15 MLB Prospects Primed for Stardom in 2014
15 MLB Prospects Primed for Stardom in 2014
One of the best things about a new Major League Baseball season is finding out which of the numerous MLB prospects coming of age will hit the majors with thunderous impact. Last season we know well the effect that a prospect who is ready for stardom can have on a team. Yasiel Puig showed that he was not only ready but could be a spark for a whole team.
We all know as well the way it worked out for the National League Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez. He took the league by storm and had a blast doing it. Unless the sophomore jinx hits he should compete for the Cy-Young award this upcoming season. Many teams have the luxury of looking forward to a top prospect hitting the ground running. Sometimes it doesn’t have to even be a top prospect.
Fernandez wasn’t even far along in his minor league career before his big impact and someone like Evan Gattis had a huge impact that surprised many in the organization. The point is that there is no magic formula for knowing what player will have a huge impact and which one will not. Basically they just have to get their shot and see what happens.
Still we can predict what the outcome of a MLB promotion will be based upon the time spent in the minor leagues. That is what we are doing here. Of those players expected to get a chance at the majors during the 2014 season, the following 15 have a good chance to have the kind of impact that the young guys had last season. Whether they will or will not is something we all have to wait and see on. Feel free to leave a comment below disagreeing with the guys you see or adding one of your own.
15 – Jake Odorizzi – Tampa Bay Rays
There are plenty of rumors that David Price will be traded by the Rays sometime during the late winter or early spring, as in spring training. If he is there are just as many rumors that the Rays could give a fighting chance to one or two starters from the minor league system and Odorizzi is one of them. He could, whether given the chance early or late, have a surprising impact on the Rays’ season.
14 – Travis d’Arnaud – New York Mets
There isn’t a question as to whether or not d’Arnaud will start for the Mets in 2014. Baring some unforeseen problem he will be behind the plate for them on Opening Day. He has all of the tools to be the best catcher the Mets have seen since Mike Piazza if he can stay healthy.
13 – Nick Castellanos – Detroit Tigers
The Tigers are not just going to hand Castellanos the vacated third base job when he walks into camp. He is going to have to earn it. Being honest though, no one really expects he will have a problem doing that. When he hits the field it is possible he could make up a chunk of the power lost by the now gone Prince Fielder.
12 – Jameson Taillon – Pittsburgh Pirates
Taillon has every bit as much promise from the mound as his former minor league cohort Gerrit Cole has. We all know how well things turned out for Cole and there is little reason to be surprised when Taillon does the same thing. He should get a chance at some point this season and look for a nice impact when he does.
11 – Oscar Taveras – St. Louis Cardinals
Some may wonder what the Cardinals were thinking when they let Carlos Beltran go in free agency. They did trade for another outfielder but there is little doubt they had this young man penciled in somewhere in their mind for the 2014 outfield. Whether it will be early or mid-season you are likely to see Taveras in an outfield role and he could be as good as anyone was last season.
10 – Taijuan Walker – Seattle Mariners
While a lot of people will have eyes fixed on new second baseman, Robinson Cano, I can’t wait to see how well Walker fits in with the other two top members of this starting staff. If he can pull his weight as well as it looks like he might in his rookie season, the Mariners could be looking at a pretty good season ahead.
9 – Xander Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox
If the postseason performance we all saw is any indication, Bogaerts could be special to watch for the Red Sox this upcoming season. He probably has as much experience as any rookie going into the season so don’t be shocked if he leads the other rookies for the American League in 2014.
8 – Jackie Bradley – Boston Red Sox
It might not have been a popular thing when Jacoby Ellsbury left Boston but the Red Sox fully expect Bradley to be as good or even better. His outfield defensive play could already be better than Ellsbury when he gets his first start. The offensive side of things might take some time but come the end of the season few will probably wish for Ellsbury as hard as that is to believe.
7 – Kyle Zimmer – Kansas City Royals
There are pitching holes for the Royals and most everyone knows that. It is possible that they will start the season with anywhere from zero to two prospects with a shot at a starting job. Regardless of how it starts, expect Zimmer to get a very real chance as soon as a spot can be carved out for him. When he does the Royals expect him to be very good.
6 – Archie Bradley – Arizona Diamondbacks
The DBacks might or might not consider Bradley a possible filler for a spot in the starting rotation but he certainly does. Bradley thinks he has a good chance to fight for a spot and why wouldn’t he? He is the top overall DBacks prospect and very well could be a reason for the DBacks to think twice about bringing in too many free agent or traded for pitchers.
5 – Enny Romero – Tampa Bay Rays
Going back a few slides we already talked about the Rays possibly having a couple of rookie starters arrive on the scene if David Price hits the trade market. Romero is another very strong possibility for that spot as well. It is likely that both Rays on this list could hit the big time this year and be primed for stardom.
4 – George Springer – Houston Astros
Springer is either ready for the big leagues now or no one in the minor leagues is. He destroyed the minors last season and looks to get a very immediate chance to earn a starting gig with the Astros. The idea that he could be the Astros best power threat during his rookie season is a very real possibility.
3 – Billy Hamilton – Cincinnati Reds
Hamilton showed at the tail end of 2013 what he was made of. The only question will be how the pitchers adjust to trying to keep him off of the bases. There should be zero doubt that he is a game changer when he is standing on first base. He could squash the rest of the league in steals in his rookie campaign.
2 – Gregory Polanco – Pittsburgh Pirates
There was little chance the Pirates were going after Marlon Byrd at the end of the 2013 season and Polanco is likely a big reason why. Expect to see him filling an outfield spot for the Pirates possibly as early as opening day. He has the tools to be every bit as good as Andrew McCutchen and we all know how he has turned out.
1 – Trevor Bauer – Cleveland Indians
Terry Francona hasn’t doubted Bauer’s ability for a split second even though his spot-starts last season were rocky at times. No one really could have expected them to go that well, the Indians just wanted to know where Bauer was. As the season ended and the next one starts, we can all assume Bauer will fill a starting rotation slot for the Indians. Once he gets the feel for his rookie season there should be no doubting his ability.