2013 MLB Preview: Top 20 Rookie of the Year Candidates

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Top 20 Rookie of the Year Candidates for 2013

Gary A. Vasquez - USA TODAY Sports

In baseball, unlike other sports, it is hard to tell who will break camp with the team and who will eventually be eligible for the Rookie of Year award. It is a long season of 162 games, and players are called up and sent down multiple times per month.

Last season, Major League Baseball saw two top prospects breakout and turn heads.

In the National League, Washington Nationals’ outfield prospect Bryce Harper finally made his major league debut and took the world by storm. During his rookie campaign, Harper batted .270 with 22 home runs, 59 RBIs and 18 stolen bases over 139 games. The 20-year old helped the Nationals make the playoffs for the first time since moving to the nation’s capital in 2005, and won the Rookie of the Year award along the way.

In the American League, Los Angeles Angels outfield prospect Mike Trout was recalled for the second — and probably last — time. Trout had arguably the best rookie season in the MLB in a very long time. He batted .326 with 30 home runs, 83 RBIs, 129 runs and 49 stolen bases. He was named as an All-Star and rookie of the year, as well as talked about as AL MVP. He might have been crowned AL MVP if not for the outstanding triple-crown season for Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera.

Last season’s rookie of the year winners were both drafted in the 2009 June Amateur Draft. Harper was taken first overall, while Trout slipped to 25th overall. Only time will tell who turns out to be the better major leaguer, but both are destined to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Who will be this year’s rookie of the year?

Justin Soderberg is a Boston Red Sox writer for Follow him on Twitter, "Like" him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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Aaron Hicks, Minnesota Twins (OF)

Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

After the Minnesota Twins traded outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere this off-season, it gave Aaron Hicks the ability to fight for a starting job with the big club. The Twins prospect is doing well enough this spring to break camp with the team and could put up big numbers in 2013.

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Adam Eaton, Arizona Diamondbacks (OF)

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Adam Eaton is playing well enough during the spring to play in the majors, but he has a lot of competition in the Arizona Diamondbacks outfield. Eaton has the ability to steal bases as well as score runs, and could lead rookies in those categories if given enough reps in the majors during the 2013 season.

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Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays (RHP)

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The Tampa Bay Rays seem to have a never ending supply of talented pitchers in their farm system, and Chris Archer is next in line. Archer is capable to be the next Matt Moore or David Price for the Rays, but whether he will continue as a starter or be moved to the closer role is still up in the air. The Rays prospect can put up great numbers in 2013 if given the shot.

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Danny Hultzen, Seattle Mariners (LHP)

Rick Scuteri - USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Mariners just locked up their ace to a big contract, but there is a great No. 2 waiting for his shot. Danny Hultzen had a rough time in Triple-A, but as shown great promise in the spring and can contribute in 2013.

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Didi Gregorius, Arizona Diamondbacks (SS)

Jake Roth - USA TODAY Sports

One of the key parts to the Shin-Shoo Choo and Trevor Bauer deal was Didi Gregorius. The Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop will be a great addition to the infield in Arizona. He has the capability to put up big numbers this season.

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Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles (RHP)

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Dylan Bundy was called up to the Baltimore Orioles last season during the September roster expansion. In his two games with the big club, Bundy only allowed a single hit.

He has pitched very well over eight innings this spring and will make an impact this season for the Orioles. However, he was optioned to Double-A Bowie and will have to wait until he is recalled.

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Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP)

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The first overall pick in the 2011 June Amateur Draft, Gerrit Cole is just about ready to join the major leagues this season. If he gets his shot at the rotation for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cole will make a huge impact on the season.

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Jackie Bradley Jr., Boston Red Sox (OF)

Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

Jackie Bradley Jr. may have a shot to make the Boston Red Sox roster come opening day. If he gets enough playing time in the MLB this season, Bradley has the chance to put up big numbers at Fenway Park. Look for his name towards the top of the rookie of the year honors.

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Jedd Gyorko, San Diego Padres (2B)

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Although he hasn’t hit for average this spring, Jedd Gyorko has the ability to put up big numbers this season. It is well speculated that the infielder will break camp with the San Diego Padres, giving him the chance to get a head start on some other rookie of the year candidates.

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Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers (SS)

Jake Roth - USA TODAY Sports

If and when Jurickson Profar gets his shot with the Texas Rangers, Major League Baseball will be watching. He is the top prospect in the major leagues and will make an impact in 2013 once the Rangers make room.

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Mike Olt, Texas Rangers (IF/OF)

Jake Roth - USA TODAY Sports

Mike Olt’s offensive ability seems to make him a shoo-in for the rookie of the year award. However, his best shot in making the team this season is at first base, right field or designated hitter, all positions that are currently filled for the Texas Rangers.

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Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners (C)

Jake Roth - USA TODAY Sports

Drafted in 2012, Mike Zunino could spend very little time in the minor leagues. Although the Seattle Mariners have an abundance of players clogging his promotion, they will be hard-pressed not to bring him up to the majors this season. When he arrives, he will put on a show and be in top contention for rookie of the year.

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Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies (3B)

Rick Scuteri - USA TODAY Sports

An outstanding spring training has put Nolan Arenado in the running for possible rookie of the year honors. Only time will tell if his spring training stats transfer to the regular season. If he gets a shot with the Colorado Rockies, he may be in the top five offensive rookies of 2013.

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Oscar Taveras, St. Louis Cardinals (OF)

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With the uncertainty of the corner outfielders for the St. Louis Cardinals, Oscar Taveras could see more time in the majors this season. Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday have been known to be injury-prone and can open up a spot for the top prospect to make his name be known. Taveras could also replace Jon Jay if he fails to meet the standards of the Cardinals this season.

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Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians (RHP)

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Trevor Bauer was a top prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, but the team moved the pitcher to the Cleveland Indians this off-season. Now with the Indians, Bauer has something to prove and will be a top-flight starter if he gets his head in the game and gets the ability to play this season.

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Trevor Rosenthal, St. Louis Cardinals (RHP)

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Trevor Rosenthal let his name be known during last year’s postseason for the St. Louis Cardinals. If the relief pitcher can repeat his effectiveness in 2013, he has a great chance of being considered for rookie of the year. However, it will be unlikely the award goes to a relief pitcher.

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Tyler Skaggs, Arizona Diamondbacks (LHP)

Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Skaggs has had a good spring training and will fight for a spot in the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation. If he can succeed in his first year, he will go places in this league.

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Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays (OF)

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The key piece in this winter’s blockbuster trade involving James Shields and the Kansas City Royals was outfielder Wil Myers. Toted as one of the game's top prospects, Myers may or may not be up with the Tampa Bay Rays this season. If he is, however, the kid will rake.

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Zack Wheeler, New York Mets (RHP)

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Zack Wheeler, a bright spot in what is a down couple of years for the New York Mets. With the team in rebuilding mode, the Mets may give Wheeler a shot at the rotation during the season. When and if he is called up, the pitcher will show Mets fans they have something to cheer about.