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Top 5 NL breakout candidates for the 2023 MLB season

Honorable mention:

Brett Baty, 3B/OF, New York Mets

Expected to be one of the top teams in both the National League, and in baseball, the Mets have very few question marks heading into the 2023 campaign. Baty may just be one of the team’s lone arguable options as it contemplates sticking the rising bat at third base, even with the return of Eduardo Escobar. So far, the 6-foot-3 third baseman and left fielder has delivered an impressive spring showing with an OPS of .916, while challenging for the team’s Opening Day spot. No matter where he ends up, an improvement from his limited reps in 2022 should be something to look forward to for the former first-round pick.

 

Javier Assad, RHP, Chicago Cubs

The Cubs enter the 2023 season with some interesting options to round out their starting pitching staff. With options like Marcus Stroman, Jameson Taillon, Justin Steele and Drew Smyly likely carving out their place, the No. 5 slot remains wide open. Many have debated that top-five prospect Hayden Wesneski would get the role after coming over in a deal with the Yankees last season, but Assad has quietly made his case this spring for another run on the big league roster. After making his major league debut in 2022, the under-the-radar prospect posted a 3.11 ERA in 37.2 innings pitched. He’s now put his impressive offseason work on full display, showcasing an uptick in velocity during his run with Mexico in the World Baseball Classic (WBC). Behind a dominant WBC performance, Assad has shown he can set down some of the game’s top hitters.

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