Baseball Stars (age 25 and under)

miket

Mike Trout

2017’s baseball season will be played without David Ortiz (who knew when and how to leave the sport: with his star still shining bright), and David Ross (ditto; a home run in his last bat while winning a World Series).

Soon, Albert Pujols will join them. He still hits home runs, but he is 37 and is recovering from his latest surgery. Ichiro Suzuki hit .291 last year with more playing time, but he, too, is close to the finish line at age 43. This year could be the final days for Adrian Beltre when he reaches 3,000 hits and awaits a call from Cooperstown. And does Bartolo Colon have another dozen wins to entertain us. Or, maybe, he’ll leave us with another home run –his second in 20 years.

Where will the future Stars come from? They are already here. This is a starting lineup of players 25 years old or younger, and the bench strength behind them. They will continue to fill positions with stars and stadium seats with butts.

 

mfulmerP = Michael Fulmer: AL Rookie of Year. Established himself on a staff with Verlander. Good ERA (3.06) and WHIP (1.119). Room to grow and not always facing the other team’s Ace.

C = Gary Sanchez: 2nd in ROY voting. 20 homers and 42 RBI in a third of a year (53G). He won’t triple those numbers in a full year, but he will have a good OBP, too. He’s not Yogi, but a great start.

1 = Greg Bird: Good start in 2015 (11 homers and 31 RBIs in third of a year). Injured in 2016. Good size (6’4’’, 220) for position and power hitting.

2 = Rougned Odor: Improved BA over 3 years; significant rise in power (30 to 70 EBH). Long career possible. Ask Jose Bautista if he’s tough (Jose caught Odor’s fist with his face).

3 = Kris Bryant: Improved everything (home runs, RBI, RS, BA, OBP, Slg) –after ROY season. Improves every year: college, ROY, now MVP. Sky’s the limit.

SS = Corey Seager: ROY and 3rd in MVP. Best of a half dozen SSs in MLB. .308 BA and 71 EBHs. Another BIG SS (6’4”, 215).

OF = Mike Trout: The best player in baseball, period. 5 full years in MLB: MVP twice; 2nd three times. Hits for average and power; drives in and scores runs; steals bases. BA over .300; OBP over .400; Slg over .500. Signs autographs. Roy Hobbs, Jr.

mbetts

OF = Mookie Betts: 2nd in MVP to Trout. Hits .300, 78 EBH, steals bases, 100+ RS and RBI, and Gold Glover. 3 more years like first 2 and he + Trout will share MVPs for a decade, plus. Your grandchildren will ask: “What were they like?”

OF = Bryce Harper: 2015 MVP: hit .330, led NL with 42 homers (81 EBH), and OBP. Dropped in everything in 2016. Said he was not injured. Expect a big rebound or an explanation why not.

noahsBench = Pitchers: Aaron Sanchez: Arrived in 2016; 15 – 2 record, ERA: 3.00 (led AL), WHIP 1.167)….Noah Syndergaard (pictured): Almost a big star, even outside NYC; 14 – 9, in 30 starts; 2.60 ERA; 218 Ks in 183 IP; K/BB = 5.07; if he goes up a notch or two, no team could afford his contract….Carlos Martinez: a solid pitcher coming into his own; 16 game winner, 3.04 ERA)….Roberto Osuna: a young closer, helping Haap and A. Sanchez go 35 – 6; 2.68 ERA; 36 SV; WHIP 0.932; 10 K per 9 IP.

Position Players: Willson Contreras (C) played half-time and showed promise: decent BA and power; the more he plays, the better he’ll get; right?….Javier Baez (2B) another Cub youngster playing part-time; 421 AB, 14 HRs, .273 BA; fine fielder; the more he plays, the better he’ll get, right?….Manny Machado (3B) good and getting better; decent BA (.294), good power (37 HRs, 78 EBH); 3 times in top 10 in MVP voting.

lindorShortstop: there are 5 more good ones plus C. Seager….here they are alphabetically: Xander Bogaerts: another hitter for the Red Sox, a la Nomar? Hit .294 with 21 HRs, over 200 runs scored or driven in….Carlos Correa: ROY in 2015; another young one to watch; 20 HRs and 96 RBI…. Francisco Lindor (pictured): at age 22, an All-Star, Gold Glover, 9th in MVP voting; hit .301; electric….Addison Russell: more youth; 21 HRs and 95 RBIs; needs to up his BA, but soon he and Baez will be a fixture at 2B and SS….Trea Turner: played CF in 2016 to get him into the lineup; now he goes to SS, a more natural position; in half of 2016, he HIT: .342 BA, 13 HRs, stole 33 bases; another one to watch.

kylesOutfielders: Gregory Polanco: 6’5”, 230 lbs, a big arm in RF in Pittsburgh (Roberto 2.0?); some power: 22 HRs and 86 RBI; I think he’ll get a lot better….Kyle Schwarber (pictured): forget his half year in 2015 (except his 16 HRs) and 2 games in 2016; by the World Series, he was OK to bat; he hit .412 in 17 ABs; in the post-seasons of 2015-16, he HIT: .364/.451/.727 with 5 HRs in 44 ABs; Wow….Christian Yelich: 2016 was the best of his 4 seasons; .298 BA, 21 HRs, 62 EBH, 98 RBIs.

 

A reason why the Cubs won the World Series last year? Of the 24 players on this list of 25 years old and younger stars, 5 of them are Cubs.

Baseball’s torch is not held by Big Papi anymore. But it is in, and will remain in, good hands. Whose? Mike Trout or Kris Bryant? Or someone who has not yet peaked? (Why am I thinking of Mookie Betts?)

 

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About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures above...it's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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