2 rare rookies make Jim Bowden’s list – The Athletic

Every season, I love compiling a list of the top breakout candidates, trying to predict the players who will have the best year of their career and become a big story. Last year, I hit on Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Austin Riley and Yordan Alvarez. This year, I included two rookies on my list — Bobby Witt Jr. of the Royals and Spencer Torkelson of the Tigers — something I don’t typically do, but they’re so advanced that I think they’ll make an immediate impact.

How do I define a breakout candidate? It is simply a player I expect to perform at a dramatically higher level than their major-league track record, or to burst onto the scene and blow away the rookie field. Breakout players share common traits including the ability to adjust and adapt, a high baseball IQ, and tremendous physical and mental skills.

So who fits the bill this year? Here are the 10 players I think are primed for breakout seasons in 2022.

Bobby Witt Jr., 3B, Royals

Age: 21 B: R T: R2021 slash line (Double A, Triple A): .290/.361/.575 (.936 OPS)Other stats: 2B: 35 HR: 33 RBI: 97 SB: 29

I predict Witt will be the American League Rookie of the Year, and I won’t be surprised if he delivers 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. I’ve always been hesitant to put rookies on this list because the first year in the majors is so difficult to project. I remember when Mike Trout hit .

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