Ten MLB Players Poised To Break Out In 2023

Image credit: Riley Greene (Photo By Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

We chose 10 breakout players—five hitters and five pitchers—poised to break out in 2023.

Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, Royals 

We started to see it last year in a partial season with Pasquantino, who hit .295/.383/.450 in 72 big league games. Now we could see him take the next step and put himself in the conversation among the top first basemen. Pasquantino swung a hot bat last August and September, putting up a .960 OPS with seven homers and more walks than strikeouts. (Ben Badler)

Oneil Cruz, SS, Pirates

The 6-foot-7 Cruz has the hardest-hit ball—122.4 mph—of the Statcast era. He also has elite speed and a ton of basestealing ability. With better contact consistency, joining the 30-30 club is a real possibility for Cruz. (Savannah McCann)

Riley Greene, OF, Tigers 

Greene looked like a lock for the Tigers’ Opening Day roster last season, but a late-March broken foot set him back. When he reached Detroit in mid June, Greene managed to hold his head above water but did not exactly dominate. But what is encouraging about the 21-year-old’s growth potential is that his barrel rate, zone-contact rate and chase rate were all better than the MLB average. (Matt Eddy)

Andrew Vaughn, 1B, White Sox 

Vaughn has handled himself well as a hitter despite being rushed and being forced to play out of position. Now back at first base, watch for him to break out and become the offensive monster predicted out of the draft.  (Kyle Glaser)

Lars Nootbaar, OF, Cardinals 

Few players were better in the second half of 2022 than Nootbaar. Over his final 67 games, he hit .240/.366/.480 with 10 home runs to go with identical strikeout and walk rates of exactly 16.7% . The wildest part is Nootbaar’s batting average on balls in play was an unusually low at .248. If his batted ball luck regresses back to the norm—perhaps with help from shift restrictions—he could be a potential star breakout in 2023. (Geoff Pontes)

George Kirby, RHP, Mariners 

Kirby seamlessly stepped into the Mariners’ rotation as a rookie last season and only got better as the year went on. Watch for the 25-year-old to take another jump in 2023 as he moves closer to fulfilling his frontline starter potential. Between his stuff and command, Kirby could soon jump into the game’s upper echelon of pitchers. (Kyle Glaser)

Brady Singer, RHP, Royals

Singer sticks with what works by throwing a sinker or slider nearly 80% of the time. He throws strikes and gets hitters to swing in the zone. With a new coaching staff behind him, his second-half numbers could be the tip of the iceberg. (Savannah McCann)

Logan Gilbert, RHP, Mariners

Gilbert was one of the most durable, effective and hardest-throwing starters in baseball in 2022. He showed some of the best command markers among power pitchers as well. But he tended to get hit hard when batters did connect. That’s why Gilbert added a new splitter to his fastball- and slider-dominant repertoire in the offseason. (Matt Eddy)

Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Orioles

With four above-average or better offerings and plus control, Rodriguez should have no trouble adjusting to the big leagues. The 23-year-old will be one of the most anticipated 2023 debuts as he competes for AL Rookie of the Year. (Chris Hilburn-Trenkle)

Nick Lodolo, LHP, Reds

The tall lefthander with the funky arm slot had a strong rookie campaign. In 2023, Lodolo is poised to take the next step to rank among the top 20 starters in the game. With a mid-90s fastball paired with a plus breaking ball, he has the type of one-two punch to overwhelm hitters and limit hard contact in play, a major bonus for any pitcher who calls Great American Ballpark home. (Geoff Pontes)

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