2019 NL East
Rhys Hoskins is on the verge of stardom. Who else has a chance to breakout in the NL East in 2019? (Yong Kim/Philadelphia Inquirer)

Baseball is the one true sport that is always unpredictable. You can hit a line shot that results in an out and a bloop off the end of the bat that results in a hit. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Baseball is also a sport where prospects flop and pop from season to season. Prospect rankings are never reliable.

Before the start of the 2019 MLB Season, we’re going to go division by division to project which players have the best chance to break through and reach stardom. Starting with the AL East; who are the top breakout candidates to watch in 2019?

Rhys Hoskins – First Base (Phillies)

Rhys Hoskins is already the Phillies best hitter and he’s just getting into his prime now. I think defensive struggles in the outfield had to mess with his head at times this year. Now he’s getting moved back to the place he belong at first. Hoskins came up as a rookie and smacked 18 homers in 50 at bats. Then in year two, Hoskins hit 34 during the entire 2018 season. Year 3, Hoskins will put it all together and become a regular All-Star. Anything short of 40 bombs and a respectable average to go with it will feel disappointing.

Enyel De Los Santos – Starting Pitcher (Phillies)

I spent the year inside the AAA Phillies clubhouse in 2018 and Enyel De Los Santos basically never lost. In 22 starts, De Los Santos went 10-5 with a 2.63 ERA but somehow felt more dominant than that. De Los Santos doesn’t throw overpowering heat but his control and secondary pitches are lights out. That will work in the bigs. The Phillies stole him for a washed up Freddy Galvis. The Phillies need starters and this is just one that could eat quality innings.

2019 NL East
Touki Toussaint is nasty. We may just get to see how nasty in 2019 (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Touki Toussaint – Starting Pitcher (Braves)

Again, I’ll say that I feel like I know this division pretty well after spending the past year watching way too many AAA games. One word describes Touki Toussaint. That word is disgusting in a good way. Toussaint has an electric fastball that nears 100 MPH and his curveball makes me almost faint. It’s arguably the best overall pitch I saw watching in the minors. It’s virtually impossible to hit. You just have to hope its a ball and guess correctly.

The Braves haven’t decided who will get all the starts this year. Toussaint seems to be one option. If he gets the nod, look for him to make an impact right away.

Sandy Alcantara – Starting Pitcher (Marlins)

The Marlins have traded away virtually all of their team and missed on most of the prospects they acquired. Sandy Alcantara looks like a hit. Alcantara was acquired in the Marcel Ozuna trade from the Cardinals. In 34 innings with the Marlins, Alcantara posted an ERA of 3.44 which is respectable as a young player trying to make the roster. This year, Sandy will likely get a chance to start. I’ll be shocked if he isn’t the Marlins top arm by the end of the season.

Zack Wheeler – Starting Pitcher (Mets)

Wheeler, 28, is a bit old to be considered for this list but I think he fits the description. Wheeler has been a guy that is either hurt or inconsistent. However, in 2018, Wheeler really put it all together. During the second half of the year, Wheeler made 11 starts and allowed an ERA of 1.68 and batting average of .179. That’s elite level stuff.

Imagine if the Mets staff can finally click at the same time? If Wheeler continues that 2nd half performance, the Mets can absolutely win the East. What’s funny is Steven Matz could end up being the breakout guy but he has similar issues as Wheeler. Always hurt and inconsistent.

Michael Conforto – Left Fielder (Mets)

2019 is make or break for Michael Conforto. Is he just good or can we expect him to become an All-Star? Either or seems likely. Conforto gets on base a ton and has hit 55 homers the past two years. I don’t know exactly where Conforto goes but he looks like the Mets best hitter. I almost went with Jeff McNeil instead. The guy just hits everything.

Victor Robles – Centerfielder (Nationals)

The Nationals are a better team without Bryce Harper. One reason why that’s probably the case is because Victor Robles will pull his best Juan Soto impression and succeed from the jump. After a late season call up, Robles hit .288/.348/.525. Imagine if Harper could do that? The Nats are loaded. The Robles – Soto combo has the potential to become the best young outfield duo in the big leagues. If you’re counting the Nats out this year, you’re making a huge mistake.