3 Breakout First Basemen for 2023

What is a breakout? There are different definitions depending on who you ask. Can someone be a breakout if they’ve already broken out? For the purposes of this article, a breakout is someone I have projected well above their current ADP. They are going to “break out” from their draft slot and deliver more production than the market thinks. I guess I could’ve just titled this “3 First Basemen I Like More Than ADP”, but that’s a clunky title so work with me here!!

Here are 3 first basemen I like this year:

Wil Myers | CIN

My Projection: .265/.343/.493, 24 HR, 66 R, 71 RBI, 7 SB in 505 PA

I’ve been banging the Myers drum since he signed with Cincinnati so I’m sure no one is surprised to see him included here. I’d be interested in a slightly below average bat in Coors Lite aka Great American Ballpark let alone someone who has been a positive bat over his career (110 wRC+ in 4149 PA), only twice dipping below average. Health has certainly been a challenge for the 32-year-old 1B/OF, but that risk is covered in his price tag. Myers is going at pick 240 on average in the 19 Rotowire Online Challenge (henceforth referred to as “OCs”) drafts from March 1st-10th making him the 27th 1B off the board (58th at OF… I promise I won’t include in the 3 Breakout OFs, too!).

Myers has averaged 19 HR/9 SB per 500 PA since 2019 while residing in Petco Park which has a 94 righty offensive Park Factor, good for 27th in the league. He’s moving to the 2nd best park in baseball for righties which includes the best righty HR Park Factor at 145 (8 pts clear of Dodger Stadium and 24 north of Coors Field). Myers is far removed from his back-to-back 600 PA seasons in 2016-17, but just imagine what kind of production he could put up with a fully healthy campaign! I’ll take 450-500 and feel comfortable that he’ll return value at his current cost.

Triston Casas | BOS

My Projection: .255/.355/.466, 24 HR, 64 R, 72 RBI, 3 SB in 560 PA

Casas didn’t exactly flop upon arrival with a 120 wRC+ in 95 PA, but he did hit .197 so unless you play in an OBP league, he wasn’t exactly helping you out. Of course, it was just 95 PA so it’s not really a big deal either way. His stock is on the rise as he’s going around pick 220 in the March OCs after sitting more in the 240-250 range during Draft Championship season. That said, I’m still buying as he’s the 24th 1B off the board and his projection slots him 19th for me. He is the strong side of a 1B platoon which should be enough PT to deliver 20+ HRs and possibly even 25+. There were 11 guys with under 570 PA who were able to smack 25+ last year. There’s also a non-zero chance at a complete breakout that includes 30+ HRs given his power upside.

Dominic Smith | WAS

My Projection: .265/.327/.447, 17 HR, 59 R, 66 RBI, 1 SB in 517 PA

A little meat for my deep leaguers to finish off the piece. Smith had a disastrous 2022 no matter how you slice it. Sure, it was only 152 PA, but they were baaaad. He didn’t hit a single homer!! Surely, he can’t be worse, right? RIGHT?!? He gets a huge park upgrade and a clear path to playing time with at least the strong side platoon available to him as long as he doesn’t hit like last year. Despite the power outage last year, I see a rebound that is actually a bit below his career mark of 18 HR per 500 PA. This is a true buy low with solid upside and not too much downside because if he doesn’t turn it around, he’s an easy early season cut (2-3 weeks in).

Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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8 days ago

The breakout hitters are Wil Myers and Dom Smith? This 2017 season gonna be so dope. I’m excited about what the 2016 Mariners did. They will surely break the no-playoffs streak this year, 2017.

Seth Brown pretty much led baseball in hard hit % post all star break. I’d have written about his potential stardom breakout, rather than the guy in his mid 30s with $150M career earnings having a potential breakout. Maybe Manzardo so far this spring adding power to his already robust resume, and possibly upping his comps from a Mark Grace type of bat, to a more rounded Joey Votto type of bat.

Last edited 8 days ago by hittfamily
8 days ago
Reply to  Paul Sporer

Didn’t realize I had to read a paragraph about somebody redefining the term “breakout”. A breakout is definitely not your provided definition. You described undervalued players, not players poised for a breakout.

Breakout. Adjective. “1.
suddenly and extremely popular or successful.
“a breakout movie”

I would call Will Myers’s breakout, when he became extremely popular or successful, when he won the rookie of the year a decade ago, or maybe it was when he signed the hundred plus million contract in San Diego. It’s not when he was drafted in the 2023 18th round but should have been drafted in the 15th round.

7 days ago
Reply to  Paul Sporer

In order to drive traffic, rather than redefining words that are meant to describe unknowns becoming knowns, next time just go full BuzzFeed/GQ/YouTube . “Top 10 sexiest first basemen you’ve never heard of that they don’t want you to know about.”