Yu Darvish and Video of the 10 Players We Can't Wait to See in MLB
Yu Darvish recently inked a deal with the Texas Rangers worth $60 million over six years. His 93-38 record and 1.99 ERA in Japan make his arrival to the major leagues one of the most highly-anticipated in recent memory.
But Darvish isn't the only player we can't wait to see in the 2012 Major League Baseball season.
Read on to find out who they are.
Outfielder, Free Agent
Yoenis Cespedes is this season's wild card.
The Cuban defector hit .333 with 99 RBI, 89 runs and 33 home runs in 90 games during the 2010-11 season. He has been touted as a potential five-tool player in the major leagues and people are dying to see what he can actually do at the big-league level.
Right-Handed Pitcher, Arizona Diamondbacks
Trevor Bauer was drafted third overall in the 2011 MLB draft and has a legitimate shot at making his Major League Baseball debut during the 2012 season.
His lack of size and unorthodox delivery have drawn comparisons to two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum. Bauer has four solid pitches: fastball, curveball, changeup and slider. At UCLA last year, Bauer went 13-2 with a 1.25 ERA in 16 starts en route to the Golden Spikes Award for the top collegiate player in the nation.
Right-Handed Pitcher, Pittsburgh Pirates
Gerrit Cole was the other half of UCLA's one-two punch in 2011.
Cole was selected with the first overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2011 MLB draft. He struggled during his final season with the Bruins, going 6-8 with a 3.31 ERA, but he has shown the ability to be a bona fide ace ever since high school—he was drafted 28th overall by the New York Yankees in 2008.
Outfielder, Kansas City Royals
Bubba Starling was one of the best high school athletes in recent memory, starring in three sports in high school—he turned down a scholarship to Nebraska as a quarterback to sign with the Royals.
Since he is barely out of high school, it will most likely be a long while before he makes it to the major leagues, but that doesn't mean his arrival isn't anticipated.
Catcher, Toronto Blue Jays
Travis d'Arnaud was one of the centerpieces of the Roy Halladay deal that was sent to Toronto. Ever since then, he has been one of the best Blue Jays prospects out there.
Last season, d'Arnaud hit .311 with 78 RBI, 72 runs, a .371 OBP and a .941 OPS. He is also very good defensively and has great opposite field power.
But what makes him so intriguing is whether or not he can take down J.P. Arencibia as Toronto's starting catcher.
Left-Handed Pitcher, Arizona Diamondbacks
Tyler Skaggs has only looked better as he has progressed through the minors.
Last season, he posted a lower ERA and hit rate than he did in 2011, all while striking out more batters. He finished the year with a 9-6 record and a .296 ERA.
He came to the Diamondbacks from the Angels in the Dan Haren deal, and has some big shoes to fill in the desert.
Right-Handed Pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals
Shelby Miller is the top prospect of the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. That means there isn't a ton of pressure on him to carry the team right off the bat, but there are lofty expectations that follow Miller because he is coming up to such a good franchise.
Miller went 11-6 with a 2.77 ERA in 2011 and only gave up four home runs along the way. He has the fastball to take him far and is learning to rely on his changeup as well.
Shortstop, Baltimore Orioles
Manny Machado doesn't look like a prototypical shortstop because of his 6'2", 180-pound frame—which is what makes him so interesting.
Despite his height, Machado has great range at the shortstop position and bat speed at the age of 19. He might fill out his frame and outgrow shortstop, but that's all just a part of why we can't wait to see him in the majors.
Right-Handed Pitcher, Texas Rangers
Yu Darvish has been one of the most dominating pitchers in Japan since 2005.
Darvish ends his Japanese career with a 93-38 record, 1.99 ERA and 1,259 strikeouts. He is one of the tallest Japanese players in MLB at 6'5", and has gotten better with each season in Nippon Professional Baseball.
Outfielder, Washington Nationals
Bryce Harper is the biggest name in baseball right now—or at least the biggest name in baseball to not have ever played an MLB game.
Harper is only 19 and graduated high school a year early so he could enter the MLB draft to become the first overall selection. He has amazing speed and can hit for power and contact. Harper is a legitimate five-tool prospect who could see his first major-league action this season.
In 2011, Harper hit .297 with an OPS of .894, 63 runs, 58 RBI and 17 home runs in a shortened season due to injury.