Here are a few players I think could be primed to break out this season.
Ashur Tolliver - He was a fourth round draft pick in 2009 and signed for $200,000. He struggled in 39 innings last year but was bothered by shoulder injuries throughout the year. When he's healthy he commands a low 90's fastball very well and throws an above-average breaking ball. He has touched 96 mph in the past. The word is Tolliver added 25-30 pounds over the off-season and I think we'll see a totally different guy in 2011.
Brenden Webb - This guy has some tremendous tools in plus arm strength, speed and defense. His tremendous eye at the plate has helped him to a 13.9 BB%, but pitch-ID usses has given him a 25 K%. He makes hard contact and is a superb fastball hitter. I think part of the reason for his low batting average last year was a low BABIP. If so, I think he'll open some eyes this year at Demarva. He signed for $250,000 as a 30th rd. pick in 2009.
Parker Bridwell - He signed for $625,000 as a 9th rd. pick in 2010. He's a little raw and it may take some time for him to adjust from week competition at his Texas HS to the pros, but there is a ton of potential here. I spoke with Riley Hornback, who is a minor league catcher for the Orioles, and he was raving about Bridwell's stuff. He told me Bridwell throws a very heavy ball with good sink. Bridwell reminds me of a right-handed version of Zach Britton.
Luis Noel - Visa issues kept him in the Dominican Republic for all of 2009, where he pitched in the Dominican Summer League. He got the visa problems cleared up and returned to the states for the start of 2010 spring training. He turned some heads with a very impressive showing at Delmarva and earned himself a promotion to Frederick. His stuff is average but because of good command of his fastball he managed to post an 8.6 K/9 at Delmarva and 8.1 K/9 at Frederick. If he keeps this up I think he could end up us a solid #4/5 starter. 2011 will give us a little more information as we see him at the higher levels against competition closer to his age.
Jaime Esquivel - He was a 28th round selection in the 2010 draft and signed for $225,000. In the short video clips I've seen, his curveball has been impressive. He's 6' 2" with room to fill out and already touches 92 mph with the fastball. Joe Jordan compares him to Matt Garza and others have handed out Doug Drabek. If his changeup comes along I think he could surprise some this year in Aberdeen's rotation.
Jesse Beal - I sometimes have a hard time believe just how good his command and control are. He walked just 1.8/9 last year with Delmarva with a WHIP of 1.27. He sits in the high 80's with his fastball and is working hard to add extra weight, which is what I believe will be the key for him going forward. He doesn't have a ton of room for error because of the low velocity, but because of his command he's able to keep the ball where he wants and get away with more than the normal high 80's righty.
Who are your sleepers or breakout picks?