2012 MLB All Star Game Predictions: Bryce Harper and Youngsters That Will Shine
The object of the MLB All-Star Game is allowing fans the opportunity to see the game's best players together on the same stage. While that includes established stars for the most part, there is something exciting about seeing a young, fast-rising player in his first such contest. There will be several players competing in their first All-Star tilt on Tuesday.
Among them is Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. He was named as a late injury replacement when Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton aggravated a knee injury, and he will have an opportunity to showcase his skills. Along with Harper, there will be plenty of other youngsters hoping to make an impression as well.
Here are three up-and-comers who will steal the show and come up big in baseball's mid-season classic.
Which youngster will perform best in the All-Star Game?
Most 19-year-old players aren't even thinking about a major-league career yet, but Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper is already an All Star. Perhaps there are others who are more deserving of his spot, but the league saw an opportunity to get him involved in the game and pounced on it. Harper's numbers may not leap off the page, but considering his age, they are extremely impressive and seem to foreshadow a very bright future.
Harper is hitting .282 with eight home runs, 25 RBI and 10 steals in just 63 games this season. He clearly has five-tool potential, and while there is no question that he needs to gain more polish as a player moving forward, the raw talent is undeniable. Harper is a bit of a showman and the All-Star setting should be perfect for him. It is unclear how much playing time Harper will receive, but he'll surely make the most of it.
There isn't usually much hype surrounding relievers in the All-Star Game, but Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman isn't your run-of-the-mill reliever. The 24-year-old Cuban lefty is a fireballer in every sense of the word as he hits triple digits essentially every time he throws a fastball. He has had some bumps in the road while trying to adjust to the closer's role, but as his 0.74 WHIP suggests, he has been virtually unhittable.
Chapman will most definitely get in the game at some point, likely when there is a string of left-handed hitters for the American League. The AL has an incredible offensive roster and there is potential for some interesting matchups. It's tough to remember a pitcher with the mixture of power and control that Chapman possesses, and while he may ultimately become a starter down the line, Chapman is going to be counted upon to come in late shut down the AL in this one.
Harper may receive most of the accolades, but there is little doubt that the league's best rookie this season is Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout. Some may feel like Harper was gifted a spot in this game, but Trout earned his based on merit. The 20-year-old star has been an absolute revelation since getting called up in late April, and his incredible play has coincided with the Angels' resurgence after a rough start to the season.
Trout is hitting .341 with 12 round trippers, 40 RBI and an incredible 26 steals already. It won't happen this season, but Trout is a legitimate 40/40 threat and may already be one of the best all-around players in the game. Trout is a guy who can hit for power and average, run like the wind on the bases and make incredible plays in the field. Hopefully all of those skills will be on display on Tuesday night.
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