This post is a reprint of a post that Ed Reaven (revo) made at Rotojunkie recently about players whose stats are likely to improve this year due to increased playing time. I thought the information was so useful that I asked Ed's permission to reprint it here...
It's pretty tough to determine a breakout based on improved skills, age, etc., but it's a bit easier to peg someone for a bustout based on increased playing time (or in the case of pitchers, change in roles).
While it's far from an exact science -- you can't just extrapolate numbers based on limited playing time the previous year -- it's likely a few breakout players will come from the list below. If you took Ryan Howard last year, he was a perfect example of the "increased playing time" breakout from '05 to '06(and then some!)
I compiled a list of these players I think fit the same description. I'm making no projections, and many of these are "well, duh" no brainers. But it's a handy list, I think.
Feel free to add any I forgot about, and I'll add them in.
Almost-guaranteed increased PT candidates:
PLAYERS WITH INCREASED 2007 ROLES
WES HELMS -- should double his '06 ABs (where he hit .330 in 249 ABs with good power and run production)
SHANE VICTORINO -- has RF to himself
CHRIS BURKE -- now the full-time CFer
CHRIS DUNCAN -- the Cards want him to be the full time LFer
ADAM WAINWRIGHT-- moves into the rotation after overpowering post-season
COREY HART -- takes over RF from Jenkins
JOSH BARD -- becomes the everyday catcher (well, 450 ABs worth)
RYAN CHURCH -- should fend off Snelling and is prime to have a breakout year
CHRIS DUFFY -- had 26 SBs in only 314 ABs
REED JOHNSON -- no more platoon, and had 86 Runs in 460 ABs, a huge ratio of runs/AB...if he gets 580 ABs, he may end up with 110 Runs
WILSON BETEMIT -- has a good chance to hit 25 HRs as the full-time 3B
DAVID DELLUCCI -- had only 264 ABs last year (with 13 HRs), has only the puny Jason Michaels to fend off....if he could get to 450 ABs, expect 20+ HRs
ANDY MARTE -- everyday 3B thanks to his defense, his bat should finally be able to come around
NELSON CRUZ -- only the decrepit Sammy Sosa stands in his way of getting 500 ABs
FRANK CATALANOTTO -- leaves the Toronto platoon for Texas, where he seems guaranteed to finally top 550 PAs (and is rumored to bat leadoff)
BRADEN LOOPER -- only if he lands STL's #5 rotation spot
DAVID ROSS -- amazingly had only 247 ABs last year (and hit 21 HRs). If he gets 475 ABs, he can be a Top 5 catcher.
KAZ MATSUI -- Jamey Carroll will steal some ABs, but if Matsui hits as well as he did in his brief COL stint last year, he should easily get 500 PAs (and double digit HRs and SBs)
OCTAVIO DOTEL -- obvious one, moves into the closer role
SALOMON TORRES -- another obvious one
JASON KUBEL -- former top prospect now the everyday LF/DH
LUKE SCOTT -- as per Nascarfan, Scott is likely to get 400-450 ABs. 20+ HRs, 75+ RBIs?
KELLY JOHNSON -- Positives: Braves dumped Marcus Giles for him; Had nice production when last healthy in '05 (9 HRs, 40 RBIs in 290 ABs); the Braves think he can hit 20 HRs; Negatives: injury prone; never played 2nd.
MATT DIAZ -- according to the Braves website, he's the favorite to win the LF job and is "awesome right now" (Bobby Cox's words). With 525 ABs (which means relegating Langerhans to the dustbin), Diaz could produce solid numbers for a last round selection in your fantasy draft (but I'm sure that .327 comes down a notch).
JOEL PINEIRO -- only if he becomes closer (but he'll still suck)
NOOK LOGAN -- they love him apparently. Another sleeper SB candidate if he wins the job
TERRMEL SLEDGE -- will likely split time with Jose Cruz Jr., and this is his last shot. Worth a late round flier.
ALFREDO AMEZAGA -- Marlins CF picture is ugly, but Amezaga had 20 SBs in only 334 ABs in '06. If he wins the job and plays well early, he could get 500 ABs and 30 SBs.
The no-brainers follow, but it's just for reference. Basically, these are the guys who will go from 80-100 IP to 180-200 IP, and 150-250 ABs to 550 ABs. Like Ryan Howard, they may have done well in '06 in their limited PT, but given the larger PT, their stats could explode:
PLAYERS IN THEIR 1ST FULL SEASON
Rookies who will likely start the year in the majors in prominent roles:
Players who are healthy after missing a large percentage of the '06 season. Many of these players have broken out before or have had very successful careers (a la Sheff, Matsui, Lee & Gagne), but they should be able to post numbers similar to their pre-injury totals, so don't forget about them:
RETURNING FROM INJURY
CARL PAVANO (yeah right!)
Thanks again to Ed for letting me share this valuable information!