More and more we are seeing Major League Baseball teams going for the
youth movement. One reason for this is that team executives know that
they will not have to shell out large sums of money to players until
they become free agents once they have passed through arbitration. Every
MLB general manager is looking for the next phenom to become the face
of their franchise, but right now five players stand alone as the future
Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is in his rookie
campaign and he is showing the nation the he isn’t just “the flavor of
the month”. In May 2009, Harper was featured in Sports Illustrated for
his prowess to hit 500 foot home runs while he was still in high school.
Now the number one overall pick in The 2010 MLB Draft is making a name
for himself in D.C. Harper already has 8 home runs including a mammoth
438-foot blast at The Rogers Centre in Toronto against The Blue Jays.
Harper might be the best five-tool player to come along since Ken
Griffey Jr. Harper also has a little Pete Rose in him as he has the
potential to be the new “Charlie Hustle”. Harper has 14 doubles, 4
triples, and 8 stolen bases. Harper missed out on The National League’s
final spot for The All-Star Game and Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder
Matt Kemp chose not to put him on The NL’s Home Run Derby team, but it
won’t be long before Harper is the talk off The Midsummer Classic. At
19-years of age, the sky is the limit for Harper.
becoming the face of the franchise in The Steel City, but he is also
becoming one of the better players in baseball. In spring training,
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington signed McCutchen to a six-year,
$51.5 million extension which might be a bargain for the club down the
road. Hands down McCutchen is the best five-tool player that The Pirates
have had since Barry Bonds. Entering play today, McCutchen’s .356
batting average is leading The National League and he also leads The
Pirates in every major offensive category. McCutchen covers ground very
well in the outfield and now there is no such thing for Pirate opponents
to hit the ball in the gap because they turn into lazy pop flies with
McCutchen on defense.
Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton may have changed his
first name from Mike, but he has not changed his approach at the plate.
Stanton’s 34 home runs in 2011 tied him with Miguel Cabrera for the
second best single-season homer clip in Marlins history. With 75 long
balls for his career, Stanton is creeping up the ranks and by the end of
this season he should be in the top ten of home runs hit in Marlins
history. Stanton’s most memorable home run came earlier this season. On
May 21, Stanton hit a grand slam off of Colorado Rockies pitcher Jamie
Moyer that knocked out part of the scoreboard in left field. Stanton
will be in this year’s Home Run Derby at The All-Star Game and the fans
in Kansas City should be ready to catch a ton of balls off of the bat of
While attending San Diego State University, Nationals pitcher
Stephen Strasburg regularly hit 100 miles per hour on the radar gun
while pitching. Under the tutelage of his college manager and MLB Hall
of Famer Tony Gwynn, Strasburg was the first overall selection in The
2009 MLB Draft by The Nats. It didn’t take Strasburg that long to make
his presence known. On June 8, 2010, Strasburg made his debut against
The Pirates by striking out 14 batters while immediately igniting some
much needed fire to The Nationals fan base. That August, Strasburg would
be put on the shelf after it became known that he would require Tommy
Strasburg made his return late in the 2011 season. Strasburg started
five games and compiled a 1-1 record with an earned run average of 1.50
as he struck out 24 batters.
This season The Nationals have been
in first place for the majority of the year with Strasburg having a big
part in it. His 122 strikeouts are second in The NL and his 2.81 ERA is
11th. Strasburg’s season highlight so far came on June 8 when he faced
The Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park and struck out 13. The history of
Fenway can sometimes be overwhelming to young players, but Strasburg
faced it head on. He has won 9 games so far this season and he was
rewarded by earning his first All-Star Game appearance. Former St. Louis
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is managing The National League team at
The Midsummer Classic and Strasburg could get the ball to start the
game against The American League’s fiercest hitters.
The Los Angeles Angels signed free-agent first baseman Albert Pujols
from The Cardinals in the offseason and expected him to be an immediate
impact player. Pujols struggled coming out of the starting blocks, but
rookie Mike Trout has picked up the slack. Trout was a first round pick
of The Angels in 2009 and the 20-year old is making a name for himself
in Tinseltown. Aside from leading all rookies with a .348 batting
average, Trout is leading The AL in that category as well. Trout also
leads The American League with 26 stolen bases and his .403 on-base
percentage is good for fourth. This isn’t bad for a player that began
the season in Triple-A with The Salt Lake Bees.
Trout’s defense isn’t too shabby as well. Last month, The Angels were
visiting The Baltimore Orioles when Trout robbed Orioles shortstop J.J.
Hardy of a home run in right-center field. Trout was fully extended and
his body was halfway above the outfield wall. Since then the catch has
become a regular clip on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight. The New York Yankees
were hoping that Trout fell to them in the draft, but The Angels swooped
him up four slots before The Yanks. Imagine if this native of New
Jersey had gone to The Bronx as he has playing characteristics to
possibly put him one day in the same breath as Mickey Mantle.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig need not worry, because with young stars such
as these the game of baseball will be in good hands for a long time.