Likely no important single season records will be broken and no major milestones will be reached in the 2014 Major League Baseball season. Other than individual achievements, there appears to be nothing incredibly noteworthy about to happen. However the way things are going this still has the chance to be one of the best in years for some new reasons.
The American League Rookie Class
Even Nostradamus would have trouble predicting who will win the 2014 American League Rookie of the Year Award. Candidates include Jose Abreu, Masahiro Tanaka, George Springer, Yangervis Solarte, Xander Bogaerts, and a few others who have a chance at surpassing these men currently at the top.
These five men are all exciting and have already made a major impact on their respective teams. And although the National League has far fewer talented rookies, there’s still Billy Hamilton’s blazing speed and Oscar Taveras’s outstanding potential to keep your attention.
New Teams at the Top
For the longest time it felt like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox were the only teams capable of winning a championship with a few others sneaking in. Still talented teams in their own right, others have emerged.
The Toronto Blue Jays have one of the best offenses in the league with a pitching staff capable of shutting anyone down. Meanwhile in the west the Oakland Athletics are winning despite having no household names on the roster. Finally in the National League we have the surprise Milwaukee Brewers. Nobody could have guessed they would be contending, but thanks to contributions from just about every player they find themselves with playoff aspirations.
Veteran Pitchers Still Got It
Young players like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout can get fans excited for the game. At the same time veterans can also become something to watch. Two veteran pitchers who have made 2014 a great season are Tim Hudson of the San Francisco Giants and Mark Buehrle of the Toronto Blue Jays.
In his first season pitching for the Giants after spending several seasons with the Atlanta Braves, Hudson has found comfort once again in the Bay Area. He has been nearly untouchable and is a big reason why the Giants are competing even with their top homegrown pitchers struggling. Buehrle has been a machine when it comes to winning games. The veteran lefty became the first to win 10 games in 2014 and with the way things are going could easily double it.
The name Charlie Blackmon may not sound familiar and that’s okay. Prior to 2014 Blackmon was a part-time player never reaching 250 at-bats in a season. A hot start in 2014 has gotten him into the lineup more often and baseball fans all across the country are noticing with massive amounts of votes in the All-Star game balloting going his way.
Power, speed, and a high batting average are all elements of Blackmon’s game. He has cooled off from his incredibly start, although he still maintains a semi-warm bat. Fans everywhere are hoping he gets back to slugging the ball.
The Houston Astros and Miami Marlins
Two of the worst teams in baseball (still) are actually worth watching in 2014. The Houston Astros may not improve much record-wise, but rookies George Springer and Jonathan Singleton are with the big league club headed toward the beginning of successful careers. Jose Altuve has also been playing great, with a high possibility of leading the league in hits.
Down in Miami the Marlins are actually winning games despite a season-ending injury to Jose Fernandez. What makes them still a team to watch are the rest of the young pitching staff, most notably Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez, and the outfield. Christian Yellich and Marcell Ozuna have joined Giancarlo Stanton in establishing one of the best young outfields in baseball.