Top 10 early season breakout candidates in MLB in 2022

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It’s still early in the season but we’re already starting to see the MLB breakout players for 2022.

Heading into the season, there are always plenty of MLB breakout candidates who are either top prospects or flashed their potential late last season. Others may have started to make a name for themselves during spring training. But you never know what’s going to happen until the season starts and the games start to count.

MLB breakout players 2022

Obviously, we’ll have to wait until the season is over to be sure about the MLB breakout players in 2022. But there are definitely some MLB breakout rookies who have made a good first impression during the early part of the season. While we reserve the right to change our minds, let’s take a look at some of the top young players in baseball who look poised for a breakout season. 

10. Tarik Skubal, Tigers

The Tigers started to see what Tarik Skubal could do toward the end of the 2021 season, but he’s been a little more consistent thus far in 2022. The 25-year-old southpaw has pitched in the majors over the last two years and is finally starting to figure things out.

He’s not necessarily dominating opposing lineups, although he’s putting the Tigers in a position to win games and is starting to solidify himself as a solid mid-rotation starter.

9. Nate Lowe, Rangers

This is Nate Lowe’s fourth season in the big leagues, so he’s no stranger to facing top-level pitching. But the 26-year-old seems ready to handle that pitching and put together a big year. The 26-year-old hasn’t shown a ton of power this year, but that hasn’t stopped him from batting over .340 during the first month of the season, helping Lowe produce an OPS over .800 despite just one home run.

Obviously, the Rangers need their first baseman to provide some power, which should come in due time. However, Lowe is finally hitting his stride by hitting for a high average, setting up a breakout season.

8. Andres Gimenez, Guardians

Cleveland acquired Andrew Gimenez from the Mets in the trade involving Francisco Lindor, so they have high hopes for him and believe that he can be a big part of their future. Gimenez probably wasn’t ready to live up to those expectations last year, although the 23-year-old looks to be much more prepared to have a breakout season in 2022.


While he’s not a huge power hitter at this stage, Gimenez is hitting over .300 with an OPS over .800 during the early part of the season. On top of that, he’s a smooth infielder and a good base-runner who always seems to make winning plays, which is why 2022 could be a big year for Gimenez.

7. Andrew Vaughn, White Sox

Andrew Vaughn showed off some of his power last season with 15 home runs in 127 games for the White Sox. However, he’s looked like a more complete hitter so far in 2022, potentially making him one of MLB’s breakout players in 2022. His average is up considerably from last season, as Vaughn is hitting around .300 and has an OPS over .900.

If he keeps up his current pace, Vaughn is poised to hit 30-plus home runs this season. Given the injuries the White Sox have suffered early in the season, Vaughn is starting to become an important part of the Chicago lineup and has proven himself capable of stepping up when his team needs him.

6. Shane Baz, Rays

Still just 22 years old, Shane Baz has lived up to the hype in his first three big-league starts as Tampa’s next great pitcher. He was dominant in his 10 triple-A starts last season and has done the same in the majors.

Over his first three starts, Baz owns a 2.03 ERA and a 0.68 WHIP. He’s also struck out 18 batters in 13.1 innings. Granted, it’s a small sample size, but for a pitcher with such high expectations early in his career, Baz is living up to them so far.

5. Tommy Edman, Cardinals

Tommy Edman finally got a chance to be an everyday player last season but struggled to produce consistently. However, that’s not been the case for the 26-year-old early this year, as he’s becoming one of MLB’s breakout players in 2022.

Through the first month of the season, Edman is batting well over .300 with an OPS over .900. His power numbers have been surprisingly good, especially since he’s also hitting for a high average, becoming an important table-setter for the St. Louis lineup. If he can keep it going, Edman will leave no doubt that he’s the second baseman of the future in St. Louis and a budding star for the Cardinals.

4. Nestor Cortes, Yankees

The Yankees look like they have a keeper in Nestor Cortes. He’s bounced around for a few years and showed some flashes last season. However, he’s looked like a bonafide ace over his first three starts of 2022.

Not only did he strike out 25 batters in his first 15.2 innings of 2022 but he also posted a 1.15 ERA, allowing just two runs on seven hits. While it’s taken him a while to find himself, keep in mind that Cortes was once the ninth overall pick in the draft, so it’s not a total shock that he’s becoming one of MLB’s breakout pitchers this year.

3. Jazz Chisholm, Marlins

Jazz Chisholm has been a big part of the Marlins over the last two years and flashed his potential. However, he’s gotten off to a sensational start in 2022 and looks to be living up to his full potential. Keep in mind that the Bahamas native is only 24, so it wasn’t a surprise to see him a little over his head the past two years.

But he’s started to figure things out, batting over .300 with an OPS over 1.000 during the first month of the season. Chisholm is also a fine defensive second baseman and a great athlete who can wreak havoc on the base paths. If he can maintain the level of play he reached in April, Chisholm will surely be one of the MLB breakout players in 2022.

2. Alek Manoah, Blue Jays

One could argue that Alek Manoah was one of MLB’s breakout pitchers in 2021, but he’s been even better in 2022. At 6’6’’ and 285 pounds, Manoah is a behemoth on the mound and an intimidating figure for hitters.

He’s also done a great job of taking advantage of his physical tools. Over his first four starts of 2022, Manoah is 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA. He’s averaging a strikeout per inning and has a WHIP under 1. He’s won 13 of his first 24 starts in the big leagues, and with less than a year of experience in the majors under his belt, already looks like an ace.

1. Wander Franco, Rays

Wander Franco made a good first impression when the Rays called him up for the first time last year and he has continued to be one of MLB’s breakout players in 2022 during his first full season in the majors.

At just 21 years old, the switch-hitting shortstop is batting over .300 with an OPS over .900. Not only is Franco hitting for average and fielding his position well but the youngster is also on pace to hit over 30 home runs this season. The kicker is that he’s still young enough to only be scratching the surface of how good he can be.

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About Bryan Zarpentine 237 Articles
Bryan Zarpentine is a freelance writer and editor with most of his work focusing on the world of sports. He is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and still resides in upstate New York.

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