Breakout player picks for 2013
March, 19, 2013
By Keith Law | ESPN Insider
Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY SportsWith a revamped swing, Domonic Brown is poised to fulfill his potential.Every year there are a few players whom I expect, for scouting reasons or for analytical ones, to take some kind of step or leap forward in performance. I've got eight such names for 2013, with varying degrees of confidence that I try to explain in the comments below.
One thing you'll notice is that all of these players appeared at some point on my Top 100 prospects rankings, with only one failing to appear in the top 50 at least once. That's another way of saying that the skills that made me rate the player highly as a prospect are still largely intact, but now some developmental hurdles that held him back have now cleared -- or so I hope.
The Phillies have been messing with his swing since he first emerged as a prospect, but it looks like they might have found a formula, as new hitting coach Wally Joyner has altered the position of Brown's hands. Execs and scouts are telling me Brown looks noticeably better at the plate, and better able to drive the ball. He's still well below average on defense, but if he starts hitting and the Phillies don't try to re-re-rework his swing in late April, he'll hold on to the left-field job.
Matt Moore | LHP, Tampa Bay Rays
Moore's had a so-so spring as his velocity slowly creeps back up to normal, but I'm still confident he'll fulfill the potential that made him the top pitching prospect on my pre-2012 Top 100. Moore was better across the board in the second half last year, throwing more strikes with all three pitches and mixing in his curveball more often and more effectively. That said, I don't love reading about any pitcher showing below-normal velocity this deep into spring training, so keep an eye on reports (and Pitch f/x, when available) about his remaining starts in March.