2020 Sleepers, Breakouts Prospects And Top Rookies For Every Team
Coinciding with the release of our team-by-team Top 30 prospects list today, here are our predictions for each organization's breakout prospect of the year, sleeper and top rookie performer.
All breakout prospects fall somewhere within 11-30 on a team's Top 30 list, while all sleeper picks should fall outside of the rankings. Top rookies are generally more familiar names.
Our full breakdown is below.
Top Rookies, Sleepers & Breakout Prospects For Every Team
*Click each team to go directly to that team's outlook.
Skinny: He has electric stuff, and he showed good aptitude to make adjustments during his pro debut.
Sleeper: Diomede Sierra, LHP
Skinny: Armed with a fastball up to 96 mph, Sierra has a chance to burst onto the scene when he comes stateside in 2020.
Skinny: The lefthanded hitter can do a bit of everything and that offensive and defensive versatility should help him find avenues to playing time.
Skinny: There's some work needed to be done in refining his swing, but Harris has the toolset to become an impact player on both sides of the ball.
Sleeper: Jared Johnson, RHP
Skinny: Johnson is incredibly raw, but the 2019 draftee has a fastball that gets up to 97 mph with little effort. Atlanta's player development should have fun with his natural talent.
He will immediately become one of the best defensive center fielders in the majors when he is called up.
Skinny: His first full season could have Hall primed for another contact-and-speed driven breakout and jump him into the organization's top 10.
Sleeper: Dan Hammer, RHP
Skinny: Hammer, with a 90-94 mph fastball and two present-average secondary pitches, could impress in his full-season debut.
Skinny: His feel for hitting, improved approach, and power potential will make him a plug-and-play standout in the middle of the lineup.
Boston Red Sox
Skinny: Though unnoticed due to his late move from the bullpen to the rotation, he was throwing as well as anyone in the Red Sox system at the end of 2019.
Sleeper: Eduardo Vaughan, OF
Skinny: Signed out of Panama for $500,000 in 2018, he combines athleticism and a strong arm with flashes of power that suggest a potentially impactful skill set.
Skinny: His righthanded power should show up at some point in the big leagues this year.
Skinny: He showed hints of a starter's ceiling in his first full pro year and could take big strides in 2020.
Sleeper: Yovanny Cruz, RHP
Skinny: Cruz has big velocity from an easy arm action and could make a big leap in 2020 with refined mechanics.
Skinny: After a solid big league cameo, Hoerner will carve out a role as a solid offensive piece in Chicago.
Chicago White Sox
Skinny: The speedster has the tools to be a force on the bases and at the top of the lineup.
Sleeper: Jake Burger, 3B
Skinny: Beset by injuries in his pro career, a return to health could finally put him on the path the White Sox expected.
Skinny: After he bides his time in the minors for a few more weeks, he should be ready to establish himself as a franchise cornerstone.
Skinny: Davis showed well in his return from Tommy John surgery and has the stuff and feel to rise quickly if he stays healthy.
Sleeper: Michael Beltre, OF
Skinny: Beltre is athletic and has enough tools to reach the majors if he can get to his raw power.
Skinny: Akiyama's well-rounded game and his knack for putting bat to ball should earn him plenty of at-bats, even in a very crowded Reds outfield.
Skinny: There's a bit of Brayan Rocchio in Martinez's profile and with a strong 2020 campaign, during which he'll make his U.S. debut.
Sleeper: Joe Naranjo, 1B
Skinny: In a system loaded with athletic infielders, Naranjo—nicknamed Joey Barrels—has the offensive potential to make noise in 2020.
Skinny: The Indians have done well at graduating pitchers in recent years and Allen could be the next up as a solid all-around and versatile lefthander.
Skinny: The lefthander got his altitude indoctrination in the second half last year at Triple-A Albuquerque, and he can fill a bullpen void.
Sleeper: Brian Mundell, 1B
Skinny: Not a big power guy, Mundell has good strike-zone awareness and can drive the ball to the gaps. He has become a decent defensive first baseman.
Skinny: He has the size and power to clear fences, but the speed and agility to cover center field, freeing David Dahl to settle into the vast expanse of left field.
Skinny: The young outfielder struggled in his first full season, but his athleticism and raw tools still give him plenty of upside.
Sleeper: Jason Foley, RHP
Skinny: Foley is building innings as he comes back from Tommy John surgery. His near triple-digit fastball makes him enticing if he can regain his command.
Skinny: Rogers brings elite defensive skills while also providing some pop from behind the plate
Skinny: Henley took to many of the Astros' pitching development program suggestions. With his ability to spin a breaking ball and improving velocity, he could be the next rising pitcher.
Sleeper: Yohander Martinez, SS
Skinny: Martinez was one of the more impressive bats in the Dominican Summer League in 2019. He's a smart, heady player with the tools to post high on-base percentages.
Skinny: Forrest Whitley is more talented, but Urquidy is ready to help right now.
Kansas City Royals
Skinny: Haake continues to intrigue with his long, lean, projectable pitcher's frame and electric stuff.
Sleeper: Omar Hernandez, C
Skinny: A Cuban native who defected to Spain, Hernandez played in the Arizona League at 17 and showed plus defense behind the plate and plus arm strength.
Skinny: If Staumont can finally get command of his pitches, he'll be a useful piece in the bullpen.
Los Angeles Angels
Skinny: Pina's growing mastery of a split-fingered fastball has turned him into a different pitcher who can miss bats with the best in the Angels' system.
Sleeper: Nathan Bates, RHP
Skinny: Bates' 98 mph fastball headlines a potent three-pitch mix he'll lean on as he tries to rebound from elbow surgery and a drug suspension.
Skinny: The five-tool prospect may not open season with the Angels, but he should be starting in right field by the all-star break.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Skinny: De Jesus looks the part of an impact hitter and has the athleticism to stay on the infield.
Sleeper: Brandon Lewis, 3B
Skinny: Lewis' massive power changes games in an instant and gives him a carrying tool.
Skinny: Lux is ready to take over as the Dodgers' everyday second baseman and keeps getting better every year.
Skinny: One of the minors' best hitters in the second half of 2019, Burdick has a chance to be the steal of the 2019 draft for the Marlins.
Sleeper: Luis Palacios, LHP
Skinny: The 19-year-old lefty is 13-0, 1.49 with 147 strikeouts and 21 walks in 150.2 career innings and should be ready for his first taste of full-season ball in 2020.
Skinny: After getting a taste of Triple-A in 2019, the 22-year-old should be ready for a role as the Marlins' everyday right fielder by mid-2020.
2020 Minor League Free Agents Will Be Eligible For Free Agency This Fall
The MLBPA informed agents that non-40-man players will be eligible for free agency even though there was no MiLB season.
Skinny: He has a short, quick swing capable of producing above-average power and above-average speed.
Sleeper: Victor Castaneda, RHP
Skinny: He opened eyes with his overall stuff in the Arizona Fall League.
Skinny: He got his feet wet in the majors last year and showed he has the velocity to pitch in high-leverage situations.
Skinny: He has gotten bigger and stronger and already plays a great center field. If he keeps improving, he could crack the top 10 in 2021.
Sleeper: Rhodery Diaz, OF
Skinny: Diaz impressed in the Dominican Summer League. Diaz's bat is his best tool, but he's a center fielder as well and should move quicker than the average international signee.
Skinny: Smeltzer has the inside track among the trio of young starters battling for a rotation spot.
New York Mets
Skinny: The 22-year-old late bloomer has high-end velocity and a killer slider.
Sleeper: Jace Beck, RHP
Skinny: The 6-foot-9 Oklahoma prep righthander sits in the low 90s and has feel for spin. He struck out 10 and walked one in six Gulf Coast League appearances in his pro debut.
Skinny: The 6-foot-5 lefty is a leading contender in what appears to be a weak Mets rookie crop. Something about Smith's angle and deception has flummoxed pro hitters.
New York Yankees
Skinny: After another strong season, the projectable Gomez could fly through the system.
Sleeper: Brandon Lockridge, OF
Skinny: The Troy product posted a fine 2019 and could open even more eyes in 2020 with an encore performance.
Skinny: With a strong spring and a little more seasoning, Garcia could make an impact in New York in 2020.
Skinny: The Colombian outfielder has loud tools and showed well in the Rookie-level Arizona League in his pro debut.
Sleeper: Drew Millas, C
Skinny: While there are questions about Millas' durability, his resume at Missouri State, including fighting for the role of best defensive catcher in his draft class, there is plenty to keep an eye on once he returns to full strength.
Skinny: With his health finally intact and a taste of the big leagues, Puk's arsenal looks to only be more effective.
Skinny: When the Phillies talk trade, teams regularly ask for Rojas because of his loud tools and potential.
Sleeper: Juan Aparicio, C
Skinny: On a crowded Phillies depth chart at catcher, Aparcio could leapfrog to near the top of the list in 2020.
Skinny: Howard has the potential to eventually join Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola at the top of Philly's rotation.
Skinny: He already features a mid-90s fastball with a big frame that portends even more velocity to come.
Sleeper: Deion Walker, OF
Skinny: Drafted in the 35th round in 2019, Walker impressed in his pro debut as a toolsy center fielder with power to all fields.
Skinny: A rotation spot is Keller's for the taking after making his debut last year.
San Diego Padres
Skinny: Head became a favorite of Padres coaches during instructional league and has seen his skills improve rapidly in a short time.
Sleeper: Yeison Santana, SS
Skinny: Santana hit .346 in his pro debut and owns a promising mix of bat-to-ball skills, plate discipline and excellent athleticism.
Skinny: As long as he stays healthy, the flame-throwing righthander has a chance to be the Padres' closer.
San Francisco Giants
Skinny: The imported arm could thrive thanks to the Giants' pitching philosophy.
Sleeper: Matt Frisbee, RHP
Skinny: Frisbee tied with Conner Menez for the system's strikeout lead and could prove himself big time in 2020.
Skinny: The new Giant should get plenty of chances to play up the middle.
Skinny: He combines tools with a strong work ethic, and he'll get the opportunity to further develop those extraordinary tools.
Sleeper: Tim Elliott, RHP
Skinny: Elliott was coming off a long college season at Georgia when he reported to short-season Everett, but an offseason of rest should allow his stuff to tick up in 2020.
Skinny: Sheffield rebounded after a rough start in 2019 and will get another shot at the Mariners' rotation.
St. Louis Cardinals
Skinny: Gil has a potent mix of athleticism, instincts and the foundation to hit, and should only get better as he gets stronger.
Sleeper: Leonardo Taveras, RHP
Skinny: The 6-foot-5 righthander shows big stuff with a lively 93-97 mph fastball and above-average curveball and now must hone in his control.
Skinny: Carlson's considerable physical abilities and advanced, mature instincts have him ready to make an impact in the majors, even at 21.
Tampa Bay Rays
Skinny: He has impressive athleticism to go with offensive impact.
Sleeper: Graeme Stinson, LHP
Skinny: Stinson was a likely first-round pick coming into 2019. His stuff disappeared during an awful junior season. He has to prove he can return to form, but if he does, he has the fastball/slider combo to be a high-leverage reliever.
Skinny: He made spot starts in 2019 but should be a fixture in 2020. He needs to improve his pitch efficiency to finish batters.
Skinny: The $10,000 signing from the Dominican Republic has done nothing but mash in his first two seasons of Rookie ball, with an easy swing and big power, albeit with defensive questions.
Sleeper: Justin Slaten, RHP
Skinny: A third-round pick out of New Mexico in 2019, he has a promising fastball/ slider combination that should help him miss bats.
Skinny: His ultimate defensive home remains to be determined, but he has hit well at every level.
Toronto Blue Jays
Skinny: A 2019 international signing from Venezuela, Machado is a quick-twitch athlete with a compact swing from both sides of the plate.
Sleeper: Dahian Santos, RHP
Skinny: Santos was a July 2 signing out of Venezuela in 2019 and his stuff has already jumped, reaching 94 mph with his fastball as a 16-year-old.
Skinny: He should be Toronto's best starter as soon as he gets to the big leagues, with an electric arsenal led be one of the best fastballs in the game.
Skinny: He reached short-season Auburn as an 18-year-old and has the "it" factor according to officials.
Sleeper: Jhonatan German, RHP
Skinny: The 6-foot-4 reliever rose to Double-A on the strength of a high-90s fastball and a power slider. Throwing more strikes will be the key to him taking another step forward.
Skinny: The club's top prospect likely will get a longer look at a major league infield spot this season. He's the most seasoned and has the most opportunity of the organization's prospects.