The 2014 MLB season might be one of the best in recent history when it comes to explosive and exciting rookies. Power, speed, and blazing fastballs are just a few of the things that make these rookies worth watching.
Cuban defective Jose Abreu might be this year’s Yasiel Puig, only less controversial. The first baseman for the Chicago White Sox signed a 6-year $68 million deal with the team in October of 2013 and instantly before the season even started improved the team’s offense. Abreu has a unique set of skills that you don’t always find. Triple Crown potential, Abreu is someone to keep a close eye on as his home run totals grow and his batting average rises.
Centerfielder Billy Hamilton might be as one-dimensional of a player as there is. He doesn’t really need a bad or a glove to be on a major league roster. All Hamilton needs are his legs. In 2012 at the Single A and Double A levels Hamilton stole an amazing 155 bases in 132 games. So far with the Cincinnati Reds he has struggled to get on base enough to steal quite this many. Once his bat improves he should start swiping a lot more bases. Worst case scenario, he bats .230 and only steals 50 bases. Old school baseball is back and its name is Billy Hamilton.
Will George Springer be the savior of the hapless Houston Astros? Don’t bet on it. Still, this young man is someone to watch. In 2013 at the Double A and Triple A levels he hit .303 with 37 home runs and 108 RBIs. These are typical numbers you might expect from your average superstar slugger, only Springer also had 45 stolen bases while only being caught 8 times. After 13 games in Triple A in 2014 he got the call to the Astros. It might be a slow start for Springer and cutting down on the strikeouts will definitely be a main focus. Watching him grow in 2014 will be a joy for baseball fans because one day he will be as good as anyone in the league.
The New York Yankees won the sweepstakes for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. In only January of 2014 Tanaka joined the Yankees on a 6-year $155 million contract. So far every penny seems to be worth it as Tanaka has been great. This huge contract for Tanaka comes off a 2013 season in Japan where he went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA. Tanaka will pile up strikeouts and make batters look foolish for many years to come. As if we needed another reason to hate the Yankees, we will find ourselves eagerly watching this guy succeed and kind of wanting him to.
Only 22-years-old and already Yordano Ventura has future Hall of Famers quivering with the bat in their hands. Ventura’s biggest weapon is a fastball that reaches 100 miles per hour. His success will depend a lot on whether or not he can control this speedy weapon or if he becomes a “wild thing.” The future for Ventura is still uncertain as his time with the big league Kansas City Royals is still in its infancy. Should he fail as a starter he could always become the next Aroldis Chapman which just means we get to see him more frequently in smaller doses.