It’s been almost a month since my last post. So many things have happened in the world of sports since then: the Stanley Cup is in Hollywood, the Euro Cup (and the constant honking down Commercial Drive) is in full force, my fellow filipinos continue to weep in the streets over the worst boxing decision of all time, the “anyone but Lebron” cries are heard all over the NBA finals and Roberto Luongo is still a Canuck. I have no excuses really so I won’t waste anyone’s time with loads of B.S. Today I want to talk about something that has really excited me the last few months and that’s all the young stars in baseball. Can anyone think of another time in baseball where there have been so many young studs in the league at the same time? I am going to go through my top 7 current youngn’s under the age of 24.
1) Bryce Harper – 19 years old, Outfielder, Washington Nationals
I really didn’t want to like this kid. All I heard and saw were stories of his cockiness and lack of respect for the game and other players. This video sums up why I thought he was a douche.
Douche-e-ness aside, this guy is an amazing talent. He has raw power, a cannon for an arm, speed and a tough as nails kind of attitude every manager loves to see in a ballplayer. On the field he plays the game the right way: hustles every play and gives it his all. He has been saying all the right things in interviews even in times when he could have easily gone wild such as when Cole Hamels purposely beaned him because he didn’t like the kid.
I’m still waiting for the kid to slow down and show his age a bit, but he doesn’t look like he is going to anytime soon.
2) Stephen Strasburg, 23 years old, Pitcher, Washington Nationals
Another National and another 1st overall pick. The Nationals have been lucky that their two 1st overall picks are looking like 1st overall picks. There have been many times that hasn’t been the case (see Luck Hochevar in KC). Strasburg is a scary talent. He has a fastball that can touch triple digits and a change-up in the 90′s! His breaking stuff is just as nasty. He leads the league in strikeouts this year with 100 in just 77 innings. His control has also been masterful with just 20 walks. He looks like the 2nd coming of Nolan Ryan, no hit stuff in every start. The only thing to worry about is health with this kid. He is already coming off major surgery that forced him to miss most of last year. If he can stay healthy he may become one of the best pitchers that ever played the game.
3) Mike Trout, 20 years old, Outfielder, Los Angeles Angels
I have a personal man crush on this guy because he is currently carrying my fantasy team. This kid is an all around beast. He can hit for power and average, he has high end speed and has gold glove worthy skills in the outfield. He is also a throwback type of player in which you get pure hustle and tenacity with every play. In just 41 games he already has 57 hits and 15 stolen bases. He is hitting at a .345 clip and getting on base just over 40% of the time. His energy on the field has seemed to kickstart the Angels into overdrive. Before his call-up the Angels were struggling and were looking like the biggest busts of the season. Now the Angels are within striking distance of their rivals the Rangers and many thanks should go to Trout for turning the ship around.
4) Giancarlo Stanton, 22 years old, Outfielder, Miami Marlins
If I was going to buy a ticket to watch one player take batting practice it would be Stanton. This guy hits moonshots.
He has 50 home runs written all over him. He can hit 40 in his sleep with the power he possesses. Arguably he has the most power in the league and he’s only 22…scary to think of what he can do as he gets more years under his belt.
5) Brett Lawrie, 22 years old, Third Base, Toronto Blue Jays
Very similar to Mike Trout in terms of hustle and heart and power, but maybe a little less speed. Lawrie has all the tools to be a superstar, but needs to work on his temper around the umps if he wants to get some borderline calls to go his way once and awhile.
He hasn’t been driving the ball as much as he was during his sensational call up last season as his .380 slugging percentage clearly shows. I’m thinking he’s close to busting out in a big way in the next few months…time for me to pitch a deal for him in my fantasy league.
6) Chris Sale, 23 years old, Pitcher, Chicago White Sox
There seems to be an abundance of fire balling young left handed pitchers these days: David Price, Clayton Kershaw, Aroldis Chapman to name a few. Sale is yet another one of these intimidating lefties. This is the 6’6″ 180 pounder’s first year in the starting rotation and he is dominating so far with an 8-2 record, a ridiculous WHIP of 0.92 and an absurd opponents batting average of just .188. He is also the #1 rated pitcher in fantasy baseball. An All-Star nod is likely and if he continues to dominate maybe even a Cy Young.
7) Starlin Castro, 22 years old, Shortstop, Chicago Cubs
Castro is the brightest light for the Cubs and their rebuild back into a contending ball club. He is an all round talent as he excels with the bat, glove and his legs. His plate discipline is Vladdy Guerrero like in which if it’s close he’s going to have a rip at it. He will likely be a perennial .300 hitter with close to 200 hits, 15-20 jacks and 20-25 SB’s…those numbers are elite SS numbers.
Those are my top 7, if I missed any that you have secret man crushes on let me know.