Fantasy Baseball: 5 MLB Prospects Who Could Break Out in 2017

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Tyler Glasnow, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Why There's Breakout Potential

Tyler Glasnow's big-league experience spans just 23 1/3 innings of work (7 appearances, 4 starts). While his traditional stats from 2016 don't jump off the page (4.24 ERA and 1.50 WHIP), there was still a lot to like because of how it lined up with his recent performance in Triple-A.

The consistencies can be seen below. He's shown the ability to strikeout hitters, posting superb strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) numbers, and he's been able to limit home runs (HR/9). He's also stranded runners (LOB%) at a good clip.

Year Level Innings Pitched K/9 HR/9 LOB%
2015 Triple-A 41 10.54 0.22 73.3%
2016 Triple-A 110 2/3 10.82 0.33 85.7%
2016 MLB 23 1/3 9.26 0.77 71.0%

Again, while it's still a small sample size, it was nice to see Glasnow continue to excel in these areas. Among qualified pitchers, his K/9 would've ranked 11th in baseball, his HR/9 would've ranked 9th and his LOB% would've ranked 56th (which is right around average), per FanGraphs.

His ability to miss bats appears to be sustainable, not only because of the above statistics, but also with the fact that he has a fastball that sits in the mid- to upper-90s to go with a curveball that averaged 79.3 miles per hour (MPH) during his cup of coffee in the big leagues.

Why it Might Not Happen

What could stop him from breaking out in 2017 with the Pittsburgh Pirates? It could be his control, which ESPN's Keith Law alluded to in his annual top prospect rankings. After seemingly getting his BB/9 under control in Double-A (2.71 in 63 innings), it shot right back up upon getting promoted to Triple-A (5.0 in 151 2/3 innings).

That trend continued in the big leagues, with a 5.01 BB/9 in limited work.

As Law mentions in his evaluation, Glasnow is just 23 years old and is still learning how to make his delivery repeatable, which can be difficult for a pitcher of his size (6'8" and 220 pounds). After all, Randy Johnson -- another tall pitcher -- posted a BB/9 of 5.7 over his first 818 big-league innings, and he turned out just fine.

Roster Resource is projecting him to start the year in Triple-A, but he'll surely get a chance in the bigs if he can show improved control and/or there are any injuries in the Pittsburgh Pirates' rotation.