Everyone has a different definition of a breakout player. I like a definition vague enough for me to list rookies as well as second-, third- and fourth-year players who will turn their modest success into a whole other level of performance and production. Here are the players I think will have huge years in 2017:
Schwarber showed the world how amazing his bat is when he made his season debut -- in the World Series -- and went 7-for-17 with three walks for a .500 OBP. Schwarber's bat is so special that his potential this season is in the range of .310/.380/.580 with 25-30 home runs and 100 RBIs if he ends up hitting in the middle of the Cubs' lineup. Schwarber has exceptional bat speed, a clean setup and stance and a direct path to the ball that accounts for consistent sweet-spot contact. What type of “breakout” do I think he’ll have? I think we’ll be talking about him next fall in the same breath as Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. He’s that good!
Bregman was the Astros' first-round selection in the 2015 draft and was the second player taken overall behind Dansby Swanson. In his first 10 games, Bregman went 2-for-38 (.053 BA). After Aug. 5 through the end of the season, he hit .313 with 34 RBIs and had 24 extra-base hits, leading the Astros in those three categories in that time. Bregman is a player who puts the ball in play, draws walks, has 20-homer power and has the ability to get on base at a .400 clip. The pure shortstop is expected to be play third base and will be well above average there too. His swing is clean, simple and straight to the ball. His makeup and character are off the charts and will help him make the constant adjustments needed to deal with opposing pitchers. He's fully developed and ready to be a difference-maker this year.