts will be Sanchez and Quinn. Sanchez will again be excellent and his age per level will raise his profile. But his size will limit his ‘upside’ projection for many scout writers. If Quinn stays healthy he will profile as an above average MLB CF. He has always played well, but injury prone is a negative.

    Medina will be battling a number of excellent low level pitchers for attention but I think he gets K’s while still limiting hits and walks and move himself up with Kilome and Sanchez as best in the Phillies Pharm.

    Reading is the key level for all Phillies minor leaguers. For hitters, it is their chance to shine. If any power is in the bat, it needs to show up in Reading. For pitchers, can they still perform in a hitters park. Since most of the prior levels of Phillies affiliates are pitchers parks, Reading is a large contrast. Also, AA is usually make or break for most prospects due to the level of play and their impending 40man roster decisions.

    Tocci will have to hit at least 10+ HRs and hopefully will benefit with a higher average as well if teams cannot cheat in their OF. Canelo will get enough hitting to look like a utility INF since the defense will remain excellent. Walding will have some big power numbers, seems like he had easy power in his swing in brief viewing I saw in AZFL.

    I think Irvin ends up performing well in CLW this year to profile as a lower risk 4th starter type. Lefty handedness also helps Morales as scouts and fans will see he has some good stuff. He is all projection and with only short season data to come, I can see some large variation in his rankings for 2017 offseason.

    Pickett and Matos are choices purely on the ‘reports’ from the system. Both may not get enough playing time, so they will have to earn it and keep it. But I can see Pickett showing power and Matos showing a multi tool game.

    It will be interesting to watch how the Phillies manage their depth throughout the system. Do they rotate fielders so each play 5 times a week? Or do they give everyday jobs to a mid-level prospect who earns it? For pitchers, will certain guys get converted to permanent relievers or will alternate strategies be used to limit starters innings and get more players time as starters? RECORDED

    1. Tocci doesn’t need to hit 10plus hrs. And when you say Morales who do you mean? Francisco Morales is a RHP

      1. I guess I should have done more research. That does lower his profile slightly and make his less unique within the system.

  29. Breakout Pitcher-Drew Anderson
    Breakout Position Player-C Randolph

    Sleeper Pitcher-Cole Irvin
    Sleeper Postion Player-Malquin Canelo RECORDED

  30. Sleeper – Daniel Brito (ranked #27 on my personal list)

    Breakout – Jhailyn Ortiz (ranked #20 on my personal list) RECORDED

  31. I’ve noticed Josh Stephen has received a lot of votes. I don’t know anything about him–just that he was an 11th round pick from a good HS, and had moderate success in the GCL. Anyone want to elaborate on why he’s the leading sleeper?

    1. A pre-draft scouting report that I read cited his hit tools as better than average but couldn’t determine a position he could easily profile.

      I saw him in the GCL, and I see what they mean. He has a real nice swing but not much power, yet. He only showed average speed (6 for 12) on the base paths.

      He was over .300 for a lot of the early part of the season. He was hitting .294 as late as August 9th, but tailed off over the final 2 weeks.

      He doesn’t look to have the range for center, but if he keeps hitting and grows into some power, corner outfield could be his final destination.

      1. Scouting reports, from hitting and projected position/fielding to even the physical profile, indicate a similarity to Andrew Pullin.

    2. I have seen video of Josh Stephen. imo the best swing in our system. He is just a terrific hitting prospect. I know he needs a postion according to scouts. But he will be major league player. You can write it down if he isn’t rip away at me.

      1. rocco…better swing than Mitch Walding? Now he has a pretty swing, you cannot deny that.
        But then again great swings do not always make great MLB players…HoF does have its share of out-of–the-ordinary swings….Williams, Clemente, Musial and someday Vladimir…for example.

        1. Imo one of the best young hitters I have seen. I Just love his approach and swing. I think the only drawback is what scouts say about him not having a position. not a strong arm. lacks speed. So there are some draw backs.

          1. Yes can understand that…looks like he is a target for LF eventually, maybe RF as a long-shot. And it will be his bat that will need to get him there.
            And added challenges… he will have competition from Cornelius Randolph and probably already in the majors Nick Williams or Dylan Cozens.

  32. Sleepers – Encarnacion and Sandberg
    Breakouts – Ortiz and Kilome (surprised nobody has mentioned him – he’s been high on our lists for several years, but he still hasn’t had his breakout season, imo) RECORDED

  33. I can’t wait for baseball season…

    Breakout: Medina. Can’t get the image of that wipeout slider in the NYPL all-star game out of my head. Big season ahead.
    Sleeper: Falter. Smooth lefty pitcher with a sweet changeup. We can all dream, right? RECORDED

  34. Sleepers: Andrew Bossart and J. Ortiz
    Breakouts: Kevin Gowdy and Andrew Pullin

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