Young Guns To Watch In The MLB For 2014

“Hard Cheddar” – with ‘Baseball Writer’ Steve Cheeseman 

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Young Guns to Watch in 2014

The 2014 season is fast approaching.  With spring training just around the corner, there are many up and coming players who are on the brink of making it to the majors. Who knows!

It may also be the beginning of hall of fame careers for some of these guys.  There are also a couple of players, who are already in the majors, and look to continue their success. 

I’ve profiled 5 hitters and 5 pitchers for your reading pleasure.  Some of these guys may be a little under the radar; however I believe they have a tremendous upside, and are fun to watch.  Let’s take a look. 

A full year of Wil Myers in the fold could mean a division win for the Tampa Bay Rays.  The slugger could be a 30+ HR and 100 RBI+ guy in 2014 if all things come in right.

A full year of Wil Myers in the fold could mean a division win for the Tampa Bay Rays. The slugger could be a 30+ HR and 100 RBI+ guy in 2014 if all things come in right.

The Hitters

Jurickson Profar, 2B, Texas Rangers

The traded 2-time All-Star and all-time base steal leader Ian Kinsler to make room for Profar to become starting infielder for the Rangers, and let’s hope he doesn’t disappoint.  

The soon be 21 year old, was an August 2012 call-up for Texas last season, filling in for the injured Kinsler hitting a 388 ft homerun in his first at-bat against Zach McAllister

For the 2013 season he hit .231 with 6 homeruns and 26 RBI’s.  He has good contact and patience at the plate.  If he continues to keep his strikeout count low, he will continue to improve. 

Piecing that together with his solid fielding and strong arm, he is believed to be a Barry Larkin type player primed for a breakout season.  There is a great upside for this talented middle infielder.

Andrelton Simmons, SS, Atlanta Braves

With the departure of Chipper Jones, and Brian McCann in the last 2 seasons, and the emergence of young stars such as Freddie Freeman, and Jason Heyward, Andrelton Simmons appears to be another piece to the return of the Atlanta Braves return to NL dominance. 

Could this hard hitting SS will be a force to be reckoned with for some years to come?  Well, he certainly took a major step in the right direction when he hit .259 with 17 HR, and 59 RBI’s, which includes 40 BB. 

In the field he has a strong arm with great range and defensive skills, which was clearly displayed being a 2013 Gold Glove winner.

Wil Myers, OF, TB Rays

On December 9th, 2012, when the Kansas City Royals traded Wil Myers for James Shields, they traded away what Alex Gordon should have been, a franchise player. 

The 2013 AL Rookie of the Year hit .293, with 13 HR, and 53 RBI’s in only 88 games, in his first season in the big leagues. 

His quick swing and ability to hammer a 90+ mph fastball, will certainly have Rays manager Joe Maddon smiling in 2014, and the rest of the AL East searching for a solution to neutralize. 

He is also a decent fielder with a great arm from right field.

Kyle Seager, 3B, Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners Kyle Seager played 160 last season for .260 batting avg with 22 HR, and 69 RBI’s.  A lot of people think that will be a typical type of season for Seager. 

I think he’ll do much better.  He needs to cuts down on strikeouts (122 last season), or he will remain a .250 – .270 hitter. 

However, with his speed and power at the plate, he does possess the potential to become a 30 HR/20 SB player in the future. 

If he continues to be patient at the plate (68 BB in 2013), he will get the pitch he’s looking for.  Watch for him in 2014.

Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants

Giants Brandon Belt is next on my list of players to watch for the 2014 season.  Last season the youthful 1B hit .289 with 17 HRs, 39 – 2B, and 67 RBI’s. His 60 XBH for his 509 AB is great production.

Hitting all over the batting order, look for Belt to solidify the middle of the Giants line-up for this upcoming season, as well as continued improvement at the plate. 

With more solid hitting to go along with decent glove, and surprising speed for his 6’5, 210 lbs frame, Brandon Belt has the potential to become a perennial all-star for years to come. 

In order for that to happen, he has to continue having a great approach to the plate executing a balance patience and aggressiveness when necessary.

The Pitchers

Michael Wacha, P, St. Louis Cardinals

Albert Pujols in the winter of 2011. With how awesome he fared, some would say that this would be an even trade straight up. Michael Wacha, 22, was picked in the 2012 Conditional Draft Pick selection the Cards received for the Angels signing Albert Pujols in the winter of 2011. With how awesome he fared, some would say that this would be an even trade straight up. Wacha went 4 - 1, with a 2.64 ERA for the playoffs, however he was 4 - 0, with a 1.00 ERA heading into the World Series.

Michael Wacha, 22, was picked in the 2012 Conditional Draft Pick selection the Cards received for the Angels signing Albert Pujols in the winter of 2011. With how awesome he fared, some would say that this would be an even trade straight up. Wacha went 4 – 1, with a 2.64 ERA for the  2013 playoffs, however he was 4 – 0, with a 1.00 ERA heading into the World Series.

The 2013 NLCS MVP should be a face to fear for the 2014 season.  Last season the young 22 year old went 4-1 in 9 games started with 65 strikes, 1.10 WHIP, and an ERA of 2.78. 

During the playoffs Wacha went 4 – 1 in 5 games started with a 2.64 ERA – after starting 9 games, plus relieving 6 during his 64.2 IP worth of work – while posting a 2.79 ERA

The 6’6 pitcher has a good sinking fastball to go along with a great changeup and excellent control. The only thing he’s missing is a good breaking pitch. 

His slider is only decent at best, but with more experience and training, Michael Wacha will be definitely fun to watch

Brett Cecil, P Toronto Blue Jays

The former Jays starting pitcher turned reliever found his niche in 2013, centering the heart of the bullpen for the season which earned him an all-star appearance. 

With 60 appearances over last season, he went 5-1 with 70 strikeouts over 60.2 innings pitched with a WHIP of 1.10, and ERA of 2.82. 

He also broke a little known club record with Toronto with not allowing a single hit, sitting down 43 consecutive hitters at one point. 

He is an aggressive pitcher and is never afraid to challenge hitter.  He is a decent starter, however might continue to be better served in the bullpen.

Nate Eovaldi, P, Miami Marlins

I still think Nate Eovaldi has a tremendous upside.  Last season pitching for the lowly Marlins he went 4-6 with a 3.39 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 18 Game Starts. 

He has a great arsenal of pitches to choose from.  His biggest flaw at this point would have to be his stamina, and control. 

With more training, and the developing one of those pitches to a true strikeout pitch, Eovaldi has the potential to become a dominant pitcher in the National League. 

On top of the extra work, Miami will definitely have to provide better run support, which is an uphill battle at this point in time.  Give him time though, as he’ll only be 24 at the start of the season.

Archie Bradley, P, Arizona Diamondbacks

The former 7th overall draft pick of the D-Backs is a superstar in the making for years to come.  There is nothing saying he is guaranteed a sport in the Arizona rotation.  He is only 21 years. 

In AA Mobile last season he went 12-5 with 2 complete games, 119 strikeouts, a WHIP of 1.23 and 1.97 ERA.

The only person to beat Bradley is Bradley himself.  If he keeps control of his pitches, and uses his pitching repertoire correctly, Archie is a future ace in the making. 

It may take a little more time than desired, therefore, we’ll have to wait and see if manager Kirk Gibson and the D-Backs have the patience to wait.

Noah Syndergaard, P, NY Mets

This former 1st round pick was one of the key pieces going to the New York Mets from Toronto as part of the R.A. Dickey trade. 

Last season in AA with Binghamton, Noah went 6-1 with 69 K in just 54 innings pitched, to go along with 1.07 WHIP. 

At the young age of 21, he is very effective at changing speeds with excellent command of his pitches, and can throw for strikes.  The one thing he’ll need to work on is his curveball which isn’t so consistent. 

With greater command of this breaking ball, and improved stamina, he should prove to be a mainstay in the Mets rotation.  Much like Archie Bradley, he isn’t a lock for 2014, but he’ll certainly be fun to watch.

There you have it.  Once again this is my opinion on who will be interesting to watch this season, outside your typical superstar types such as Justin Verlander, or Jose Bautista.

You may agree…you may not.  Therefore, take a look and as always, I challenge you to voice your opinion via twitter, comments, or even e-mail. 

Nate Eovaldi had a 3.39 ERA for the Marlins in 18 Game Starts. during last year.  He has flamethrower stuff - and may turn out to be a nice middle of the rotation starter.  Eovaldi was picked up in the Hanley Ramirez trade in 2012.

Nate Eovaldi had a 3.39 ERA for the Marlins in 18 Game Starts. during last year. He has flamethrower stuff – and may turn out to be a nice middle of the rotation starter. Eovaldi was picked up in the Hanley Ramirez trade in 2012.

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A big thank-you goes out to our ‘Special Guest Writer’ Steve Cheeseman for preparing today’s featured article.

Steve was born and raised in Marystown, Newfoundland  – and has been an avid sports enthusiast my entire life.  He loves hockey, baseball, and soccer, and continue to play in local leagues where I live.   

However baseball will always be Steve’s favorite sport .   He moved to Ontario, Canada in 2001, and currently lives in the nation’s capital of Ottawa with his wife and daughter.

Steve currently writes, blogs, and freelance sfor several sporting sites.  Contact him at any time (365southpaw@gmail.com).  You can also follow him on twitter   or google circles (+Steve Cheeseman).

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Posted on February 11, 2014, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Young Guns To Watch In The MLB For 2014.

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