3 Breakout Second Basemen for 2023 by Paul Sporer March 13, 2023 David Richard-USA TODAY Sports As I did in the 1B piece, I’ll ask that we not get too hung up on the actual phrasing of “breakout” as at least one of these selections has undoubtedly broken out before so it’s almost a re-breakout that I have them doing in 2023. These are guys I like above their market price and have them easily outperforming said cost. I understand that a “breakout” is more a first time thing, but they aren’t necessarily “sleepers” (although there is usually at least one guy in each of these pieces that is more deep league-friendly), either, so I chose the better of the two words. Catchers First Basemen Third Basemen Shortstops Max Muncy | LAD | +3B elig. My Projection: .249/.374/.506, 33 HR, 87 R, 89 RBI, 2 SB in 583 PA It’s time to get back on Muncy Train! He got his groove back at the end of last year as the elbow stopped causing him problems and the power returned with 12 HR in the final two months after just 9 through the first four. This is a hitter just one year removed from a 36-homer season with 94 RBI and 95 R. There has been a lot of talk about how the Dodgers lineup is one of the weaker ones in recent memory which will make it tougher for him to pull another 90/90 season, but a “weaker” Dodgers lineup still isn’t weak and thus an 80/80 campaign is well within reach. Michael Massey | KCR My Projection: .271/.333/.466, 16 HR, 57 R, 69 RBI, 8 SB in 460 PA This is a bet on Massey winning a good bit of playing time at the keystone after a decent debut last year. Nicky Lopez is a stronger defender, but simply doesn’t hit enough for an everyday job. His 2021 was entirely BABIP-fueled as a .347 mark drove his 105 wRC+. He had a 55 mark in 2019-20 and returned to a 57 last season. Massey excelled at the high minors last year, putting up a .312/.371/.532 line with 16 HR and 13 SB in 391 PA before his 52-game debut. He has a very healthy 19 HR and 14 SB per 500 PA as a minor leaguer, too (1022 PA). If he gets the everyday job and logs 500+ PA, Massey could have a Thairo Estrada-esque breakout, except reversing the HR/SB counts to 21/14. Rodolfo Castro | PIT | +3B elig. My Projection: .240/.303/.426, 24 HR, 60 R, 66 RBI, 8 SB in 600 PA There isn’t a ton of attention out there for Castro likely due mostly to being on Pittsburgh. He had a solid-average output last year with a 103 wRC+ in 278 PA despite an ugly sub-.300 OBP thanks in part to a nice .194 ISO that yielded 11 HR. Add in his minor league work and he had 23 HR in 592 PA, a production level I see him maintaining across a full season of work. Despite some swing-and-miss issues and the modest OBP, the Pirates should be fully committed to the 24-year-old switch hitter. Only five 2B-eligible hitters had 20+ HR last year so the power is very valuable here and in deeper leagues, his batting average is more palatable.