When we think of our favorite sports, we always think of the big superstars. If you’re a football fan you think of Tom Brady, basketball fans think of Lebron James, etc. My favorite sport and thing in the world is baseball. There are so many superstars that impact their teams, but baseball is really the only sport where there are thousands of young men waiting to get the call to play in the MLB.
In Baseball, there is a very long process you must go through to get to the Majors. If you get drafted out of high school, you can skip college and go right to the system. This is not advised by most coaches because you don’t make a lot of money, and it is important to learn a specific skill at college incase you don’t make it as a baseball player. After you get drafted, either out of college or high school, you go to lower class “a” ball. There are four different teams in the Minors for each Professional Organization. There is lower class a, high a, double a, and triple a. If you perform at the level you’re expected to, you move up a team each year. People who have lots of talent sometimes move right to double a, like Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals. It is a long process, but it pays off in the end. These next 5 men I am about to list I think will have breakout years in Professional Baseball this year.
1. Oscar Taveras, Outfielder, St. Louis Cardinals.
He is in my mind, the most productive player in the minor leagues right now. Last year with Double A Springfield, he hit .320 with 94 RBIs and 23 home runs. If Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, or any other outfielder were to go down, he would be the only person who could fill that offensive hole in their lineup.
2. Will Myers, Outfielder/Catcher, Tampa Bay Rays.
Myers was acquired by the Rays in the trade that sent James Shields to Kansas City, the best trade in my mind of the offseason. With the Upton brothers joining forces in Atlanta, Myers is the perfect replacement for B.J. He has the speed and power of Carlos Gonzalez, with the defensive ability of Mike Trout. He is my rookie of the year pick for the American League.
3. Sean Nolin, Pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays
Nolin is one of the most underrated starting pitchers in the minors right now. As the best pitcher in the Blue Jays organization last year, he posted a 2.03 ERA, and only allowed 27 walks in 101 innings. He also averaged an astounding 9.6 strikeouts per 9 innings. With a stacked starting rotation that includes multiple 15 game winners, don’t expect to see Nolin until late June or early July. He could be the difference between the Blue Jays winning or losing the World Series.
4. Alex Meyer, Pitcher, Minnesota Twins.
Traded from the Nationals, Alex Meyer had an impressive year last year. In two different levels, the 6’9” Meyer posted a 2.83 ERA, and held hitters to only a .211 average. With the Twins immense struggles last year at starting pitcher, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Joe Mauer catching the tall righty sooner than later. Meyer will have to have a good spring training though if he wants a permanent spot in the Majors.
5. Travis D’Arnaud, Catcher, New York Mets
In only 67 games last year, the 24 year old phenom hit 16 homers and batted in 52 runs. If he can stay healthy, he should be able to take John Buck’s starting position at catcher. Last year he was ranked in the top twenty best prospects, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the top ten this year. With only a few big name catchers in the MLB right now, I predict D’Arnaud to be the best catcher in the game in 5 years.
These are only a few of the best players in the Minors right now, but when you hear their name on SportsCenter, remember you heard it first from Will.