Bryce Harper and Baseball's 20 Players Everyone Should Pay to Watch

Michael NargiSenior Analyst IMay 10, 2012

Bryce Harper and Baseball's 20 Players Everyone Should Pay to Watch

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    Every now and then a player comes to the league and attracts everyone's attention. This season Bryce Harper is the newest addition to these special players.

    These are the guys who single-handedly bring fans to the ballpark. They are the players who rally their team with their enthusiasm and charisma.

    Surprisingly, not every player who is given the chance to play in the major leagues plays the game as hard as they possibly can in every at-bat. 

    The few that hustle out every ground ball and always look to do more are the ones that fans are inclined to follow.

    Fans should take the opportunity to see these players, whether the player is on your team or on the opposing team. They are the players of this generation and are the most exciting players in the game.

20. Joey Votto

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    Joey Votto took home the NL MVP award in 2010 and has hit 66 home runs in the last two seasons combined.

    Votto took home the Gold Glove in 2011 to add another dimension to his game.

19. Troy Tulowitzki

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    Troy Tulowitzki is the face of the Colorado Rockies and has a laundry list of accomplishments already at the age of 27. A few of which include being on two All-Star teams, performing an unassisted triple play and hitting for the cycle.

    His spectacular plays at shortstop along with his exceptional hitting are just a couple reasons to watch him play.

18. Giancarlo Stanton

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    Talk about tape-measure home runs and most people think or Giancarlo Stanton, formerly known as Mike Stanton.

    Stanton led the National League with 15 "no-doubt" home runs in 2011. ESPN.com defines a "no-doubt" home run as a ball that clears the fence by at least 20 vertical feet and lands at least 50 feet past the fence. 

    Sign me up for the opportunity to see a player hit a ball that far.

17. Mariano Rivera

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    Mariano Rivera is the all-time saves leader and is a sure thing at the end of ballgames.

    It appears that Rivera is going to play his final season in 2013, giving fans one more chance to see the best closer in baseball one last time.

    There is nothing like being in Yankee Stadium when Rivera enters the game to "Enter Sandman" and approaches the mound to take his warm-up tosses.

16. Albert Pujols

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    The three-time NL MVP and nine-time All-Star is hoping to prove he is worth every dime that the L.A. Angels paid him over the offseason.

    Once he is in his groove in Anaheim, he will quickly attract more and more fans to the ballpark because he is one of the best players in the game.

    His easy swing results in monster numbers and this is a player that every fan should take the opportunity to watch play in person.

15. Adrian Gonzalez

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    Adrian Gonzalez is as smooth as they come at the plate. He is the owner of a great opposite-field swing that allows him to assault the Green Monster at Fenway Park.

    His defense is superb as well as he took home the Gold Glove three times in his career.

14. Roy Halladay

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    Doc Halladay is a perfectionist on the mound.

    He has provided his knowledge of the game to countless pitchers that he has come across through the years. His work on the mound is simply flawless.

    He is fascinating to watch pitch by pitch. He analyzes everything he does and makes sure each pitch is thrown as though the ballgame is on the line.

13. Stephen Strasburg

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    Stephen Strasburg averages one of the fastest average fastballs in the majors this season and has a curve that can devastate even the best hitter.

    He was the original pride and joy of the Nats before Bryce Harper was called up. This season is as much of Strasburg's breakout season as it is Harper's.

    In what is expected to be his first full year for the Nats, he is already showing signs of being a Cy Young candidate. He might have the brakes put on his season around 160 innings this year, although it is going to be hard to believe that if the Nats are still in the playoff race.

    If he is going to be limited, however, it is as good a time as ever to get to the ballpark and watch one of the best young arms in the game.

12. Prince Fielder

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    The Prince is home in Detroit, the same place where his father made a name for himself and where he one day dreamt to be a star. 

    Fielder hustles every play and for a big guy, it is nice to see.

    He is coming off of a great beginning of his career in Milwaukee and is now playing in a new league and going to new ballparks where fans can watch him play for the first time.

    The first time you see Fielder walking up to the plate, it is hard not to be in awe. 

11. Miguel Cabrera

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    Miguel Cabrera is an elite player who has been the AL home-run champion in 2008, the RBI champion in 2010 and the batting champion in 2011.

    Cabrera is worth watching and is a fantastic slugger in the American League.

    Along with Fielder, these two will attract a lot of fans to Detroit and the parks they visit.

10. Derek Jeter

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    The captain of the New York Yankees is coming off of a season in which he collected his 3,000th hit. He looks better than ever in 2012 and is hovering around .400 through the first month of the season.

    Jeter has been so valuable to the Yankees, and it will be a sad day in the Bronx when he retires. That is the reason why if anyone gets a chance to see Jeter before that day comes, they should take the opportunity.

    There are very few men in the game who are squarely focused on the team and not individual statistics. Jeter is one of them.

9. Felix Hernandez

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    Felix Hernandez is the biggest draw for the Seattle Mariners when they are home at Safeco Field.

    King Felix has his own cheering section called King's Court in the stadium.

    The 2010 Cy Young winner has 1,283 strikeouts in his career and has a fastball that appears as a blur to most batters.

    Every time he takes the mound, it is an event in Seattle. 

8. Jose Reyes

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    When Jose Reyes is on his game, he is one of the most dynamic players in the league. 

    Last season, Reyes was playing on another level before he was sidelined due to injuries. He was playing with that characteristic that everyone loves to see from ball players: hustling on every play and turning singles into doubles and doubles into triples.

    When Reyes is on, there are not too many players better than him.

7. Cliff Lee

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    Whoever was able to witness Cliff Lee in June 2011 saw one of the best streaks a pitcher has ever had in major league baseball.

    Lee threw three consecutive complete game shutouts in the month for the Philadelphia Phillies. He finished the month with a 5-0 record and a minuscule 0.21 ERA.

    Although that feat might not be accomplished ever again, Lee has still been one of the top pitchers in the league for the past few years.

6. Ryan Braun

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    The 2011 NL MVP has a textbook swing that is a luxury to watch.

    Fans in the National League might be tired of seeing him play, but anyone in the American League who has not had the chance to see him should schedule a trip to an interleague game this season.

    Braun is on his way to another great year in 2012, but this season he will not be able to win the MVP simply because of a man named Kemp.

5. Clayton Kershaw

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    Clayton Kershaw won the NL Triple Crown of pitching in 2011 with 21 wins, 248 strikeouts and a 2.28 ERA.

    He is on one of the most fascinating teams in the NL that will contend until the end this year.

    Kershaw is young and will be around for a long time for everyone to see. He possesses one of the best curveballs in the game and appears to be unhittable at times.

4. Justin Verlander

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    Justin Verlander is one of the few constants when it comes to pitchers nowadays.

    He is the most dominant pitcher in baseball and shuts down lineups time and time again. He is a must-see pitcher who exhibits a fastball that reaches over 100 MPH and gains velocity as the game goes on.

    He is the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young holder in a season in which he went 24-5 and struck out 250 batters.

    Verlander wants to complete every game that he starts, and there is no one who batters would want to see less in the ninth inning than Verlander. 

3. Bryce Harper

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    Harper is turning heads with every chance he is given since being called up to the majors.

    Since being called up, he has been a doubles machine, has played stellar defense, has hustled on every single ball that he has put in play and has stolen home.

    Despite being one of the game's brightest young stars, Harper does not take anything for granted and is on his way to the top of this league because of it.

    Although he has not played too long in the league or put up jaw-dropping numbers, there is nobody in the game that hustles more and enjoys playing the game more than Harper.

2. Josh Hamilton

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    Josh Hamilton became only the 16th player in MLB history to hit four home runs in a game this season.

    Hamilton is one of the most dangerous hitters in all of baseball. Hamilton put on one of the greatest displays when he launched 28 home runs in one round of the 2008 Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium. 

    He has only become better since then and is now turning single games into his own personal Home Run Derby.

    Hamilton plays the game as it should and has a tremendous gift that very few others have.

1. Matt Kemp

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    Matt Kemp is a one-man wrecking crew in 2012 after coming up short for the NL MVP last season.

    He is having a season that might not be replicated for many years to come. If there is ever a time to see a player who is clicking on all cylinders, it is right now with Kemp.

    Kemp is being driven by losing to Braun last season. Before this season began, he told reporters, "I'm going to go 50-50. You all created a monster."

    Kemp's unbelievable power and speed make him the one player in the league that every baseball fan must see.