Every now and again, Babes Love Baseball has the pleasure of posting a guest article from knowledgeable women who we know you'll love. Pammy Rosen is a Montreal-born lifelong Expos baseball fanatic. Since the Expos became the Washington Nationals in 2005, she has been following the Toronto Blue Jays, the Boston Red Sox and the Florida Marlins. Other than baseball, Pammy also enjoys watching NHL hockey, CFL football, boxing and mixed martial arts. Enjoy!
Every year brings about renewed optimism and this year is no different. While many teams are looking forward to what 2010 might bring, individual front offices are busy building their hopes, dreams and baseball ticket sales around the lowest of the low in baseball terms – the rookies. Some of these guys are going to be carrying bats and riding on the media bus at times this season, but they will have a major impact both this year and going forward. Here are five rookies to watch in Major League Baseball this season, as they’re headed for huge things.
5. Wade Davis, RHP Tampa Bay
Davis spent a little bit of time last season with the big league club, but did not log enough innings to lose his rookie status. This year, he will man the fifth position in the rotation, giving Tampa a solid core moving forward. Davis relies on superior control, but has some strikeout punch as well. A former third round draft pick, he is another product of the highly efficient Tampa Bay minor league system. Davis profiles as a future #2 starter and should be a long term fixture in Florida.
4. Austin Jackson, CF Detroit
Jackson was one of the key pieces in the Curtis Granderson trade this offseason, and so far he has looked great for the Tigers. Spring training numbers must be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s always good to see guys playing well at this time of year. He has the smooth swing and athletic ability to post high batting averages, though his value will be depressed because of a lack of power. Jackson profiles as a good defensive outfielder, though, so he’ll help to anchor center in Detroit’s Comerica Park for years to come.
3. Alcides Escobar, SS Milwaukee
There is plenty of reason to love Escobar this season, and the Brewers agree. They liked him so much in limited time last year that they shipped J.J. Hardy to Minnesota. Escobar is a strong fielder at a position that requires that, and he will be tough to handle on the base paths this season. Many feel that 40 steals are within his grasp, which would be an impressive feat for this high ceiling rookie.
2. Jason Heyward, OF Atlanta
What’s the matter? You expected to see him at #1? Don’t fret Braves fans, as Heyward is still a special prospect. Some have compared him to a slightly less toolsy Justin Upton, which bodes well for his future. This is a left-handed version, though, and he’s showing major power potential early on in spring training. Heyward will take his lumps this season, just as any 20-year old player would, but he should be a perennial all-star down the road. He’s the #1 prospect in baseball for a reason.
1. Neftali Feliz, RHP Texas
There is nothing quite like a hard throwing, dynamic front of the rotation arm coming up through your minor league system. That’s what Feliz is, though he won’t get a chance to start right away in the big leagues. Last season, Feliz came up and in limited time, dominated Major League hitters. He posted outrageous strikeout rates and didn’t give up walks. His minor league numbers and age suggest that he’s got the highest ceiling of all, and could project as one of the 10 best pitchers in baseball within the next two to three years.