This article is part of our The Long Game series.
We're now past the halfway point in this tour through big-league breakout candidates, and for whatever reason, I found this week's installment to be the most difficult so far, simply due to the fact that most of the clubs are pretty set, or pretty barren in terms of talent on the cusp. It also might have something to do with the fact that the division saw more than its fair share of big breakouts last season, as guys like Bryan Reynolds and Brandon Woodruff made the difference in plenty of 2019 fantasy races.
Now, let's take a look at the NL Central:
Shallow: Nico Hoerner
Had the season started on time as per usual, Hoerner might have begun the season back at Triple-A, a circumstance that kept his cost in check in February and March despite his strong debut in 2019. Now, with a compacted schedule and expanded rosters on the table, he could wind up as the Cubs' starting second baseman for the entire season more or less. The 22-year-old's hit tool is is best selling point right now – in fact, it might be too good, as his reliance on his contact ability led him to offer at too many pitches out of the zone in the majors – but if he can tighten his plate discipline and add a bit more loft to his swing,