Trade rumors aren’t the only kind of speculation happening during the offseason. This week, Bleacher Report’s writers placed some bets on each team’s up-and-coming stars and the free-agent signings most likely to be a pleasant surprise.
Zachary D. Rymer predicts that Miguel Vargas will be the Dodgers’ biggest breakout of the season. Vargas has a .900+ OPS in the last two minor league seasons and had only five more strikeouts than walks in the minors last year. He also demonstrated a good feel for contact during his brief time in the majors this year, so there’s no stage fright here. An honorable mention goes to left fielder James Outman, who’s also expected to get a big call-up this season.
As for the most underrated signing of the season for L.A., Rymer says J.D. Martinez’s one-year, $10 million contract could be more of a bargain than anticipated. The Dodgers’ new DH is particularly deadly against left-handed pitching, with a .998 OPS against southpaws. There’s little downside to Martinez, Rymer notes — at worst, he’ll likely have a solid season with no major ups or downs. At best, though, that California sunshine (not to mention a reunion with Dodgers’ hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc, who previously helped Martinez perfect his swing) could be just the ticket for another reinvention.
Also of note: Rymer names Tyler Anderson the Angels’ most underrated signing of the offseason. Anderson signed a three-year, $39 million deal with the Angels, a good deal for a pitcher with an excellent changeup and high chase rate.
MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo polled MLB execs on their picks for 2023’s Rookie of the Year, with some familiar Dodgers prospects getting attention.
Old friend Matt Beaty is headed to the Royals on a minor-league deal, writes Steve Adams at MLB Trade Rumors.
Kyle Glaser at Baseball America listed the Dodgers’ 10 best prospects of 2023, players with the best tools in the farm system, a projected lineup for 2026.